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Ski width(78mm-100mm) for an intermediate skiing out west, but might move east--Atomic Access vs. Atomic Panic vs. K2 AMP Shockwave

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

I have been skiing most my life, but only a couple of days a year.  I just purchased my very first ski boots, and will be purchasing my first skis tomorrow.

 

I grew up skiing in NH(East Coast conditions), but now live in Portland OR and ski at Mt. Hood(lots more snow, but wet-ish snow).  Thus far in my life I've only skied on rentals.  In terms of ability level, I think I'm an intermediate.  I feel very comfortable skiing, but tend to enjoy skiing blue groomed runs.  I can get down blacks, but I'm slow.   I tried skiing powder at Vaill once, and had no idea what I was doing.

 

So the three skis I'm considering all have rocker.  I'm leaning towards the Atomic Access, which have the widest waist (100mm) of any of the skis I'm looking at.  The Panics have a an 87mm waist, and the K2's have a 78 waist.  I realize that my choices run the gamut in terms on ski width.  The reason I'm considering all of them is because they're all in my price range.

 

The guys in the ski store thought the 100mm Atomic Access would be the best choice.  They'd perform well on groomed trails and powder(if I can figure out how to ski powder).  The downside is they wouldn't do well on ice, but Mt. Hood doesn't get much ice.  That could become an issue in 3 years if I move back East?  I guess I could look into new skis at that point, but it'd be ideal to stick to one ski to save $$.

 

So what do you all think?  Do the Atomic Access make sense given my ability level and location?  Will they be hard to get used to coming from skinny rentals?  Will they be ok back east, if I ever move back there?  I was gonna buy the K2 AMP Shockwave(from last season), which are on sale at REI(http://www.rei.com/product/805588/k2-amp-shockwave-skis-with-bindings-mens-20102011)--are they a good value?  Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Finally, I'm 5 foot 9 and 163.  Are 171 cm skis a good length for me?  They seem long, but the dude in the store said that with Rocker, longer skis are better.

 

Thanks!

Matt

 


Edited by folkfan - 11/27/11 at 8:16pm
post #2 of 10

The Access is a great ski, particularly for the price to performance value. It is a good all around ski for the west or PNW. I think you will want a narrower ski if you head back east, but nothing wrong with having two sets! It can carve on ice but it was not built with hardpack in mind. I hope you ski it a lot, you live in a good place for it.

Ryon

post #3 of 10

For your level and what you do, Id get the 87mm.  Youll be just fine on the Access's so you can get them.  But honestly if your sticking to groomers you should go a little thinner.  

post #4 of 10

I like my Access enough that I have a pair in SLC, and another at Whistler. They're excellent on groomers (if you have to), and really fine in crud and pow. For Northleast style ice, I'm not sure that they'd be my first choice, but you say you MIGHT move to the Ice coast in 3 years.

 

By that time you'll have something else anyway, so why sweat it? And the 171's would be fine for you.

 

One of the most fun (and underrated) skis I've been on.

post #5 of 10

One thing you don't talk much about is where you see your skiing going in the future.  Right now, you ski mainly blue groomers, and have skied powder once.  In the future, do you plan to mainly be spending time on the groomers, or will you be working on moving off trail into powder, crud, bumps, etc?  And I mean, what are you *really* going to do?  If you say "Man, it'd be cool to ski powder!" but know down inside that you'll still be spending 90% of your time on the groomers going forward, that's very different than if you say "I'm going to be actively working on learning the skills to move off trail, probably take some lessons, and focus on that in my skiing."

 

So, what do you want to do?

post #6 of 10

Matt,

 

As a fellow Meadows skier I support the Access for you. We are luck in that we getso much fresh that a 100 mm daily driver is not a bad thing. If you plan on upping your game, I would consider going maybe the next size up. there is nothing worse than outgrowing your equipment skill wise.

 

Good luck.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

Thanks for the responses.  First off, I spoke with the ski shop I'm going to buy from and it looks like I can demo their skis and apply that cost to a ski purchase.  So I think I'm going to hold off on buying the Atomic Access until I can try them.
 

One of the main things driving my decision towards the Atomic Access was something one of the guys in the store said.  He said he bought his friend the Atomic Panic 87mm skis because his friend skied mostly groomed trails.  A year later, his buddy wished he had picked up the 100mm  Access.  I don't want to end up in that position--feeling my skis are limiting me.  It seems like I won't be giving up much performance on groomers with the Access, but I'll be much happier in deeper snow.  Is that assessment correct?


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post

Matt,

 

As a fellow Meadows skier I support the Access for you. We are luck in that we getso much fresh that a 100 mm daily driver is not a bad thing. If you plan on upping your game, I would consider going maybe the next size up. there is nothing worse than outgrowing your equipment skill wise.

 

Good luck.

Glad to see another Meadows skier!
 

What do you mean "upping my game?"  Getting into even deeper snow?

 

Also, could you tell me if there are many runs/areas filled with powder that aren't terribly steep at Meadows?  I'm sure it'd be easier for me to learn to ski in powder if the terrain wasn't so steep.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

One thing you don't talk much about is where you see your skiing going in the future.  Right now, you ski mainly blue groomers, and have skied powder once.  In the future, do you plan to mainly be spending time on the groomers, or will you be working on moving off trail into powder, crud, bumps, etc?  And I mean, what are you *really* going to do?  If you say "Man, it'd be cool to ski powder!" but know down inside that you'll still be spending 90% of your time on the groomers going forward, that's very different than if you say "I'm going to be actively working on learning the skills to move off trail, probably take some lessons, and focus on that in my skiing."

 

So, what do you want to do?


Good assessment man.  Once I get new skis, I'll probably stick to groomers for a little while until I feel comfortable with the skis.  I would like to move into powder if I can find terrain that isn't also really steep.  The idea of powder friendly skis is exciting, as the feeling of floating over soft snow has been fun, even if it's just been something I've experienced in little bits on the sides of grooomed trails or when Meadows had a powder dump.  My one experience in powder was on the backside of Vail, and it was so steep back there that facing down the mountain in between turns was pretty scary, especially since I didn't really know how to ski powder.  I know this is a general question and I'm wondering about a specific mountain(Mt. Hood Meadows) but does powder usually come with a back/double black steepness?  I'd probably have the easiest time learning to ski powder on runs that aren't super steep...

 

In terms of skiing crud, by that do you mean chunky hard snow?  I don't like that stuff.  In terms of moguls, I don't have much desire to ski moguls either--I'm impressed by people that can but I can't turn that quickly.

 

So does that make any sense?  I'd like to ski powder if I enjoy it.  So far, powder has been intimidating/mostly on very steep runs, and I haven't enjoyed it.  I'd like to perhaps take a lesson on skiing powder, if I can afford it(which may not happen).  Right now, I have a 10 day pass to Mt. Hood Meadows--grad school limits my skiing.   I don't think I'm at either extreme you described.  Perhaps I could see myself skiing groomed runs 75% of the time, and trying to ski powder the rest(if I can find a powder run that feels doable to me.)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post

I like my Access enough that I have a pair in SLC, and another at Whistler. They're excellent on groomers (if you have to), and really fine in crud and pow. For Northleast style ice, I'm not sure that they'd be my first choice, but you say you MIGHT move to the Ice coast in 3 years.

 

By that time you'll have something else anyway, so why sweat it? And the 171's would be fine for you.

 

One of the most fun (and underrated) skis I've been on.


Thanks!  Do you think the 87mm Atomic Panic would perform significantly better on ice vs. the Atomic Access?  I get that it's a couple yrs down the road, and I really don't know where I'll be, so it doesn't make sense to purchase skis based on that info.  I'm just curious though, as I don't see myself having the cash to buy another pair of skis for a number of years.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by naptownguy View Post

For your level and what you do, Id get the 87mm.  Youll be just fine on the Access's so you can get them.  But honestly if your sticking to groomers you should go a little thinner.  

 

Thanks naptownguy.  See my response to jaobrien6 and let me know what you think.
 

 

post #8 of 10

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by folkfan View Post


Good assessment man.  Once I get new skis, I'll probably stick to groomers for a little while until I feel comfortable with the skis.  I would like to move into powder if I can find terrain that isn't also really steep.  The idea of powder friendly skis is exciting, as the feeling of floating over soft snow has been fun, even if it's just been something I've experienced in little bits on the sides of grooomed trails or when Meadows had a powder dump.  My one experience in powder was on the backside of Vail, and it was so steep back there that facing down the mountain in between turns was pretty scary, especially since I didn't really know how to ski powder.  I know this is a general question and I'm wondering about a specific mountain(Mt. Hood Meadows) but does powder usually come with a back/double black steepness?  I'd probably have the easiest time learning to ski powder on runs that aren't super steep...

 

In terms of skiing crud, by that do you mean chunky hard snow?  I don't like that stuff.  In terms of moguls, I don't have much desire to ski moguls either--I'm impressed by people that can but I can't turn that quickly.

 

So does that make any sense?  I'd like to ski powder if I enjoy it.  So far, powder has been intimidating/mostly on very steep runs, and I haven't enjoyed it.  I'd like to perhaps take a lesson on skiing powder, if I can afford it(which may not happen).  Right now, I have a 10 day pass to Mt. Hood Meadows--grad school limits my skiing.   I don't think I'm at either extreme you described.  Perhaps I could see myself skiing groomed runs 75% of the time, and trying to ski powder the rest(if I can find a powder run that feels doable to me.)
 


As for where you will find powder, it really depends a lot on what the weather is when you're skiing.  Meadows can get some big dumps, and if that's happening during the day, or specifically after they groomed for the day, powder can be anywhere and everywhere, potentially.  They don't groom in the middle of the day, so if it's falling heavily, you can find soft snow wherever you go sometimes.  But, if it stopped snowing and then they groomed, you will only find soft snow on the steeper slopes, simply because those are the ones that don't normally get groomed.  The one thing I'll also throw out there is that if the snow is deep, you can actually ski much steeper terrain than you'd normally feel comfortable on because the snow will be helping to slow you down, you don't have to do speed control all by yourself.  In fact, green slopes covered with deep powder are sometimes infuriating to ski because all you can do is point them straight down the hill, if you try turn, you'll come to a stop.

 

Crud is a pretty catch-all term, but in general it means cut-up, skier-tracked snow that isn't powder anymore, hasn't formed into moguls, and isn't groomed.  It can be super fun or super difficult depending on the quality of the snow.

 

There's another wrench I want to throw into the works for you.  Waist width alone does not really define how a ski will ski.  There are wider skis (90's) that are really much more groomer oriented than some skis in the 80's.  Construction, flex, sidecut, etc., also play into the equation.

 

Having said all that, I agree with ecimmortal that the Access would be a good choice for the PNW skier, *if* that skier has an off-trail focus.  At this point in your skiing, I'm not sure you meet that criteria.  However, given that the shop does demos, you have now solved your problem.  If you think you aspire to grow into that off-trail skier, go demo the Access.  If you like the way they ski on the terrain you currently ski, they are the better choice because they will be a much better off-trail ski in the long run.  If you don't like the way they ski, something like the Panic (which I don't know anything about and can't speak to specifically) may be a better choice.  IMO, I see no point in a 78mm all mountain ski for a one ski quiver in the PNW if you have any off-trail aspirations at all.

 

Edit: I guess I ignored your statement about moving back East in 3 years.  Is that definite?  Or are you in college right now and could theoretically be moving just about anywhere?  How do you feel about a 2 ski quiver at that point (buying a skinnier pair if/when you move back east)?  The Access is probably not a great choice for a one ski quiver for an eastern skier who's a sorta off-trail, mostly groomer skier.


Edited by jaobrien6 - 11/28/11 at 10:56pm
post #9 of 10

Another Oregon skier here. At your skill level I would go w/ a 80mm-95mm waist ski. Good on the groom and decent float for the soft snow. The cause of ski chatter on hard snow,technique. Tip flap is a Rocker design characteristics. Now all you need is some new snow.

post #10 of 10

Hey there :)


Just my two cents to a fellow graduate student :)

 

Seeing that you would mostly be going for groomed runs 75% of the time, I would recommend skis with less of a waist width (probably 80s-90s mm range). The atomic access seems to be able to ski groomed snow but is probably more biased towards the powder. If you are staying on groomed mostly and then moving back out east AND looking for a 1-ski quiver, 80-90s mm would be easier for you to get used to especially if you are transitioning from narrow waisted rentals.

 

You should consider the sidecut of the skis as well. It would seem that the atomic access has a longer turning radius while the panic has a smaller one. I would say the K2 shockwave has an even smaller radius. So you would have to ask if you like to make quick shorter snappy turns on your groomed or longer curvy turns....

 

Myself, I am an intermediate skier who is skiing out west in the rockies and I recently transitioned from a narrow waisted ski (55mm) to a mid-fat K2 Rictor (80mm). I was considering between the K2 shockwave and K2 rictor and decided to choose the Rictor. Just went skiing on sunday where it was snowing on the mountain for the entire day and the K2 Rictor handled areas of powder snow, areas of groomed hard pack and areas of ice with a dusting of fresh snow all pretty well. So I think the atomic access would be a suitable choice considering your preference of 75% groomed - it has slight rocker too so you would be able to float on the powder if need be. The K2 shockwave would be much more forgiving I think and also more flexible and easier to initiate turns. At your skill level, you probably don't need the shockwave.

 

Hope this helps :D

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by folkfan View Post

 

So does that make any sense?  I'd like to ski powder if I enjoy it.  So far, powder has been intimidating/mostly on very steep runs, and I haven't enjoyed it.  I'd like to perhaps take a lesson on skiing powder, if I can afford it(which may not happen).  Right now, I have a 10 day pass to Mt. Hood Meadows--grad school limits my skiing.   I don't think I'm at either extreme you described.  Perhaps I could see myself skiing groomed runs 75% of the time, and trying to ski powder the rest(if I can find a powder run that feels doable to me.)


 

 

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