I'm a big fan of super fat skis, 120mm plus. I'm lucky enough in that I get to ski them often in conditions that they were designed to be skied in. I love them, but I'm rather biased. However, I hear all the time from other people that "skis that wide are just like snowboards", or "they are too wide" and that "they keep you on top of the snow rather than in it", things like that. I'm curious to hear from other people that regularly ski on skis 120mm + or who have at least tried them, what they think of super fat skis in general. Tell us what brands/models you have tried and what you thought of them, whether it was good or bad. Did they help your powder skiing or hinder it? Why? Do you think there will be a limit as to how wide skis will go in the future? Will the technology be refined further?
The widest ski I've ever been on was the Fat-ypus Alotta, 140mm underfoot. I loved them, you could go so fast in powder and slow down on a dime. They were surprisingly nimble as well. I used them mostly in the Himalayas but also in the backcountry in Telluride. I even skied them in the resort a couple of times on big powder days and had a lot of fun. I remember skiing on one of the powder days with a friend who was on Volkl Mantras, a great ski but 98mm underfoot. He is definitely a stronger skier than me but that day I had a big advantage over him and was able to ski pitches a lot easier and faster than him. The ability to smear and dump speed quickly was the thing I enjoyed the most, you could still get plenty of face shots, especially with speed, just throw them sideways or press down hard on them and they throw up a lot of snow. I like the versatility of being able to mix up the turn shape, whether it's shorties or being able to arc some GS turns in more open terrain.
This year my go to ski will be 138mm underfoot. I helped design them, I haven't tried them yet but I can't wait to get out on them. Exciting times. They are called "The KIWI" by a new ski brand out of Denver called Grace Skis - www.skigrace.com. If you read the upcoming Skiing Magazine buyer's guide, you will hear all about Grace Skis. Anyway, it was an amazing opportunity to work with a small company like Grace and have input into a design for a ski. Pretty cool stuff. A lot of the influence from me for the Kiwi, came from skiing the Alotta and the Kiwi's smaller sibling, the Kylie. Maybe a little report on how they turn out might be in order? We'll see. But, an amazing opportunity none the less, to help design a ski based on your personal preferences.
The widest skis I ever saw in the flesh were one year at the SIA show in Vegas (I think 2008) and Liberty Skis had a pair of skis on display that were 200mm underfoot. Apparently they only made 20 pairs and they were just for their athletes. They looked enormous, put my old Fat-ypus' to shame. I asked their rep what the feedback was and he said that the athletes said they were amazing in really deep snow. Understandable. He even said that one of the athletes took them into the park and hit some kickers on them. Supposedly they felt the skis actually had a little glide in the air and gave a little more hangtime??!! Not sure if he was pulling my leg or not, could be true, something like the ski jumpers are used to with their massive skis.
The widest commercially available ski I know of is from a French company called Duret and they produce a ski called the Monstre Fat which is 177mm underfoot. Wow, that is huge! I'd definitely try them but I'm not even sure that even I'd want or even need to go that wide? But, don't knock 'em till you try 'em right? Then there are some really cool developments in technology in super fat skis... Now, I think we all know about rocker and early rise, now it seems there are developments in the bases of skis with convex technology starting to appear. I can think of 3 brands that are getting into that - DPS, Surface and Elan. Check out these skis from Gary Wayne as well - http://garywayneskis.com/garywayneskis.com/SKIS.html that look absolutely wild! Again, they look weird but I'd give them a go. I just love the fact that there are ski manufacturers out there still looking to push the technological boundaries and ultimately progress the sport. I think we just need to keep an open mind to this technology and try it if we get a chance.
Your thoughts people, on 120mm skis and technology.