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120mm plus fat skis - your thoughts?

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 

  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.

 

Matt

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 42

I demoed the  Fat-ypus Alotta at Fernie. It pretty well eliminated any sensation of skiing powder. Fine if that's what you want but not for me.

post #3 of 42

My goto ski for new snow days last season was the Praxis BPS at 132mm underfoot. Nothing bad to say about them.

 

Probably more about the overall design of the ski than just the waist, but they were fun in nearly every snow condition.

post #4 of 42

I started skiing "fat" skis when skiing for Volant. Split my days from alpine to tele. Fell inlove with the big sweet spot, especially when dropping a knee. Loved the sensation and the float.  We continue that with our Grace Skis all mountain Kylie ski 120 underfoot.  Very versatile with a short effective edge.  Quick/short when it needs be (groomers) and long(surface area) when it needs to be (crud/powder).  The early rise is key on groomers and the surface area is perfect all other times. I admit my style of skiing has changed a bit with a more slip style or a surf. Playing with surface area is a great thing. Controlling edge to edge and skidding even has its place. Landing anything over 30+ feet is smooth as well.   

 

Thing to add...  We design our powder skis to be stiff. We like that "skid" like a surf board. The dynamics of snow is all compression so why do so many companies make powder skis so damn soft?  We are adding carbon tip to mid section so one can drive and surf without the ski flopping...

 

I could go on but have to make skis...

DWL

 

PS: we are prototyping a powder job ski with a 5 point rocker, reverse sidecut, that will be 170 ish (over 7")underfoot in a 156 and 176 length..who knows what it will "ski" like but as an Indie brand this is the best part (THE SANCHO) 

post #5 of 42

My skis are 120 mm, tip rocker, pintail and soft. Had the best day skiing them in 10" of snow over firm base. Havent tried in the real powder. I believe 140 + mm skis are overly fat. But i absolutely like the Kylie's - just looking at them.

post #6 of 42

I'll go (as usual) contrarian here on two counts. First, the wider the ski, the more it restricts your use to sliding or smearing. Which is not a bad thing in and of itself, can be super fun, in fact, but I like the option of going for edge angles when I hit terrain that likes that. Yep, I know that someone will step forward and talk about they can rail on their Fatypuses. But even on a 123 (Night Train, widest I have ever skied), you can feel the width shearing at your knees when you carve. Which even with a fairly deep sidecut takes  about the same period of time, edge to edge, as the Titanic trying to avoid the iceberg. It's not about the length or the radius, it's about the mechanics of levering across a whole lot of real estate to get to the other side. 

 

Second, I'm not convinced most skiers need more than 120 mm, unless they weigh a bunch or ski very slowly. Let's imagine the average Epic member is 40 years old. I'll limit myself to males, because we're talking about upper weight, not lower. As it is, 75% of all male skiers here will be under 205 lbs. Not going to crunch the lift formula, but it's a very safe bet that with a rockered 115mm 190 cm ski at 25 mph, you're getting enough lift to plane just below the surface. At 35 mph, you're gliding over that surface. We tend to forget all those movies of guys in the 80's and 90's blasting down AK faces on 77-80 mm skis. 

 

So IMO that leaves meandering through trees in bottomless on a pair of relatively short skis. Which is a very cool thing to do, when you can find waist deep powder and a forest, and if you are a big guy who lives for it, then by all means, go get that 177 mm ski. I'll stick with something else. biggrin.gif

post #7 of 42

Widest that I have skied is the Nordica Radict (127 waist) on some icy conditions at Alpental. They were very slow to get on to edge, and were not all that helpful in the crud off the groomers, or the ice on them. Still fun to skid around on them for a run, and then I gladly handed them back to my friend for my 72 waist skis. I still have no idea why that friend decided to get those for season rentals...

post #8 of 42

I think they're fun as hell.  I have K2 Pon2oons (132mm waist) and shmearing through the trees is a blast.  I couldn't care less if my lack of carving upsets anyone.  Of course they're a bit more work to go from edge-to-edge but I'm okay with that.

post #9 of 42
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mattadvproject View Post

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.

 

 

They’re 180cm long with a 180mm waist to provide superior flotation, while the narrow tip and tail keep the swing weight down. This severe reverse side cut gives the ski a streamlined shape, providing a smoother ride by allowing more area of the ski to affect fresh snow. The convex base or side to side rocker lets you roll over from edge to edge on such a fat ski. It also keeps the leading edge off the snow and free from catching anything during a turn or drift.

 

Jeez, those are some BOATS!!  Brain Floss, The Next Generation!  ;-)

 

 

They sure make em look fun!

 

http://garywayneskis.com/garywayneskis.com/VIDEOS.html

post #10 of 42

I am pretty sure you can see someone having just as much fun in these conditions on a pair of 90 mm skis. Altough, it will look differently - more carving, less sliding. This basically means that the choice of the skis shall be based on one's preference in styles.

post #11 of 42

I am big guy (6'5 -- 220lbs) so, in the right conditions, I love a super fat ski to provide the extra float.  For something completely different I have a pair of fat skiboards in my quiver that are 165mm at the tip/tall and 137mm under foot but only 110 cm long.  These are great when you need float in powder but maneuverability in the trees.  I mention this not to start a hater thread about skiboards but to illustrate a point that when I go superfat I like to go a little shorter than I would normally ski.  For me, it gives me more control and less weight and less work but this is just my preference. 

post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

I'll go (as usual) contrarian here on two counts. First, the wider the ski, the more it restricts your use to sliding or smearing. Which is not a bad thing in and of itself, can be super fun, in fact, but I like the option of going for edge angles when I hit terrain that likes that. Yep, I know that someone will step forward and talk about they can rail on their Fatypuses. But even on a 123 (Night Train, widest I have ever skied), you can feel the width shearing at your knees when you carve. Which even with a fairly deep sidecut takes  about the same period of time, edge to edge, as the Titanic trying to avoid the iceberg. It's not about the length or the radius, it's about the mechanics of levering across a whole lot of real estate to get to the other side. 

 

Second, I'm not convinced most skiers need more than 120 mm, unless they weigh a bunch or ski very slowly. Let's imagine the average Epic member is 40 years old. I'll limit myself to males, because we're talking about upper weight, not lower. As it is, 75% of all male skiers here will be under 205 lbs. Not going to crunch the lift formula, but it's a very safe bet that with a rockered 115mm 190 cm ski at 25 mph, you're getting enough lift to plane just below the surface. At 35 mph, you're gliding over that surface. We tend to forget all those movies of guys in the 80's and 90's blasting down AK faces on 77-80 mm skis. 

 

So IMO that leaves meandering through trees in bottomless on a pair of relatively short skis. Which is a very cool thing to do, when you can find waist deep powder and a forest, and if you are a big guy who lives for it, then by all means, go get that 177 mm ski. I'll stick with something else. biggrin.gif

^^^^ This. 

 

Besides, 120 under foot is overkill for someone my size.  

post #13 of 42

177mm is not a snow ski it is a water ski.
 

post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by emerth View Post

177mm is not a snow ski it is a water ski.

 

Soft/deep snow arguably behaves more like water than hard snow, so perhaps a water ski is a good way to go. Someone else thought so.

 

I think we just need to keep an open mind to this technology and try it if we get a chance.

 

Hear, hear!

post #15 of 42

I've demoed a number of 120mm and wider skis, including Moment, DPS, and Fatypus.  The only one I've bought, and the only one I've loved, was the 195 Praxis Powder, which was reverse camber and sidecut.

 

For me, although going wider in the waist can create unwanted knee torque on groomed, the issue with skis this wide is not so much the waist width as the tip.  Go much over 140mm in the tip, and I feel like I'm getting thrown around in anything other than pure, uncut, million dollar street value powder.  (For example, I found the 160/110/130 Icelantic Shaman too wide and ungainly to take more than a single run -- and I'd have gotten off them midway down if I could.)  The exception being the 196 Moment Bibby Special, which wears its 150mm tip uncommonly well.

 

 

So yeah, I loved the Praxis, but after I found that the DPS Wailer 112RP performed nearly as well in powder but was far more versatile, I sold the Praxis. A year later, I replaced the Wailer with the Bibby Special.  I won't rule out another 120+mm ski, but I'll have to fall in love first.


Edited by TheDad - 9/12/12 at 2:08pm
post #16 of 42

I was being silly. I should have put a smiley face on my post. Of course people should use what ever kind of ski they like.
 

post #17 of 42

I haven't skied anything that wide--my every day ski is 108, and there have been a few days (not enough of them) when they weren't wide enough--at least on slopes below about 40 degrees.  The one negative I've found with a sorta wide ski is on deep cut up powder where the ski floats on the unbroken and then drops into the tracks--makes for a much bumpier ride than a narrower ski that's deeper in the powder.  A problem I'm happy to deal with. Where wider skis really shine is not so much in blower--which people are fond of saying can be skied with 2x4's, but in mank, where they make life a whole lot easier. The wider the ski the looser your definition of powder. 

post #18 of 42

HB's and bent's and I bought a pair of lotus 138's.

 

Ski what you want. end of story..  but its not a matter of needing its 100% about the experience. If people would just stop saying; "I don't need that" , "they float just as well", "its overkill" "the phyics calulator says"  you are not gettin' it.......   Its about the experience. 

post #19 of 42

Check out our Kylie   www.skigrace.com.  We move the widest part of the ski back..dream ski in my opinion.  I also loved the DPS lotus 120..

post #20 of 42

 

Here is a concept we are working on now....203mm underfoot.  5 point rocker.  We modeled them after wake skis.   It is a small niche water ski that looked like fun...

post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

HB's and bent's and I bought a pair of lotus 138's.

 

Ski what you want. end of story..  but its not a matter of needing its 100% about the experience. If people would just stop saying; "I don't need that" , "they float just as well", "its overkill" "the phyics calulator says"  you are not gettin' it.......   Its about the experience. 

 

 

Damn Finn, you're good at this!  icon14.gifbiggrin.gif

post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by graceski View Post

 

Here is a concept we are working on now....203mm underfoot.  5 point rocker.  We modeled them after wake skis.   It is a small niche water ski that looked like fun...

 

 

 

ROTF.gif

 

 

I love fatties and rocker to death, but that is just retarded unless it's a monoski. 

post #23 of 42

Skiing real deep snow is all about the smoothness and the 3-dimensional aspects.  Increasing ski waist width generally increases the smooth (and consequently the speed) and decreases the 3rd dimension.  Depending on the snow, terrain, situation and the skier play you may be looking for more smooth or more 3-dimensional play on a particular day.  If you are skiing enough pow to warrant buying a 120+ waisted ski you probably have a quiver, so get up in the morning and choose the experience you want for the day.  If you feel the need for speed go super fat, if you want to be more playful and maximize face shots go narrower.

post #24 of 42

speaking for myself here, I think the experience (with wide 120 plus) can vary greatly depending on snow quality/characteristics and depth of course but you can ski at different speeds, including very slowly and play with turn radius and shape more than a narrower ski, you can modulate the edging more (obviously) and play with the amount or severity of the slarve. That's where the fun comes in for me. I love that sliding feel with the snow spraying its more of a weightless feeling.

post #25 of 42

I believe overall ski flex is pretty important too for deeper snow, not just width and sidecut.  They are soft for a reason.  A good soft flex without the width will still ski deep snow pretty well.

 

The widest things I have tried was Rossi S7's (what are they, 115 at 188, I think 110 at 178?) , and I really felt they were floating me on top of the snow more than I wanted.  Yes they were going faster, but not as easy to scrub speed.   I'm pretty light, 5-10 and 140 lbs.   Given the heavy PNW snow and cut up crud that suddenly springs up about an hour after local area open, It wasn't what I wanted.  I've had better luck with other skis in the 110 range, but even those felt really wide to me and somewhat unwieldly in cut up crud.  My sweet spot so far is 98-105.

 

I suppose if I had access to light, fluffy snow that was untracked more than an hour, I would want, or even absolutely need something wider.  The sad reality (cue the violin music) is that I'm more likely to find maritime PNW cascade concrete that gets tracked out pretty quickly.  I also suspect the denser snow requires less width than bottomless Utah fluff to stay afloat, but that may be a minor part of the equation. 

 

My other observation is this thread seemed to start out as a promotional piece for Grace skis.  Have at it, but please make it clear if marketing or promoting a product is what the post is about, rather than masquerading as conversation about equipement.   Marshall, for example, is pretty skillful about stating that he represents DPS when he is actually representing DPS, and otherwise participates in Epic as any of us would.      

 

Rant over.

post #26 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:

My other observation is this thread seemed to start out as a promotional piece for Grace skis. Have at it, but please make it clear if marketing or promoting a product is what the post is about, rather than masquerading as conversation about equipement. Marshall, for example, is pretty skillful about stating that he represents DPS when he is actually representing DPS, and otherwise participates in Epic as any of us would.

 

DesiredUsename - thank you for your comments,

  In reference to your "rant" above, no, that was not my intent at all and I take no offence to your comments above. No worries. This thread was started to gauge people's thoughts and feelings towards super fat skis which I am genuinely interested in. I certainly have my beliefs! I have always heard a lot of what I feel are 'misconceptions' about really fat skis and I was curious to see if other people had heard similar things or shared similar feelings.  I stated my beliefs and biases at the start of the post and felt it necessary to give some background as to why I felt the way I did and that it might also be pertinent to give a little history (in terms of the equipment that I have ridden) to support these feelings. Yes, I do have an afiliation with Grace Skis, hleping in the design process of a new ski was one of the proudest moments of my life. Again, I think a pretty cool insight and that is why I referenced that.  A big issue that I have with people disssing really wide skis is from people that have never been on a really wide ski before, especially in the right conditions, yet they'll happily tell me things like my skis look like snowboards, they probably float too much and you can't get face-shots, statements like that. I hear it all the time, each to their own. My intent was to find out from the community if this is a shared belief. I'm really enjoying reading everyone's posts. It seems the majority here at Epic might have a bias against the really fat skis? No problem. That was the point of asking.

 

  It's not just Grace skis that were referrenced in my post, but also Fat-ypus (which I mentioned first in my post) and other brands such as Liberty, Duret, DPS, Surface, Elan and Gary Wayne Skis. Other people have taken some of the links I posted and re-posted them in more detail because they probably thought they would be interesting to other people. Seeing what all these companies ideas for the future of the industry and technology is inspiring to me (Brain Floss part 2??). This thread actually came about after a conversation I had had with Dave Liechty of Grace in which we were talking fat skis and the publics perception of them. That conversation was the catalyst for this post. Now, I didn't realise Dave was going to chime in as well, however I'm sure his intent to talk about some of the technology that he is thinking about introducing was to again, to open our eyes as to what the future might hold in terms of ski design and what his perception of it might be. I personally think it's petty cool that a ski designer is out here laying out his plans for the future. I don't see too many other ski designers on here doing that. I'm sure one person might see that as flaunting their wares or promoting their product, someone else might see that as an interesting insight into the ski design process or future trends of the industry. You be the judge.

 

  So, that's where I stand on all this. I hope we can continue the conversation and hear from more people.

 

Regards,

Matt

post #27 of 42

Fair enough, thanks for clarifying your intentions.

 

I've never gotten the sense that's there's a general Epic bias against fat skis; obviously plenty of people have posted in this thread who include a fat ski in their quiver.  And I've seen a couple of ON3P Pillow Fights at Stevens Pass  (they only made a few dozen of those).  It's actually more the case that people will bring out their fat skis in the early season when there's noting but groomers and rocks off-piste.  

 

That said, not everyone on Epic has regular access to conditions where a 120-and-up ski would be the best tool.  There is this place called the East Coast.  And even out west, where there is always plentiful fresh deep powder (I'm perpetuating a myth for our East Coast friends wink.gif) we don't always have a 6" to 12" dump to play in.

 

On the other extreme, I picked a par of 65mm wide Stockli's in late February and have yet to have a hardpack day where I could really use them any more effectively than my daily driver (92mm wide).  Lucky me, to have consistent snow, albeit cascade concrete. 

post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post

Fair enough, thanks for clarifying your intentions.

 

I've never gotten the sense that's there's a general Epic bias against fat skis;...

 

 

 

Are you kidding?  The fear and bias are strong here. 

post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post

Fair enough, thanks for clarifying your intentions.

 

I've never gotten the sense that's there's a general Epic bias against fat skis; obviously plenty of people have posted in this thread who include a fat ski in their quiver.  

 

You are correct, the right tool for the right conditions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

 

Are you kidding?  The fear and bias are strong here. 

 

Not EVERY condition. rolleyes.gif

post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

 

You are correct, the right tool for the right conditions...

 

Not EVERY condition. rolleyes.gif

 

True. Just most...

 

Outside of serious hardpack and the irrelevant strangeness of salted/injected snow, modern (aka fatter rockered) skis shine across a far broader range of snow than old-school shaped skis. Especially if one lets go of outdated biases. That said, the anti-modern ski bias, and a religious one at that, has indeed been strong here. Even a brief tour of memory lane here will demonstrate that. 

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