First of all, I'm not suggesting for one minute that fat skis don't have their place and it's an important place at that. Secondly I have to nail my colours to the mast and confess like many of you out there to skiing for a long time on skinny skis before the revolution. But the revolution was welcome and I embraced it at the start with open arms.
I just wonder if it's all going just a bit too far for most people and if we're not getting swept along rather than skiing on equipment that optimises our effectiveness, progress and fun.
I picked up the first ski magazines of the season today (UK) and the first batch of skis tested and reviewed were 95 - 120 waists. Sure they'll cover many more through the season but this is surely an indicator of the trend and what the buying public will gravitate to.
Realistically for most of us, deep powder is not our default skiing situation. Powder is, after all not there in plentiful quantities in most areas most of the time. When it is, despite all the stuff I read, the bowls and more remote areas that tend to hold it are far less populated than other parts of the mountain, leading me to believe that like many other skiing tall tales, not as many skiers ski the steep and deep as would like us to believe. Those that do, fine! Go ahead with those fat skis.
My concern is that a huge number of skiers of all levels insist on going fat and yet make only the occasional forray away from groomers or well skied unpisted runs. I really don't see the need for 90mm+ in these most regular situations. I'm sure they would be better served by a more responsive and nimble ski that will optimise their skiing in the conditions they most frequent but will be fine for their gentle off piste ventures.
I watched a young guy at my local indoor snow centre just yesterday. He had very basic technique that would really not get him very far except on gentle pisted terrain and yet there he was on some 106mm waist skis, struggling away. He wasn't getting any help from his equipment at all in my opinion. He would have been far better served with an 80mm ski or maybe even narrower that was more appropriate for his needs.
My standard everyday ski is a 79mm waist ski. It does a great job holding an edge, it's nimble and responsive and it hadles deeper snow with enough flotation to give me a great ride.
There seems to be the same kind of trendy atitude to these fat skis that there was to long race skis back in the 70s and 80s when we used to stand in gondola queues and put our skis on our boots to make them look longer to impress. There was a small number of skiers who benefited from the really long race orientated skis we all aspired to but most would have benefited from another ski entirely.
I know many of the new breed of fat skis ski well on piste but on the whole not as well as a narrower ski. I'd just like to see skiers making the best choices rather than following the trends. I just wondered if anyone agreed with me or am I just too set in my ways?