Originally Posted by cfr:
Once the snow is soft and deep enough to allow ski to submerge into the snow, pure caved turn becomes almost impossible and turning mechanism changes completely - using gravity skier "falls" thru the snow at the apex of the turn, then for the transition skier compresses to push the snow down to create a platform from which he/she "jumps" into the next turn using momentum (don't take this as a literal jump). When the combination of terrain slope, snow density and viscosity, skier's speed and strength becomes such that ski width allows ski to sink "too" deep into the snow during the compression phase that there is not enough momentum (or strength) to get out of the snow into the next turn - this is when ski becomes too narrow for that particular pitch, show type and that particular skier.
Izzat so?? I must be doing it all wrong. I do not "jump" from turn to turn in deep powder. In fact, my technique, while not identical to that used on firm snow, is remarkably similar. My turning mechanism does not change competely, unless I'm deliberately smearing and pivoting - and even then, there are similarities. In any case, I do not have to "get out of the snow into the next turn."
I tip the skis. Even in deep powder, they bend. They turn. If I happen to be on rockered skis, they are "pre-bent." Tip 'em and they turn. It works.
Now if my skis are "too narrow," I need more pitch just to keep moving. On wider skis, I won't sink quite as deep, there won't be as much resistance, and I get more speed which allows me to more fully take advantage of the 3-dimensional medium and fly the skis. It is indeed easier to allow the skis to surface, if I want, but bringing the skis to the surface is certainly not a requirement to move into the next turn.
Now, if I believe that I have to pivot the skis, it will be much easier if they're near the surface. Pivoting may not be much of an option with narrower skis. But then, having the tails following the tips is one of the fundamentals of all good skiing, and it's especially effective in powder.
It's a little hard for me to respond to the OP, since conditions where I ski often justify wider skis, so most people have them. I do see people enjoying deep powder or soft crud who clearly would flail on narrower skis, usually because they're quite successfully turning on the tails of their fatties. A narrower ski would be much more reluctant to turn easily with such a stance. They're having a good time, and the fat skis make it possible. Who am I to insist that they should learn to ski better?
How many of you who are so concerned that fat skis impede skier skill development use your cell phone or a compact digital camera to take photographs? Don't you know that fully automatic cameras are just crutches for people who don't know what an f-stop is? You'll learn to take better pictures if you get a DSLR. Now, just like a narrow ski, the fancy camera won't do it for you - you'll have more to learn before you can even equal what you could do with your automagic point-n-shoot. But it will make it possible for you to develop effective photographic skills, so in my not-so-humble opinion, that's what you should do! So there.