Originally Posted by crgildart
So, are you saying that folks out West ski in over 8" of fresh snow 80-90% of the time?
Well, um, actually, some places in some seasons...
But what do I know? My "fat" skis are only 96mm underfoot.
Here's the deal: Fat skis are fun. They skid/smear easily in snow that many people dream about but find intimidating or otherwise unexpectedly difficult in real life. They allow people who really do spend most of their skiing lives on firm snow to a) fantasize about the soft stuff, and b) actually kinda sorta ski in the soft stuff when they actually encounter it, and feel good about it instead of totally frustrated. The fact that many fat skis are also easy to skid and steer on firm snow just adds gravy, as far as most of these people are concerned. They'll never really learn how to tip them and arc them, and they don't want to spend time (or money) in lessons anyway.
So, they're here to stay. The fact that they may not hold as well or change edges as quickly or perform as crisply on firmer snow doesn't matter to most of the people who buy them. They can't tell the difference.
We may lament the lower skill levels that now chew up "our" powder. We'd like to believe that you should pay your dues and learn how to ski before you can get the goods.
Tough. We need to have them have lots of fun and believe they're totally awesome so they'll show up and buy lift tickets and subsidize those who want more interesting terrain and faster lifts so that they can do more laps in more fun terrain than most of the terminal intermediates, on fat skis or not, will ever dream of. I ski in one of the fat ski centers of North America, but I can still find plenty of places where the duffers won't go.
So...tourons on fat skis are having fun and they help pay the bills. Ski areas know what they dream about and open up more interesting terrain that helps their marketing but which the tourons will only visit occasionally or never, even if they're on fat skis. That "marketing terrain" gives those with more skill more fun places to go.
Back before fat skis, I was cruising around Mary Jane and rode up the lift with a guy from Ohio or Kentucky or somewhere who announced he wanted to ski Outhouse. Outhouse was not easily accessible from the lift we were on, but I knew of a route through the woods that would let us ski most of it. When we got off the lift, I watched him make a few turns and then I had to tell him that I didn't think he would like Outhouse very much. He said it didn't matter. He'd heard about it and read about it. He wanted to ski it once. He skied well enough to survive Outhouse, and that's what he did. It was a struggle, and I don't think it was much fun for him, but he did it, and he wanted to take that home with him. He flailed, but he finished with a smile. And his lift ticket helped support Outhouse and runs like it so that I could have fun on it, even though relatively few people who go to WP/MJ actually ski on those bump runs. (At least, not more than once.)
Tourons on fat skis help ski areas open terrain that those tourons will rarely use. But now, you get to go there.