Originally Posted by Brad Hall
I guess a lot of what is bothering me is, I am an advanced/expert skier, but it is obviously me, not the skis that are the problem. The Opus' are a world class ski, and I can't seem to enjoy them.
I don't want to sound like I am blaming the equipment, but my boots could be a part of the problem. I am skiing in Raichle Flexons form the early 90's. They only had about 6 days on them when I got back into skiing 4 years ago, but now have well over 100, they are very soft flex and not great support for the wide Opus', the lateral force from the wide ski really hurts my foot/calf.
I hate to state the obvious, and put a further damper on your stoke on a day where the epic potential was high, but you probably have it right above. Before you put the Opus up for sale, I'd at least consider the fact that there may be some operator error in play here.
First of all, you rode the Opus last season a couple of times and "loved" them. What happened? Did you ride them in deep snow last season? Light blower? Also, consider that this weekend was your first day of the season, a foot and a half of heavy PNW snow right out of the hole. Were you ready for that? Are you in shape? Would you normally shred those conditions on your Volkls or Atomics? Are you letting your skis "run" enough to even take advantage of the width and float? I don't know what the conditions were like at White this weekend, and I always assume that it is lighter over there than what we get on the western side of the pass, but if you are dealing with a snowpack with heavy moisture content like we get over here, you've got to commit to letting your skis run and you need some steepness to the slope or you are going to get stuck in the mud. Example: 2 feet of heavy snow over by the bottom of the pig chair at Ski Acres - it doesn't matter what skis you have on your feet, you are going to need a tow rope and a snowmobile to get through it if you don't have enough momentum.
Modern, wide powder skis are great, game changing tools. But they do have a slightly different feel and you have to get accustomed to them like anything else. And, there is no magic-pixie-dust-unicorn-tears-super-ski out there. You also need to bring some baseline skills and experience to the table. Sounds like you know your way around the mountain, but it also sounds like you probably grew up skiing skinny skis, took 15+ years off just before the shapes changed (I am dating your hiatus based on your boot age) and just came back to it. And this is your first rockered ski, and one that is quite a radical change in direction and feel from either your Volkls or Atomics.
So here's the real gut check. In the 4 years since you came back what has your skiing been like? Are you really shredding legit terrain, taking modern big fast lines, or are you laying down epic trenches on the groomers at White on your Volkls? On steep terrain, are you still doing Scot Schmidt-style pedal turns, checking to a near stop, or are you running your skis, working the shape and riding the wider platform through a more vertical line? You've put in ~100 days since coming back - what do those days look like? How much of it is "family skiing?" Legit questions - not trying to be a jerk at all (and I've been there - seasons off, emphasis on family skiing, etc. . .), but only you know the answers. But I think that it is worth noting that NO modern ski (Opus included) requires, favors or demands that you lean back to ride through deep snow - that's the whole point of the rocker, you maintain a centered to forward stance. If fact, if you lean back and try to ride the tail on a ski with significant tail rocker, you are going to be worse off. So the assumption that leaning back is part of the solution suggests that you probably (a) have some habits to unlearn, (b) are on the wrong balance point (which may or may not have anything to do with the mount) or (c) are not getting the ski up to speed enough to take advantage of the shape.
Your boots may be an issue. At 100+ days they could be packed out. Also, it is totally possible that your feet grew a 1/2 size in the intervening years. But you successfully rode the boots for the last 4 years. Did they feel radically different this weekend. That said, it is pretty safe to say that modern, properly fit boots substantially upgrade performance on any skis (more than any pair of skis for that matter).
Finally, a friendly tip from your friends on the west side of the mountains - notwithstanding the marketing/magazine hype, sometimes it is more about the ski construction than the width. In heavy wet snow, a more stiff, more damp ski is often the better choice, even when it is deep. Especially if it is cut up with hard chunks underneath. Not saying that the Opus can't be rocked in that environment by quality driver - it can - but softer double rocker skis have their limitations as well.
Provided that you had them mounted correctly by a quality shop, keep the Opus. Ski them hard your next few days out (even if it is a "packed powder" day) to get the feel of them. Find that balance point. Use easy bumps as features to get a feel for how the ski engages and disengages. Although they are related in feel to the Bacons you've tried, the Opus is like nothing you've had before. Sort out your boots. Get your ski legs back, get a feel for your new equipment and I'll bet that you will report back in the spring happy. If you still don't like them after 4-5 days, try something else and dump the Opus in the used market. You've got nothing to lose and a ton of experience and knowledge to gain that will inform your next purchase should it come to that. And at this point, your resale price doesn't materially change if you can keep the bases reasonably clean.
Edited by LewyM - 12/9/12 at 10:14am