Originally Posted by curious
First post but long-time lurker - thanks for all the great info (and for helping me waste countless hours).
I currently (probably foolishly) have two pairs of very similar skis - Mantras and Watea 94s, both in ~177 (and bought used and cheap).
My problem is that they both like longer-radius turns (both ~21m radius) and (especially the Mantras) have to be going fast to carve properly. The result is that off-piste in tight spots, through trees and on steeps, I either end up skidding my tails to bring them around, going too fast for my comfort or skidding my tails to blow off speed; all of these negatively impact my self-esteem.
Plus in general, I often prefer shorter, snappier turns over long GS arcs and I figure (hope) a shorter-radius carver would make on-piste more fun and help me work on technique when I'm out with my kids on easier mountains.
So I'm thinking a turny, shorter-radius, carvy ski would be more fun for me all-round. A few that look about right but I haven't had a chance to try are:
For reference, I've tried (and really liked) my friends' AC50s and MX88s but neither gave me the tight, quick turns I'm looking for (even though the ACs have a ~17m radius). I've also read great things about Magnums, but they seem to favour long turns.
So I'm wondering if I'm on-track about what a turny ski would do for me in general and any feedback about the above skis or other suggestions given what I'm looking for. Or do I just need to grow a pair and get comfy skiing faster on what I have.
About me: 45 years; 5'8"; 190lbs (but not as obese as that may sound - although I could stand to lose a few, I'm active and fit and I'll never weight less than 180); skiing since I was a kid but with long periods off and never raced; always working on technique but I'd pay to NOT watch a video of me; love skiing off-piste and trying to do it smoother and faster.
There is a strong smell here of a semantic / vocabulary problem that I think may be skewing some of the responses you are getting. The suspect word here is "carving." Meanwhile, you're also talking about at least two very different use cases: "off piste in tight spots, through trees" and "shorter-radius carver would make on-piste more fun":
My problem is that they both like longer-radius turns (both ~21m radius) and (especially the Mantras) have to be going fast to carve properly ... off-piste in tight spots, through trees and on steeps, I either end up skidding my tails to bring them around ... shorter-radius carver would make on-piste more fun
Later on, you say you're at Whistler and ski mostly in soft snow, and that you don't bother skiing when it hasn't snowed in a while.
So let's straighten out the vocabulary, and then talk about use cases and skis. "Carving" in my book is something that happens on hard - or at least firm - snow, usually groomed. You tip the ski on edge, at which point - because of the sidecut - the waist is momentarily off the snow. Your mass and momentum push the middle of the ski down onto the snow, creating an arc. You ride that arc around the turn such that the tail follows the track of the tip, with "no" skidding. (That is the ultra-simplified version open to all sorts of clarifications and nit-picking. Please let's not go there in this thread.) In this scenario, the sidecut and torsional stiffness of the ski are key factors in how it will perform.
Now, it's also possible to make a turn in soft / deep snow, in which the tails follow the tip in an arc with "no" skidding. However, in that scenario, as many here have pointed out often, the flex pattern and rocker profile of the ski are much more important than the sidecut in informing the feel of the ski. I, at least, do not call this "carving." You talk about "what a turny ski would do for me". The clarification I'm trying to make is that "a turny ski" for someone who skis ice in New England may share very few design attributes with "a turny ski" for someone who skis trees on soft days at Whistler.
Virtually no one, possibly barring super heros and the insane, uses "carving," as I've defined it, in "tight spots, through the trees." "Skdding [your] tails around" in the trees and on steeps might or might not be something to avoid, depending on exactly what you are meaning, which it's hard to know without video. In any case IMHO you shouldn't be expecting to carve clean arcs on hard snow on your Mantras through the trees unless you are a pretty amazing and/or deranged skier. Skidding is not a naughty word if it means allowing a turn to drift a bit (or a lot) along the whole length of the ski to scrub speed. Moreover, it doesn't sound like you actually ski on firm groomers very often, if ever.
With all this in mind, it sounds to me like what you really want is a ski that is quick in soft conditions. Therefore I suspect recommendations for skis like the Titan may be off base, having been influenced by your use of the word "carving."
Finndog's mention of the Soul Rider sounds like a better suggestion to me, when I pay more attention to what you say about how and where you ski, and to the skis you have which you say you don't like, and less attention to words like "sidecut" and "short radius" which may not have a lot of bearing on the case. See his further characterization of the Soul Rider here, together with mention of skis of the same "fun" ilk.