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Location, snow condition, and preferred activity which one is more important in selecting gear? what are the right questions to ask?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

First I'd like to say that it's summer, I'm finally on vacation, quite boring at the moment, and therefore I decided to rant a bit biggrin.gif
I'm still fairly new to the epicski.com community but there's something that I notice come up quite often, threads asking for ski equipment recommendations for a specific geographical area (East/West coast, Oz, Alps, etc.)

I have skied for almost 20 years in several countries, and one thing that really never different from place to place is snow. What I mean is that ice is ice, independently from where you are, same goes for powder and everything in between.

 

So what is the point in specifying a location?

A ski does not change its characteristics and skiability depending on the location, rather it will behave differently depending on the snow conditions and the skier ability.

My 200mm underfoot twin tip full rocker 220cm long powder beast will be amazing in alaska's big mountains, in the beautiful alps, and any other swatch freeride world tour location. On the other hand it will suck big time on the fast runs on Lake Luis, Kitzbühel, and Bormio.


I understand that sometime the location is used to indicate general snow conditions, slope steepness and so on... but does it really matter?

If I had to give an advice on which gear is most suitable for a skier what I need to know is first the skiers level, then his preferred activity (carving, back mountain, park, etc), and finally the budget. I really don't care if it's going to be used in Colorado or Kenya (yes there's skiable mountains there)

 

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, but I'd like to hear what you guys think about it?
Does it bother you? Never really thought of it? Is this thread completely pointless? 


Ott+Wedeln.gif
 

post #2 of 17

There are certain correlations with location, including altitude and typical weather.  Powder in Alaska, California, Utah and Colorado are not normally the same.  East coast ice differs from west coast ice.  Now maybe this is a matter of vocabulary, but mentioning the location provides another channel of communication to make sure people understand.

post #3 of 17

Location dictates average snow condition, what you will likely see most often.  That is also going to dictate what options you have for different disciplines like bumps, racing, powder, trees, etc.  So, I'd say that location influences most of the other variables as much as anything.

post #4 of 17

I agree that location does make a difference. There are skis I've demoed in states other than CO that I really liked, but didn't see much of a use for where I ski. For one thing, we have moguls here, always, because so many runs are are cut, thus narrow, and we have a lot of traffic. I know people in other areas of the country, with fewer people and different topography, don't see the bumps we do.  So I almost always need a ski that I don't hate in moguls.

 

Same with powder ... it's definitely different in Utah than it is in the PNW, for instance.

post #5 of 17

Looking at buying skis from a different angle, location can have an impact on access to certain brands.  That's my impression based on recent threads from folks in New Zealand and Australia.  Even in the U.S., what's available to demo varies by region.

 

For intermediates, they do not know always know how to answer questions about "preferred activity (carving, back mountain, park, etc)."  They do know where they ski and whether they plan to ski elsewhere sooner rather than later.  Definitely helps to know location in addition to "I can ski all blue runs and some easy blacks."  rolleyes.gif

post #6 of 17
Here in New England, in a typical year, either you spend half your time on refrozen man-made boilerplate or you sit in the lodge. This is one reason racing is so popular here - it has to do with making lemonade out of lemons. Locals with flexible jobs and no kids may quibble, but this is the reality for the vast majority of us.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for sharing your perspectives! 

I don't quite understand how iced snow can be different from place to place, or powder, but I guess it's more semantics than anything else.
But even considering the possible differences wouldn't a family of skis (as a group) work the same? And if that is the case does it matter if it's snow from here instead of there?
 

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzamp View Post

Thanks for sharing your perspectives! 

I don't quite understand how iced snow can be different from place to place, or powder, but I guess it's more semantics than anything else.
But even considering the possible differences wouldn't a family of skis (as a group) work the same? And if that is the case does it matter if it's snow from here instead of there?
 

The languages of folks who live in lots of snow, as in the Inuit or Laplanders, have 50+ ways to describe different types of snow.  Some as many as 180 variations.  Makes sense to me that "powder" is different from region to region.  smile.gif

 

But I digress . . . back to your question about choosing or recommending skis . . .

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

ahahah true! 
I guess what I mean is that it doesn't make that much difference to me when skiing. As in if it's fresh it's powder, if it's wet it's slush, compact is heaven (biggrin.gif), and hard iced.
I never had the need to differentiate more than that as far as picking skis. To be fair I only really switch when it's fresh and use a mid size (~90) ski, but that's personal preference i guess.
Of course not talking about racing, waxes, grinds etc.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzamp View Post

Thanks for sharing your perspectives! 

I don't quite understand how iced snow can be different from place to place, or powder, but I guess it's more semantics than anything else.
But even considering the possible differences wouldn't a family of skis (as a group) work the same? And if that is the case does it matter if it's snow from here instead of there?
 

 

Well ... yeah, it is some semantics. I think there was discussion about "powder" -- fresh snow isn't always powder. But it is helpful to know whether the fresh snow is at Alta or Whistler, because it is often a very different substance. What we call hard snow in the Rockies is (so I hear) not the same as it is in New York, so when I post and ask for a hard snow ski, further clarification is needed. 

 

But, snow isn't the only variable. Like I said, topography can be a big one. Long steep wide open? short and narrow? Even if the snow is the same, the turns probably aren't.

post #11 of 17
Friend who had done a lot of his skiing in Colorado started up with our Wednesday night group at a smallish local area - 1,200' vertical or so, with a low base elevation. Relies VERY heavily on manmade snow and school groups. Even after years of doing this now, he still shakes his head and says, "Seriously? This is what you ski on? Really? Is it beer time yet?" Meanwhile most of us say, "Yeah. What's your point?" MY point is: Sure, you might find a similar surface from time to time elsewhere in the world, but this is our PREDOMINANT condition. Bread and butter. Narrow short radius carvers rule.
post #12 of 17
never mind, the formatting is completely screwed up and totally unreadable! (IE)
post #13 of 17

East Coast Canada -50C boiler plate ICE is the kind of skiing that I WISH didn't exist anywhere else on Earth. Sadly, it does.

 

It's always fun to fly out west to the Canadian Rockies and listen to locals complain about the "Ice". I've never seen anything resembling our Ice out there...

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pastuch View Post

East Coast Canada -50C boiler plate ICE is the kind of skiing that I WISH didn't exist anywhere else on Earth. Sadly, it does.

 

 

Why be sad?  Own it.   Or were you trying to keep it to yourselves?

post #15 of 17

When choosing a new ski, the relevance of your location is inversely proportional to the size of your quiver.

post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

I agree that location does make a difference. There are skis I've demoed in states other than CO that I really liked, but didn't see much of a use for where I ski. For one thing, we have moguls here, always, because so many runs are are cut, thus narrow, and we have a lot of traffic. I know people in other areas of the country, with fewer people and different topography, don't see the bumps we do.  So I almost always need a ski that I don't hate in moguls.

 

Same with powder ... it's definitely different in Utah than it is in the PNW, for instance.

This weighs heavily for me, too. 

 

A great powder ski in Tahoe isn't necessarily a great powder ski in Colorado, and vice versa. 

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoebag View Post

When choosing a new ski, the relevance of your location is inversely proportional to the DIVERSITY of your quiver.

Fixed.  Just because someone doesn't travel much that shouldn't prevent them from having way too many skis anyway.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Location, snow condition, and preferred activity which one is more important in selecting gear? what are the right questions to ask?