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Picking a Big Mountain/Powder Ski

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Currently I am in the market for a new pair of skis.


For the past two and a half seasons my primary ski has been the 2010/2011 Atomic Blog's (185 cm, 134-110-126, r=19) with 2010/2011 Marker Griffon bindings mounted on them (1 cm back from center). No to be a narcissist, but I am an advanced skier that can go anywhere in or out-of-bounds. I look for the deepest snow and anything that I can "huck" (don't do a lot of switch riding). I am 6'5'' and am any where between 180 and 200 lbs.


I have been thoroughly pleased with the Atomic Blog's but am looking for something different to add to my arsenal of gear. The Blog's are very responsive and (for the most part) handle the mountain great. There has been one aspect to the Blog's I have not been pleased with at all, which is the chipping of the top sheet at the tips of the skis around the edges. This is caused from the skis hitting each other while I am riding them. I have attempted to mitigate the issue with switching which foot the ski typically is attached to (i.e. put the ski that is typically on my right foot on my left so the chipping does not happen on one side rather than the other). Not sure if others have experienced this issue and have suggestions on how to avoid (different brands experience more severely than others?)


Reflection on my pros and cons of the Blog's to take into consideration for the next pair of skis:

Pros: responsiveness, ability to carve the groomers, cut through "crud" with ease

Cons: chipping of front tips due to skis hitting each other during use, feel soft, minimal natural float


What I am looking for:

  • Something bigger than the Blog's (bigger than 185 cm and 110 mm underfoot)
  • Something suitable for AT skiing
  • Something that can charge hard (always looking to go faster/harder, no matter the terrain)
  • Better float than the Blog's
  • Durability (would rather not have my top sheet chip because i am a "good" skier and keep my feet together), I give my equipment the royal treatment and do not neglect necessary tuning and repairs. 
  • Something that can handle in AK type terrain (can handle big mountain terrain that cannot necessarily be found in Colorado)



I have been doing some research of my own and have looked at/considered the following skies for my next pair (but am open to anything out there that will suit my needs):

  • Rossignol Squad 7/Super 7 (worried the Squad 7 may not meet my needs with only being 190 cm, and worried about the consistently mentioned stability issues with the Super 7)
  • Armada AK JJ's (worried this may be too similar to the Atomic Blog's that I am already skiing on: soft, back country jib ski)
  • Blackdiamond Gigawatt (concerned this may be too big of a ski underfoot for what I am looking for)
  • Atomic Bent Chetler's (think this may be too similar to the Blog's: with the softness and durability)
post #2 of 11

Not sure about the backcountry part of what you are looking for but two skis you might want to check out are the Nordica Heldorado and the Icelantic Keeper. On the Nordica right now there are cosmetic blems available at Start Haus for $389 but they are out of the 193. This ski is the same as the Patron but with metal and they are very stout. I skied both and opted for the Patron as my skiing has become more technical and less fast and the Heldos do like to charge and will tire some folks out. The 185 would be more of a ski than your Atomics and are a steal at that price (seems like it would be easy to get rid of if you don't like them). As for the Keepers my pow ski for three years was the 195 Super 7 which is you point out is neither a noddle nor a charger. Stupid easy and fun to ski but some find it lacking. I took a flyer on the Keepers and was really impressed and they are now my storm ski as well as heavy corn. They like to turn but will get after it better than the Super 7, as well as provide better float. Icelantic measures their skis on a straight pull so the 189 Keeper is more like a 193 or so. Its a very under rated ski.

post #3 of 11

As a big guy (6'5, 215") I would highly recommend the Icelantic Keepers. The 189s actually measure longer, but are so nimble they feel short.  A dream in the powder, but they really shine when the going gets rough.  I got mine for soft snow but was presently surprised how they totally dominated the crud and slush.  When the going gets weird the Keepers shine.  If you want want something more playful in the same category try the Atomic Automatics.

Edited by mudfoot - 8/6/13 at 6:14pm
post #4 of 11

Funny I am not the only guy that hates his top sheet getting chipped up.  Skis that I have owned with a sandwich construction or with a hard finish in the top sheet material have been the worst for chipping.  As far as brands go, skis made by Movement have a top sheet material that is very difficult to chip.  Look at the Trust and Super Turbo.  For a deep pow ski, the Super Turbo is one sweet ski.


From Atomic I have the Automatic and while I only have 1 day on them (no deep powder days last Jan-May) the construction and top sheet material does not look like it will lead to a lot of chipping.  I have Guardians on them and plan to use them for side country pursuits this season.  Being in the 200lbs club, I bought the 193's and they are very easy to ski and fit what you are looking for.


If I was to sell those, I would likely buy ON3P Billy Goats.  Not sure about the chipping issue on those, but I love the shape of the ski and think it would suit your purposes very well.


I have a pair of Armada TST's that have a similar top sheet material to my Movements.  I am not a big fan of Armada's wider skis (the tails are to wide for me) but the Norwalk comes closer to the shape I like and to what you want.  So check it out too.


I have had Lhasa Pows and while they are perfect for what you want, they do chip easily.


Have fun shopping.

post #5 of 11

Volkl Shiros

post #6 of 11
110mm skis that don't have much 'natural float'? Damage at the tips from skis hitting each other? Somebody's going to say it, so I'll go first... A steeps/powder clinic should be on your bucket list. Doesn't mean you can't 'ski anything' on the mountain already and that you aren't a 'good skier', but you will become a better skier and have less self-inflicted gear damage. Ski like this guy:



Notice his skis aren't locked together?

Anyhow, now for skis. Aside from the other good suggestions above, what about the Atomic Automatics? Blizzard Bodacious ( a bit heavy maybe, but you'd be fine on the 186) ? K2 Pettitors? Lhasa POWs?

Edited by markojp - 8/7/13 at 3:10am
post #7 of 11
ON3P Caylors can handle AK. See: http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/238038-Review-ON3P-191-Caylor

I have a pair of 191 Caylors for sale for $200+ ship skis only. Or $300+ ship with 4FRNT Deadbolt 15 bindings mounted. PM me for pics.
post #8 of 11
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

SquawBrat: thanks for providing a first hand experience with the Super 7's and comparing them to other skies you have experience with. Greatly appreciated. I have been looking into Icelantic's and would like to 'demo' a pair as I have been told they do not ride similar to much else out there on the market. 

post #10 of 11

Happy to help out. I think what people may be referring to is that the Keepers are quicker and more turny than others in their group but its not like you are going to have to re-learn skiing or anything drastic. I do not have any experience with other Icelantics, and I did not find the Keepers that much different than the Super 7's; just better for me in all respects.

post #11 of 11

I liked the Keepers right from the first turn because of the fact that they skied like "regular skis."  They are big, but the camber and early rise tip and tail (not rocker) make them nimble but still solidly connected to the snow.  Other skis with more rocker and reverse camber are more easily maneuverable (i.e. smearable), but the connection to the snow is much looser.  Many rockered skis leave you actually rocking fore and aft in the snow if you do not keep your weight centered, and some feel like one ski when you weight the tip and another when you don't.  A ski like the S7 with a pin tail and more tail rocker skis very differently than the Keepers, especially if you get your weight back, although it definitely has a cult following.


I immediately liked the Keepers' unified flex and feel.  I had the great fortune of taking my first turns on them in over the knee light snow and there was no learning curve whatsoever, even though I had never been on a ski wider than 100mm in the waist before that.  Most rockered skis require a different technique, but not the Keepers.  Some like me see that as a benefit, while others think it is a drawback.  I have met a few people who tried the Keepers and liked the full reverse camber Icelantic Gypsy better.  In any event, if you are a big guy and are looking for a solid deep snow ride I would definitely recommend giving them a demo ride.

Edited by mudfoot - 8/7/13 at 12:37pm
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