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Best skis for spring slush?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Moved to "Ski Gear Discussion"...

[ March 12, 2004, 02:58 PM: Message edited by: Aaron ]
post #2 of 28
Midfats.
post #3 of 28
wide-shovel, narrow-waist, recreational slalom racers
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Was thinking 724 Pros, but that's not a narrow-waist...
post #5 of 28
Why do you want a narrow waist. The 724 pro is what I ski and it is a great ski. It has a large sweets spot, it rips though crud, loves powder - but not too much, and it holds on ice. This ski is able to change turns ie: it does gs and tighter truns too. I am on a 177 so it is the best ski I've had in years in the bumps.

When things are a mess, this ski comes through.
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by thebuzard:


Why do you want a narrow waist.

Well, it probably depends a lot on what kind of turn you like to make.

Personally, I love to make short turns in spring snow. At no other time of the year does that combination of soft but reboundy snow occur. Snow with some substance to it. You can tip the skis over, pile on the edges, and *really* feel the skis come around.

A narrow-waisted slalom ski does that better, IMHO, than any other kind of ski.

While we're on the topic, I'm no big fan of midfats, even though I own and regularly ski a pair. I think, again IMHO, that midfats do everything sorta well but nothing really, really well. They're fine for a single-ski quiver, but Aaron's question was what kind of ski is "best". I just don't think midfats are "best" at anything.

I've skied the 724 Pro and I think it's a wonderful all-around ski. But on a Jackson Hole spring day, if I had a choice between a Head I.C. 200 and a Volkl 724 Pro, it's not even a choice. To me, that's what defines "best".

Your mileage may vary, of course.

Bob
post #7 of 28
Hey Bob - Take a look at the other "slush ski" thread. In the last couple of weeks of slush, I've played around with a whole bunch of skis doing A-B comparisons, and while my IC-200's were fun, believe it or not, my absolute favorite skis for these conditions were my kid's 165 Explosivs.

Tom / PM

PS - BTW, I totally agree with you about the 75-85 mm category. If I only can take one pair on a trip and there might be soft snow, I'll probably take my 10ex's (83mm), but, as you said, while good, midfats like these certainly aren't "best" at anything, especially when you have been on skis that indeed *are* "best".
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
Hey Bob - Take a look at the other "slush ski" thread. In the last couple of weeks of slush, I've played around with a whole bunch of skis doing A-B comparisons, and while my IC-200's were fun, believe it or not, my absolute favorite skis for these conditions were my kid's 165 Explosivs.

Tom / PM

PS - BTW, I totally agree with you about the 75-85 mm category. If I only can take one pair on a trip and there might be soft snow, I'll probably take my 10ex's (83mm), but, as you said, while good, midfats like these certainly aren't "best" at anything, especially when you have been on skis that indeed *are* "best".
I truly loved the Mantis 662 in spring slush. I demo'd it in 168, but would much prefer 176, as I'm 6'2" and 235 lbs. It could short radius, carve, and what I need most: float.
post #9 of 28
A thought just occurred to me: No one else in this thread or its companion, http://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=005434;p=1#0000 11 , ever mentioned that they actually have tried skiing slush on true fat skis (ie, over 90 mm underfoot). From this observation, and from the looks and comments that I get on the hill every spring when I bring out my fats, I suspect that almost no one has ever even tried this combination of skis and conditions. So, I've got two questions:

#1) Is anyone else as weird as me and actually tried skiing slush on 90+ mm boards?

#2) If you really have tried this (ie, no theorizing allowed), was there *anything* at all you didn't like about it.

[img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

Tom / PM

PS (in edit) - After posting the above message, I just realized that I have to be a bit more precise because what's barely "fat" for me (at 215 lbs) may be ultrafat for someone who weighs only 120 lbs. So, using the Equivalent Float Chart I posted a while back, my question #1 should actually read:

#1) Have you ever skied serious slush (ie, completely thawed, sopping wet & squish-able down to at least several inches in depth) on skis which are reasonably fat for your weight:

Over approximately 58 mm underfoot if you are 140 lbs or less
Over approximately 68 mm underfoot if you are 160 lbs or less
Over approximately 78 mm underfoot if you are 180 lbs or less
Over approximately 87 mm underfoot if you are 200 lbs or less
Over approximately 97 mm underfoot if you are 220 lbs or less
etc.

BTW, the above numbers were obtained by obtaining the equivalent float for a 200 lb skier on 87 mm boards (ie, probably what most 200 lb'ers would consider fat). It turns out that the results are essentially the same as what you would obtain by simply offsetting by one line in the previously published table. The previous version was merely to demonstrate one particular set of equivalent waists and weights (ie a 200 lb'er on 97 mm boards), not to specifically try to define "What's fat".

[ March 15, 2004, 09:12 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #10 of 28
165 lbs on my int74. I love them in spring snow and also like that they hold a decent edge when patches of ice get exposed below the slush. I think this size/shape is just about perfect for me in spring snow.
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
There's an underbelly to the best ski for spring slush equation. Often, you're dealing with ice in the morning (on the same ski) on the same day you'll be later skiing slush.
post #12 of 28
RiDeC - Yup, at 165 lbs, 74 mm boards will exert roughly the same number of pounds per square inch on the snow as 95 mm boards (of roughly the same length) do when they are supporting my 215 lb carcass . I think that a lack of understanding of this relationship is at the core of why there always is such a huge range of opinions about the utility of fat skis, especially for us bigger guys.

Aaron - Every year or so I intentionally take out my 95 mm wide Explosivs on rock hard ice. In fact, I did this again just a couple of days ago. You are absolutely right in your suggestion that they don't handle ice as well as narrow, small sidecut radius boards, but, OTOH, it never ceases to amaze me how well they actually do handle on ice, provided you revert to old school skidded technique (and you have kept their edges sharp). IMHO, the main reason for this has almost nothing to do with the width, per se, but the fact that the sidecut radii of most fat skis is huge compared to modern shaped skis, so you simply can't make really tight carves with them, but unfortunately, you really need tight turns to keep your speed in check on ice. Of course, once you aren't making carves, by definition, you *are* skidding, and if this happens on ice, you haven't really got much choice except to revert back to technique from days of yore.

Tom / PM
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
So, using the Equivalent Float Chart
Were the numbers in the float chart based on the skier just standing still? Does it make sense to normalize the chart w.r.t speed? eg. 120 lbs on 68's travelling at 20 mph is similar to 200 lbs on ??? travelling at 20 mph? The relationship looks like it would vary with pressure per square inch.

If speed could be accounted for, you could then say something like: In soft snow, a 74 mm ski under a 160 lb skier SKIS LIKE a 95 mm ski under a 200 lb skier AT 20 MPH. Of course, the numbers are probably wrong, but I hope you get my drift... I'm sure things would be different again in slush, due to it's density vs snow.

My gut feel is that the heavier skier would more quickly feel the ski become "narrower" as their speeds rise. The lighter skier would not feel such a drastic change, since the pressure change due to speed will be lower.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by BigE:
Were the numbers in the float chart based on the skier just standing still? Does it make sense to normalize the chart w.r.t speed? ...
BigE, I think you've got it. The type of chart I posted truly is an EQUIVALENT float chart that should work well no matter what the speed or snow underfoot as long as the speed and snow are the same for all skiers listed on the chart. As you suggested, it is merely an equivalence of pressure on the snow (ie, pounds per square inch). As it stands, it doesn't say anything at all about how the depth of float/indentation will vary with speed or the pounds per square inch exerted on the snow - it just says that all the skiers on one equivalence chart will sink into the snow by approximately the same amount if they are all going at the same speed and in the same snow conditions (and everything else is also roughly similar, eg, ski flex, length, sidecut, etc.). In fact, I will go out on a limb and say that for most skis, the latter three variables are of less importance compared to weight, underfoot width, snow conditions and speed.

Finally, I have a suspicion that you might also be thinking about a slightly different equivalence chart, namely one that lists various combinations of ski widths and speeds, instead of widths and weights. Such a chart would indeed be interesting and useful, but unfortunately, one would need to make a bunch of assumptions (ie, about the snow and its time dependent deformation properties) to do this sort of chart adequately.

Tom / PM

PS - edited for clarity.
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by PhysicsMan:

#1) Is anyone else as weird as me and actually tried skiing slush on 90+ mm boards?

#2) If you really have tried this (ie, no theorizing allowed), was there *anything* at all you didn't like about it.
Just got back from a trip to Red Mountain and conditions were hard pack ice on top to spring slush below. I was surprised at the number of locals on CMH Volkl Explosivs ripping it up under those conditions. Looks like you aren't the only one who's thinks fatties are where it's at for spring skiing.
post #16 of 28
Tom- by the flotation chart, they don't even MAKE skis narrow enough for me (125lbs) to meet that equivalence!! But I agree with your observation about fatboys- I still think I have more fun on my 167cm R:ex's in virtually any conditions than anything else. I got a pair of Fischer Worldcup SC's a couple of months ago- they are great skis, but not nearly as much fun for me as the R:ex. I am sure that some of it is my lack of technique on them, but I'm contemplating selling them- although I keep thinking that I will want a slalom carver from time to time, I always seem to reach for the Atomics instead.
post #17 of 28
Wizard:
> ...I was surprised at the number of locals on CMH Volkl Explosivs
> ripping it up under those conditions...


I'd bet some of them would even have change for a nickel. (ie, are Powder/TGR folk).

DP:
> ...they don't even MAKE skis narrow enough for me (125lbs) to meet that equivalence!!
> But I agree with your observation about fatboys...


I think this is precisely why some people are completely baffled about the enthusiasm of others for fat skis. They see almost no need for fatties because they are so light that skis of any width gives them plenty of float in all conditions. I originally posted that chart because I don't think most people have a clue how quickly the width needs to go up with increasing skier weight to get the same float.

> ...I still think I have more fun on my 167cm R:ex's in virtually any conditions
> than anything else...


IMHO, lots of things can contribute to this feeling. For example, in addition to giving you more float in soft snow, wider skis tend not to catch edges as much as narrower skis, especially when drifting sideways on hard uneven surfaces. For a given edge angle, the outside edge of fat skis is much further up off of the snow surface when compared to a normal ski at the same edge angle.

> ...I got a pair of Fischer Worldcup SC's a couple of months ago- they are great skis, but
> not nearly as much fun for me as the R:ex. I am sure that some of it is my lack of technique on
> them, but I'm contemplating selling them ...


Don't sell them. Looking at the one video of you that I saw posted here, it looks like there still is some sideways motion of your skis across the snow at various points in your turns. You probably don't like your Fischers because they won't tolerate this as well as your 10ex's. OTOH, when you feel like working on your skiing and it's a firm snow day, click into your Fischers and work on having the degree of skidding in your skiing completely under your control. The Fischers will give you much more (and much better) feedback in this quest, and have a much more appropriate sidecut radius to keep your speed in check while performing this activity. The techniques you learn, and the control you gain while on your Fischers will carry over to an amazing degree to your 10ex's, and, believe it or not, your 10ex's will become even more enjoyable to ski on than they currently are. I can say this with conviction because refining technique on my Head carvers (123/68/107) has greatly helped my skiing on my 10ex's and Explosivs.

Just my $0.02,

Tom / PM
post #18 of 28
dp, I agree with Tom/PM. a lot of your old habits will be forced to disappear/change to modern habits if you stay with the Fischer Worldcup SC. They force you to transfer weight without losing pressure on the edge... in other words, they don't much like the old "up-unweight" or the old "lift the inside ski" techniques... the turns get choppy and the skis sort of "conk out" on those moves.

One of the reasons my skiing leapt forward this season was my time on the Worldcup SCs. Carving has become a continual exercise in increasing my skiing precision. It's a ton o' fun. Give up something else before you give up the Fischers!

Hope your season's going well.
post #19 of 28
Nobody has mentioned structure.

Before I demo'ed any ski in spring slush, I'd make sure that the ski had a "wet" structure on the base. This can make all the difference in a ski's performance on those conditions.

Everyone needs a little structure in their life. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #20 of 28
Odyssey skis, out of a mom'n'pop shop in Washington State.

(SEARCH this site for review, if curious.)

112-81-104, in one length (177). You can order your choice of flex based on weight, aggressiveness, etc., though the skis are generally stiff.

They're bomber, folks, and for $200 and change, hey, all the better.

I swear by 'em and they shine in crud and glop and oatmeal and crust and even snow.
post #21 of 28
Physics Man and all.

I tried to search for a post of mine from last Spring at Vail, but though the engine labored, I only got a FYI "no luck"

My experience! (no speculation)

BAR NONE! The Volkl Explosive (These ARE fat skis,100mm +) at 180 cm length are the best of the best for spring conditions. Having skied them two years at Vail in April, I have only found one "annoyance" The wood core resonates loudly on the morning crust.

Morning crust and chicken heads, no problem, Good edge grip even on the stuff that was groomed then set up. Mid day bumps are a delight, and late day rotten snow conditions ski like any soft snow would. Truely, " Fat is where it's at" when the snow goes hollow.

In the sun baked bowls, turns were creamy smooth in places I could push a pole in to the grip.

Stiff and lively, these are good boards! I am sure the other makers have useful offerings as well.

I wonder how they would do if I could find a tilted surface of quicksand? hmmmm.

Regards

Calg
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by PhysicsMan:

Finally, I have a suspicion that you might also be thinking about a slightly different equivalence chart, namely one that lists various combinations of ski widths and speeds, instead of widths and weights. Such a chart would indeed be interesting and useful, but unfortunately, one would need to make a bunch of assumptions (ie, about the snow and its time dependent deformation properties) to do this sort of chart adequately.

Tom / PM

PS - edited for clarity.
Yes, that is what I was thinking.

What I was thinking was to incorporate the third dimension using new charts stacked above the width/weight equivalence chart. Each different plane containing a new width/weight chart above the existing width/weight chart is for different speeds.

So if the axis x is width, y is weight, and speed is z, a Width/Speed chart (x,z) would then be a slice of that tower of charts, for any given weight (y).

And a speed/weight (z,y) chart would be another slice for any given width (x).

A whole new stack of charts would be created for each snow type....

Is it not just the snow field's resistance to shear that determines how much you sink? For example, a field of champagne powder has very little resistance, while harpack has infinite.

Slush has a finite resistance, but is closer to that of powder. Drifted snow has more resistance than slush. And so on...

A fun diversion I suppose....
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by CalG:
...My experience! (no speculation) BAR NONE! The Volkl Explosive (These ARE fat skis,100mm +) ... I have only found one "annoyance" The wood core resonates loudly on the morning crust... I wonder how they would do if I could find a tilted surface of quicksand?..
Amen, brother, a fellow believer!!!

BTW, didn't we get into a silly discussion about the loud noise from them a couple of years ago?

I don't know about quicksand, but if I remember correctly, I believe TomFromCham used a beater pair of Explosivs to ski some wet, 200 foot high tailings piles from coal mines in PA : , so I guess they work on just about any surface.

Tom / PM

PS - BTW, FWIW, all Explosivs that I have ever measured are actually a bit below 100 underfoot: 118.5/95/112.
post #24 of 28
Pin head

Do rock strikes through the spring time thin cover count as "structure".

If so, I'm all set with that!

CalG
post #25 of 28
Tom and Gonzo- thanks for your comments. I am sure that you are right, but I am just not sure that I will get enough use out of them (maybe I need to force myself more?). My impression of the SC's is that they really want to be up on edge all of the time and feel much less stable than the R:ex when I just want to let them run, or in the crud. I actually decided to get them in large part because I had so much fun at a workshop running gates at A Basin last spring (we were on RC4 SL's). The huge sidecut of the SC's is such a radical change from what I am used to, however, that I think that actually I skid more on them than on the Atomics.
post #26 of 28
i just demoed head monster 1 m 75 at killington sat-very spring conditions. rode them all day and loved them. took out my old crossmax pilot woman's 8 for one test run and put them back in the trunk. bought the head monsters!!!my husband thought they might be too heavy for me-5'6" 120lbs. i believe he is wrong!!! i had the best time for the three days i was up there. can't wait for this weekend!!
post #27 of 28
Now there's a great idea! I must demo those at Easter... I recall their behaviour on the hardpack, and think they'd really be way better for me in the slush...
post #28 of 28
Ski Make: Fischer
Ski Model: Big Stix 106
Ski Length: 180
Snow Conditions Used In: Slush, Crud, Powder
Number of Days Used: 20+
Your Ability: Expert
How Many Years Have You Been Skiing: 17+
Avg. Days per Year Skiing: 60
Other Skis You Like: Anything fat
Your Height/Weight: 5'10"/175
Comments: In my opinion these skis are the best way to float through spring slush with total ease and confidence. They even make it easy to cruise through the sun-baked/pockmarked/moon surface craters that often appear in late spring and summer backcountry conditions. Don't be intimidated by their width, these are easy to ski on!
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