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Eastern Pow Day to Ice Day Ski

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

You know it and it goes like this:

 

1. I live on the east coast.

2. A big snowstorm dumps anywhere from 6" to 2ft. Yeah, it's awesome.:yahoo:

3. I'm going skiing EARLY.

4. First tracks for the first hour, nice eastern pow to be had.

5. An hour later it's chewed up eastern pow and those wide skis are useless, no need for that float anymore.

6. Bumps start to form, those wide skis getting in the way.

7. After lunch and there's that ice between those bumps. Slide, powder bump, slide powder bump.

 

NOw what?

 

What's the ideal ski for this type of eastern "pow" day?

post #2 of 16

This depends on where you are skiing. If you're in the Mid-Atlantic through Southern Vermont then just forget the wide skis. Something 88 underfoot with tip and tail rocker will be all you need here for "powder days". The hordes of people chew up any powder very quickly. On light powder days it just gets skied right into the hard pack or off the trail. On heavier days it quickly gets pushed into moguls.

 

If you're talking about northern Vermont, most of New Hampshire, Maine, or Quebec, then you can easily go with something in the 98 underfoot category. The only exceptions are probably Loon, Sunapee, Waterville Valley, and Sunday River which can ski a lot more like southern Vermont due to lower elevations and bigger crowds. The ubiquitous 98 mm ski will hold fine on the hard pack that develops on the groomers on powder days. Any day with at least 6" you will have no problem finding lots of soft snow if you get off the main groomers. I ski the Nordica Enforcer on these days.

 

Please recognize that there is no powder ski that loves the ice. I generally support a 3-ski quiver for bullet-proof (80 mm or less, two sheets of metal), mixed snow (around 88 mm), and new snow (98-108 mm) days.

post #3 of 16

As mentioned, you're definitely not gonna find a ski that is wide/soft enough to take full advantage of significant ungroomed snow but also behaves like a race ski on ice.  Something like a Blizzard Bonafide/Brahma or Kastle MX88 may be as close as you can get.  (My new ski for 'some soft snow but also good on hard snow and bumps' is a Head Rev 85 Pro.)

 

If you go wider (up to the 105-115 range) you may find that it makes 1'+ feel more "bottomless", but it's gonna be painful once it's tracked out if there's actual ice underneath.  You can make those skis work on ice/hardpack if they're torsionally stiff enough to hold, it's just not much fun...

post #4 of 16

I am in eastern skier also. I feel your pain. ;)

 

Kastle MX 83:

 

is as close as it gets. Useful in all but the deepest (Eastern) powder. Great on ice.  Good in bumps. For me this ski is the Holy Grail of Eastern skiing!

post #5 of 16

New Kastle FX94 or Stockli Stormrider 95. Take out your second mortgage. 

 

If you prefer narrower, FX84, maybe the Sollie 800 XT Enduro.

 

In fact, there are a bunch of modern skis in the 80-100 range that cover your needs. The new Brahma, the Outland 8.7, E88's, on and on...

 

More an issue of whether you want something that gives up a touch in terms of ice, or a touch in terms of soft snow, than an issue of having to choose a ski that sucks on one or the other. 

 

But keep in mind that unless you ski trees or AT, eastern powder isn't just gone by lunch, it's comparatively rare in amounts over 2"...


Edited by beyond - 10/28/13 at 1:54pm
post #6 of 16

Adhering to @Bob Barnes mantra of "skis need to go in the direction they're pointing, and if not, point them in the direction they're going" is, IMHO, far more important than the skis you're on when conditions are changing wildly from run to run, and -- in some cases, turn to turn.

post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dauntless View Post
 

Kastle MX 83:

 

is as close as it gets. Useful in all but the deepest (Eastern) powder. Great on ice.  Good in bumps. For me this ski is the Holy Grail of Eastern skiing!

 

I've found a useful eastern utility ski in the LX82 from Kastle.  Mellower than the MX83, good on hardpack, great in bumps.

 

Most companies make a "Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none" designed specifically for what you describe.  e.g., Dynastar Outland series, Head Rev series, etc.

 

One such series of skis that I've been wanting to try is the Hart Attack (85ish) / Hart One (95ish) ski.  Seems to be popular with the free heel clan.

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

Any thoughts on the Blizzard Brahma?

post #9 of 16

From my previous post:

 

Quote:

...As mentioned, you're definitely not gonna find a ski that is wide/soft enough to take full advantage of significant ungroomed snow but also behaves like a race ski on ice.  Something like a Blizzard Bonafide/Brahma or Kastle MX88 may be as close as you can get.

 

:)

 

If you want something that can hold pretty well on a groomer and still behave decently in soft snow, it's a good choice.  Most manufacturers make a similar sort of ski, so if you don't like the Blizzard feel you can find other comparable designs.  Of course it's all tradeoffs and you give up some performance in extreme conditions relative to a more specialized ski...

post #10 of 16

I also ski in the East, and my ski of choice for those kinds of conditions is a 2010 Dynastar Legend Mythic Rider, 88 mm underfoot, 178 cm long, 21 m turn radius.  They no longer make that ski, but I find that it is the type of ski that does everything well enough to be an eastern one ski quiver.

post #11 of 16

I'd agree that the sweet spot seems to be 85-95mm.

 

My quiver of one is 89mm underfoot.  It was great in 18" at Magic Mountain.  Sure it's not all that great in bulletproof, but I'm more than happy to give up carving performance for other capabilities.

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cc1 View Post
 

You know it and it goes like this:

 

1. I live on the east coast.

2. A big snowstorm dumps anywhere from 6" to 2ft. Yeah, it's awesome.:yahoo:

3. I'm going skiing EARLY.

4. First tracks for the first hour, nice eastern pow to be had.

5. An hour later it's chewed up eastern pow and those wide skis are useless, no need for that float anymore.

6. Bumps start to form, those wide skis getting in the way.

7. After lunch and there's that ice between those bumps. Slide, powder bump, slide powder bump.

 

NOw what?

 

What's the ideal ski for this type of eastern "pow" day?

 

Many of us are familiar with exactly what you're describing here. Good job painting an accurate picture of a very common scenario. #7 is really the crux of it, right? Several Bears have pointed out over the years that a key difference between western and eastern conditions is not the snow that falls, but what the snow falls onto. Because of our high humidity (often unto rain), our incessant freeze-thaw cycles, and the predominance of skiing on a manmade base, the chances of soft snow falling onto an actual snow foundation rather than onto some form of boilerplate are very small. This makes skiing fresh snow a different experience in the east, much (but not all) of the time, for many (but not all) skiers. It tends to sluff off instantly, and even when it doesn't, there is a very abrupt transition between very soft and very hard. I was at Sunday River on a day exactly like this last year, in the wake of Nemo. It kind of sucked, honestly.

 

Personally I think that tactics play more of a role than gear in dealing with this. For instance, on that day at the River, eventually my buddy and I ended up camped out far skier right on White Heat, which is not a trail I'm generally interested in, and certainly not one I would gravitate toward on an ostensible "powder" day. But there on the margins, tucked improbably back behind some drop offs that no one likes, was some honest soft snow. It was totally cut up, sure, but it was consistently nice. It was NOT slide - bump - slide. We probably took six runs down there, making the best of an otherwise disappointing day.

 

Another tactic, harder to employ if you're not fortunate geographically, is to go to a different hill. As others have mentioned, the picture you paint above is not always the scenario. For example it does not always describe Saddleback on a powder day, assuming that there is some pre-existing cover on the natural snow trails. This is due to a combination of low skier traffic, high elevation, and northern latitude.

 

All that said, if we must talk about skis ... personally there are two kinds of skis I know I DON'T want in these conditions. 1) a short-ish narrow carver that tends to get bogged down in the piles. That kind of ski exacerbates the dreaded "stop-and-go" feeling that is such a challenge to fore-aft balance. 2) A soft, surfy, lively ski with a lot of rocker. I find it difficult to keep any significant length of edge engaged on the ice between piles with a ski like this, even one that is decent on groomers with a consistent surface. I think this leaves us with middle-ground skis of the type people are tossing around.

 

Quote:

 

Originally Posted by bliz1978 View Post
 

This depends on where you are skiing. If you're in the Mid-Atlantic through Southern Vermont then just forget the wide skis. Something 88 underfoot with tip and tail rocker will be all you need here for "powder days". The hordes of people chew up any powder very quickly. On light powder days it just gets skied right into the hard pack or off the trail. On heavier days it quickly gets pushed into moguls.

 

If you're talking about northern Vermont, most of New Hampshire, Maine, or Quebec, then you can easily go with something in the 98 underfoot category. The only exceptions are probably Loon, Sunapee, Waterville Valley, and Sunday River which can ski a lot more like southern Vermont due to lower elevations and bigger crowds. The ubiquitous 98 mm ski will hold fine on the hard pack that develops on the groomers on powder days. Any day with at least 6" you will have no problem finding lots of soft snow if you get off the main groomers. I ski the Nordica Enforcer on these days.

 

Please recognize that there is no powder ski that loves the ice. I generally support a 3-ski quiver for bullet-proof (80 mm or less, two sheets of metal), mixed snow (around 88 mm), and new snow (98-108 mm) days.

 

Voice of experience.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cc1 View Post
 

Any thoughts on the Blizzard Brahma?

 

Both the Brahma and the Rev 85 have been mentioned in this thread. I have not been on either one, but I'll just mention that I was in a shop this weekend and fondled both of these skis. The Brahma is WAY stiffer, based on hand-flexing. It also has significant early rise, where the Head does not.

post #13 of 16

Just ordered some 2012 Head iPeak 78's Pro for about the same purpose (I'm a cheap kind of buyer: always buy last year's skis or older), there's also the 84 model.

 

Wonder how these will compare to my XRC carvers here in the east.

 

If I wasn't a "Head" addict, I also would consider Atomic Crimson/Blackeye models.

post #14 of 16
I ski the east - mainly killington, sugarbush, and loon. I have atomic blackeye 173 ti. They are fine in powder, not a ton of float, but enough. I skied the storm of Dec 26-27 with 18 inches at killington with them, for the 3 foot dump in boston I went up to Sugarloaf. I had at least 6 powder days on them last season and felt good. they ski very well on hard pack. They are ok in the bumps. They are very easy to carve. I'm sure there are way better skis now as the blackeye is a rather old design. Oh, they're kind of heavy.

If you enjoy carving I'm not sure it makes sense to buy something over 90 for the east. It will be slightly better for only a few of the days, and less fun on most days I suspect. In my experience, If you go to a shop you can find a pair of used powder skis for cheap if you really need that option.
post #15 of 16

I bought a pair of older Scott Crusades for just the conditions you discuss.   I thought I would continue to ski my Dynastar Crosst Ti's most of the time on "no new snow, just groomed" days.  Now I often just take the Scotts every time.  Clearly, they're past generation, but you get the idea.  82-90, torsionally stiff but softer lenghtwise seems to fit.

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cc1 View Post
 

You know it and it goes like this:

 

1. I live on the east coast.

2. A big snowstorm dumps anywhere from 6" to 2ft. Yeah, it's awesome.:yahoo:

3. I'm going skiing EARLY.

4. First tracks for the first hour, nice eastern pow to be had.

5. An hour later it's chewed up eastern pow and those wide skis are useless, no need for that float anymore.

6. Bumps start to form, those wide skis getting in the way.

7. After lunch and there's that ice between those bumps. Slide, powder bump, slide powder bump.

 

NOw what?

 

What's the ideal ski for this type of eastern "pow" day?


I had a Line P-90 for a couple of years , the ones without the rocker tip and found them to be pretty good at all of the above. I was surprised with the "float" I had in some powder aprox 8-12" couple times. I'm pretty big 6'   200lbs and was on the 179cm size. Worked good in bumps, didn't get thrown around and were manuverable. I thought they held well carving on firm groomers, I was actually a bit surprised there, because of the width, but they could RR track on the firm stuff too. Is it ideal? I'm not sure if anything ever would be . I do like gcanoes thinking on the tactics of skiing a changing set of conditions throughout a ski day.

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