I know this has been hashed out, argued, beaten to death, etc. in the past, but still....
I just got my copy of Skiing magazine's gear issue. In the category of "Trenchers", the narrowest ski they "reviewed" was 86mm at the waist. LOTS of 88-94 waist skis. Really? REALLY? 88-94 waist skis as the best "trenchers" in the industry?? For all the folks who ski? All over the country?
Where are the true trenchers, the 70-84-waist skis? The carvers?
I'm really tired of this obsession with wide skis. Don't get me wrong; I own (and ski) a pair of 95-waist skis and have skied 98 and 100+ waist skis several times out west. Many of them can be surprisingly strong on the hard and groomed. But I live and ski primarily in the east. And no 90+ ski is going to be the "best trencher" in our conditions. Skiers like to talk about how they ski "powder" and trees out here. And some folks do (cue our late, departed JoshM). But most of the time, average non-expert easterners are constrained to the groomers. Or, if they do go off trail, it's to non-groomed bumps or heavily skied-up trees.
Powder? I looked at Okemo, for instance (a very popular, middle-of-the-road eastern area). Biggest storm of the season last year was 22". WOW! .... but other than that, the area had one day of 10", two days of 7", and the rest of the snow events were 1"-4", with the majority in the 1" category. In 2013, the reality was even bleaker. One day of 10", 3 days of 6"-8", and the rest were snows of less than 3". On any day on the east coast, 1"-3" is not going to be even noticeable after 10:30 in the morning. Despite what easterners say they ski, they don't ski powder! So why are folks buying powder skis? Or even skis wider than 90 for that matter?
I guess I'm just an old f*rt who can't deal with the fact that ski companies need to sell new product every year to stay in business. But even Tim Petrick of K2 acknowledges how wrong we have gone:
"My point is that although I normally ski 105mm or wider waist skis at Crystal Mountain, WA, my home hill, I would definitely be in the mid 80mm or less if I was still living in Stowe, VT, skiing the Front Four every day. I really believe that we are doing a disservice in the U.S. market saying that everyone needs to be on a ski wider than 100mm in waist width. The wider skis are perfect if you live somewhere the added width is actually a benefit, but if you live in most of the country you will have a lot more fun with skis narrower than 90mm waist widths. Narrower skis are less work on hard snow and more fun."
So why do folks keep buying wider and wider skis? And why do "experts" tell them that a 90mm ski is the best "trencher" available? It's dumb!