Well, I was on my Dynafit Cho Oyus: 182 cm long, 125-89-111 tip/waist/tail, pointed, hollow, rocker tip, narrow tail, 5.5 lbs/pair for 7 days.
Today, I began testing Volkl Nanuqs: 184 cm long, 131-96-114, tip/waist/tail, rounded, light, rocker tip, turned up tail, 7.5 lbs/pr.
I bought the Chos for general alpine touring, the 2014 Nanuqs for when the going got tough: breakable crust, styrofoam crust, deep heavy powder, etc. I ski both with Dynafit TLT6 Mountain ski boots.
The last week has seen 4-12 inches of powder snows, high winds (67-150 mph), heavy rain, wet snow, etc., so I decided today was a good day for the Nanuqs. 2014 Nanuqs are a lighter weight version of the 1st rockered Mantra; the 2011 Mantra (in 191 cm) was a favorite ski of mine and great crud buster; I'm hoping the Nanuq will be a lighter weight crud buster.
I immediately felt the 50% increase in weight skinning down the road covered with 4 feet of snow and then climbing the ridge; but as time passed I acclimated to the weight and didn't notice it as much. The rocker and broad shovel get the tip well out of the snow.
The bc snow was quite variable and about 4 ft deep, only 30-40% of normal snow depth--lots of trees and tree tops exposed or just under the snow with branches; high up some rock exposed by the wind . During the climb thru the lower elevation subalpine, pole tests showed 2-4 inches of new heavy powder capped by fog condensation that made a thin, soft, icy crust overlaying 3-4 inches or rain-saturated dense, firm snow over 4-5 inches of old powder. As I climbed the icy crust disappeared and was replaced by light surface hoar, and then in the most exposed areas rain runnels with the troughs full of heavy powder and some of the crest covered with rime ice! the higher I went the snow got more wind affected and more icy and the clouds fell, reducing visibility so I started down.
The trees with heavy snow:
Given the variable nature of the snow I used a medium stiff tongue and booster straps on my boots.
The 184-cm Nanuq is a lot of ski. Yesterday I scraped the storage wax off and prepped with red wax. It was a good match to the snow and the skis were very, very fast compared to the Chos. But very stable at speed. At speed they turn easily. However, once I got back down into the narrow gulleys and thick trees with patches of slide alder, the skis required a lot of input, compared to the Chos, to do really short radius turns in tight places. And their swing weight proved to be somewhat of a hindrance compared to the nimble Chos.
I had been using a 187-cm Dynafit Manaslu (in between the other two in weight and dimensions) as my go-to ski. Now I'm using the Cho and prefer it. I expect with the deeper, heavy-powder snows (with sastrugi, and crust, but with fewer trees and obstacles) I might well prefer the Nanuqs. It will be a choice between the Nanuq and the Dynafit Stoke (wider waist but less side cut and shovel). The Chos can get knocked around by crappy snow and they might get overwhelmed by deep heavy snow.
Stay tuned if you are interested. I'll post more observations as I have them.
Edited by Andy Carey - 12/22/14 at 6:15pm