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Powder Ski Purchase

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'm considering a powder-specific ski purchase after renting a few over the past couple years when conditions lined up for me. I live in the east so still not convinced the purchase is a good idea over renting but I am sold on those over 110 at waist when lucky to find those conditions. Also had the bad fortune to be at Alta on a heavy snow day and couldn't rent as nothing was left - hence the purchase idea.


I have no access to demo these where I live so mostly online research and magazines. Am 45, 6-1, 200 with a strong technical/instructing background but don't charge like I once did. Also looking for some versatility for crud and respectable on groomers back to the lifts. All that having been said, I'm on the Blizzard Brahma and love them if that helps, also had a set of Bonafides until someone lifted them at Alpine last spring - loved them and may replace them.


Any experience or thoughts on any of the following would be greatly appreciated:


Nordica Helldorado

Nordica Patron (no metal so maybe too soft for 200 pounds?)

Volkl Shiro

Volkl Katana

Blizzard Gunsmoke (another no metal but I recall talking with Philpug and he liked them, I'm a little heavier)

Armada JJ (a bigger stretch from my usual ski-type but everyone seems to love them)


I've looked at the Line Influence at Start Haus couple years ago but can never find them to try. Looking for something for my Utah and BC trips mainly as a 2nd pair. Not for everyday use.


Thanks for any feedback and hope everyone has a great 2015. If you have any extra snow lying around, we could really use some out east.



post #2 of 13

You should put the Atomic Automatic (117) on your list as well. I have the 2014 version and they serve me great and do well what you want them to. THe 2015 version is slightly stiffer (they say - haven't skied the new one), so maybe that's the answer to you weight-related question.

post #3 of 13

I have ridden the Shiros (193cms) for the past 2 years when it starts getting deep. ABSOLUTELY love them. They handle pretty much anything, but I was impressed on their groomer ability (back to lifts) after a pow run. I'm 190cms and 245lbs. 


Can't recommend them enough :-)

post #4 of 13

I've seen Dynastar Cham 127 new for low $200's on ebay.  I ski Rossi Super S7, guess the same as the Armada JJ.  Really like them.  The Cham 127 do look quite good at that price though.  

post #5 of 13
post #6 of 13

I love...LOVE...the Nordica Helldorado. It's a heavy ski that holds up exceptionally well on hardpack, but when the situation calls for it, will pivot and skid like a pixie. Maneuverable and powerful. Awesome  ski. 

post #7 of 13

At your weight the Blizzard Spur could be an option.

post #8 of 13

I'm about your size, but 15 years older. I have a pretty extensive background in the sport, and while based in New England, get to CO off and on all winter, as well as the occasional trip to BC, or Utah. I think I "charge" in powder as much as anybody my age. 


My normal everyday soft{er} snow ski {which lives in CO} is a 187cm Bonafide.  My crud skis are a 185cm Cochise. My powder skis are a 193cm Helldorado. 


My son is my size, a full time coach who is a very accomplished powder skier, in some brutal terrain. He skis a 196cm Bodacious, and the Spur {189cm}. He's skied my Helldorado, and as he puts it "I see what you like it." I'm not skiing powder at SG speeds, and rare is the day when I can ski untracked powder all day. 


My daughter, also an ex NCAA and NorAm racer, now living in CO, skis a 185cm Patron as her powder ski. She loves it. She's a very strong powder skier, to say the least. 


Both are great skis in powder, and where the power is skied off, or it's groomed, it's a very skiable ski. Surprisingly so, given it's width. It's not, in my experience, anywhere near the crud ski that the Cochise is. So, I'm kinda spoiled there. 


So…..where am I going with this? I'd think about what the powder you'll ​likely be skiing in will "look like."

There's a lot of difference between being in a situation where it's untracked for days, versus skied out in a couple of hours. Are we talking light and bottomless, or maybe a foot over a hard pack base? 


My New England "powder ski" is either my other pair of Bonafides, or a Brahma. They work for the possible four runs in 8-12"  that I get before it's trashed, and they work in the woods for me later on. 90% of my days are spent on a couple of GS cheaters. 


For your trips to Alta, I would think that you might be VERY happy on something like a 185 Helldorado, or a Patron. I think the Helldorado is a better ski for me when it gets skied out, based on my experience. I've skied the Gunsmoke….fun ski, but for me, I wouldn't love it when things get skied out and a bit ratty. I like a bit of metal in the tips. But my brother, who's an ex national team skier, skis a Patron. 


I have not yet borrowed a Spur. My son loves them. But I'm not him. Nor do I want a ski that's as wide underfoot as a dollar bill. Too much for me. 


Bottom line, there are a TON of good skis in this 110mm-ish range. Hard to go wrong. Where you love the flip core Blizz, I might think about them. I went to the Helldorado, based on my daughter's love for the Patron. Her DD is a 180cm Bonafide, or a 176cm Firearrow EDT. 


I didn't want a Bodacious {too big}, and I like metal. And my daughter's comment that the Patron was unusually skiable on the groomers, headed back to the lifts, etc. made sense. 


Hope this doesn't confuse things. 


No bad choices, IMO. 

post #9 of 13
I'm 60y/o 5ft 11" 195lbs, got my Shiro's 183cm last March. Love them at Okemo and Killington in the spring time. I haven't had them in powder yet.

They ski a lot like my Kendo's. I bought them March 2014, they were new in the wrapped 2011/2012 Shiro's. 250 shipped.
post #10 of 13
Originally Posted by Cheizz View Post

You should put the Atomic Automatic (117) on your list as well. I have the 2014 version and they serve me great and do well what you want them to. THe 2015 version is slightly stiffer (they say - haven't skied the new one), so maybe that's the answer to you weight-related question.

The 2015 Automatics are amazing. Bought them for a powder ski. But ended up skiing them everyday so far this season regardless of conditions. Not sure if the extra stiffness is the reason for it, but they rip on the groomers, get up and over the crud, and can basically charge anywhere on the mountain without overpowering them. Super fun ski. Im 6'0 190lbs and ski the 186 mounted at +2.

post #11 of 13

6'2 185. There are lots of nice options in this category, but I'm just going to comment on the Helldo's because that's what I own and ride.


I'm partial to metal in my skis, even my powder ski apparently. What I like about the Helldorado's are that the tips and tails are relatively soft and flexy despite the metal. This gives them a really great 3D snow feel and performance while still making them very damp. I like damp skis.


They won't handle super bomber crud like a Cochise, but that's not my skiing style. That said I can still bust crud at a brisk clip no problem at all. You can either make them slice through most crud if you give them enough edge, or playfully ride over it all with an adjustment in technique.


In the fresh they are nimble, turny, smeary, and forgiving. Soaks up bumps like a cadillac and gives an excellent snow-feel. Skis moguls like a ski 10mil less. Excellent in the trees, and as much float as I'd ever need.


They're heavy. I like heavy skis. You may not like these if you want a stiff tail. Prefers a neutral stance. The Volkl Katana would be pretty much an opposite ski to the Helldorado if that helps you to reference.


The only problem is that they're not just respectable on the groomers back to the lifts like you wanted. They're actually ridiculously good on the groomers back to the lift for a ski of this width. These are powder skis that LOVE to carve :D 

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

Just spent a week at Steamboat, not the best of conditions but did receive 4 inches one afternoon but mostly older, tracked up snow.


Had a chance to ride the Patrons in 185 cm for a couple of days and was very surprised at how well they performed on grommed runs. They ski very short for their size but very easy in the trees. My first time on skis with that much tail rocker but the adjustment was very easy.


Headed to Utah in late Feb so am hoping for some snow and a chance to try a few more. Thanks for all the responses. I think I am going to focus more on a powder ski with more rocker in the tail than I first expected.


Pray for snow!

post #13 of 13

I have been using the Line Sir Francis Bacon for two years now. Awesome all mountain and powder skis. If you want even more of a powder ski, that can still go everywhere you need it, check out Line's Mr. Pollard's Opus.

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