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Advice on Sidecountry Powder Ski for Japan

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I am a 5'11 160lb upper intermediate/advanced skier living in Japan.  I ski 30-40 days a year, primarily in Nagano (Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen) and make the occasional trip to Niseko.  I currently own the Line Sir Francis Bacon in 178cm with Marker Griffon bindings


I primarily ski lift accessed sidecountry.  We do get some very deep days of light snow here, for which a soft powder ski is perfect.  However, the resorts can be crowded and there have been many times when powder in the back bowls and tree runs gets chopped up.  In these situations I find myself struggling on a ski like the SFB.  I skied an Armada JJ 185 on a deep powder day last year and found it to be much more stable anytime I went through chopped up soft snow.  I know I should probably go longer and slightly stiffer than the SFB, and also slightly wider to better accommodate the deep days.


Any recommendations on a ski that would best suit my needs?  I would like to get a ski that is fun in powder but is also able to handle chopped up snow better than my SFBs.  I like to ski somewhat fast and mix medium and longer radius turns.  Ability to handle groomers on the way back to the lifts is an added plus.  


Looking at the following skis but open to any suggestions:

Moment Bibby/Blister Pro 184  

Atomic Automatic 179 (117 width)  -  felt soft on a hand flex in the store

Armada JJ 185 / Armada Norwalk 179


Appreciate any advice.  Thank you.

post #2 of 9

Suggest you do a search using some place names. Several posters here, such as Asian Caucasian, are experienced in skiing Japan. All I can add is that your list is nice, but all over the place in terms of flex, weight, and mission. Of them, I only have experience with the Norwalk, which I think would be dandy for a lighter guy like you (I'm 165). I had a Bibby eons ago, think it's pretty different now, but recall it as a fairly beefy charger that could turn, not what I think of when I imagine side country light pow missions. It was seriously heavy. 

post #3 of 9
I'm a regular skier in Japan, Honshu and Hokkaido. My favourite do it all ski for Japan is the Elan Boomerang and I know Caucasion Asian rates this ski highly as well. The 2016 Boomerangs look sweet. I'm a lot bigger than yourself and am on the 190's. The 180's would be spot on for your size.
In January, I went to Nozawa and Myoko Kogen. I wasn't 100% sure the Boomerangs would be suitable so I packed my Mantras as well. The Mantras didn't get a look in as the Boomerangs ate everything up. Groomers included.
post #4 of 9


post #5 of 9

Skis I'd look at for chopped up off-piste in Nozawa/Niseko/Hakuba (I'm 187cm, 75kg)


Bibby Pro at 184 --what I'd planned to ski this season

Praxis GPO at 182

Salomon Q-Lab at 183

Elan Spectrum 115 at 185

Fischer Big Stix 110 at 186


Haven't skied the Boomerang but it looks capable, and if you liked the JJ why not...

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your quick responses and helpful recommendations.


I checked out the 180 Elan Boomerangs at the store today and liked them.  Unfortunately I am not able to demo them, but I will most likely order a pair in the coming days.



Any recommendations for bindings?  I was thinking Look Pivot 14 (130 brake).


(Unfortunately I cannot take the Griffons off my SFBs as they are a narrower 110 brake.)

post #7 of 9
You could use your Griffons and just buy an extra set of wider brakes. With money you would save you could even install, or have installed, inserts so you can easily swap bindings between skis.
I have inserts in my Boomerangs and was planning to fit inserts in to my Mantras as well to use same bindings. Unfortunately my extra brakes were accidently thrown out in the rubbish:mad.
post #8 of 9
post #9 of 9

I have an acquaintance -- in the ski industry -- who raves about the Armada JJ as his one-and-only all-around ski for Niseko. If you tried it and liked it, it's a good choice.

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