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# Can ~90mm underfoot handle powder?

I've just got some new skis (link for anyone interested), and I intend on trying out some powder in the North American winter next year.

They measure 125 - 89 - 113mm, tip through tail. They have excellent torsional rigidity, but they still have some good flex in the tip and tail. Overall the carbon does keep them fairly stiff through the centre though, with very quick bounce back. I'll be riding with Rossignol FKS 120 once i pick them up.

Aside from the ski shape and camber, i imagine some of it is a matter of ski surface area and pressure on whether you're going to sink or swim on the surface. I'm currently very lightweight.

I ran some basic calculations using two sets of example rounded numbers on this calculator. My ski is similar to the bottom one.

• 180cm, 135 tip, 100 waist, 120 tail = 1981cm2 = 307 Square Inch

• 180cm 125 tip, 90 waist, 110 tail = 1791cm2 = 277 Square Inch

Which is a 29.5 square inch or 190cm2 difference. If we (somewhat incorrectly) assume weight is evenly distributed across the ski, a

• 160lbs (~72kg) person means they are 0.521 Psi on the 100 waist but 0.578 Psi on the 90 waist
• 140lbs (~64kg) person, they would be 0.456 Psi on the 100 waist and 0.505 Psi on the 90 waist.

And so on. Now these numbers are obviously not going to play out real world as weight distribution isn't uniform. But weight should still play a large factor i imagine?

While any ski can go into powder, even a carver, obviously a ski with more float is going to be a bit easier to control. So i'm wondering, will i be more likely to float than sink? Will these skis are being under 3 lbs each (w/o binding) make them easier to control/turn due to their light tip/tail? They are very easy to bring around on piste when making turns.

Thoughts, theories and anecdotal experiences appreciated.

12589 -

I think it will handle powder very well.  I like the shape of that tip.  Much more tip than tail width will aid float.  Also bear in mind that 13 years ago, my Volant Machette g was called a "serious deep snow ski" with "great Volant float", dimensions of 104-68-90 (mm) and came in lengths from 170 to 190 cm.  You might not be able to ski it exactly like a beginner on hardpack, but it should be easy enough.

A couple of thoughts.  Almost any ski will work in 6 inches or less of powder.  As the snow gets deeper, wider skis become more useful.  As you correctly suggested, skier weight is a major factor (and often ignored).  Other design factors (such as flex and rocker) are also important in how a ski will perform in powder.  It's not just all about width.

Coming from a skinny ski background, I'd say anything can handle powder.

Will a 90 underfoot handle deep snow? Sure, as long as the skier on them can handle powder. Will it perform as well in deep snow as a 120 underfoot fattie? No. But it'll handle just fine as long as you can handle powder fine.

I'm kinda wondering about this right now as well.   We're going out west in March and bringing our skis.

I figure we'll use what we have unless it really starts dumping.  My wife and kids mainly stay on piste but we are looking to get into some tougher terain on this trip.  We'll just demo if the conditions call for it.  Say 6'+ or several days of 2-4"

Do you mean 6' or 6"?  If it's 6 feet, call me when that happens.  You can ski 6" on any ski.  6' is another matter.

Those look like some very sweet skis.  As stated, a ski that size will handle deep powder just fine, but not as easily as a real fatty.  The major considerations are your height compared to ski length, and the softness of the flex of the tips and tails, because your biggest problem in deep snow is burying the tips, so the softer they are in the tips the more relaxing they'll be.  Also, a tall person on short skis in powder can more easily get too far forward.

A stiff narrow ski requires you to ski powder in the back seat and rudder to turn, whereas a softer tipped wider ski allows you to stand in the middle of the ski, which is much easier on your quads.  Once you get to the very wide waisted skis one ski will support your weight in the snow, so you can simply step on the left and then on the right, just like on hard pack.  Narrower skis like yours require you to ski both together with more of a 60/40 weighting in deep snow.  It works fine but requires more of a fore/aft and ski-to-ski balancing act, which is what everybody had to deal with up until about 15 years ago when fat skis hit the market.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimH

A couple of thoughts.  Almost any ski will work in 6 inches or less of powder.  As the snow gets deeper, wider skis become more useful.  As you correctly suggested, skier weight is a major factor (and often ignored).  Other design factors (such as flex and rocker) are also important in how a ski will perform in powder.  It's not just all about width.

Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919

Will a 90 underfoot handle deep snow? Sure, as long as the skier on them can handle powder. Will it perform as well in deep snow as a 120 underfoot fattie? No. But it'll handle just fine as long as you can handle powder fine.

I think these two replies sum it up.  I can ski anything in 6 inches of fresh and I do not have mad powder skilz.  Due to my weight (likely 220lbs fully loaded) I prefer a wider ski in anything over a foot deep.

Thanks for all the responses, this confirms what I thought. It was frustrating reading various around the net which claimed you simply must have a pair of wide pontoons, and anything under 100 wasn't going to work. Camber was often mentioned but height and weight are hardly commented on.

Now I just have to wait a few months, find some powder and learn to ski it. My only experience has been gliding through 2 feet of Japanese powder on carvers. That snow was insanely light and dry so the thinner skis quickly sank, but there wasn't much resistance moving around.

Time to find some YouTube guides I suppose!
My first two trips to Japan were on 177 long/77mm wide skis. Had a great time. My current skis for Japan are 190 long/120mm wide and I have even more fun.
More importantly I'm not destroyed after 10 days of skiing.

Fatter skis make powder skiing easier.  That's it.  We skied powder years ago on old GS-shaped rec skis, had to work a bit more and know what we were doing, and had tremendous fun.  Fat-fat skis serve two purposes--let just anyone cut up my powder, and let the skier plane on top of the snow (like a speed boat planing on the water) and go way faster than I want to go.

no - You need to buy my 181 Sickles and Look Pivot 14 bindings.  PM me for info.

Sure as long as your skis flex enough evenly for your weight.  Years ago advanced skiers all skied powder with much narrower skis and did so efficiently looking good.  There has always been somewhat of a disconnect in understanding on ski sizes for lighter skiers usually women especially when advice is coming from heavier skiers.  The following epicski article puts the powder element in some perspective since that is more a length x width area issue than just ski length.

http://www.epicski.com/a/powder-skis-and-skier-size

There is more to the above than provided article numbers show because powder density and metamorphosis with time are important factors.   I'm a small old advanced male skier of decades 66" and 140# that bought a 88mm width  all mountain ski mainly for powder skiing because my Rossignol S7's at 168cm and 110mm width IMO have too much float for my liking unless conditions are deep and light.  Thus the wide skis don't get down into moderate density fresh snow much which means one planes on the surface more resulting in higher speeds and greater forces.   For some advanced skiers, that is what they want while this person is more a relaxed bouncer at slower speeds that typically skis long distances non-stop in fresh snow.    Instead the mid width ski gets down into the powder more providing more to work with at a more relaxed speed.

Another thing to consider, is terrain pitch. Deep powder, low angle terrain is not so much fun on skinnier skis ( or snow boards).
Quote:
Originally Posted by craigr

Another thing to consider, is terrain pitch. Deep powder, low angle terrain is not so much fun on skinnier skis ( or snow boards).

Yup, better off with snowshoes for that stuff.  Unless you just have to trudge through a bit of it to get to the higer angle stuff.

I think it really comes down to experience with pow over time. My wider boards were in repair during an unexpected 10 in pow day at Mt. Snow, VT during a family trip this past February. So I had to pull out my old pair of Atomic Blackeye TI's, which are only 81 under foot. After adjusting my balance a bit, I found I was fine and could still crush it. Was I floating on the top of the snow? No, but it was a great day and hardly thought it would have been better with some wider skis - in fact, I found myself looking for soft bumps more than I otherwise might have. Kinda felt old school for this 45 yr old. I'd just say, enjoy what you have, get the experience you need, then demo some fat skis when you have the right opportunity.

Will do just fine; much over 90 mm is more about personal preference than need unless you're in hip deep. And don't forget to review your skis here, don't think we know much about this company.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eXDee

Thanks for all the responses, this confirms what I thought. It was frustrating reading various around the net which claimed you simply must have a pair of wide pontoons, and anything under 100 wasn't going to work. Camber was often mentioned but height and weight are hardly commented on.

Now I just have to wait a few months, find some powder and learn to ski it. My only experience has been gliding through 2 feet of Japanese powder on carvers. That snow was insanely light and dry so the thinner skis quickly sank, but there wasn't much resistance moving around.

Time to find some YouTube guides I suppose!
Not all powder is created equal. Those skis will probably be fine in dry, lighter powder, but in deep stuff of heavier snow youll see why people ski 110+mm skis. Tail gunning narrow skis through powder may be "good skiing" to some, but I like my knees.
Quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by eXDee

Thanks for all the responses, this confirms what I thought. It was frustrating reading various around the net which claimed you simply must have a pair of wide pontoons, and anything under 100 wasn't going to work. Camber was often mentioned but height and weight are hardly commented on.

Now I just have to wait a few months, find some powder and learn to ski it. My only experience has been gliding through 2 feet of Japanese powder on carvers. That snow was insanely light and dry so the thinner skis quickly sank, but there wasn't much resistance moving around.

Time to find some YouTube guides I suppose!
Not all powder is created equal. Those skis will probably be fine in dry, lighter powder, but in deep stuff of heavier snow youll see why people ski 110+mm skis. Tail gunning narrow skis through powder may be "good skiing" to some, but I like my knees.

This ^^^^. Where wider skis really make a difference is in the heavy stuff.

Whether you float or sink depends on how fast you go. Any ski will float if you go fast enough. I have been out on really deep days where on a 106mm ski anything pitched under 35 degrees or so was too flat to float. Even if you pointed them straight down the hill you would barely move. On days like that you either need a real powder ski or a consistently steep slope from top to groomed runout. But on an ordinary powder day your skis will be fine, if you have the technique and the strength and endurance. (No need to do wall squats if your skis are 130 under foot).

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy

Fat-fat skis serve two purposes--let just anyone cut up my powder, and let the skier plane on top of the snow (like a speed boat planing on the water) and go way faster than I want to go.

Truth, but since I live at an area that is not famous for being overly steep or having overly dry snow, I'll add a third purpose, which is the only thing that got me on serious fatties:

3.  They will let you make a lot more turns on flatter slopes with heavier snow.  This equals more fun at places that are not like Jackson Hole.

OP, to give you a good answer about your 90 mm skis, I'd need to know exactly what "very lightwieght" means.

Personally, I'd say below 160 pounds you're covered.  Above that, fatter MIGHT be more fun/easier/surfier/whatever.

Finally, one aspect not often discussed that is very important when it comes to any ski's powder applicability is the forebody profile.  Some shapes emphasize hardpack edging and carving, some emphasize planing in pow and crud.  IMO, Nordica currently combines these two attributes like no other brand.

I've skied my Nordica Steadfasts, 90mm waist, in show up to about 20".  I'm 5'7", 150 pounds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist

I've skied my Nordica Steadfasts, 90mm waist, in show up to about 20".  I'm 5'7", 150 pounds.

I've skied my Killy 800 SLs (1970s ski) with a waist in the 60s in snow over 20".  I'm 6'1" 190lbs (at the time).  I did it, but I hated it.  How was it for you?

Not enough float?  Just ski faster. Problem solved..

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy

Fatter skis make powder skiing easier.  That's it.  We skied powder years ago on old GS-shaped rec skis, had to work a bit more and know what we were doing, and had tremendous fun.  Fat-fat skis serve two purposes--let just anyone cut up my powder, and let the skier plane on top of the snow (like a speed boat planing on the water) and go way faster than I want to go.

Yeah, no.

1. A powder ski allows one to do things impossible on a skinny full camber ski.

2. By bringing the speed needed to float the ski WAY(!!!) down, a powder ski becomes controllable and playful at much lower speeds than skinnies. A nice wide powder ski is the tool for those that want to go slower, not faster.

Why does every thread about a ski wider than 70mm have to get polluted with simply garbage info on this site lately?
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism

Yeah, no.

1. A powder ski allows one to do things impossible on a skinny full camber ski.

2. By bringing the speed needed to float the ski WAY(!!!) down, a powder ski becomes controllable and playful at much lower speeds than skinnies. A nice wide powder ski is the tool for those that want to go slower, not faster.

Why does every thread about a ski wider than 70mm have to get polluted with simply garbage info on this site lately?

It is worth noting that a wide properly shaped powder ski increases your options - fast or slow. High speed, high edge angle "carving" is impossible in powder on narrower conventional skis. Low speed slarves are likewise improbable.... A real powder ski offers infinitely more options in powder. Of course, there is no free lunch...

To the OP, the question is not whether or not such a ski can "handle" powder. It is about how well. And about your preferences and choices.

Quote:

Not all powder is created equal. Those skis will probably be fine in dry, lighter powder, but in deep stuff of heavier snow youll see why people ski 110+mm skis. Tail gunning narrow skis through powder may be "good skiing" to some, but I like my knees.

That's just crappy technique on skis that will do fine with the right pilot. If you have to tail gun 90's, sign up for some coaching. It can certainly be done. And yes, I know 110 is easier.
What I think is missing from this convo is how much powder the OP is going to have access to. How many days do you expect to get on these skis and where?

90mm isn't much for Utah or Japan and 50+ days a season. It may be too much for New York. If the OP is buying skis for a weeklong vacation to someplace snowy, they may serve great as the chances of taking a scheduled trip someplace and catching a monster storm are pretty low- even to really snowy places.

I would say a 90 waist ski should be good till somewhere around a foot, passable to two, and not abysmal beyond that. The 5 point shape should be fun on the snow.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_SSS

Years ago advanced skiers all skied powder with much narrower skis and did so efficiently looking good.

Looking good is subjective. But there is no way anyone skied deep powder efficiently on those narrower skis. Certainly not by today's standards.

Those skis look like fun, the tip and tail taper helps.

Powder skiing can be much like groomer skiing, press the boot tongue and the ski responds. Don't worry about planing above the snow, my 118 Bodacious submarine under the deep just fine.

I don't consider a run proper powder turning if I can see my skis.
Modern skis behave the same if on or under the snow so long as the fresh is consistent. Wind buff or heavy snow is a different story. In those cases there is no substitute for girth.
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