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Softer snow ski for Whistler

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I recently moved to Vancouver and have been skiing Whistler a lot. My current set up is old - 2008 Mantra for soft snow and 2007 Tigershark for hard snow. What I found is that Mantra, at least that model year, is not the best ski for me and the conditions. Whistler powder is heavier, and gets compacted into semi-soft bumps. Not pillowy-nice ones but the ones that are not seer ice but still throw you around at higher speeds. Anyway, I'm sure most know what coastal snow is.

 

My problem with Mantras is that they float only when I go very fast, but in the skied out wet powder, going very fast is a bit too dangerous, and going slower it's too easy to sink tips, and hard to pull them back up because heavy snow pulls them to the bottom. It's all fixable by changing technique, but it's such a hard work. Also, when skies get bounced around they tire my knees quite a bit because they are heavy and fighting their momentum is also a lot of work. 

 

So I'm looking for a ski that's just as or even more capable, but has better float and is less of a pain/workout to operate in heavier/wetter deep powder and soft bumps. 

 

I'm hearing new Mantra may be that kind, but some friends recommended Prior Husume. I also find new Volkl Katana or V-werks interesting (no brand preference, just looked at what they have now). 

 

I'm a very athletic but not very technical skier, 5'9", 150lbs, high intermediate to advanced - can ski anything confidently, at least in-bounds, but sometimes it does not look perfectly graceful :-). 

post #2 of 18
ON3P Billy Goats in a 184. They're made in Portland, are built to last and will blast through just about anything. I'm 5'7", 150 pounds, advanced, ski pretty much anything and I was finally able to get my BG's out early this week at Grand Targhee. They were an absolute blast to ski. I initially started out on my Nordica Soul Riders but was getting tossed around a bit in the steeper terrain where there were lots of soft bumps and piles of powder. I switched to the BG's and no more getting tossed around. They are made for skiing in the PNW snow.
post #3 of 18

at Whistler I find it's better to be on a ski that handles a lot of snow conditions reasonably well rather than the best ski for specific conditions.

For one choice try the volkl 100 eights they are available up at the demo hut.

Whistler Bowl bumps then progressively heavier down to Creekside should give you enough variety for a test. I found them to be a pretty good all mountain ski.

Enough float,  decent performance in bumps and hold an edge reasonably well.

post #4 of 18
If you live in Vancouver and in the market for new skis head up during the WSSF on the weekends. Just off the the top of the Whistler gondola there should be next years demo skis by alot of the manufacturers for free. Another bonus being in April you should be able to ski them on variable snow conditions on the same run.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

I ended up not getting anything in the spring because of work. Getting back to more normal life after half a year of 12+ hour days, so back to looking for new skies.

 

After reading the forums and reviews, I'm down to Volkl 100EIGHT, Fisher Ranger 108 and Armada Invictus. I was almost set on Volkl 108, but got worried about some of the reviews describing them as cruisers and "accessible" skies. Nothing wrong with that, but in my previous experience demoing skis that were described in such way, I noticed that often they had a speed limit or G-load limit beyond which they would just go limp or bend into an unpredictable shape. I can live with that in a soft-snow ski, but ideally I'd avoid that. I like high speeds and very physical skiing, while finesse and technique could use some polishing. So I'm worried that softer skies would disappoint. Or maybe it's what I need - I was planning to work on finesse to be easier on my aging body (36, but my knees can no longer handle skiing bumps with Tigersharks 12ft. :-) )

 

Fischer Ranger 108s appeal because of more stiffness and more carver behavior, while light weight would be nice. Similar with Armadas. Any thoughts?

 

I do not have much time to demo skies, so have to rely on reviews. 

post #6 of 18
Charging is overrated, you're wise to consider a gentler way down. Focusing on the changes in direction rather than the turn itself makes it easier to find the sine wave through the irregular moguls.
Once this gentle mindset is installed, charging is not such an on/off proposition. You can go fast while using a soft touch, watching a master, they look effortless.
This skill is conducive to making a medium stiff ski do what most advanced skiers associate with a bruiser burly ski.
It took me 20+years to realize this.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttinski View Post

Charging is overrated, you're wise to consider a gentler way down. Focusing on the changes in direction rather than the turn itself makes it easier to find the sine wave through the irregular moguls.
Once this gentle mindset is installed, charging is not such an on/off proposition. You can go fast while using a soft touch, watching a master, they look effortless.
This skill is conducive to making a medium stiff ski do what most advanced skiers associate with a bruiser burly ski.
It took me 20+years to realize this.

I completely agree with the concept and set that as the next horizon for my skiing. Just do not like the feeling when skies turn into noodles - kills the fun and dampens the confidence. I'm not saying Volkl 108 would do that but that's a concern I have. Any thoughts on the ski choices I'm considering? 

post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Lytvyn View Post

I completely agree with the concept and set that as the next horizon for my skiing. Just do not like the feeling when skies turn into noodles - kills the fun and dampens the confidence. I'm not saying Volkl 108 would do that but that's a concern I have. Any thoughts on the ski choices I'm considering? 
Pretty much any modern ski will hold you up, at 150 you'd need to be a serious beast to overpower the Volkls, if this is a concern look at the Cochise, or something else with two layers of titanal, the weight gain makes for stability at speed in the chop with a bit of a loss of ease in the tight stuff but Blizzard has gone a long way to get it done.
Moment Bibby pro is another ski you might consider.
post #9 of 18
Could you define what your ski feels like when it bends into a noodle? I ask only because simple physics says that at 150 you're gonna have to be moving pretty fast to exert the same force as an average sized American male (187-192 lbs) skiing at a moderate pace. Who isn't likely to bend most skis into a noodle at that pace and force. And the Volkls you own are moderately stiff (Racetiger) and flat out stiff (Mantra, white top, before it was neutered).

Anyway, I've skied Mantras at Whistler, pretty decent bad snow do-all but maybe not the best in the intermediate zone with bumps or slop. And obviously not anyone's first choice as a daily soft snow ski there. But another 6-8 mm of width is not going to give you so much more float that you can notice. I'd think about keeping the Mantras for firm to normal and choppy days, the Racetigers for rock skis, and invest in something over 110 for soft snow. The Billy Goat is a fine idea, personally I also think highly of Prior skis, and they're right down the road. If you're a Volkl enthusiast, then the One, I think, is as narrow as you want. You will not like the Ranger. It's not as stiff as you indicate, especially in front, and the light weight isn't optimal for resort pow in the NW. It's meant for day touring, y'know.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Could you define what your ski feels like when it bends into a noodle? I ask only because simple physics says that at 150 you're gonna have to be moving pretty fast to exert the same force as an average sized American male (187-192 lbs) skiing at a moderate pace. Who isn't likely to bend most skis into a noodle at that pace and force. And the Volkls you own are moderately stiff (Racetiger) and flat out stiff (Mantra, white top, before it was neutered).
 

 

I'll try to explain what I mean. Imagine carving an arc at higher speed and gradually tightening it approaching the limit of what can be done given available grip. On my Tigersharks (not racetigers), they would behave exactly the same until the lateral G gets too high and they would lose the edge and gradually skid out. That's very nice and predictable. Mantras do the same thing, just at much lower speed or rather Gs (they are softer). Some other skis I tried can at some point behave non-linearly and all of the sudden would bend much tighter, causing the turn to tighten abruptly or just have the tip and tail start flapping up and down while skidding out. It feels definitely different from how the ski felt just a moment before, which is not pleasant. If it happens rather progressively, it's less of an issue, but still limits what you can do.

 

Regarding the comparison to an average-weight male - I ski shorter skies than I would if I were 190lbs, so I do not need to go much faster to bend them. 

 

My problem with mantras is not as much the width as the stiffness/shape of the tips - they just dive to the bottom any change they get. In dry snow, it's easy to pull them up, but compacted wet powder grabs the tips right away. I've heard that got changed in the newer generation. And in general, these skis are 6-7 years old with chunks of the metal sheets missing, so I need something new anyway - it's not like I'm replacing them because I hate them. Just want something more appropriate for conditions since I'm in the market anyway.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Lytvyn View Post

I'll try to explain what I mean. Imagine carving an arc at higher speed and gradually tightening it approaching the limit of what can be done given available grip. On my Tigersharks (not racetigers), they would behave exactly the same until the lateral G gets too high and they would lose the edge and gradually skid out. That's very nice and predictable. Mantras do the same thing, just at much lower speed or rather Gs (they are softer). Some other skis I tried can at some point behave non-linearly and all of the sudden would bend much tighter, causing the turn to tighten abruptly or just have the tip and tail start flapping up and down while skidding out. It feels definitely different from how the ski felt just a moment before, which is not pleasant. If it happens rather progressively, it's less of an issue, but still limits what you can do.

Regarding the comparison to an average-weight male - I ski shorter skies than I would if I were 190lbs, so I do not need to go much faster to bend them. 

My problem with mantras is not as much the width as the stiffness/shape of the tips - they just dive to the bottom any change they get. In dry snow, it's easy to pull them up, but compacted wet powder grabs the tips right away. I've heard that got changed in the newer generation. And in general, these skis are 6-7 years old with chunks of the metal sheets missing, so I need something new anyway - it's not like I'm replacing them because I hate them. Just want something more appropriate for conditions since I'm in the market anyway.
Titanal is your friend.
post #12 of 18
Sounds like you need new skis. 😄 But FWIW, what you describe isn't a problem with the ski being too soft, it's another one of those physics deals, actually because the skis are too stiff or their edge angles too low. A ski can only hold an edge if the turning radius of the arc is the same as the sidecuts. If the arc is bigger, for instance, most of the front and back of the ski will actually skid. If the arc is smaller - what you describe - then the only way you can keep from skidding is to bend the ski into a smaller radius. That happens with a higher edge angle, and more force - your G component - and a ski that can be bent. The stiffer the ski, the faster you'll have to move to bend it, and obviously the higher G force. So unless you're a WC racer, odds are your skis are washing out well before you hit the G force limit because they can't bend enough. Too stiff, not too soft. Soft skis usually reveal themselves by folding at the shovel, when you start to pressure them.

But yeah, replace those Mantras then. And they are ploughs, not floaters. You will enjoy a wider, somewhat softer rocketed fatty. Good luck.
post #13 of 18

Go into Fanatyko when you're there and try what they suggest, and you're good to go. I got my Patrons there and haven't looked back. A great Whistler ski

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

Just got 100Eight from a store across the street. Was actually considering Patrons when I was in the store and Cochise but decided to go with 100Eight because of the weight. They did not seem soft to me at all, but the way. Takes a lot of force to bend one. I got 181, so now hoping they ski short :-). Also got them in 174 for the wife so that she does not feel left out. 

post #15 of 18

Wait, your 150lbs and demo'ing the 100 Eight in 181 ?

 

When I skied the 177 100Eight last March at Okemo VT, I'm 5'11" 105-200lbs I found it to a great replacement for my Gotama's from 2010.

The 100 Eight felt like a new version of my Kendo's. Granted I'm a Volk guy, but those skis felt light, quick, had good edge hold and handled the heavier March snow well.

 

BTW I took my Shiro's to Whistler early last April for the spring curd.

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity View Post
 

Wait, your 150lbs and demo'ing the 100 Eight in 181 ?

 

When I skied the 177 100Eight last March at Okemo VT, I'm 5'11" 105-200lbs I found it to a great replacement for my Gotama's from 2010.

The 100 Eight felt like a new version of my Kendo's. Granted I'm a Volk guy, but those skis felt light, quick, had good edge hold and handled the heavier March snow well.

 

BTW I took my Shiro's to Whistler early last April for the spring curd.

I have 175 old Mantras, and they have no rocker and are full metal all the way to the tip and are 3 times as heavy as 100Eight, so I thought I'd go longer with 100Eight. They only have 174 and 181 sizes, and I thought that going from 175 non-rocker stiff ski to 174 rockered softer ski is too much of a downgrade. Maybe I'll regret going too long. Oh, and I gained 10lbs since I originally posted this 8 months ago, and it's all in the legs (upper rear part of the legs, mostly ;-) )

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Lytvyn View Post
 

I have 175 old Mantras, and they have no rocker and are full metal all the way to the tip and are 3 times as heavy as 100Eight, so I thought I'd go longer with 100Eight. They only have 174 and 181 sizes, and I thought that going from 175 non-rocker stiff ski to 174 rockered softer ski is too much of a downgrade. Maybe I'll regret going too long. Oh, and I gained 10lbs since I originally posted this 8 months ago, and it's all in the legs (upper rear part of the legs, mostly ;-) )

 

 

Looking forward to hear your feed back.

 

A buddy that skis at Whistler told me he's spent the last three on his fatties, 128 under foot out there in dry snow.

post #18 of 18
100Eights come in the following nominal lengths. Not sure where all the weird numbers (174, 177) are coming from.

157, 165, 173, 181, 189
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