|Originally posted by Coach13:
...Maybe based on most of the comments I should re-phrase my question. What would be your recommendations be for a mid-fat ski for use in the East?
There are two main reasons people like mid-fats - (a) high speed stability on irregular hard snow surfaces, and (b), float and stability in irregular soft snow.
Benefit (a) has absolutely nothing to do with the width of mid-fats and their enhanced float in soft snow. It comes about because the sidecut radius of mid-fats is usually in the 19-25 meter range. This means that they will be much less twitchy (ie, less responsive) to irregularities in a hard snow surface compared to the usual 12-17 meter sidecut radii of modern carving skis. If enhanced stability when skiing irregular hard snow is all you care about in your new skis, and you are not interested in their soft snow performance, then the width of the ski is immaterial. Forget looking for a mid-fat designation, and simply look for skis with moderate sidecut radii. At your weight, having a stiff flex will still be important to you. Detuned GS-style skis would be appropriate for this use.
On the other hand, the other main reason that people are interested in mid-fats is to give them more float in soft snow conditions (often meaning spring slop around here) and related to this, to give enhanced stability in irregular soft snow.
Unfortunately, with respect to the issue of float, you omitted one bit of information from your question that is critical to giving you an informed reply, namely, your weight. However, by plugging in your user number and the word "lbs", into the search engine, it turned up a message from you posted October 11, 2003 12:52 PM in the threadhttp://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultim...=001957#000020
where you mentioned that you are 6'4" and 255 lbs.
You are a seriously big guy, and this means that to get the float benefits that average weight guys realize from a 75 - 85 mm midfat, you will need a much wider ski than what is normally considered a midfat.
I posted a message that deals with this issue on November 12, 2003 06:49 PM in the thread http://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultim...c;f=9;t=000089
. In it, I said:One final comment - You should be very careful about extrapolating from your own experience using normal width skis in soft snow when making ski recommendations for (potentially) much heavier guys. Here's why:
Lets assume that there is some validity to the oft-heard claim that mid-80's skis are the best thing since sliced bread for average weight guys (say, 175 lbs) in soft snow. Then, one can estimate the width of a ski that would give the same amount of float to a skier of a different weight. Here's a table that does this:
Thus, if you are a little slip of a 120 lb woman, you will have the exact same float on a 58 mm wide pair of skinny boards that Mr. Average Guy (at 175 lbs.) has on his 85 mm "lite-fat" skis.
Basically, on any sub-70 mm ski currently being sold (because they are all greater than 60 mm), Ms. 120 Pounder will sink in less than Mr. Average Guy on his Rex's, so its to be expected that a light weight person might not fully appreciate the need for fatties (at least from direct personal experience).
At the other end of the spectrum, at 210 lbs, I will need to be on 100 - 105 mm boards to achieve the same float as Mr. Average Guy on his sticks.
BTW, in calculating this table, I assumed that all people carry about an extra 12% of their weight in boots, skis, bindings, clothing (ie, about 20 lbs for a 175 lb guy).
In addition to the issue of determining a good width for you, there is the issue of optimal longitudinal flex. You will want to your skis (when loaded by your weight in soft snow) to have about the same amount of downward deflection (reverse camber) as everyone else's skis. At 255 lbs, even though you are a self-proclaimed intermediate, this means that you will want to be on boards that most other people consider quite stiff.
The bottom line is that I'm not suggesting that you necessarily go all the way to ultra-fats that are 120 mm wide underfoot, but if you want to realize the wonderful float benefits that mid-fats give people, especially in rough soft snow conditions, you clearly need to go wider than 75 - 85 mm underfoot (ie, the range normally considered to be mid-fats), and you need to go with a stiff ski. From personal experience, this is certainly true for me. I am 210 - 215 lbs and usually ski with a pack.
Although this is probably not the recommendation you were expecting, if, as you suggested in your first post in this thread, you are interested in enhanced deep soft snow performance, I would strongly suggest that you at least demo a pair of skis like 95 mm wide Explosives the next time you run into irregular deep soft snow conditions. I realize that it may be difficult to demo fats around DC, but try a pair the next time you get out west. I feel that its important that you experience this yourself.
Tom / PM[ November 30, 2003, 02:39 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]