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What skis to use in Utah

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
We are in the first stages of planning our trip out west for next year. we decided on park city. i am currently skiing volkl ax3 and they are great for the east coast--but how will they do out in the west. will i need to rent/demo the whole time and leave my volkl at home OR bring them and rent/demo some days?

post #2 of 20
H'mm your Volkl AX3 has a midwaste width of 70mm. I would suggest a tad wider would be called for in Utah but you could be ok with the AX3. Get a ski with a midwaist width of 75+mm.

The only real problem is bottomless over the knee powder where you have to float. If you plan on staying on groomers than the AX3 is ok. I would strongly suggest you rent and then you can try different skis during the day. Find the skis you like in deep powder. Take a powder ski lesson.

Hint: buy some powder cords. They attach to the ski brake and tuck up under the pant leg. It makes it a lot easier to find your skis in deep powder after they release. I know its a pain when you put your skis on each time but its worth it.
post #3 of 20
I took my entire east coast quiver with me last year to Alta/Snowbird, Brighton, and the Canyons, Volkl P40's with a 65 waist, in varied snow up to a foot of fresh I had few problems at all.

I am looking for something wider or this season because I want new ski's, not because these are not working well!

I think it boils down to how much you want to slog around the airport. The AX3's will work fine---may be a good opportunity to try different ski's though.
post #4 of 20
I hate to be an old grump, but this topic has already been covered probably at least a couple of dozen times in just the last year, with various spins such as:

Will I need fat skis for the Epic Ski academy?
Can I just rent fat skis when I get there?
Will there be any fat skis available to rent on a powder day?
Since they are always out of rentals, maybe I should bring my fats and rent cheap and easy-to-find regular skis.
Which model should I rent?
How fat should I go?
Why does anyone possibly need fat skis? We all skied for years on skinny skis.
How many people that pontificate that fat skis are "unnecessary" have ever actually ever tried a pair? By that sort of reasoning, plastic boots are equally "unnecessary".
My 70 mm G3's / AX3's are already pretty fat, will I "need" to go fatter?
Have you been living in a hole in the ground for the last few years? 70 mm isn't even close to being fat. It isn't even mid-fat. These days, 75-80 mm is considered the beginning of mid-fat, and 88 to 90 the beginning of fat.
Fat skis are so much easier, so they must be "cheaters".
Fat skis keep me from becoming one with the snow (ie, getting face shots).
I wouldn't go back to skinny skis if you paid me.
If fat skis are no good, why does every local at xxx and yyy ski on fats.
Fat skis will send you to the hospital if they come within 100 feet of a patch of ice.
Fat skis handle surprisingly well on ice if you just edge a bit more and keep the edges sharp.
"Fat" begins at different widths for different weight people.
Fats are the best thing ever invented for spring slop.
You want narrow skis that can cut through spring slop.
Will 80 - 85 mm semi-fats be a good compromise for both hard and soft snow conditions or simply be good at neither?

If you are really interested in this subject, Mtbykr, there is an ammt and depth of info already available to you on Epic that is truly impressive. Just use the search function.

People who have already written extensively on a given topic usually aren't too enthusiastic about re-writing everything they have previously written on the subject, just because a common question re-surfaces. In addition, the direct answers that you may get usually can't possibly do justice to the extensive discussions / debates that have already taken place on this subject.

Tom / PM
post #5 of 20
well said Tom/PM!
post #6 of 20
Holy #!$%&* Batman ( I mean PM) I didn't want to scare the bejeesahs out of MtByker. I just wanted to get him in the rental shop door and let nature take its course.

I was also just day dreaming about chest deep powder while I wrote that response. Somebody snap me out of it. Hey Am I the only one that thinks about chest deep powder when standing in chest deep water. Its all H20 .
post #7 of 20
Originally Posted by catskills
---- when standing in chest deep water. Its all H20 .
post #8 of 20
Get the blue ones! :
post #9 of 20
Bring the Volkes and if it looks like a dump is on the way get to the shop early and rent some fatties. By the way even on big dump powder days most of the resort is skied out by 1pm
post #10 of 20
What PM said.

Plus this, it's the carpenter not the tools.

But if you ARE a tool, you may need fancier tools.
post #11 of 20
Bring your volkls - just because it is Utah does not necessarily mean you will have 24" fresh every morning. If you do, then go nuts demoing and you will have a blast on some fatter skis.

In terms of what skis you may find suitable - do as PM says and run a search, there will be heaps of info there for you.
post #12 of 20
I agree, bring your skis. If it dumps rent the fattest they've got.
post #13 of 20
It's freakin' Utah, there is always 30" plus of 5% powpow! (24" plus on the Park City side of the Wasatch, but deep nonetheless).

Go fat, something like a pair of Gotamas. Hey, come to think of it, I know a guy who is selling a pair:

In all seriousness, what PM said, look around, I know I've answered this question countless times.

I've skied countless days over the two foot mark, iIn short, your AX3's will be fine. One of the best skiers I know, skis a Rossi XX in most all conditions, including bottomless. You might want to check out something wider and softer, which are around. A word of caution thought, if it looks like it is going to dump, pick up your rentals the day before, as shops have no problems renting that gear on pow days.

On powder cords: Not totally necessary, I've never used them out here, and have never lost a ski (knocking on wood). When you fall and feel a ski pop off, it is usually near the surface. If you must use them, please tuck the things in and don't let them hang from your skis. A quick way to piss off the locals.

If you ever do lose a ski, most patrols I'm familiar with have a metal detector around.

Ohh and another note, fat is not always the best for powder. There I said it. Ski flex also has a lot to do with it, not only stiffness, but where it flexes at.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 


thanks for all the replys. Sorry, i should have looked for other posts first, but did this post without thinking of that! this is my first trip out west but my friends have seemed to make several trips a year lately--so i was just trying to get a heads up!

Thanks again
post #15 of 20

Bring'em and rent'em.

In Park City, you will be able to use your eastern sks. Do allow yourself the opportunity to rent as well. Starting in August, keep up with what is going on equipment wise here at, the ski mags etc.

What you may want to do, is to see if there is a wider ski [ +80 mm. waist ] that is also versitile in the Powder and Crud. I would emphisize skis that can do well in POW, Crud, and in spring conditions, but also has some edge to edge quickness. Don't just seek out only a powder friendly ski, since being an Easterner it will take some time to learn to ski your skis that are both weighted throughout your turns. Weight shift habits will have to be modified. You will need to get used to the idea that POW skiing is 3 dimensional. Your are skiing IN IT not only top of it.

So after doing some research, narrow it down to 2 or three skis that you would like to try out, even if it isn't a powder day. Shorter seems to be better now, so an easy flexing ski, with good torsional rigidity, and excellent flotation may be a way to help narrow your choices. If you can, and your are not too large think about 170-180 length. For your wife or significant other [ whatever the case, and if applciable] 160-170 mm. If she is tall, atheletic, then 170-180 mm.Do call ahead to some ski ental shops, and find out what is available. Watch the weather channel or better yet go on line, learn about the Park City weather patterns, and perhaps you could predict what days during your time in Park City have the best chance for big dumps. Not all snowfall in Utah is fluffy and dry, so go for versility over specialization.

Do call ahead to some ski ental shops, and find out what is available. Watch the weather channel or better yet go on line frequently, learn about the Park City weather patterns, and perhaps you could predict what days during your time in Park City are the best chances for big dumps. Not all snowfall in Utah is fluffy and dry, so go for versility over specialization.

One more thing: If there are children, put them in ski school, camp, or whatever program they have where they will be learning and skiing with their piers. They will do better without you being around, and you will enjoy them more at the end of the day. Pick them up at the end their program, do a couple of "fun runs", have dinner together, and that will be significant qualtiy time with them, since all of you will have had a great time during the day.

[ These all day chidren activities can be expensive, so budget for it now. You will be glad that you did. So this may be a good time, if necessary to plan your vacation budget.]

Have a great time !!!'s ultimately about...Happy Skiing !!
post #16 of 20
I'm sure I've written something like this before, but I can't find it, so here goes again.

Over the past four seasons, I've flown out to Utah and skied 22 days stretching from late November to the second week of April. Out of those 22 days, THREE of them were legitimate powder days (10"+). If you think that the west is always a fluff feast necessitating a total rethinking of your ski quiver, well, I'd like to introduce you to something called reality.

You MAY catch an entire week of dry Utah snorkel-deep dumps, fame of song and story, but you may also arrive right in the middle of a several week-long high-pressure snow drought. When it doesn't snow for days and weeks on end, the surface compacts into rock hard slab very similar to what you experience in the east when it doesn't snow. Just before the 2004 Gathering in Jackson Hole last season, quite a few people died there because it hadn't snowed in so long, otherwise good skiers were sliding off steep terrain into trees (luckily, when we were there, it snowed every day). Another myth is that it is never icy out west. It does happen... certainly with less frequency than the east, but still.

I recommend you do the same thing I do back east. Bring your normal all-mountain skis and a pair of fatter ones, just in case. If you don't have the latter, rent 'em.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 

Jackson Hole

my friend recently decided that he would like to try jackson hole instead of utah. neither of us has been there before, so does the same advice apply for jackson hole. "bring my ax3 and rent on a big powder day"

post #18 of 20
Truth ? Go back to your Utah plan. JHR is a great hill no doubt. Utah conditions are more reliable, travel is easier and there is way more terrain. Far as ski's go, for sure bring your Volkl's but if you aren't already comfortable skiing deeper snow, go for something user friendly in a mid fat or fatter ski. While some folks still ski pow on skinny ski's, that is a skill acquired over a lot of time. If you don't get it often, rent something friendly and have a ball.

Ut does get skied out quickly, just like any other are but with 6 major areas between SLC & PC, there are options.

I've had great days in UT and also at JHR, just more of them in UT.
post #19 of 20
Jackson or Utah?, Jackson or Utah? Hmmmmmmmm what to do what to do? The light goes on whay not BOTH! Yes why not? Jackson is an easy 5 hour drive from Salt Lake City. you never did say what your skills are? so a day or two At Alta or Snowbird might get you ready for Jackson. By the way one of the best Powder days I had last season was skiing with Inspector Gadget and about 8 other Bears at The Canyons. I woke up in the morning the snow report said that there was about 4 inches of new snow and the front was moving off.So I left my fat skis at home and only brought my Atomic R11's. They were wrong dead wrong. It was dumping! at first i was lamenting that I didn't have my Chubbs or at least my Rexs As the day progressed I really came to enjoy rideing those 70mm waist skis in that knee deep powder.
post #20 of 20
It's funny how we used to ski powder in our skinny racing skis- then shaped midfats came along and everyone's powder skiing moved up a notch overnight. Now we gotta have ze fatties!
Those Volkls should do fine in most Utah stuff; they rent them at Alta as all mountain. James is so right about the sun-baked Utah droughts though - hey, it's delightful skiing, but the pow days seem to hit when you least expect it. Renting fatties is iffy 'cause they go early. I love my fatties but midfats still do great in powder so just bring what you got. This year I'm going to look into Dynastar 8000's and Sollie's new X Scream Limited. I haven't been on a true everything ski since the first edition X Scream Series which I loved, and the Volant T3 -which I thought was kind of boring but skied both ice and powder well-a neat trick.

Missed you guys this summer. Fabulous season last year,eh? Too bad about March. Welcome to the mountains Lisa Marie! I tried to sign on under my old name but I guess it didn't survive the redesign. Either that or I punched somebody and don't remember.
Happy summer! Won't be long now. formerly Rubob.
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