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Height + Weight =Powder ski for bigger guys

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Dear Group,

This is my first post. I am 6'3 1/2 and about 210 and would like advice from people in the same height and weight category about a good powder ski.
From what I have read, that probably would mean a length of about 185 , but I
would like to get suggestions on width and ski. I know this topic gets beaten to
death but most dont separate into various height and weight and that makes
a lot of difference in how a ski acts on snow.

Thanks

Dennis
post #2 of 23
Among zillions of other threads on the same subject that would be turned up by doing a search, there is a discussion about the length of powder skis here:

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=650

Same for a discussion of width and other factors in these threads:

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=12250
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=521

Seeing that you and I are about the same size, you are probably a half-way decent skier (from your question), and that you are a brand new poster on Epic (and hence haven't been previously exposed to my personal, oft-repeated powder ski recommendation):

..............Buy a Volkl Explosiv............

- 165 for tight trees,
- 190 for wider places.

I own and use both (and love them to death).

[/rant=off]



HTH,

Tom / PM

PS - Obviously, YMMV, and you may find them too burly/stiff, but that's my $0.02 on the subject.

PS#2 - To calibrate the age/skill level, let's just say that I'm well past 55 (negative points), a part time instructor (+), have been skiing for well over 30 yrs (+), and have owned way too many skis (+ from a skier's POV, - from my wife's POV - grin).
post #3 of 23
I'm the same size (1 inch shorter) and just went to 177cm Volkl 724's for powder boards. I debated between the 184 and the 177, but I tried the 177cm at Alta last year and was truly amazed.

On the calibration - Like PhysicsMan (great name) I've been skiing 31 years (now 39), racing for 26+ years, and coached/taught for over 10 years. I ride 5000 miles a year, and train hard to ski hard. I’m not what you’d call a finesse skier, and trust me when I say I do not ski slowly.

As someone stated you should either get the longest ski you can turn easily or the shortest that will handle the speed at which you ski. I have no doubt that I would have liked the 184 cm, and probably even the 191cm. However, I skied the 177cm and had no problems with speed ... why would I want to go any longer?

I think the hardest thing holding up my decision was the shock to the ego that I wasn’t on the biggest & baddest board, but really … what does it matter? Long skis are an ego thing.
post #4 of 23
I'm 6'5" 210 lbs. and have been skiing for over 40 years. I have pursued powder most of those years. The trend is obviously towards fatter and shorter skis for all types snow. That being said, I think the industry may have gone beyond the optimum width for good powder skiing. Short fat skis are definitely easier to ski in powder, but it forces you to sit back and swizzle the skis to some extent. This is easier on the legs and allows for faster manuverabilty, which is accomplished by the ski making making 3 ft. of new snow ski like 18". The old school style of powder skiing by reversing the camber is physically impossible with short skis. Is that bad? It's strictly your call.

At your size you can have a good day powder skiing on a pair of 175s with a 110 waist, or 190s with an 85 waist. You need to demo skis to find what fits your style of skiing and your personality. Don't trust the advertising hype, or even what your friends tell you. Powder skiing is too important to be left to others. The best powder ski for you is like art, you may not understand it, but you'll know it when you ski it. Carpe Skium!
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot
...Short fat skis are definitely easier to ski in powder, but it forces you to sit back and swizzle the skis to some extent. ...The old school style of powder skiing by reversing the camber is physically impossible with short skis...
If yours was a serious post and not a troll, I'm sorry to have to be so blunt, but I believe, and I think that most of the experienced powder skiers in this discussion forum will agree with me that the above two statements of yours are completely wrong and totally misleading to less experienced skiers.

a. On any reasonable pair of new fat skis, you absolutely do not have to sit back, and should not sit back. You certainly do NOT have to pivot your turns except, perhaps in the tightest of spots. Perhaps there was a mounting or other problem with the pair you were on.

b. If the camber of such skis didn't reverse, one would find it almost impossible to ski powder using anything but jump turns. Most of the new fats are actually softer than the old fats and hence go into reverse camber more easily. The extreme of this is the Spatulas - they even have built-in reverse camber. Again, perhaps you were on a very non-representative sample of fats, eg, the extremely stiff 188 G4's.

If you are not convinced of these statements, before you try to defend your points, please do a search in the Gear Discussion archives, read some of the relevant threads, and lets take the discussion from there rather than starting from scratch. Another option for you would be to make the same claim over on TGR. I think you would find my response mild by comparison to what you would receive over there.

Tom / PM


PS - FWIW, I actually do agree with many of the other points in your message.
post #6 of 23
Ialways like longer, wider and faster skis for wide open powder. I like the Atomic Big Daddy, and I would like to try out the Pimp Daddy. I never hear anything about these skis in this forum. Why is everyone keeping them a secret?
post #7 of 23
You are talking about "a reasonable pair of new fat skis," but your recommended a 6'3" 210 lb guy on 165s. I'm sorry to disagree, but I've been there. I don't believe that you can put that much weight on a size 13 boot with a little bit of ski sticking out the front and back, stand in the middle of your ski in deep snow and rip comfortably. If the skis are soft enough to have the tips float when they are that short, they flap at speed with that much weight. If they are stiff enough to ride smooth, they will dive if you get even a hair forward (hence you sit back). A tall big guy (with a high center of gravity and more leverage on his boots) on a short ski trying to stand in the middle in powder will spend all his time worried about being too far forward or too far back. Short ski = short sweet spot (it's physics). I don't know about you, but I want a ski I can relax on in powder. I'd love to ski with you some powder day and see you on your 165s not sitting back, cause I never figured out how to do it. As far as my experience goes, the shorter the ski you use in powder, the more time you spend in the back seat.

This disscussion is probably not going to change either of our opinions, and it certainly isn't going to help Manatoc pick a powder ski. As I told him, don't listen to us, demo some skis. It comes down to personal feel.
post #8 of 23
Hmmm- can't say I agree with you Mudfoot. I'm on shorter boards and I don't sit back - unless I'm in a slalom doing something stupid trying to go faster. And, with how short skis are these days that's a dangerous proposition anyway.

I've never had a problem holding a sweet spot regardless of the ski length. I have however disgreed with where one company puts the sweet spot compared to another.

I don't "swivel" either - whatever you want to call it I am the antithesis of it. My style/technique doesn't change with snow depth.

Now with all of that said, I do agree that skis, like boots, fit everyone differently and what's good for one is not necessarily good for another.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot
...but your (sic) recommended a 6'3" 210 lb guy on 165s. I'm sorry to disagree, but I've been there. I don't believe that you can put that much weight on a size 13 boot with a little bit of ski sticking out the front and back, stand in the middle of your ski in deep snow and rip comfortably. ...
Actually, what I said was:
- 165 for tight trees,
- 190 for wider places.

(with the assumption being that most skiing is done between these two limits, and the recommended length for someone buying a single pair would also be between these two limits).

I know that I certainly don't "rip" in trees, and I suspect that very few people go anywhere near as fast in tight trees as they do on a big open bowl. Hence, the increased maneuverability of the shorter ski is more important than stability.

With respect to sitting back, all I can say is that when I ski my 165 Explosivs in soft snow, I have to stay almost perfectly centered. If I try to ski them old-school by sitting back, I'll slow down, founder/stall, and then be on my keester in a blink of an eye. To me the temptation to ski from the back seat is actually higher with my 190s than my 165s because there is more room for fore-aft error on those skis. (It sounds like we both agree on this).

If you want to see a sample of short fat ski usage, go over to TGR and look at the "what skis are you on" (or similarly named) thread. There are lots of really good, average to heavy weight skiers starting to ski tight eastern trees on short fatties and having an utter blast.

On the other hand, in tens of thousands of postings on this forum, Powder, or TGR, I don't think I have ever seen anyone (besides yourself) make the claim that (a) you have to sit back more in short fat skis, or (b) modern powder sticks are too stiff to decamber.


Tom / PM

PS - In case I forgot to mention it, I am also 215 lbs.
post #10 of 23
Wouldn't the size 13 boot make it -easier- to balance?
post #11 of 23
I can only speak for myself, but I am about your size and I ski on 185 Pocket Rockets. I ski a lot of new snow, packed snow, crud, etc. and they are my favorite skis on all of them. They are not good on ice. They are very popular in these parts.
post #12 of 23
What is this reference to "old school technique of sitting back" ?
I don't EVER remember that being part of proper skiing technique - other than those people who didn't know how to ski powder and assumed that was what you did.
post #13 of 23
I am smaller at 6' 185 and currently ski powder on 185 extra hot and a 200 AK Rocket.
I think both are great, but I tend to ski powder in fairly open areas.
I think a lot would depend on your skill level, how fast you like to ski in powder, and where you ski.
post #14 of 23
At 205 and 6' my Axis XP in the 181 length got all the powder days last year. Suprised the heck out of me. My 190 AK Launcher's stayed home all year. I had some really good days on the XP's ... once I figured out the tail. Compared to my old XScreams, the XP has WAY more tail. Not the ski's fault, I had gotten lazy from the X's ... I skied those XP's through the tree's under the Gad II @ The 'Bird, headwall forest @ Solitude and heavily in Jack's Woods at Mt Hood Meadows. Ran some wide open stuff at all the places I skied last year. That ski has a pretty high speed limit and a very high fun factor!

The XP is suprisingly versatile. Handles powder very nicely. GOes slow, goes fast. One of the last days out I traversed off the cornice into a very steep bowl. I didn't notice the shadow line until I ran in to an ice sheet. The XP's clung for a long darned ways across that thing 'till I got back into the sun. I was really grateful for the extra edge hold. A little slip there was going to be a long bad ride.

What ever K2 is calling it this year - I'd give that a shot and see what you think. or you can pick up my AK's for a song! I won't be needin' those.
post #15 of 23
"Going short is the new long"

I'm on all mountain skis that I can ski powder in widen open spaces as fast as I race GS. I'm at the age where my GS is fast enough thank you. Anything slower they just keep getting better.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhysicsMan
..............Buy a Volkl Explosiv............

- 165 for tight trees,
- 190 for wider places.

I own and use both (and love them to death).

Tom / PM
If you measure a pair of 190 V-Ex's, they actually measure out close to a 185-186-cm length, so they meet the criteria of the original post. I have to echo PhysicsMan's suggestion. For an aggressive, bigger skier, it's hard to beat the V-Ex.

For those disagree, but have never been on a pair, you might want to rethink posting an opinion to the contrary. I too own two pair of V-Ex's (180 and 190), but I'm a wee lad amongst the giants here at 175 lb and 5'8". I love mine, too.

Oh...you don't "sit back" on V-Ex's...you just ski really fast in a forward motion...
post #17 of 23
I'm 5'9" and 170 lbs; and I ski 185 cm Armada ARVs as my all mountain ski. I would not consider anything less than 90 mm at the waist as a powder ski. Manatoc at your size I'd go big, 190cm long and fat, i.e. 90mm+ waist.
post #18 of 23

Swizzle On Back

Physicsman,

I looked at the other threads that you referenced, but was unable to find the one on the TGR site. Other than you and Woodee, I did not see any 200+ lb. guys claiming they ski powder on sub-180 cm skis (much less 165s). I would like to hear from any other big guys that are getting a quality powder experience on sub-180s. Maybe I am missing something.

I am obviously coming from the opposite end of the spectrum from your physics perspective. I am sorry for my rash statement. Very short skis are not impossible to decamber; they just feel that way since there is not much ski to work with. When skiing powder I don’t really care about the physics, I am only interested in how the ski feels. With a very short ski you do not get the feel of it bowing in the snow. If it’s a soft ski it decambers quickly and you get a quick pop of a turn, and they don’t work well at speed or in uneven snow. You may need that kind of performance in very tight eastern trees, but I can’t see any other use for a ski like that. The other option is a stiffer ski that works better at speed but requires constant vigilance on fore/aft position. I have skied fat 180s (shot for me) in deep snow and refered to them as “chop sticks” at the end of the day, since they did not have any of the carve feel of a longer ski. They were quick but felt like they were chopping at the 15” of heavy powder snow more than carving it.

Two of your previous posts reminded me of why I like longer skis in powder.

“. . . the tip displaces or compresses snow irregularities, and the rest of the ski (assuming in a carved turn), can simply follow in the previously smoothed path.”

“. . . a longer ski will have more fore-aft stability, especially when carving.”

I agree with your comments completely. A longer ski is more stable and smoother in all conditions, which brings me to the “swizzle” issue. Assume you are zipping through 2 feet of new on your 165s and because they are less stable (than your 190s) you are not able to remain perfectly centered on your skis as much of the time. Things get a little rough. Are you going to favor leaning forward towards a tip dive, or back which will slow you down a bit? Less stability = more correcting=more time behind center on short powder skis.

Do shorter skis “force” you to sit back more in the powder? Perhaps “force” is too strong a word. It is just the most comfortable and safest place to be on a less stable ski in powder. After all you can slow down by just leaning back a little farther. As Bandit Man says, the desired place to be in powder is “in a forward motion,” but it is a lot harder to lead with your face on 165s because of the fore/aft stability issue. Although we all like to think that we are right in the middle of our skis at all times, it is really comes down to a constant correction process. I assert that my personal experience (both on skis and observing others on short skis in powder) is that the shorter the ski, the more time you are behind the center, resulting in less carve and more swizzle. Apparently, you disagree. I think you will agree that as you go shorter you sacrifice smoothness for maneuverability. A necessary sacrafice for less proficient powder skiers, and a choice for the rest.

As for Manatoc, I would support your lean towards a 185-190, but don’t get stuck on a number because they all don’t measure or ski the same. I have spent some major time on the Explosiv and it is a great ski for Canada (its what CMH uses) and the northwest, but may be a bit ‘burly” if you have a less than aggressive demeanor and are skiing all your powder in Utah and Colorado.
post #19 of 23
Ahhh, it’s becoming clear to me now Mudfoot … I’m talking all-mountain skis and you’re talking powder specific skis (V-Explosiv, duh).

I don’t know much about the length of a true powder board because frankly I’ve never owned one. I guess if I was going to spend considerable time in AK heli-skiing, or only skied wide-open bowls and faces then it would make sense to own a pair.

However, since I’m unfortunately never in the situation where I have endless wide-open powder fields to call my own I just can’t see needing them myself for resort skiing – even when climbing or OB. There’s just too much other stuff to ski and enjoy …

I’ll stick to what I said previously; I’m on 177cm all-mountain skis and I can ski powder in the wide-open spaces at GS+ speeds without any of the stability issues you and PhysicsMan argue. Turns that are anything shorter & slower than that just get sweeter. So, why would I want to go any longer?

As far as the “quality powder experience” is concerned the truth is I’d have a blast skiing powder on my kid’s 80cm B2’s if my boot would fit.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodee
Ahhh, it’s becoming clear to me now Mudfoot … I’m talking all-mountain skis and you’re talking powder specific skis (V-Explosiv, duh).

I don’t know much about the length of a true powder board because frankly I’ve never owned one. I guess if I was going to spend considerable time in AK heli-skiing, or only skied wide-open bowls and faces then it would make sense to own a pair.

However, since I’m unfortunately never in the situation where I have endless wide-open powder fields to call my own I just can’t see needing them myself for resort skiing – even when climbing or OB. There’s just too much other stuff to ski and enjoy …
My V-Ex's are the best resort ski I have ever owned. R:Ex's would be a close second on firm days, but when there is anything soft...even windblown, the V-Ex's are it. Mind you, I ski groomers only to get back to the lift. There will be plenty of time to ski "prepared slopes" when I am over 60...
post #21 of 23
I am 6'2", 195. Have 3 pr. of Powder boards: Igneous FFL 190 w/ 98 waist; Igneous FGS 195 w/ 88waist; and Atomic 10.EX 184 w/ 84 waist. (why 2 pr. of Igs? no good reason) All three are plenty long and wide enough to give you the great float in powder. The Igs aren't around any more, so I won't comment on them except to say more generally that they--and many other wider skis--are because of their dimensions and composition too heavy for the backcountry. True deep powder days in bounds being rare (and short!!), and heli and even cat skiing being too pricey, I found that the desire to ski deep snow will lead you to to the bc, where weight is key. Many have found that the 10EX and its wider brother the Sugar Daddy balance weight, width and sidecut very nicely indeed.

I don't see much need to go any shorter than 184. The 184 10EX's are a breeze to turn in the trees, and do "8's" beautifully, if that's your thing. Given a choice of a longer board, I don't think I would ski powder on 165s. But then again, I'm not wild about head plants.

My $.02, if I were going to buy a new powder board this year, I'd buy 184 Sugars and mount them with Fritschis.

jw
post #22 of 23
Just about anybody can ski untracked powder in wide open spaces on just about ANY ski from 1970 vintage 210's to 165 Explosivs, but as JW sez, in-bounds powder doesn't last long, so, not being a BC guy, my comments below are geared more towards skis that do a good job on 2 PM tracked up crud and choppy, deeply rotted spring slop, rather than being strictly powder boards.

Yup, the 184 10ex/Rex is a great general purpose ski for softer snow. I've owned a pr of those exact skis for the past few years, and yup, they certainly do turn on a dime. They even do surprisingly well in moderate bumps and on the groomers, but are a bit too quick turning for me when going fast in soft snow, and a bit too easy to get knocked around in irregular snow.

However, in spite of all their positive points, I find that I'm using my 10ex's less and less for soft snow skiing at mountains that I drive to, and mostly using them when I have absolutely no idea what I'll run into - eg, a flight out west where bringing more than one pr of skis is just too much of a logistical PIA.

The reason I'm using them less when I have driven to a mountain is that I usually will have a bunch of different skis in the roof box, and can just as easily pick a more specialized pair, depending on the snow conditions, whether I'll likely be skiing more in really tight Eastern trees/underbrush vs on the groomers, who I'll be skiing with, etc. With such a choice available, when there is soft snow on the ground, last season, I almost invariably picked the 165 Explosivs for slow tree skiing (in soft snow) or the 190 Explosivs for more open terrain and faster speeds in soft snow, and hardly ever grab my 10ex's any more. IMHO, my 10ex's don't have anywhere near as good performance under either of the above conditions or in deeper snow, but they are a very nice, general purpose, softer snow compromise ski.

Also, as JW pointed out, the 10ex's / Rex's certainly are a lot lighter than Explosivs, so if I was hiking for my turns like him, my cost-benefit analysis would probably be about the same as JW's and also come down in favor of the 10ex's.

Just my $0.02,

Tom / PM
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JW
I am 6'2", 195. Have 3 pr. of Powder boards: Igneous FFL 190 w/ 98 waist; Igneous FGS 195 w/ 88waist; and Atomic 10.EX 184 w/ 84 waist. (why 2 pr. of Igs? no good reason) All three are plenty long and wide enough to give you the great float in powder. The Igs aren't around any more, so I won't comment on them except to say more generally that they--and many other wider skis--are because of their dimensions and composition too heavy for the backcountry. True deep powder days in bounds being rare (and short!!), and heli and even cat skiing being too pricey, I found that the desire to ski deep snow will lead you to to the bc, where weight is key. Many have found that the 10EX and its wider brother the Sugar Daddy balance weight, width and sidecut very nicely indeed.

I don't see much need to go any shorter than 184. The 184 10EX's are a breeze to turn in the trees, and do "8's" beautifully, if that's your thing. Given a choice of a longer board, I don't think I would ski powder on 165s. But then again, I'm not wild about head plants.

My $.02, if I were going to buy a new powder board this year, I'd buy 184 Sugars and mount them with Fritschis.

jw
Sweet! Can you lend me a pair of Iggys for a month? I demoed some FFL's ten years ago at Jackson Hole and it dumped - such a bomber day... Sigh... I prefer fatter and longer (but not the Big Daddy! That's for demigods).
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