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Review of Atomic Powder Plus Fat Boy 180

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I need the rundown on the Atomic Powder Plus "Fat Boy" 180 for crud, heavy, and tree skiing

post #2 of 4
You may find some information using the "search" function on previous comments on this ski. That being said, I skied on a pair of 180's for three seasons and then went to a 165, later to a Fischer Big Stix 106 in 170. The Atomic is a fun ski for the right conditions. Deep snow, light or heavy, crud, anything that will keep the skis reasonably afloat. Do not count on this ski if you need to get on edge. The wide dimension, limited shape and offset binding mount makes it very hard to get on edge, and even harder to keep the edge. The technique that worked best is to "ride" these skis. Although I am not a snowboarder, it must be much of the same feeling. Try to stay equally weighted and steer. Must say that the shape of the Big Stix made them even more fun, but I had a lot of fun on the Powder Plus Atomics.
post #3 of 4
Ok...here we go. I picked up a pair of the 180cm Powder Plus this year, nearly new. Mounted them with new S916's and the old school adjustable 8mm salomon lifters/plates, centered between the edges (non-asym), -1cm from the midsole line, so with the lifter they can be set at 0, -1 or -2cm. The stock mount point is pretty far foreward, about +2cm from the Axiom's. I've skied 183cm Axioms for about 6 years, and they are still in my quiver - in fact, skied them this past weekend, and they are currently mounted with salomon 957 12 din's (maxed out). I'm 6'1", 185 lb, and an agressive expert. I typically prefer 185-190 cm, midfat-fat skis in a wood/metal sandwich construction. Primary freeskiing ski is the head im88.

First thing to note about the P+ is that it's HEAVY AS ****. Quite possibly the heaviest 180cm ski ever built. They weigh around 12 lb for the pair, which is about a pound heavier than the axiom. Most modern big skis are around 9 lb, maybe 10lb for the pair. Combined with the S916's and plates, they are around 19lb...insanely heavy. Thankfully I ski light weight Flexon boots, with heavy boots the setup would be way too difficult. The weight comes from using a full wood core metal sandwich construction, with thick aluminum sheets (not Ti or SS). I believe the wood used is fairly high density and heavy also - some modern fat skis use very light wood in their cores (like LP's). This translates into exceptional durablity - I have not cracked a sidewall yet, and have a couple core shots which ended apruptly at the edge, which didn't budge. This is an astounding heavy ski, I had a day where I skied the P+ mounted -2, and then the next day skied 201cm Stockli Asteroids with S916's..........the Asteroid felt easier and lighter in comparison. They have a ton of swing weight, and it is worse when you go -1 or -2 (much worse).

The flex pattern of the P+ is it's downfall, IMHO. It seems to have a traditional round flex where the tail is a bit stiffer than the tip, and is quite stiff all the way through. However, the tip is just too stiff and the ski will not keep the tips up effectively in lighter snow at slower speeds (trees), especially when mounted on the normal mark or even -1cm. I skied it in very deep light snow this weekend (2-3 feet), mounted -1cm, and it just would not stay up. The next day I swiched to the axioms, and those handled the blower much better (3-4 feet in spots)....the axioms are worn and completely decambered, in fact, the front 8" has some negative camber. Axioms stay up pretty well - not quite as well as modern softer flexing skis, but they give up very little stablity to the P+. Granted, the P+ was staying up better than my im88's, which I took one run on and swapped out. Unfortunately, I almost never ski the kind of blower snow we had this weekend, and the P+ are good in 90% of the powder I ski - heavier snow and windbuff, sometimes melting.

When mounted -1cm, they are manageable in the trees, specifically because of the length and the way they stay up on most snow, short of the super light. (However, if you are used to skiing trees on lighter modern 175-180 cm skis, these will kill you). They destroy crud and are completely stable at speed. The lack of sidecut means you pretty much can't carve anything smaller than a DH turn, and have to be going 50mph to do it, but they pivot turn quite predictably, and are great for running over things like trees, rocks and children. They feel like a typical wood metal sandwich, slighty more glassy/poppy than damp (axioms are damper), but have all that mass behind them. Mounted at 0 or +1, of course you can turn them easier, but they will be submarines in the fresh, tip dive city. Mounted -2cm, the ski feels absolutely huge and slays at speed, and floats better, but you have to plan ahead and wait for every turn....the balance point becomes tricky also.

So where do they fit in my quiver? At this point, I think I'll keep them as my main powder ski, set to -1cm, for moderate to heavy density snow 6" to 24", or 90% of powder days around here. They do slay it, afterall, while being pretty good in the trees, including tight bushwhacking. But I'll be hanging on to the axioms for deep blower. If you are a ripper and ski 185 to 190's+, but want something shorter (for trees specifically) without giving up *any* heft or stablity whatsoever, need extreme durablity, and aren't super concerned about float, they defintely are worth looking at.
post #4 of 4

Great Review. Just picked up a pair of these off ebay for $98 after shipping with bindings. The things look like they have been skied 3 times! Gonna add some rocker to them as discussed over on TGR. 

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Review of Atomic Powder Plus Fat Boy 180