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Ski width question for powder

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Good afternoon Bears,

I have a question that's been bugging me since I got my first shaped ski's 2 yrs ago. I see many post about modern ski's less than XXX mm wide aren't wide enough to do well in powder, but my current ski's (K2 Axis XT (2004) 109/68/99) are much wider than my old non shaped ski's in every dimension yet it seems most would recommend something much wider for powder. Although I wasn't a great powder skier on my old ski's, I was semi-competent and it was a blast. It would seem to me that my new ski's would just make it that much easier? Unfortunately in my 4 western trips the past 2 yrs, ankle deep is the most I've been blessed with skiing on the XT's. Reason for asking is I'm thinking about some Apache Recons and will the extra 10mm waist width make a big difference and will they do well on the terrain I ski most (steep groomers)? Thanks for any opinions offered!
post #2 of 22
If you ski Colorado powder you should use an 80mm waist or more. (I assume you are normal size, 155lb folk are ok at 72mm or more). Many wide skies offer easy flotation and make a wide range of “off piste” skiing accessible to weekend skiers. This can’t be said of older, skinnier skis . Yes we all could ski powder before fat skis, but could we also go into more difficult terrain on powder days?

I use a Volant Machette Sin (115-81-104) in deep snow and a Fischer Scenio S500 (115-68-100) on days when the snow is skied-out.

You could keep your XT's and consider demoing a Recon on powder days

Barrettscv
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Barrett and if it matters to anyone I'm 6'6", 180lbs and an advanced level 7ish skier. Out west I ski Utah and Tahoe mostly (2 week long trips a year usually) and here in the east I ski at Snowshoe WV 6-8 (midweek) days a year. I did do Vail early season last year though.
post #4 of 22
Actually, I imagine your XT's in a longer length are solid soft snow performers, except in very light & deep snow.

Barrettscv
post #5 of 22
Jgiddy-
Times, they have been a changin'. Just as technique has changed with the evolution of skis, so has modern powder technique.
The bottem line, it doesn't really matter what you're skiing on as long as you have fun. Everyone is recommending wide skis because they are better? more fun? easier? the current trend.
Longer, wider, more damp and stable powder skis have allowed people to make larger turns at higher speeds and this is the direction that powder skiing has been going in. You don't need a true "powder" ski, or anything over 85mm for that matter. (although it'd still be fun)
The Recon will be a decent choice, specs wise, i haven't actually skied it.
Alot of people are going to push the atomic metron line, very short and wide. I will personally suggest a Dynastar Legend 8000 in 178ish for you. I've had alot of fun with mine. (always remember to demo) (you can use the search function to find info on any ski)
post #6 of 22
You can ski bottomless powder on 68 - 70 mm "all mountain" skis. I have done it many times and for many years. Its just amazing what a difference the wider skis make when you finally get wider skis. The picture below is me on 68 mm waist 6-Stars. Works fine! I had lots of fun. It just got so much better when I got the 94 mm Mantras.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
RJP/Cirque thanks for the reply. The Axis XT's are 181's and I have no problems with them. I'm not sure demo is an option as I have achance to get some new Recon's with Marker 1200 piston bindings for $750 this weekend from my local shop. I would probably sell the XT's if the Recon's work well on Hardpack/Groomers. Money's not the issue at all it's just that my trips are planned well in advance and not living near a decent ski area I can't just go on short notice and take the appropriate ski's for the conditions (sure wish I could though).
post #8 of 22
PhysicsMan had a good post last season during the winter regarding ski width. He calculated equivalent widths/lengths given a specific body weight. I can't remember what the results were, but I'm sure a search will turn up the information. Essentially it discovered that heavier people (obviously) need a wider waist to get the same feel that a lighter person will on a narrower waisted ski. I personally weigh 160 lbs and ski a 168cm 90mm waisted ski when I'm out west. I ski mostly off-piste though. When I'm on groomers out west I will ride my old Xscreams, but the Axis AK's do just fine on groomed snow too... I just need to concentrate a bit more than usual. If I were you I would go for a wider ski - they are more fun. for off piste skiing I will never drop below 85mm now. In fact I may jump up to something as wide or wider, with more shape. If you are skiing a lot in Virginia you may want to keep the skis you have and either rent wide skis out west, or just bite the bullet and have two pairs of skis.
Later
GREG
post #9 of 22
Cirquerider: Great picture! I wish it was me in the picture... I can't complain though; I had some good days last season in Colorado while I was there.
Later
GREG
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Helluva! Looks like a pair of recon's may be in the immediate future
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgiddyup
Good afternoon Bears,

I have a question that's been bugging me since I got my first shaped ski's 2 yrs ago. I see many post about modern ski's less than XXX mm wide aren't wide enough to do well in powder, but my current ski's (K2 Axis XT (2004) 109/68/99) are much wider than my old non shaped ski's in every dimension yet it seems most would recommend something much wider for powder. Although I wasn't a great powder skier on my old ski's, I was semi-competent and it was a blast. It would seem to me that my new ski's would just make it that much easier? Unfortunately in my 4 western trips the past 2 yrs, ankle deep is the most I've been blessed with skiing on the XT's. Reason for asking is I'm thinking about some Apache Recons and will the extra 10mm waist width make a big difference and will they do well on the terrain I ski most (steep groomers)? Thanks for any opinions offered!
I have the Recon's father, the XP, and it is pretty good in powder. I am sure wider would be even better, but I can only afford one pair of skis and these pretty much handle everything.
post #12 of 22
The new wider skis change the powder game considerably. On you old narrow skis you could ski deep snow but it required a constant balancing act of weighting your skis 50/50, 70/30, 80/20, 60/40 in order to keep yourself afloat while not letting your inside ski take off in an unepected direction because you didn't have enough weight on it, or your outside ski diving because you had too much weight on it. This works, but gets very tiring. With the new wider skis you can almost ski powder like hard pack. You simply stand on your right and stand on your left. The width keeps the weighted ski from sinking too much and the unweighted ski floating. Once you get up to 80-85 mm waist this starts to occur, after that I think it is personal preference depending on your weight, sking speed and snow consistency as to how wide you want to go. For my money after about 105 mm waist it starts to feel a little like a cafeteria tray, but there are others who would surely dispute that. You can go all the way to 140 mm waist on next year's skis.
post #13 of 22
Anybody who ever tells you that you can't get face shots on fat skis either doesn't know what they are talking about or isn't skiing deep enough snow...

...sometime in January 05 at Mt. Baker on Fischer BigStix 10.6 (106mm waist)



post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot
You simply stand on your right and stand on your left. The width keeps the weighted ski from sinking too much and the unweighted ski floating.
Well, I would tend to disagree slightly, at least in the way that I read it (we could also be saying the same exact thing), in that both skis should be equally weighted in pow (after a certain speed is reached), much like hardpack, and there really isn't an "unweighted ski". You can even see it in the second photo of me above. I don't "unweight" a ski -- I lift the tips slightly and unweight my whole body... Sounds like old-school hopping in the pow on skinny sticks, but it's much more subtle the faster you go, which fat skis allow you to do.

In this image from early April 05 at Alta, I'm unweighted... and so is the snow. Skiing on Fischer Watea's, 192cm with 101mm waist.



Another shot from sometime in January 05 at Mt. Baker, on BigStix 10.6 --

post #15 of 22
Nice pix BakerBoy. I just left Colorado and you aint making it any easier.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tief schnee
Nice pix BakerBoy. I just left Colorado and you aint making it any easier.
Well, everybody knows it doesn't snow in Colorado anymore...

Mt. Baker Jan '05


Mt. Baker '04 sometime


Alta April '05, again on 101mm waist skis.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgiddyup
Good afternoon Bears,

I have a question that's been bugging me since I got my first shaped ski's 2 yrs ago. I see many post about modern ski's less than XXX mm wide aren't wide enough to do well in powder, but my current ski's (K2 Axis XT (2004) 109/68/99) are much wider than my old non shaped ski's in every dimension yet it seems most would recommend something much wider for powder. Although I wasn't a great powder skier on my old ski's, I was semi-competent and it was a blast. It would seem to me that my new ski's would just make it that much easier? Unfortunately in my 4 western trips the past 2 yrs, ankle deep is the most I've been blessed with skiing on the XT's. Reason for asking is I'm thinking about some Apache Recons and will the extra 10mm waist width make a big difference and will they do well on the terrain I ski most (steep groomers)? Thanks for any opinions offered!
Well I'm no expert on it, but I went from a 68mm waist on my Xscreams to an 87mm waist on my Chubbs, and boy howdy what a world of difference. Your XTs are good dimensions for a lot of conditions, but once the snow gets over 8" or so, a wider waist makes for a whole different experience. If you are buying these skis primarily for powder/offpiste skiing, and you plan on keeping your XTs, treat yourself to something truely fat.
post #18 of 22
Baker Boy: I think we are really on the same page (and judging by your pictures I would love to be on your page more often). My point was that if you had been on jgiddy's 68 mm waisted skis in any of those pictures (judging by the speed you would have to be going to get through that wonderful stuff) and had put all your weight on one ski, you'd be screwed. The wider waisted more stable platform of you 101's allows for a much bigger margin of error in weighting your skis sepately. As you say, the weight should be pretty equal, but it is nice to have more forgiveness when things are not going according to plan. In 8" of new you can pretty much just stand on one and then the other, but when the going gets deep you need to plane on everything you've got.

People who are good powder skiers on narrow skis have no idea how much physical and mental energy they are using to stay balanced and turning until they try some fatties.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgiddyup
RJP/ I would probably sell the XT's if the Recon's work well on Hardpack/Groomers.
I own the older model xp's in 181, and really like em.
I demoed the legend 8000, and some metrons in Feb. I liked both, but nothing skis easier than the xp's (aka Recon)
They perform very well on groomers & hardpack & ride like a Town Car.
As for as powder, I took them up to Alta after 18" of fresh, and even though my skill level is not very high, I had a ball in the powder.
Just dont expect short turns, they do come around a little slower than the others I mentioned.

Hope this helps

Ray
post #20 of 22
When I bought my XP's (Recons), they were supposed to be for days we had fresh snow. The guy in the shop told me I'd never use the old skis again. He was right. They waited all winter in the locker and were not touched until I emptied the locker in April.
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Volant/Ray/Sib and everyone else thanks for the help and I think I'll be happy with the recons as I don't make to many short swing turns unless it's accident avoidance on a cat track Mud/Baker The technique you're discussing is something I began to pick up after a lesson last year as I had always used the "Step Turn" method that was prevalent in the early 80's when I began skiing. I now weight my skis about 70/30 downhill/uphill where as until the lesson it was 95/5. Using the old technique in powder obviously didn't work so I had to adjust on the fly to get down the hill, but it was all a "feel" thing which probably explains why I could rarely complete more than 8-10 turns before I had to stop and "reset" or a fall would probably occur. My goal this year is to move up from the mid/lower advanced level to a little higher plain and I'm thinking a trip to ESA might be the ticket
post #22 of 22
As to accident avoidance, here is my tale of horror avoided.

Last President's Day or some other holiday when we get invaded by the out of town crowd, I was coming across a narrow, but fairly flat trail at a pretty good clip. I was about to head down a trail quite favored by snowboarders and there were a bunch of them behind me that I wanted to stay behind me instead of doing that zigzag thing in front of me or stopping to unstrap for the upcoming cat track. To my right, cliff city, a sharp drop, lots of trees barely hanging on. To my left the other half of that equation, but the up version. Ahead of me, a bunch of idiots (6?) all stopped across the track, which was all of six feet wide. They are looking up, not at me. I am rapidly trying to guess how to weave through them without going over the ledge. Suddenly, out of the heavens above seemingly, a skier drops down off the darn left hand cliff DIRECTLY IN MY PATH. They're all screaming to the guy to watch out for me. I guess they were supposed to be doing that for him, but were too busy admiring his prowess as he edged sideways down the hill. Anyway, guy lands in my path out of nowhere. Somehow I managed to avoid him, avoid all his buddies, avoid going over the side and keep on skiing. I still don't know what I did exactly, only that I dodged the bullet, and it was probably 20 feet too late when I yelled back at them, "What the *&^% is the matter with you @$$9876s?"

From that I realized that my reactions are probably loads better than my head tells me when I try to plan my way down a mogul field, but the point is, the XP/Recon's handled it just fine.
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