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the need for powder skis?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am a middle Atlantic and Midwest skiier and I think that my new pair of Atomic 9.22s with Marker 1200 pistons will suit me for about everything I will encounter on my home mountains. I, however, did recently get an invitation to visit friends in the Denver area and ski with them for a while this winter. To get to the point, I was wondering what powder boards to invest in if I do accept their invite? I am 5'11", 175-180lbs, and would classify myself as a high intermediate skiier (hopefully bordering on low expert by the end of this season). I was thinking about a R:ex in either 168 or 177cm or a Pocket Rocket in 175cm as starting points for looking around. I do know that these are vastly different skis, but since I have no experience with powder skis I do not know what kind of fat skis I should be looking at. Thanks for any advice given...
post #2 of 14
Short of dropping a whole lot of advice on you, I do have a friend who is selling a 177 REX used only a few times for fairly cheap. PM me if your interested, they are in perfect condition.

I like powder skis, but they may not be totally necessary. Depending on how long you will be there, might want to consider just renting a pair if the skys dump.
post #3 of 14
How long will you be skiing in CO? You might want to consider renting from the demo line at someone like Breeze Ski Rental while out there. Atomic R:EX's are in their demo line as are other powder skis. As an East coast skier that sees one week a year out west and if I'm lucky, one or two days of deep pow that week, it's MUCH cheaper to rent when needed. Otherwise, your current boards will do just fine in a few inches (to even knee/thigh deep) of fresh. I personally would only bother with powder skis for the big dump powder days. If a dump is predicted, grab the skis the night before so you are ready.

Actually, I think you'll find that those 9,22's work pretty well in pow, although they might be a hair short.

[ September 10, 2003, 01:37 PM: Message edited by: Taylormatt ]
post #4 of 14
From the description you gave, I would recommend that you *not* buy fatties for this trip. If you get dumped upon when in Colorado, rent some. This will let you experience different lengths, stiffness, etc. of these skis.

Instead, I would recommend putting the money you would spend into a ski which you will likely use much more frequently around home like a short SL9, or some similar 12-14 meter sidecut ski. You won't believe how different they are than your 9.22's. They will take your technique up a whole level.

That said, I will confess that I do get a surprising ammt of use out of my fat skis here in the East - almost always in deeply rotted spring snow. Most people on the hill are exhausted from it - I love it. However, the point is that I have both options instantly available to me and I get MUCH MORE use out of my shortie 9.16's than I ever get out of my fatties.

One final comment. If you are bound and determined to buy fatties (ie, that will eventually probably see most of their use in heavy spring eastern snow), I can understand the attraction. In this case, I would strongly recommend a pair of 170-ish Explosivs. At your weight they are a bit stiff for real powder, but will be great for our dense slop. Skip right over the 80'ish mm skis. Between your 9.22's and the 95 mm Explosivs that I am recommending, you will more than cover the range of conditions in which 80-ish mm skis are best. I can speak with authority on this because I also own a pr of 10ex's (the predecessor to the Rex).

There are now a huge number of fat skis on the market, and one can go crazy trying to select from this group, but the Explosive is a design which has been proven over about the past 6 years and which has remained essentially unchanged for that entire time. It is the de facto fat ski of people who use fat skis a lot. For example, over on powdermag.com, there is so much discussion of Explosivs themselves, as well as discussion of Explosivs versus every other fattie, that there now is a separate thread devoted to just indexing the best of these other threads:


A search on either Epic or Powder will turn up a huge number of hits on "Explosivs". Without a doubt, they are the most discussed fat ski in history.


Tom / PM

PS (in edit) - Don't worry about the stiffness of the Explosivs. My kid does just fine on a pr of 168's: http://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultim...=004376#000000

[ September 10, 2003, 02:04 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #5 of 14
The Atomic R9.22 is a great all-around ski and should do good for most of your stay in Colorado. In order to save money I would use them except on powder days when I would rent some fat skis to maximize your enjoyment. Renting has an added advantage of allowing you to try before you buy. Fat skis vary widely in stiffness, width, sidecut, etc. and it is hard to guess which boards you'll like.
post #6 of 14
FWIW, a skier of a given wt is likely to pick a softer ski when demoing in fluffy powder than when demoing in heavy slop, so demo'ing skis in the high country that will probably see most of their use in Eastern spring conditions may not be as productive as it might seem. For example, tip-dive is simply not a problem in slop, but is one of the main driving forces towards going softer is skis purchased for real powder use.

Tom / PM

[ September 10, 2003, 02:13 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #7 of 14
I'd agree that the 9.22's are suitable for powder. Lots of people mount them with touring bindings to ski powder. Besides, powder is highly over rated, anyway. I'd even let you go ahead of me. Just my opinion, though.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
I should have prefaced that a major in buying the 9.22s was that I was looking for a better ski for eastern glades skiing, particularly at Timberline, WV and maybe Jay Peak, VT if I am lucky. I wanted a ski to be able to handle the whole mountain, to use that cliche, and also get me through tight spots (hopefully in powder) in the glades. If the 9.22s are as good (or competent) in powder as some have posted, than maybe looking into getting a pair of short slaloms (i.e. 160cm Atomic SL9s) would be a better choice. To all who have posted - thanks again for your advice. Only 80 days until Wintergreen, VA is due to open - you westerners make me jelaous.

Also, PM, what length of a short slalom would you recommmend for someone of my size? Thakns again.

[ September 10, 2003, 03:47 PM: Message edited by: aschir01 ]
post #9 of 14
> ...in buying the 9.22s was that I was looking for a better ski for eastern glades skiing...

From your profile, I see that your 72 mm wide 9.22's are 170's. Good choice. They should be great for eastern trees, especially if any new snow has settled for a day or two or has been packed down by traffic. (Note added in edit after seeing a later comment: FYI, I usually ski my 74 mm wide, 173 cm Enemy TT in tight trees.)

BTW, I'm glad that you gave more info about your intended use for the fats that you are contemplating. If I had know this as I was writing my previous message, I would have put the purchase of fats a bit higher in the priority list I gave. I'm pushing 60 and pretty cautious in the trees, so I do a lot of defensive skidded, snow-pushing turns in the woods. The advantage of short fats over more narrow skis is that they can stay high in loose snow and more easily do these types of speed controlling turns. BTW, other than last year, how often have you actually seen the T-line (WVa) glades reasonably covered so that they were open and you didn't have to fear for your p-tex?

> ...Also, PM, what length of a short slalom would you recommmend for someone of my size?...

My 9.16's are 170's, but I am pretty heavy (210 lbs) and probably a year or two behind the curve in the downsizing process. You can undoubtedly go shorter than I did. There has been a lot of recent discussion of this on Epic, e.g., How Short To Go With A Short Hard Snow / Fun Ski,
so I'm going to defer to others on an exact size recommendation, but I would guess somewhere around 160.

Tom / PM

[ September 11, 2003, 06:43 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #10 of 14
some of you guys ought to actually ski on these skis you talk about. I am as big as the original poster and have owned all iterations of the 9.22 and tested all sizes and can assure you that a 170 cm. ski r-9 is too small, particularly in powder where length is important.
post #11 of 14
y'all better pay attention, erdz knows his shyte.

nice to see you in here, Erdz.

post #12 of 14
>> ...I am as big as the original poster and have owned all iterations of the 9.22 and
>> tested all sizes and can assure you that a 170 cm. ski r-9 is too small, particularly
>> in powder where length is important...

> ...in buying the 9.22s ... I was looking for a better ski for eastern glades skiing...

Sure, in general, a 170 is pretty short for 175 lb guy on a ski as soft as a 9.22, but in his second post, Aschir01 said specifically that he bought his 9.22 for (tight) eastern glades; not for powder, and not for cruising / maching. From his profile you can see that he also owns a 190 cm 9.18 which should be fine for his higher speed activities. I can probably point you to at least a couple of dozen regular posters on Powder and Epic who go small and soft for glades. Personally, I usually ski a 173 Enemy in tight eastern trees (usually, settled/compacted snow).

Rio and Dark Horse did comment that a 9.22 is ok for powder, but I suspect that they hadn't noticed that he only had a 170 version. I think its pretty clear that the concensus recommendation was for him to rent a powder ski when the need arises, not to use his short 9.22's.

Tom / PM

PS - Gonz, for some reason I'm dredging up this ancient memory trace that you once worked with Erdz in the store, but I don't remember you ever being in DC. Am I going batty?

[ September 10, 2003, 09:38 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #13 of 14
Gonz - Ignore the "PS" in my previous message. I convinced myself I'm not going batty (yet). I found the message from you that I was not remembering.

Tom / PM

[ September 11, 2003, 07:06 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #14 of 14
you got it, Tom. Brian taught me a LOT about ski equipment when I worked there, especially ski response based on design, and most valuably, bootfitting. Brian's a very intelligent and detail-oriented person. You won't go wrong heeding his advice.

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