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Suggestions for a soft wide off-piste ski?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to get a ski for off-piste use and was hoping for some suggestions. I am a level 8/9 skier, very comfortable with speed on the groomers but less on offpiste. I can perform restraction turns on the groomers, or off-piste when conditions are good (nice powder or on hard moguls, though the moguls make me pause). But on heavy or crusty days I run into a lot of trouble. I get fearful and slow down quite a bit for fear I won't be able to complete a turn in time - the natural result is, I wind up overturning and start doing a lot of catchy skidding and very sloppy extension turns (emphasis on sloppy). It gets ugly. I really like soft skis - favorite skis right now are my Rossignol 9s Oversize (in 158 cm - I am 5'10 and weigh 155). I'd like to get a pair of wider skis, in the 80-90 mm waist range, that are quite soft longitudinally but are torsionally stiff. I tried a pair of Apache Recons yesterday and like the shape, but am looking for something softer.

If anyone lives in Tahoe, I skied the Corkscrew at Squaw (steep & scary) a couple of days ago and it was great, no problems and enjoyed it- because the snow was fluffy - the next run I did the groomer down Granite Chief (not groomed, it had 18" of heavy cut up snow) and got absolutely creamed. Next run I went back to the Corkscrew where I could enjoy myself. If you are familiar with the area, this is abnormal behavior!

-The Ferret
post #2 of 15
last year's pocket rocket
post #3 of 15
Hmmmm... see if you can get on a pair of Elan 999s. They are pretty surprising.
post #4 of 15
This year's - Rossi B3 (or Rossi B4 little wider @ 94mm)
post #5 of 15
The pocket rocket's good, but REALLY soft... if you get it on anything that's the least bit hard, they are downright dangerous. I like mine, but only when there's new snow.
post #6 of 15
I have the Pocket Rocket 164cm, the old Rossi B3 164cm (now the B4), and the Head im88 in a 164cm. I am 5' 5" and 145lbs and 47yo.

I ski in the Pacific Northwest. My favorite is the Head im88. Handles the crud great, surprisingly quick, and is the most fun on the groomers getting back to the lift. The Pocket Rocket is very fun, but gets tossed a little bit more in the heavy stuff. Incidently, I've been seeing more Randonee and Tele skiers on the Pocket Rocket recently. It is also good on the groomers. The old B3 is also great in the crud but can't carve the groomers at all.

I say demo them all first. The Pocket Rocket is the softest of the group, then the im88, and the Rossi is the stiffest.

If you like the 9s, you should also try the Atomic Metron series. Fat with lots of sidecut. But they aren't soft skis.

My best advice is to attend some all mountain camps.
http://www.skinastc.com/m1.html

My sister has skied with several of the instructors in Europe (Mark and Kathy Houston) and they are a fantastic group. It is remarkable what a few sessions can do to tune up your technique. I am a level 8-9 skier and do several camps a year with Gavin Hunter at Snowperformance.com. I ski much better, with more speed and confidence in all conditions now, and all with a much bigger smile!

Get your boots aligned and your stance evaluated. It is amazing what a lift here or there can do for your skiing.

Cheers,
JonnyMo
post #7 of 15
Good advice, JonnyMo. We can also add to the list EpicSki's own ESA.
post #8 of 15
80-90mm - soft but stiffer torsionally than the PR. OK here's a few.
  • Salomon 1080 foil, a bit stiffer torsionally than the PR and stiffer tail.
  • Atomic M-Ex not real soft but softer than a B3 and very firm torsion.
  • Dynastar 8800: A little stiffer in beam, but a balanced flex opposed to mush tail like a park ski. Stiffer torsion.
  • K2 Outlaw: Pretty soft beam, medium torsion very damp.
SJ
post #9 of 15
REI has last year's Pocket Rockets on sale right now. The Seattle store had a lot of them last week. They will ship them to your local store for no fee, you just have to go pick them up at the store. I highly recommend them for what you are describing.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

How about women's skis?

Thanks for all the recommendations - I've got a nice list of skis to demo if this storm they're predicting rolls in next week...

A couple of people recommended Rossis - what's the deal with women's skis? The Bandit B2W is 78 mm underfoot with a 13.7 M sidecut - which sounds interesting. I imagine they are softer then men's skis? I have a sharpie so I can turn them into "B2WM" ("B2 Weally Manly") if need be.
post #11 of 15
I'll give my usual warning about Pocket Rockets. If you drive the tips of your skis at the beginning of a turn you'll hate the Pocket Rockets. The PRs have a soft, reverse camber tip. This really helps keep the tips from diving and makes them easy initiate a to turn in deep powder. The downside if you put a lot of pressure on the tips you'll overpower them. I love my PRs and have recommended them to numerous friends that love them but I have also steered friends away because of their technique.

Another ski to look at that is soft is the K2 Seth Pistol from last year. It has a more even flex through out the ski than the PR & is a bit stiffer in the tips and tails. You can find some good deals on them if you look around.

Yet another discontinued model to consider is the Nordica Beast 92 TT (which is sometimes called the 12TT or just the Nordica Beast.....be sure it has a 92mm waist.) These have about the same flex as the PRs but don't have the softened up tip & tail. They are torsionally stiffer which makes them decent on groomers. I have a pair & use them in most conditions only bringing out the PRs when the snow is deep & soft.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by theferret
Thanks for all the recommendations - I've got a nice list of skis to demo if this storm they're predicting rolls in next week...

A couple of people recommended Rossis - what's the deal with women's skis? The Bandit B2W is 78 mm underfoot with a 13.7 M sidecut - which sounds interesting. I imagine they are softer then men's skis? I have a sharpie so I can turn them into "B2WM" ("B2 Weally Manly") if need be.
The Rossi B2W and B3W are definitely softer than the men's versions. How do you look in powder blue?...............

SJ
post #13 of 15
Given your description of what you are trying to achieve, I would go 90+.

A 165 or 175 PR might do it for you. If you go with PRs, be careful of one thing though. Make sure you mount them in an appropriate place for the kind of skiing you plan to do. At least with the old blue ones, the mark was pretty far forward - geared more for park/jib. People mounting for general skiing/powder ended up being happier going back a bit. The "rule of thumb" from a number of sources, including Salomon ended up at -1cm for the 165, -2cm for the 175, and -3cm for the 185. I don't know if they left the mark in the same place on the blue/silver ones or not... Can anyone comment? And along the same lines, a binding like a Railflex or a Neox will let you play around with where you are on the ski if you get it in the right general location to start with (see "rule of thumb"). As for torsional rigidity, unless you are a super-massively athletic turner, I suspect the PR is fine for anyone at 155 poounds. Just a highly subjective guess...

Something a bit out of the ordinary to think about... I need to get a review up, but I've recently been playing around on Phantom Crystal Ships. 160cm and 113 underfoot. 12 meter radius and super soft. I'm liking them a ton for soft snow. More than a ton actually. So far, they have handled deep (between shin and waist deep) skier tracked snow amazingly well. They just stay right on top while everyone else is whining about the cutup snow, I've been feeling like I'm on fresh powder... I confess to finding them a challenge on packed groomers and crust (and managed a huge eject after planting a very wide tip in a lump of some mashed potatos), but narrow trails, little powder shots, trees, etc, are a total riot - and I mean total riot - with a few inches of soft snow to play on. They are convincing me that fat and short is a good choice for "messing about" type skiing, which is what I tend to do. The Phantoms take the design concept to an extreme, but they are way cool - and they've convinced me that short, fat, and very sidecut can make for a very versatile ski off-piste and on softer groomers - and still muddle through on harder snow. Check them out at http://www.skiphantom.com
post #14 of 15
Salomon Gun Lab
A little more waist than you want, and not cheap - but they're handmade.
135-101-126


Oops! Misread. You want a SOFT ski! Sorry. Maybe the one on the right, then. Too nice a pic to delete.
post #15 of 15
Those pocket rockets are nasty! I never quite got the hang of them, but they bashed me up. I couldn't feel them, and they always felt wrong (and they were rather long). I think they twisted! They felt so vague.

I feel the K2 Phat Luvs a lot better. They have a bit more shape, a bit more fatness, not much absorption or strength, but they're more pilotable.

Sounds like the OP has really analysed his failings and needs, which I'm impressed by. BUT! I think he needs to go taste a few different skis, to test and maybe confirm his analysis.

I reckon, he needs, like he says, a softer slower ski, but I also think he might benefit from a ski that tracks true, strong, and doesn't get deflected easily. This is from my own experience. I'm speed and terrain wimp, and I've got more confident this season with a set of strong whippy race skis that smash through anything and make me feel like Arnie in bumps.

Like the OP feels, the right skis can elevate you massively. I am a huge believer in equipment. you can cheat, and you can advance, through using the right equipment. But, I think you need to work out some possibles, then go and taste them.
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