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Big Guy on Wateas Review (Spring Conditions)

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
6’ 5”, 215 lbs, and have been skiing every type of snow condition and terrain for the last 25 yrs.

*Getting older, can still rip but definitely do not ski as fast as the young bucks anymore.

*Have a pretty good quiver including all-round: 184cm Atomic REXs, powder: 190cm K2 AK Launchers, specially bump ski: 184cm Saloman Cross Max 09s (don’t laugh they work great for skiing steep bumps on hard snow all day), 204cm Stockli Stormriders for fast cruising in any condition, and various other alpine, tele and AT skis.

•Hate stiff tail skis because I resent the kick in the middle of the turn, and I generally make bigger GS type runs whenever possible

Skis: Fischer Wateas 192 cm (the only size they make), 134-101-124, Radius 25m
Bindings: Atomic Xentri CR 614s with 5 positions
Boot:Dalebello Kryptons (after 10 days with stiff tongues I switched to the soft ones for this test.)

Conditions: Spring, including winter snow, ice, slush, mank (last weekend at Alta & Snowbird)

I had the bindings mounted on center with the ability to move them 0.75 or 1.5cm forward or back. I started on hardpack to get a feel for the skis and quickly discovered that they sucked mounted on-center. They felt squirrelly and did not allow me to work the back of the ski. After experimenting on several positions I liked them the best at the rear position of 1.5cm behind center. I do not know about the biomechanics, but this may have something to do with my height or having size 12.5 feet, or it could be the skis.

Packed Runs: I skied on fresh corduroy that had been packed while wet and then refrozen, some that had been skied down to smooth ice, and packed runs in various stages of melting slush. The skis did not do well on hard snow and washed out when push. The combination of soft ski with wide waist made for nice controlled drift but my weight overpowered them pretty quickly. Once it softened up a little they started to carve better, but I had to be gentle with them.

Slush: I hit Mineral Basin the first morning just as it was starting to soften. It had melted the day before so it was frozen tracks, lumps and generally funky snow. I jumped in while it was still a little crunchy and not totally soft and was surprised at how well the skis carved the ugly snow. I had read a review on TGR where the guy described the tips being deflected all over the place, but if you just ignored it the skis tracked right where you wanted them to go, and that is exactly what they were doing. It was disconcerting at first but I was able to carve big smooth turns in the crappy snow. For the first few runs I had the entire bowl to myself because nobody else would venture off the packed runs. A stiffer ski would have railed through the same snow but the Wateas where smoothly arcing tighter turns than I could have on a stiffer ski, and with less effort. I continued to ski them as it softened up and turned from nice corn to down right muck. It hit 80 degrees in SLC on Saturday and must have been 60 on the mountain, but the Wateas continued to surf the sludge. I have never been on a ski that soft that would handle snow that heavy. I was continually amazed at how nimble and quick turning they felt in the heavy snow.

Winter Snow: The top of Silver Fox and Great Scott were the only places on the mountain that still had winter snow that had not gone through melt-freeze. They had 15” new earlier that week, so there was some steep good winter snow. The Wateas carved it up without any problem and the soft flex made them arc without a kick on the steeps just like I prefer. Again, they were quite nimble and quick turning considering their length, width and long radius sidecut.

Bumps: I skied a few small winter snow bumps and quite a few slush bumps and the skis were just OK, but that is not where I generally would be taking them anyway.

Conclusion: As a deep snow ski I think the Wateas perform very well for a larger person. Considering how they performed in the sludge and how soft flexing and wide the tips are, I cannot imagine how sweet they will be in powder. I was consistently skiing weird snow and have a better time of it than the few others that ventured in before it was really good skiing. They definitely ski shorter than their 192 length, partly because of the turned up tails, and I could not really notice any length drawback from my 184 REXs in any situation.

They are advertised as a “big mountain” ski but for anyone my size I think they would be too soft for excessive speed, and there are many big gun stiffer skis for that type of skiing. The Wateas are not an all-round ski but if you are looking for a deep snow smooth ride and don’t mind not having any snap I certainly give them a high recommendation. I see them as a bigger and slightly beefier version of the Chubb. I was looking for something to replace my AK Launchers but a little bigger and a little more versatile, and the Wateas more than filled the bill.
post #2 of 2
Yeah if you want somethin a bit stiffer for the more "big mountain" type ski i would suggest the Atua. Thing frickin rips. Medium stiffness all around, tails were pretty stiff so no back seat riding. But its not a stiff monster like the Head M103 so you can have tons of fun without getting punished for bad technique.
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