Originally Posted by Bob Peters
Go back ten years and watch footage of Schmidt and Coombs and Nobis skiing exactly that same kind of terrain and conditions on skis that y'all would laugh at today. Go back even further than that and watch Phil Mahre or Pepi Stiegler rip gigantic and fast backcountry lines on skis with a 60mm waist.
True but in flicks they always have perfect snow conditions. Read the other thread about "new age powder skis" where "Tyrone Shoelaces" describes the versatility of his DP Lotus 138 on variable snow (especially on what some people would call "crappy snow")...the new skis are making that term (finally) truly irrelevant. I guess that's the biggest point for us "normal" skiers to have "superfat" skis, it just makes skiing much more fun on those REALISTIC conditions, which tend to be slush, sun cups, crud, mashed up snow etc more often than pure pow.
(Ok, my point of view is also that if there's some off piste to ski, then groomers are purely for traversing form spot to spot and so on...if I have more fun off piste, I'm not missing much the lost performance on the groomer sections)
Besides, today it's not that much about what you can do but how you do it. I think powder skiing is getting closer to the surfing stylewise...with new desings you can play much more with the terrain features and be creative (and this is not just backwards landings as many people tend to believe). Sure Nobis went straight (amazing feat as itself), but the likes of McConkey, Pollard, Harrison etc. are all adding a little spice to the mix, whether it is stomping big drops cleaner and faster than ever before, mixing "slide" moves to the steep spines or hitting zero spins off cliffs.
Watch e.g. Pollard ski, and it is pretty hard to state that his style isn't quite unique and totally different from the guys you mentioned. And the guy actually uses very wide 110-150(!)mm middle skis with reasonable sidecut in pow and carves his turns, very low & wide position...I'd even say that his turns must be much more appealing to the "Epic crowd" than Nobis' straightlining / SG style...and the guy is an icon to the new school crowd (which stereotypically is the exact opposite to the people posting here!)