I am a firm believer that a ski that’s much fatter than 70mm underfoot is not the best everyday all-mountain ski for the East. I know, you’ll hear lots of people say otherwise, but usually it’s from people who don’t ski in the East (or perhaps guys who don’t know any better or think they have something to prove
). What most skiers out West consider to be firm or icy snow is practically a powder day for the East Coast.
Seriously, we WISH their firm/icy snow was the worst we’d ever get here.
I have three skis: a Salomon unisex race ski that’s 62mm underfoot, the Salomon Scream W8 with 76mm underfoot (I believe this is the precursor to the Siam), and the K2 Phat Luv with 90mm underfoot (new Phat Luv is 95mm). Jay Peak is my home mountain, but I do my fair share of skiing at other Eastern resorts, including Tremblant. The woman’s Salomon Scream is very close to the Lotta Luv (which is 78mm underfoot). In fact, I think it’s got a better hold on the firmer/icier conditions than the Lotta Luv. I spent several days this past season trying out the Scream on both firm snow and just plain ice, and every time, I eventually switched to my race skis because they had far better grip. Yes, I COULD ski all day on the Scream, I am skilled enough to do that (I’ve even skied all day on ice on my Phat Luvs—the powder day that wasn’t), but why do that when it is not the best ski for those conditions? It was much more work to get them up on edge, while my race skis were like being on rails. Which means it was much more fun on the race skis.
Also, you say you spend half the time in the bumps. A ski that’s around 70mm is much quicker and snappier than the fatter Lotta Luv. Personally I like the Burnin Luv for the kind of conditions we have here. It’s great on ice and firm snow, is quick in the bumps, but also has enough float on a powder day (yes, I’ve skied it in more than 2 feet of freshies and had a blast!). My husband is a patroller and most of the patrollers say that if they had only one ski, it would be around 70mm (men and women seem to agree on this point).
My advice: Demo. This is the kind of thing you really need to experience for yourself. Who knows, you might decide you think the Lotta Luv is “it.” Or you might decide on a ski that you previously wouldn’t have even considered. I do suggest you test ski brands that have better reputations as “ice skis” than the K2—such as Volkl, Atomic and Fischer—especially if you do want to go fatter.
All that said, I admit that I spend most of my days on my Screams, but Jay does get considerably more snow than other Eastern resorts (Stowe comes close, but the others lag pretty far behind in that regard), plus it gets a lot less traffic to ski it off. I also spend about 90 percent of my time in the trees. If I lived out West, my all-mountain ski would be something like the Lotta Luv or the Scream. I wouldn’t even consider a “skinnier” ski because I wouldn’t need it. But since I live here, my next purchase of an all-mountain ski will not be wider than 70mm underfoot (72mm would be the fattest I’d go and I think that might be pushing it). It’s time to replace the race ski soon, and the Burnin Luv is on the top of my list for that (but I’m always demoing to see if that impression changes).
I hope that helps some.