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Expert in a Novice Land

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Okay kids, here's the story.

Skied all my life on east coast terrain, with traditional sidecut skis. That's all I've ever known.

I recently moved to California, however, and brought with me:

(1) my trusty traditionals (Rossi Excess 201 - an oldie but goodie)
(2) a pair of Dynastar slalom skis (model escapes me) with a parabolic form factor, that I have never skied on.

So, I forsee a bit of a compound problem here. Not only will this season be my first experience in west-coast skiing, but I'm thinking I'm going to have to do it on a ski that I have no experience with. My logic is as follows -

I will likely encounter powder... real, actual powder. My understanding is that my Rossi's just don't have the surface area to keep me up in the deep stuff. The best tradeoff I have, since I don't have any widebody skis, is to use the parabolics, which baloon out like the dickens at the tip and tail. But, while that might solve the first problem, it means I'm going to have to learn a whole new type of ski in an unfamiliar environment.

I should clarify, I'm not really worried about reverting to a stage of incompetence on the mountain; I'm confident that I'll take to it plenty quickly. Moreso, I'm just trying to get myself into the right head space before my first time out and make sure I don't have things working against me.

I'll most likely be skiing at Mammoth. For those in the know, am I gonna be able to find a good selection of terrain to use to get my sea legs (or is it ski legs?) honed in on this new stuff? And furthermore, will parabolics truly be the better option for powder in the absence of an actual widebody ski?

What'chy'all think? Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 18

expert in a novice land

i cant speak to mammoth as i have never been there but i can get u in the right state of mind pretty quickly. you'll be fine. if your a good skier on those old sticks your a good skier on parabolics. it will take some getting used to but it still beats the hell out of not skiing. once you get the shaped ski feel you'll never go back. good luck and enjoy the white stuff
post #3 of 18
I think your biggest problem is that your legs are going to turn into jelly, along with the rest of your body, at the sheer amount of terrain, the variety, etc. and then your body will hurt from kicking yourself for not having been out west sooner.
As far as the skis, I think you're going to be fine. Think about it, there's always been powder, but there hasn't always been huge pontoon style sidecut skis. And people have always ripped. Have fun!
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Gentlemen.

Fears: allayed.

Thanks much for the warning about kicking myself. I'll try to keep that to a minimum.
post #5 of 18
Do yourself a favor and just go out an buy (ski swaps are happening as we speak) a better pair of skis. Get some big Western fats. Mammoth will have more often soft crud than anything else, and big, wide skis excell on that kind of snow. The down side is that they float too much in true powder conditions, leaving you with a feeling of skiing on the snow instead of in it.

Powdr
post #6 of 18
I'm not sure what everyone considers fat or mid-fat these days... I'm on a pair of 1080 Spaceframes, about 4-5 seasons old, and they still RIP in every condition. Granted, they don't float over the powder, but who wants to do that when you could be getting face shots?
post #7 of 18
you're gonna find that the definitions/parameters of mid-fats and fats has changed.

2 seasons ago when I began riding "shaped" skis for the first time I thought anything over an 80 waist was a mid-fat.

Last season "wider is better" was the mantra extolled by almost everyone at the shops I was demoing at. "Normal" is now what I once called mid-fat (84-88 waist) and slim-fat is anything under 100. Fatties usually need to be about 100-110 minimum.

So I would say if you have something in the 87-97 range you're on a pretty good mid-fat.

I bought Mantras and Karmas last year (94 and 87 respectively) and ended up skiing the Mantras far more than I would have thought.

As for how the shift is? It's pretty easy. You're gonna find the slightly wider skis to be really manageable and easy to groove into after only a few runs. And yeah, you might be hard pressed to go back to the long and thin unless you start watching old Glen Plake and Scott Schmidt videos (they've made me want to re-mount my 198 Rossi 7S's just for the hell of it).

As for Mammoth...only skied it twice in my life and both days were on hero summer corn during the 4th of July weekend (on my Mantras, too). Can't wait to hit it for some "normal" winter conditions!

Last comment: if you're concerned about wider skis, then demo some early in the season. Try the Karma (87), the Mantra (94) and a few in-between to get a general vibe of a mid-fat and fat.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Ya know, demoing is a great idea... I can't believe that didn't occur to me. I'll definitely do so before making any attempts at shopping for new gear.

FYI, Glenn Plake and Scott Schmidt will always have a place in my heart, which means that traditional sidecuts will as well. I don't think I'll ever *not* own a pair... which is fine for me, I don't mind having choices
post #9 of 18
My experience: It took me about 3 days to learn how to ski the deep stuff. I was not much into pivoting at the time though. Pivoting is easy on ice, not so easy when you skis are under a foot of snow. Biggest problem for me learning how to ski the deeper softer snow was tipping to too big an angle and having the skis submarine. Keeping the feet closer together and using both skis as one helped a lot.

Learning how to ski the shaped skis took hardly any time at all.

Your old skis will hold you up fine. Just ski faster. I don't know about Mamoth, but most places in the west are a little more wide open, so you might want to forget the slaloms and get some long-radius freeride skis.
post #10 of 18
Sell all that crap and buy a pair of used wide boards. Stop calling them parabolics or no one will ski with you.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by onyxjl View Post
Stop calling them parabolics or no one will ski with you.
Have things changed that much in the little time I've been away? Sorry to have offended you. So, shaped skis, is it? Super-sidecuts? What is still accepted terminology?

Thank god I didn't make a post about figgles...
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ritmusic2k View Post
What is still accepted terminology?
How about skis.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ritmusic2k View Post
Have things changed that much in the little time I've been away? Sorry to have offended you. So, shaped skis, is it? Super-sidecuts? What is still accepted terminology?

Thank god I didn't make a post about figgles...
They all have shape now. The sidecuts differ. Supershapes are a Head property. We call them skis . Like always . The older ones are called straight skis.

Now what in heck are figgles???
post #14 of 18
ritmusic2k, welcome to EpicSki! You'll certainly get a lot of opinions here. Some worth what you pay for them... Others worth many multiples of that!

That said, demoing is a great idea. The other element that you may not even consider that I'd like to bring up is your boots. While back in the days of straight skis we wanted our boots to aid us in getting as much pressure to the tips as possible in an effort to get them to initiate and have some semblance of a carve, today we want to balance more in the center of the ski (and therefore the center of our boots). Boot balancing is a relatively new skill, and you can read more about it in the Gear forums. But, I would go so far as to say that you might consider getting into a pair of the right boots first and have them balanced first, then demo skis to dial in your experience.

I highly recommend our own Bud Hieshman (you can send him a PM to him by clicking here). The only downside is that he's in Reno. I'd still recommend him. There's a lot more to getting into the right boot than how it fits anymore...

Drop into the Gear forums. You'll get a lot more specific input there.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by onyxjl View Post
Sell all that crap and buy a pair of used wide boards. Stop calling them parabolics or no one will ski with you.
C'mon, onyxjl, don't hold back! Tell us how you really feel.

Is that why no one was skiing with you last year?
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Oh, man, sounds like I'm in for some psychological restructuring if I do take the leap into newer gear. Sounds like fun, all the same.


ssh, thanks for the info. While I'll definitely check out the gear forum, I know that's gonna be something further down the road... my financial priorities won't allow for it quite yet.

Oh, and 'figgles' were a (possibly local) term for the predecessor to ski-skates, or whatever those might be called today. They were a balance training tool for racers. Take an old ski you don't care about, and chop it in roughly half, right in front the front binding. Take that front half and mount bindings to it, and rock out down the mountain.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
Is that why no one was skiing with you last year?
Like I said, if you call them parabolics nobody skis with you. It's a word of warning. Hey I'm thinking about comming out to Copper for a weekend this winter. You be up for showing me around some?

Ritmusic2k can join us and we can break in his new pair of skis. I'll lend him my Monster 88s and I'll take his figgles. Believe it or not all the cool kids are on figgles now, a.k.a snowlerblades, in the terrain park.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
If only I could swing a trip to Colorado this season...
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