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Giant Carvers (ya want one??)

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
So………what pray tell do I mean by giant carver?

T’would be a stiff ski, usually with an aggressive shape say +or- 20M or so, and usually with the best hard snow plated technology that the ski maker has to offer. The “giant” part comes from the incoming 90mm versions of this concept from Fischer and Nordica.

The marketing dept says………. “all the grip and power of a traditional carver but with the wider shape that the all mountain skier needs to excel in powder and crud. This is the ultimate extension of the one ski quiver concept.”

I’m not so sure but here is my take…………………..

The current crop which includes the wildly successful Volkl AC-4 and the equally good Nordica JF and AB are good on groomers for sure, but they certainly lack the quickness and manuverability of their narrower brethren. What about the soft stuff?? Well….those skis are again pretty good but not great. Although the AB stands a little above the other two, none are exactly stellar. In shallow crud where the sidecut is still working, this group is pretty good, but when it gets deep enough to sorta float and sorta not, the skier is challenged to generate enough speed or muscle to flex the ski. Again, not bad…..but not as good as the lighter more nimble skis like Snoops, 8800’s, Fury, and various iterations of all mountain twin tips in this width range.

Now enter the Hellcat and the Big Heat. Speaking to the ‘Cat which I have skied, this is as grippy, damp, and powerful as the previous entries but the width is getting noticeable for sure. In the shallower soft snow, the ‘cat sliced well, but did not feel like it wanted to float in the few little pockets of deeper snow that I found. In a tight spot where it was beginning to get moguled, they were ponderous at best. I can’t imagine the Fischer is going to be much different. I really like the Hellcat but it wouldn’t be my first choice if there was more than a foot down. There are many other skis of similar widths that I’d take instead.

So, I’m wondering what we are gaining here. In the quest to be all things to all people, have the ski makers gotten to a point where these skis are not really an answer to anything? Certainly within almost any shape range, a lighter more nimble ski is easier to ski in imperfect conditions except maybe for a few skiers for whom speed is the end goal. Note that I said easier not necessarily better. (although somewhat easier is certainly better for me and probably for many others as well)

In the interest of market research……….what do ya’ll think?????

SJ
post #2 of 25

can you imagine the all purpose shoe?

good for work, dress, walking, running, hiking, water, sand, snow ?
post #3 of 25
these kinda of already exist. Mantra, Legend Pro, Squads, are some names that come to mind.......

Plus I am fan of skis long straight and fat skis and these sound right up my alley.
post #4 of 25
Just my preliminary thoughts: Wider is the current trend- it allows people to identify themselves as sick "all-mountain" skiers. The truth though is that 90% will continue to be on the hardpack 90% of the time. The manufacturers know this. The trick then is to make a hardpack ski that can proclaim itself a trendy all-mountain ski. It may not be a great hardpack ski but it will be marketable. Maybe I'm being a little too cynical...
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostboy View Post
Just my preliminary thoughts: Wider is the current trend- it allows people to identify themselves as sick "all-mountain" skiers. The truth though is that 90% will continue to be on the hardpack 90% of the time. The manufacturers know this. The trick then is to make a hardpack ski that can proclaim itself a trendy all-mountain ski. It may not be a great hardpack ski but it will be marketable. Maybe I'm being a little too cynical...
all mountain isnt about what skis your on, it about where and how you ski. even the fattest of skis can carve(railroad track) turns at speed. and the skinniest of skis can ski powder and crud fine if you know how.

for me my edging skills are top notch from being back east and my soft snow skills are good but not great. So I can more easily ski fatter skis on hard pack then I can ski skinny skis on soft snow. Plus the straighter sidecuts of most fat skis are better for going REALLY fast. than most carver type skis...
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
these kinda of already exist. Mantra, Legend Pro, Squads, are some names that come to mind.......

Plus I am fan of skis long straight and fat skis and these sound right up my alley.
These are typically neither, long nor straight. The HC and BH are both about 17-18m sidecuts and top out around 184. Also, both models are integrated/plated and hence have much more binding lift than any typical set up on the others you mention.

They be different critters entirely.

SJ
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra Jim
Giant Carvers (ya want one??)
Short answer....no.

I'm also wondering where industry is going with this niche.

I skied the Jet Fuel and found it to be too one dimensional. It's tons of fun to ski it fast and arc huge turns but is next to useless in bumps and while I didn't have a chance to ski it in pow I reckon it's too stiff to be of much use.

The way I see it, industry is testing the waters here in search of the perfect "one ski quiver" but I doubt it'll ever exist. Seems like the manufacturers are trying to push the biggish mid-fat concept but the advantages of big skis - powder float - are sacrificed.

Personally I'm more confortable on something like Mantra which isn't as damp or carve as well as Jet Fuel but offers far superior powder performance and can still hold a good line on the groomed or in the bumps.
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel View Post

Short answer....no.
As you can tell.....I'm not sold either. I think that when plated and built up like most of these skis are, their usefullness tops out in the low-mid 80's. I'd personally choose an AB over the 'Cat or the Big Heat because it is quite a bit more nimble most of the time. If it gets deep enough to want a wider ski than that, I'd rather be on a Snoop, or a Big Trouble, or something else thats a little easier.

I admit however, to having the choice of dozens of skis at any given time. Possibly some folks will see this as the panacea. A ski this big, with deep shape, and a lot of lift etc. takes a pretty skilled driver and personally, I think that a good number of those folks have several choices as well.

SJ
post #9 of 25
I like my Titan Nines. 20M radius, 86 waist in the 181cm model. It is kinda like my old GS ski of days gone by.
post #10 of 25
I think I would pass also.

For powder it sounds stiff enough to require some speed, but the side cut would probably make it feel a little hooky at speed (always an exciting combination when skiing in the trees). Also if you are heavy enough to get them to bend easily, you would probably what something more the ~185cm and 90mm waist in powder.

In the crud, again I would think the sidecut would cause the tail to catch every once in awhile. You wouldn’t get the smooth turn release that many of the current mid-90’s skis have.

Stiff and heavy, that sounds fun in the bumps.

Basically, it sounds like all the reasons I passed on the this year's Volkl AC4 - Just a wide groomer ski that might be OK in the crud.


How does the Head I.M88 fit in with these skis? Same concept? (It seems like the Head I.M88 is pretty popular.)
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostboy View Post
Just my preliminary thoughts: Wider is the current trend- it allows people to identify themselves as sick "all-mountain" skiers. The truth though is that 90% will continue to be on the hardpack 90% of the time. The manufacturers know this. The trick then is to make a hardpack ski that can proclaim itself a trendy all-mountain ski. It may not be a great hardpack ski but it will be marketable. Maybe I'm being a little too cynical...
Hear, hear! (or is it here, here?)

For those of us that ski 90% of our days in the east, these skis will not, cannot, perform as well as a ski designed more like a race ski. Pick your turn radius from 11M to >21M, a race cut ski will always perform better on the eastern "packed powder".

If you ski the fringes (off-piste at Stowe or Jay for example), my premise may not be correct...but how many folks really do that? I know I don't any more. Give me my 17M Fischers and my 13M Dynamics and I've got all of the skis I need for 90% of my days - the other 10% I'll have to go old school - I used to ski European powder on 207cm Lacroix Mach SL's! If I get a chance to get to Utah or Tahoe, I'm renting the big boys. Buying a pair of $1,000 skis for 5 days a year doesn't make a lot fo sense to me.

If I lived in Truckee or SLC or JH, my thought process would be different. But I don't, so no sense wasting bandwidth....
post #12 of 25
I'm always a little surprised when I see East Coast skiers on wide skis. I skied Stratton yesterday with two skiers who were both on Mantras. Both love the ski, but each had a different style on the machine tilled man-made snow.

The first skier was carving long GS/SG turns with excellent skill. This required hooligan speed (a kindred spirit to me). As I've seen before, some very gifted and fast skiers can carve a Giant Carver on hard snow like it's a FIS GS ski.

The second skier scarved his turns which gave him more agility at normal speeds. Yes, its less thrilling, but it is smooth, efficient, and ideal for variable snow. Most owners of Giant Carvers will be using this technique regardless of where they ski, East or West.

Personally I think that the new generation of 70-73mm Wide-Race-Carvers, like the Head Supershape Magnum (121-71-107) or Dynastar Contact 11 (122-72-102), serve the same type of skier better and are better for the kind of variable snow conditions that prevalent at most resorts, east or west.

I skied my 175cm Fischer WC RC (112-66-97mm) in the morning and my Contact 11's in the afternoon. The Contact 11 was capable of the same high-edge-angle carving heroics and provided the same edge-grip as the WC RC. However, the real world versatility of the Contact 11 is apparent even on firm snow. The ski is simply superior in every way to the much more specialized cheater GS ski.

IMO the new Wider-Race-Carvers will be far more usefull than the Giant-Carvers for 90% of the ski days seen by even the best skiers.

Cheers,

michael
post #13 of 25
I'm on the Jet Fuel now as my non-deep snow ski. 186; 126-84-112.
I wouldn't mind a fatter ski with this flex, and I'm not a big guy at 5'9"/170. I have no reason to go narrower either.

It seems that when skis get fat for pow, they also get softer to make turning easier in that deep stuff. But in cut up snow, fat skis flounder if they are of the skier-friendly derivitive (ie pocket rocket, etc.) I think a fat 20m radius ski that is stiff is a great resort ski. Not a great pow ski, but definetely a great resort ski. My nights here include wind-buff arcs and ice. I love the JF in those conditions and fatter would just be more welcome as long as it's not softer.

Perhaps ski companies are learning that fat skis, given the proper construction, can still hold an edge on hard snow.
post #14 of 25
How did they ski when sized -15 cm?
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
In the interest of market research……….what do ya’ll think?????

SJ
That it's going to be a Euro thing for the 50/50 off-piste skier who doesn't want to pay carriage fees on a pair of B3s AND RX8s.

Design for convenience not function.
post #16 of 25
The ski manufacturers seem to be taking it just a bit too far, but I'll hold my final judgement until I can demo the '08 crop. They seem to be mixing two ski characteristics that should be treated as being mutually exclusive - deep sidecuts with fat waist widths.

Most high level skiers that regularly use fat skis (90mm+) are looking for a ski that is great for deep snow and crud. To that end these deeper sidecuts work against those goals. However, these might work for those skiers that typically aren't backside skiers and generally want a frontside ski that can be taken in deeper snow. To me though this is trying to get too much out of a "one ski quiver" - with an 85mm+ waist and a deep sidecut you're getting a ski with too many compromises that's not going to be very good for much of anything.

My $0.02
post #17 of 25
At the risk of following the pack, I'll vote for "not interested." Let's say I have just one ski, which IMO is the only point of 80-somethings. Last spring I found the AC4 to be the universe's best fat carver on the frontside, but too shovel stiff and dialed in to its sidecut for an unexpected foot of fresh heavy pow. Noticably less maneuverable in powdery trees and bumps than the same length Mantra!

So for that one ski slot, I bought the iM82 this season instead, which is not as pushbutton a carver, but has a flex pattern to slay deeper stuff. And if I want more float, I'll go for a Mantra, which still is the most versatile single ski made.

But as several have said, it's more about selling stability and cool to folks who never ski hard enough to actually carve these mega-carvers. So Nordica et al. are laughing all the way to the bank...
post #18 of 25
To answer the OP question,

I demoed the Top fuel and the IM88 earlier this season. I liked the heads (the nordicas not so much) but have passed on both skis. I did pickup an pair of '05 Norida Beasts 124-92-118 188CM and a pair of Metron B5s 172CM. I think the 2 ski quiver is still the way to go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
Most high level skiers that regularly use fat skis (90mm+) are looking for a ski that is great for deep snow and crud. To that end these deeper sidecuts work against those goals. However, these might work for those skiers that typically aren't backside skiers and generally want a frontside ski that can be taken in deeper snow. To me though this is trying to get too much out of a "one ski quiver" - with an 85mm+ waist and a deep sidecut you're getting a ski with too many compromises that's not going to be very good for much of anything.
This sounds on point to me. Ski technology and performance has gotten a lot better in the last few years. The wide carvers are designed as the natural upgrade to someone who has been skiing a 70mm-ish mid fat as a one ski quiver for the last 5,6, or 7 years. These people have just been cruising along on their x-screams or K2 Mods. They will probably see the AC4 as an upgrade on the groomers and off piste.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
How did they ski when sized -15 cm?
in reference to my 186's?

the 170s with the same side cut would be waaay too turny, imo. The 186 may be long by many people's preferences, but they are both turnier and livlier than my old gs skis and 3x as stable. (fwiw 186=20m radius)

just last week I had one of my best nights ever- due to the ability of this ski to rip wind buff and crank short arcs at ridiculous speeds. I can only imagine that a fatter ski of the same construction would have been even faster in the crud. (not that I could handle it) I was pissing myself last week. Scary fast arcs they were. I've been arcing for 20 years and last week was the pinnacle thus far.

Like my skischool director buddy said about his 194 squads; you can either turn them or you can't. it's his every day ski.

I think that many of us who grew up arcing on 210 gs skis are loving the emergence of giant carvers. They butter tails like 15 years ago but they carve like anything modern. (actually mine isn't a giant carver)

Is bigger needed? no.
immensly enjoyed? yes.
more wanted? not yet, my 186/84 waist is still faster than me. I would be straight up scared of a 195ish/95ish ski of the same construction and same radius.
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
Interesting responses. It is pretty clear to me that no one is really sure who/what these things are for. (least of all me) It is also pretty clear to me from skiing the 'Cat that is does a lot of things pretty well. But to me, this ski just doesn't seem like it offers any real answers that are not already out there.

For example, the AB does so many things well, that I'm not sure I see much advantage from the relatively minor width increase. Sure the Cat should be better in the deep, but I think the stiffness somewhat negates the width advantage, and the weight limits the nimbleness. In general, the AB is way easier in bumps and tight spots, it carves nicely, and will bust crud adequately enough for me most of the time. For the occasion, that the AB is not enough for something, (deep stuff probably) I don't think the 'Cat will offer enough advantage to matter.

I personally would not choose the 'Cat if I had to have one ski. OTH, someone heavier or just plain faster than I might just do that. I don't think that the Cat or the Big Heat are going to revolutionize the market. Then again if the magazines get goofy about these models, then maybe the demand will be there (at least in some limited numbers).

SJ
post #21 of 25
It may take a few years for these size experiments to taper-off. I bought the Jet Fuel as an all-mountain compliment to my gotama. With the shock at how well they hold on ice, I learned that it is probably the narrowest ski I will ever have in the future. (minus the slalom race-stock I desire.)
It would be more versatile with more width. with that being said, narrower than 84 underfoot doesn't cut it for me anymore as a medium radius carver/crud muncher. On softer snow, they carve really small turns considering their size. This ski (being a mid fat/not a giant carver) has given me the shortest radius turns at 45 mph ever. If a giant carver would do that, I would have no reason to keep the 84 waist. Mid fats (mid-80s)may become obsolete if we start cranking the same turns on 95 waists and up. (those turns being almost short radius.) Perhaps midfats are growing in genre and the word "giant carver" came about.

soon my 3-ski quiver could be
-a slalom race stock
-a wood/metal 95waisted 195, 19-20m radius for high speed arcs.
-a softer wood (maybe foam) 110 waisted 190 katana-like ski.
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
-a wood/metal 95waisted 195, 19-20m radius for high speed arcs.

That would be an interesting shape to see given your specified length......:

SJ
post #23 of 25
oh yeah, huh... didn't think that one out...
post #24 of 25
It truly makes me wonder who the chief ski designers are listening to when they come up with this stuff. It sure "seems" like the gen "M" types (16-24 year olds) have their ears for what they should be building next. The mantra has been wider, wider, wider - and they seem to keep giving us that every season, but these new fairly wide deep sidecut skis are just odd.
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by duke walker View Post
good for work, dress, walking, running, hiking, water, sand, snow ?
Vasque Sundowners
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