Final take on Gotama lengthJim at Sierra Ski and Snowboard was nice enough to let me borrow the 08 Gotamas in 183cm last weekend, to try one more time. It turned out to be one of the better powder days of the year on Sunday. I skied Sugarbowl Saturday and Alpine Meadows Sunday.
About me: been skiing 20+ years. 37yrs old. 5ft9in, 168 lbs. Decent shape. Pretty good skier-ski all terrain aggessively, no problem, carve on the groomers. Spend most time off trail.
Current skis: Pocket Rockets 175cm, K2 Apcache Crossfires, with Vist racing plate 167cm
Well, at the risk of facing eternal scorn and ridicule, I have to say I really did not like this ski in the longer length, even, and this really surprised me, in the powder. I enjoyed the 176cm ski a lot in most conditions, so the length is a big deal, apparently.
So here are my observations:
Groomers: did in fine, but take a looong time to come around. I remember the 176's as much more responsive and fun.
Hard Windbluffed crud (fun snow actually Saturday at Sugarbowl): Ok, but just too big to really enjoy the turns on this stuff. A narrower ski would've been easier and more fun, but it was fine.
Hard bumps: Here is where this ski really sucked for me. Just really hard to make some nice quick turns here. It felt like I had just way too long, heavy a ski to negociate these things. This sort of sealed the "not versatile" deal for me. I didn't try the 176 in these conditions, but negociating the nacent bumps at the top of West face off KT22 at Squaw to get powder leftovers was fine.
Powder: Aha, where these skis should rock my world, right? I was suprised not to like them much. Maybe people familiar with Pocket Rockets can chime in here, but I'm used to a ski that I can turn quickly. This seems to be important-every run at alpine was in tight terrain where I needed to make instantaneous turns around trees and obstacles. This seemed very hard to do. Big, ponderous, sluggish are the words that come to mind. Again, I remember enjoying the 176cm version just fine. They were bigger and stiffer than my pr's (which is the whole point) but easy to get to go where I needed.
They really seemed to slow me down as well, even just cruising through the powder. Has anyone else experienced this?
This experience shook me up a bit because I was very surprised not to find enjoyable in its primary conditions a ski everyone likes. That said, I'm looking forward to getting used to my Gotamas in the 176, as I know they're a great ski. The other thing that's become apparent through this demo process is what, for me anyway, a great ski the pocket rockets are. I can do amazing things on these skis-oh, five turns before this next tree, point it, throw them sideways before another tree, hit the gass again. And they make big bump runs in soft snow just so easy. I remember reading a long time ago an interview with the Salomon guys who developed the pr's and they said they purposely made them soft so you could feel the powder. I think that's very true, you do really feel the powder in a cool way on these things-very different than the bigger stiffer skis. Does that sound right to those of you who've skied on a lot of skis? You might say, well, why not just stick with the pocket rockets? Well, I want to progress with the sport too-bigger, faster, etc.
I thought it might be interesting to share my experience. I'm curious to hear what anyone thinks.