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What do you look for in a powder ski that excels in the trees?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Just wondering what you folks look for when considering a ski that doesn't make you work as hard in the powder (something with enough float for my body type) and is capable of navigating through tight spaces, like tree runs.

Soft or stiff ski?

Little sidecut or a lot?

Specific recommendations and lengths are more than welcome.

About me - Level 8, 30 yo, 5'11", 200 lbs
post #2 of 22
Spatulas seem to have a cult like following for this type of use.

Check also: www.dpskis.com, Armada ARG, Praxis skis (Tahoe), possibly 179 K2 Pontoons etc.

Straight sidecut (or reverse sidecut),no camber / negative camber / rocker, wide, shortish,...makes you to be able to slide/smear/pivot the ski instead of carving = faster direction changes (I'm intentionally not saying "turns"...think about snowboard style lines)

I guess stiffness is more a personal preference, especially the negative camber/rocker skis can be stiffer than traditional skis in this kind of use.
post #3 of 22
In terms of a traditional ski, I'd look for something with a turned-up tail, light feel and soft flex, 185-ish. Many of the fat twintips would probably be a good choice, like Salomon Gun Lab, Head Mojo 90, Volkl Karma/Gotama, etc. How fat you want to go is choice, but a narrower ski will be a bit easier to throw around.
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by D(C) View Post
but a narrower ski will be a bit easier to throw around.
I think this is a common misconseption. Wider (/straighter) is easier to "throw around" on soft snow, i.e. slide/smear on top of the snow. It won't catch/hook like narrower skis.

Narrower might be easier to turn on harder conditions, although there are lots of other factors too (weight, sidecut, lenght of the ski etc.)
post #5 of 22
Shorter and wider skis are easier to turn in powder. With wider skis you can keep turning at slower speeds. That is what you want in tight trees. With more width, you can still float with shorter skis which are easier to turn.

The old long and skinny skis were much more difficult to ski in trees than todays shorter wider skis.

dt
post #6 of 22
I'll just reiterate as most of the posters so far have it right.

Fat is the key (100mm+ waist). Aside from that...

Less sidecut is typically better but I've been on very good tree skis with more (I have the Nordica Blower w/ a tad more cut and that ski rules the trees..the shapely tails do hang up a bit though when the top layer is wind or sun affected).

Stiffness is of personal preference, what's more important is camber...or lack there of. The less camber the better (or reverse).

Length is weird, going as short as you would think is not always better as a longer ski gives you more float and smoothness...but genreally you would want to choose something on the shorter end of your typical range.

Since discovering the joys of very little sidecut and camber on a stiff, damp fatty with my Nordica W105s, I'm currently on the hunt for a 180 Powder Plus or 183 Rossi Axiom as a shorter, fatter early season powder, rock, tree ski.

Of all the reverse sidecut jobbies the Praxis & Spat seem to be the most maneuverable...or perhaps the 178cm DP Lotus 120 (flex 2).
post #7 of 22
i know that the Spats aren't as popular here as they are over on TGR, but i'm one of those skiers that falls between the Epic and TGR cracks, so to speak.

i snatched a pair of new, unmounted Spats back in November. Finally got them out 2/27-3/1 and LOVED them. they turn on a dime, so makes whipping through trees great. they also scrub speed really quick (it's all about sliding/scrubbing/slarving/smearing with these skis).

i would look into something like them or the aforementioned DP, Praxis, ARG...dunno about the Pontoon...they just look too big for my taste. There's also the Goode Scoop which has a similar shape to the Spat (as does both the DP Lotus 120 and 138).

There's also the Icelantic, which Noodler has reviewed on the site before. They are short and hella fat, perfect for tree skiing. So I'm told.
post #8 of 22
I would just add that a long soft ski can be a great option for a tree ski.

If the ski bends easily at low speed, it should be a good powder ski in the tree. It is just case of getting enough float out of it.

200 cm yellow AK Rockets and 193 Sanouk have been great powder tree ski for me. Both ski are pretty soft.

Sanouk is zero camber, has a non-traditional tail and really big tip. These features make the Sanouk performance well at low speeds.
post #9 of 22
I like alot of side cut. I find that my 171 Metron 10's give me extra time to pick a line. I know this goes against "the pivot on a spatula" technique, but what I find is that the tip is so much wider than the waist that the ski comes around further than my straighter skis, pulled by that canoe paddle of a tip. This gives me a moment of "hang time" at the end of a turn to pick my next slot.

A really fat ski is less work, but they are faster gliding and require quicker decisions.
post #10 of 22
The problem with skiing trees is you end up skiing lots of crud & bumps along with powder so you need a ski that can turn quickly in powder, crud & bumps. I've tried lots of fat skis and the one that does all three well is the Gotama. Nothing else comes close.
post #11 of 22
I go for long and soft. Short fat skis may be more manuverable but you have to sit in the back seat to keep them from diving, which is not how I like to ski. I skied my Wateas (192 cm, turned up tail, 134-101-124, 25m radius and very soft flex) all over Alta and Snowbird last weekend and they turn on a dime in almost any deep snow condtion. The flex lets you jam them into what feels like a 90 degree smooth turn, and the wide waist lets you smear as needed. I can't imagine an easier ski for tight spots in crud or powder, despite their length. Their mellow flex also makes them very tame in the bumps if you end up there. I don't think sidecut really helps in the powder/crud situations. It seems to just make skis more squirrley.
post #12 of 22
I go for a soft ski that is shortish lengthwise. I had 175cm Pocket Rockets and thought they were near perfect for powder and tight trees. They also performed surprisingly well on hard snow and in bumps. I'm a heavy (225lbs) guy so I can blast through crud on just about anything, but I do like a soft light ski that is easily maneuverable in tight spots. I could easily ski a 185 in this type of ski and be happy. I don't think you need to go 100mm wide, but 90+ is good.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post
The problem with skiing trees is you end up skiing lots of crud & bumps along with powder so you need a ski that can turn quickly in powder, crud & bumps. I've tried lots of fat skis and the one that does all three well is the Gotama. Nothing else comes close.
I agree, at least that's what I run into. Rio, you ever try a W105 To me the key to this kind of versatility is less shape and no camber (or at least easy flexing to flat)...which translates to an old-schoolish edge-to-edge zipperline quickness and precision smearing.

Skis like the gotama & W105 are great because they are easy in soft snow tree situations but are also nice and stable at high speeds and in variable snow.
post #14 of 22
I'm still skiing 185 Pocket Rockets (6' 1", 220 lbs) for powder, crud, and trees, and they are quick and smooth. I feel in complete control.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
I'm still skiing 185 Pocket Rockets (6' 1", 220 lbs) for powder, crud, and trees, and they are quick and smooth. I feel in complete control.
You cheat.

Unlike some of us, you are actually competent .

Sorry I missed you last week...
post #16 of 22
Magnus, are you confused yet??

I see you are in CA...do you ski in tahoe? I've got a few skis you could try if our feet are close in size (26-28.5). I do Squaw and Rose mostly.
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by X-EastCoaster View Post
Magnus, are you confused yet??

I see you are in CA...do you ski in tahoe? I've got a few skis you could try if our feet are close in size (26-28.5). I do Squaw and Rose mostly.
I ski South Lake predominantly, but I was at Northstar last Wed. Squaw may be in my near future since I just came into a pair of vouchers. I'm not sure what size my boots are but I do know my boot sole length is 326.
post #18 of 22
Different combos of characteristics can work. Phantom Crystal ships are super short, super fat, super soft and super sidecut. They were designed for skiing tight trees in powder. They do this well at the expense of some other things. Some of the skis dookey mentioned are longer, anti-cambered and anti-sidecut -- but still do some of the same things well - albeit with the expectation of different technique.

Demo-ing some Pontoons (if possible) might well be worth your time if you really are talking about powder + trees. Other skis in that class might be harder to do this with. Both the 179 and 189 would work -- IMO the big difference between them is whether you need the extra stability of the 189 to open them up...

Personally, having some experience with the Pontoons, I'd love to get a day to play with some Praxis or Lotus 138s under appropriate conditions...
post #19 of 22
Goat-Mama.............183...............

SJ
post #20 of 22
Great post, and just what I need. I currently ski 175cm pocket rockets and thery are great in the trees. But I am looking for a burlier ski to open it up more on faces, crud, etc.
Sierra Jim, I'm 5'9 and 167lbs. For the Gotamas, as powder/tree/crud, Westface of KT ski, would you recommend the 176 or 183?
thanks!
post #21 of 22
^yeah, the Spats are definitely NOT a burly/open 'em up on the faces kind of ski.

but for a quick turning, fast pivoting, easy to scrub speed in the trees soft snow ski they RULE!



as Spindrift said, demoing some of these, other than the Pontoon and Icelantics, is pretty tough. i think they have some Goodes at Squaw Valley Sport Shop next to the tram. But good luck trying Spats (since they're long out of production) or Praxis (since they're limited production) unless you have a buddy willing to give up a few runs for your consideration.

all of this said, a lot of it boils down to technique and ability. I think the Spat is a forgiving ski that opens up a whole new arena of terrain even for an intermediate. like i said earlier, I spent a day at Sugarbowl on Spats following the vapor trails of an older gent (he coulda been my dad) who was rocking rebuilt knees and O.G. Explosivs. He said I was doing fine, but I was getting winded keeping up with him. We were both ripping the same lines, just different skis and styles. He was legs together old school and I was legs apart, back seat driving and scrubbing.

it all boils down to what you want and you already seem to know that: burly, open 'em up, which means that something like the Goat or others of that ilk will be to your liking.

good luck man!
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
Goat-Mama.............183...............

SJ
tree ski of choice for bushwacker

I cant sink the tips and they are VERY nimble. you can carve, smear, pivot, hop, edge set scarve and any combination of the above on them. dont have the funny feeling on groomer the reverse sidecut job do(which I have skied the Spat and the pontoon).

only one ski that I could see buying as a quiver ski for only skiing tree over that ski and thats a 173 Icelanditic. The problems is the short icelanditic's dont do everything else as well as the Volkl gotamas
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