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Powder Ski Help!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
First: Male, 48 y/o, 150 pounds, 5'10", ski 40-50 days per year, 40th year skiing, level 9+, ski mostly Mammoth.

Current skis: Volkl AC4, 170 cm. Occasionally still use the following just for beater conditions: Salomon Equipeaxe for rock skis, Volkl P10's when I just want to go super fast.

Ski being "replaced": Blizzard PowderX (I believe they are the same as the Atomic Heli's but with different graphics.)

What I'm looking for: Something for those two hours of West Coast early morning powder//beat up crud before I put them away and get the AC4s back on.

Discussion: I found the Powder x's were like Sherman tanks, kind of like wearing cafeteria trays with asymetrically-mounted bindings. They were lots of fun, but you could literally snowplow in 2 feet of powder and I want something that feels like I can actually go in and out of the powder, not feeling like I'm always riding on the top of it. We got about 10 inches yesterday at Wooly and I got to try the Seths, Gotomas and Mantras in that order. Seths were fun, but my buddies were frankly leaving me in the dust. The skis were way fun to turn but I didn't feel like I could just send them through thicker wind-compressed powder or busted-up crud. On the Goats I felt like I could ski through ANYTHING and was leaving my friends in the dust! Very stable, Cadillac-y kind of ride, somewhat harder to rotate turns in the powder, they seemed happier skidding (is that because of the upturned tail?), which isn't always what I want to do in pow. Mantras were quicker turning, didn't feel quite as indestructible as the Goats in the pow, but felt happier on the run-outs (and I guess my concern is that they're a bit closer to the AC4's in width and shape which isn't necessarily what I want.) So, I hope you can give me some advice based on this...bottom line, I'm leaning towards the Goats because they felt more stable in the pow and crud/junk. I want something that I can take off-piste, powder trees with tight turns, powder steeps, crud/mank, but which won't kill me on the run out back to the lift.
post #2 of 21
I think you already have the answer.

SJ
post #3 of 21
You answered your own question. Volkl Gotamas kill it in soft snow.

post #4 of 21
Bzzzzt...

OK, I know you mentioned three specific skis, but all three fail to meet the criteria you set up. While all are powder/soft snow oriented - none is the powder & cutup snow specialist you describe. Even though the Gotama, which is currently my all-around ski, is fine in powder - it is hardly a powder specialist by today's standards. On a real powder (read any form of deeper fresh snow) day they won't even make it to the car.

Seriously, for the goal you've laid out, you should be discussing K2 Pontoons, DP Lotus, Armada ARGs, etc., etc. Maybe Volkl Katanas? Maybe a K2 Hellbent? Maybe even Praxis Powders? IMO this is not even a serious competition. If you are looking for a quiver ski - get one that distinguishes itself in the conditions you are discussing.

edit - yeah, all of these tend to plane higher in the snow, but they rip. In really deep snow, nothing stays completely on top 100%. And in cutup - isn't the point to stay on top? Also - I've skied the Pontoons & Lotus - the comments on the rest are based on extrapolation & comments from people I know who have skied them & reviews here & at TGR.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
Bzzzzt...

OK, I know you mentioned three specific skis, but all three fail to meet the criteria you set up. While all are powder/soft snow oriented - none is the powder & cutup crud specialist you describe. Even though the Gotama, which is currently my all-around ski, is fine in powder - it is hardly a powder specialist by today's standards. On a real powder (read any form of deeper fresh snow) day they won't even make it to the car.

Seriously, for the goal you've laid out, you should be discussing K2 Pontoons, DP Lotus, Praxis Powders, Armada ARGs, etc., etc. Maybe Volkl Katanas? Maybe a K2 Hellbent? IMO this is not even a serious competition. If you are looking for a quiver ski - get one that distinguishes itself in the conditions you are discussing.
you make me sound conservative sometimes spindrift. progressive shapes and sidecuts make it super easy to ski on in powder but MANY people on here want something that can ski other conditions fine. The Volkl Gotama woudl be the next step up for him especially because he already skied it and like it. In powder I am willing to bet my gotamas are reversed camber the entire time anywho.

I am getting a Katana next year for my powder/charging skis but untill then all around with focus on powder its the gotama.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
I am getting a Katana next year for my powder/charging skis but untill then all around with focus on powder its the gotama.
I'm with you on that. However, as others have often pointed out, the point of a quiver ski is to be a quiver ski. While not as fat as I prefer, the AC4s are not exactly hyper-carvers and can cover a lot of ground. A powder quiver ski should distinguish itself substantially from that.

It is worth noting that Pontoons (and similar) are far more versatile on groomers and general soft snow than most would imagine. Especially if you get used to putting them up on edge as well as being able to pivot them. If I have no idea of the range of conditions I'm going to hit, the Gotamas usually win. For the entire day. If I know it is mostly soft snow - and lots of it - the rockered skis win. Usually for the entire day... I'm even at the point where I am starting to favor the rockered skis for soft spring conditions. But hey, that's just me...
post #7 of 21
hey spindrift, I too have gotamas in a 183 and ski resort pow. Which means heaps of groomers moving me around the mountain. On the other hand...

My question is this (all related to pow), can you arc your reversed cambers in soft snow? I know they are easy to pivot and can imagine that easily. What I can't imagine is a clean non-pivoted turn at highspeeds. Even when I see footage of pros on them, their turns still look surfed/pivoted. (maybe I'm mistaken) I like surfing turns, and often do so on my gotamas in tight areas. But I really like highspeed open fields where I can also arc my gotamas as if they were on cord, with about just as much snow NOT leaving the ground. Will I lose that with reverse camber? This may be a question that is easy to answer, however I never see the debate going beyond the "pivotability" of reversed cambers.

(FWIW; I'm 31 5'9" 170, level 9, retired Big Mountain competitor.)
post #8 of 21
If you are a strong skier then better go for the Gotamas in a 190 length.

I found the 183s ski very short, they measure only 179 straight if that tells you anything. The 190s come at about 186 straight - that's why I opted for them when not considering as AT-setup.
Me 5'9'', 170 lbs.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. I was telling you about my preferences of what I skied on, not because that's what I want to get necessarily, but to give you an idea of what was working and what wasn't. The Pontoons and the DP Lotus look pretty darn interesting. Which Lotus would you suggest, the 120 or the 138? What length should I consider given my demographics? These look like real specialty pow skis which really is what I'm looking for, but would any shop realistically have these to demo first???
post #10 of 21
Call DP and ask about demos in your area usually if there are some around they will know where they are.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
I want something that I can take off-piste, powder trees with tight turns, powder steeps, crud/mank, but which won't kill me on the run out back to the lift.
Just be aware what it takes to get them to and from the lift to the powder.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
My question is this (all related to pow), can you arc your reversed cambers in soft snow? I know they are easy to pivot and can imagine that easily. What I can't imagine is a clean non-pivoted turn at highspeeds. Even when I see footage of pros on them, their turns still look surfed/pivoted. (maybe I'm mistaken) I like surfing turns, and often do so on my gotamas in tight areas. But I really like highspeed open fields where I can also arc my gotamas as if they were on cord, with about just as much snow NOT leaving the ground. Will I lose that with reverse camber? This may be a question that is easy to answer, however I never see the debate going beyond the "pivotability" of reversed cambers.

(FWIW; I'm 31 5'9" 170, level 9, retired Big Mountain competitor.)
I suspect you are a much stronger skier than I am - so YMMV. I've skied Pontoons a moderate amount (including one day of spring skiing) and DP Lotus 138s for a day. In shallow soft snow & on groomers I can get the Pontoons on edge when I want and can leave pretty clean tracks with medium and wide turns. (I'd imagine the same would be true for ARGs and Lotus 120s & Hellbents given their shapes) I only have one day with 138s & I'd say that they are less "edge friendly" out on groomers & similar snow. No great surprise given the design. It may have been the conditions, but I found the 138s more of a challenge (probably more of a reflection on me than the skis) to get the hang of, especially on groomers -- but rewarding when I'd get on them right in soft snow.

With both of them, in deeper softer snow you can definitely do turns that are arced vs pivoted, but they tend to want to be surfy - which I happen to like. I'm not sure how to describe the difference between skis like Gotamas vs the rockered skis in term of bigger turns in powder, but I can definitely ski the rockered skis way faster than conventional skis in powder & soft spring snow. I mean faster as in people who know me being really surprised at the difference & commenting on it. You can definitely lay them over when you want - but there is a different feeling to it. I find it confidence inspiring in deeper snow.

I think a pretty broad spectrum of technique is is visible with these things in last year's movies (the various McConkey sequences and the Hellbent protos used by a bunch of guys) - but they are not conventional cambered skis & the difference is noticeable when you are on them & is reflected in how people prefer to ski them. I'm a big fan though.

FWIW, I'd suggest checking out the extensive discussions regarding the DPs & Praxis over at TGR.
post #13 of 21
Thanks spin. I have looked over at TGR.
But I have also seen sales on Ebay by known pros who admit to not liking them.

all-in-all, I'm just going to have to try them. Japan, however, doesn't lend itself to demos very often, muchless pow-specific demos- hence my inquisitions.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Oh...and...should I get a 2007 since I would assume shops want to get rid of inventory or should I wait for the 2008 versions to come out (and presumeably pay more for the newer model?)
post #15 of 21
Have you considered the Bro? I have never skied them but many think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. http://pmgear.com/product_info.php?c...products_id=35
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Wow, those sound pretty good, but I'm always a little wary of a manufacturers marketing hype...know any place where I can read a review?
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by doogiedoc View Post
Oh...and...should I get a 2007 since I would assume shops want to get rid of inventory or should I wait for the 2008 versions to come out (and presumeably pay more for the newer model?)
Which skis are you talking about?

The DPs can only be ordered via the net. Rumor is the 138s are going to be unchanged. Same with the 120s. Some sizes/flexes are "in stock" - the rest get made for next year. Not sure if the topsheets will be changed next year...

Pontoons will be unchanged - and at least as of a week or two ago could be found for very cheap.

Praxis super pre-order deal ends in 3 days...

The Hellbents (and Katanas if you are thinking about them) "on shelves" are already next year's.

Bottom line - it is a ski by ski thing that is a combination of design/construction and current availability. A little research will inform a decision about any specific ski.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by doogiedoc View Post
Wow, those sound pretty good, but I'm always a little wary of a manufacturers marketing hype...know any place where I can read a review?
Massive flame war at TGR regarding PM Gear & Bros as we speak. I'm not taking sides, but a big & real question is when do you want your skis?

Oh - and at least in my mind, the Bros are more of a big mountain all-arounder than a powder specialist. (admittedly said without having skied them...)
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
Massive flame war at TGR regarding PM Gear & Bros as we speak. I'm not taking sides, but a big & real question is when do you want your skis?

Oh - and at least in my mind, the Bros are more of a big mountain all-arounder than a powder specialist. (admittedly said without having skied them...)
Uhh, well I doubt there's going to be much pow left in North America this season so I can wait till fall, but I like being frugal so if I can pick up something now and spend less $$...

Also, I'm quite happy with the AC4's for big mountain all-arounder, I'm really looking for a powder specialist to replace my Blizzard Powder X's, and again I want to not have a ski that kills me in the pack-out going back to the lifts. The Blizzards were great for pow but slashing your wrists would be more fun than how those were when you got them on the run-outs...:
post #20 of 21
Stockli DP Pro in 184cm with a VIST Speedlock TT plate (19mm) and 6-14 bindings.

Go for 193cm if you favour huge turns at high speed and spend little or no time in the trees.

I ski the 193 cm (6'2", 200 lbs, level 8/9, fast but prefer more high spped long turns than short radius stuff but love skiing trees in fresh powder) and I can turn it in tight trees but can also have the pleasure of dropping into 12" plus from a cornice and then arcing lovely big turns trying to spray snow over my mates with the roost from the carve (childish but fun).

It gives you the choice of two edges (which you could even tune to different angles if you got that fussy - I just use 1/2 for everything) - the stiff side for steep crud, hard pack and groomed and the softer side for straight powder/ bunps etc - it really does make a noticable difference.

The bonus of the Speedlock is that you can easily change the centre of foot position depending on the conditions. Centred if you are doing lots of turns on harder snow/ trees etc - more rearward if you are blasting deep pow in a bowl and do not really need to/ want to turn that much.

Not much chance of getting this ski on sale as it is popular and stock sells at normal prices during the season. But I very much doubt that you would ski this and not love it.

94mm waist so not a super wide pow ski but it does everything well and you are light enough that 94 waist is a fat ski anyway.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by doogiedoc View Post
Wow, those sound pretty good, but I'm always a little wary of a manufacturers marketing hype...know any place where I can read a review?
Here's my 188 stiff review: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=55535

Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
Massive flame war at TGR regarding PM Gear & Bros as we speak. I'm not taking sides, but a big & real question is when do you want your skis?

Oh - and at least in my mind, the Bros are more of a big mountain all-arounder than a powder specialist. (admittedly said without having skied them...)
That flame war is pretty much deleted now. They are outsourcing production next year, and hope to speed things up as a result.

I love my BROs, but they are not a powder ski. They are more of a western all-around ride, best suited for blasting through nasty cut-up sh!t at high speed. The tip is a little stiff for untracked; you have to be quite aware of your fore-aft balance in powder to ensure that you stay centered.

Don't get me wrong, they ski fine in powder, but they are not a powder specialist.

[Side note: the flex may be a lot different for you at 150 lbs than for me at 185. If you truly are lvl 9+ then you will be fine though.]
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