Originally Posted by Max_501
I went with the 185. I'll put up a full review when I finally get on them. It'll be interesting to see how they respond to my tipping bias for turn initiation.
You might be familiar with this text; but in case you haven't seen it...
This is the manual provided with Volant Spatulas to owners, the author is Shane McConkey.
And yes, tipping is not recommended.
Important! Read this before you ski on your new Spatulas. Keep this guide so that you can refer back to it after you have tried the Spatulas. It will help remind you of certain things you will need to know.
Congratulations! You have just purchased the most progressive invention in the history of powder skiing since the original fat skis were invented. These skis will change the way you thought you were supposed to ski powder, minimize the effort you put into your skiing, and greatly improve your powder skiing experience. The following is meant to give you some idea of what the Spatulas are all about, why they are shaped the way they are and how to ski them. First of all, in order to clear your mind and attempt to make sense of all this, take most everything you have ever learned about skiing and stick it where the sun don't shine. Or at least in the garage next to your shaped skis. Why? Because: Sidecut is not good in powder. Camber is not good in powder. Carving is not necessary in powder. Simply put, if you want to maximize your abilities in soft snow you do not want to use the same tool as you would on any kind of hard, groomed, or compacted snow.
How to ski your new Spatulas As you well know your new Spatulas have a very unique almost bizarre shape. It is important for you to understand the adjustments to your skiing technique you will need to make in order to ski them well. Don't worry! It's easy. Many people may get intimidated by the progressive shape of the Spatula and think that it takes an expert to know how to manage them. Not true. These skis will make powder skiing much easier for even the least experienced beginners. Actually the opposite concepts explained here will be much easier for a beginner to grasp than an expert conditioned to use their skis the way they always have. The expert will have to open their mind and be prepared for some very differnt concepts. Or simply, they must floss their brain!
Ski on both feet! Put your weight a bit more on two feet throughout the turn instead of mostly on your downhill ski. This will help you stay afloat and facilitate sliding when you need to. You will also be able to load up your downhill ski as you normally would in most soft snow situations but knowing how and when to use both feet will greatly increase your abilities with the Spatulas. Suncrust and wind affected snow are prime examples of when to use both feet. In these conditions the Spatulas will blow your mind. Normally these conditions would require you to slow down and be very careful not to hook a tip. Not anymore. Ski on two feet and let er rip.
Open it up! Your powder skiing is about to change dramatically. It will become much easier for you to maintain control at higher speeds. If you were the type of powder skier who used to make lots of slow, little bouncing up and down turns then you need to try and go faster. Open it up and go for it! You can still milk the powder slowly if you want but after you get the hang of hauling ass you won't want to putt around anymore.
Slide instead of carve! Yes, believe it or not this is something that you should be trying to do in the powder. Sliding will be the most difficult of Spatula techniques to learn but you should be able to get the idea in time. Even if you never attempt to learn slides you will still be able to blow doors on everyone else without the Spatulas. Who knows, you might just naturally start doing them anyway. The more dense and compacted the snow is the easier it will be to perform slides. Sliding will greatly improve your maneuverability and control. Begin your powder turn and then instead of hitting your edges hard to carve a turn, stand up on two feet and let your skis slide or skid diagonally across the fall line. It will be harder to perform a slide directly down the fall line. Start off doing them diagonally.
Trade skis with a friend for a run. Just to compare what you used to ski on with what you have now, I guarantee you will only try this once and then you will keep your Spatulas for yourself!
Flotation and sliding. In order to better understand why the Spatulas are so efficient the two most important concepts to grasp are floation and sliding. In a ski world where everyone is constantly thinking power, pressure and carving it may seem like a crazy concept to accept almost the opposite theory. Then again, soft snow is pretty much the opposite of hard snow. Retraining your mind that sliding not carving is actually a good thing is a very hard concept for many people to swallow. A ski which is fat under foot will float much more than a ski which is narrow under foot. A ski with reverse sidecut will give the skier the ability to slide their turns where as side cut will force the skier to sink and carve. Reverse side cut combined with decamber immediately puts the tip and tail higher than the waist of the ski as well as pulls the edges of the ski away from the snow leaving the point of first contact with the snow at the waist of the ski. When you set you skis sideways to start a slide there is much less ski at the tip and tail to catch the snow and prevent the slide. It also helps to eliminate catching your downhill edges and stuffing it. The Spatulas are also twin tipped. This helps immensely for initiation of the slide. Expert skiers can use the twin tip to ski and land backwards if they wish. Skiing backwards in powder will be surprisingly easy compared to any other twin tipped powder ski. In virtually all situations you will still be able to carve your turns. the Spatulas simply give you the option to initiate a slide or to scrub speed by sliding similar to how you would do it on a groomer. Why is it so easy for snowboarders to scrub speed in the powder? Why is it so easy for them to make turns and go fast when skiers are laboring slowly down the hill? Why do snowboarders use less energy than skiers in the powder? It is a simple matter of flotation. Snowboarders are always on top of the snow. Skiers are mostly down in it. The Spatulas will give you all the benefits of snowboardings floatation and ease as well as satisfaction in the fact that you are actually on skis and still have all the luxuries and mobility options that skiing offers.
Reverse Side Cut For normal skis side cut is used to make it easier to turn. You simply roll the ski on edge, add some pressure to the ski and it carves around. In recent years ski manufacturers have been adding significant amounts of side cut to their skis greatly facilitating the experience for everyone. This is true. ON HARD SNOW! In powder or soft snow side cut creates two distinct negative effects. 1. "The Pool Cover" - Your weight is directly on top of the narrowest part of the ski. this type of weight distribution immediately puts you in a sinking into the snow situation similar to what happens to the pool cover when you try to run across it. this causes your tips and tails to float but the center of your skis where all the weight is sinks, bogs down and then you must plow through the snow. You will be forced to carve every turn and expend a lot of energy bounding in and out of the snow. Sinking/carving=bad, floating/sliding=good. 2. "The Unstable Hooker" - Skis become very unstable and much more difficult to control. In sun crust or wind affect you may have noticed the occasional Unstable Hooker. This is when you start a turn and your downhill ski hooks fast and hard up and across your uphill ski. You cross your tips, step on your downhill ski with your uphill and then stuff your face into the mountain. Or at high speeds you may have noticed your skis trying to swim around a bit making it hard to control as you try to keep your tips up and out of the snow. The solution to this in the past has always been to maintain a wider stance in powder and to slow it down a bit. Fortunately now you can use your Spatula to dish out a good spanking to that Unstable Hooker and Pool Cover. The reverse side cut of the Spatulas immediately sets you afloat on top of the snow allowing you to initiate turns and negotiate everything you encounter much more easily without having to labor through it. Reverse side cut also eliminates the instabilities commonly encountered with shaped skis in the soft snow. You will notice little or nor Unstable Hookers and you will be able to enjoy a much more relaxed stance in variable snow and at high speeds.
You will also notice that the Spatulas feel much lighter while on your feet than other skis of similar surface area. Try swinging them from sided to side while on the lift. This effect is created by the reverse side cut. It gives them a very light swing weight. Normal skis with side cut have a weight distribution which puts the bulk of the skis at the tips and tails. The Spatulas are the opposite. The bulk is at the waist. The Spatulas are a lot of ski and there is a lot down there stuck to your feet. However, they feel much lighter and more maneuverable than you can imagine.