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Review: Fischer Watea 94 at Alta/Snowbird - Page 2

post #31 of 57
Here is a link to my review from that day. Keep in mind that the new 101s have some kind of carbon I-beam that my skis do not have, which I assume stiffens them up quite a bit, but I don't really know. My original blue 101s are very soft flexing but very stiff torsionally. They were billed as a "big mountain ski", but I can't see anyone going crazy at high speed on real funky snow with them, yet in soft to medium powder and crud they are the easiest boards I have ever skied, regardless of width. I have never had a ski that felt so much like the entire thing was a sweet spot. Skied some windblown cut up crud the other day and the 101s were handling it beautifully. I had no trouble matching my friend on his Mantras, but he mentioned how the front of my skis were flapping as I flew past him, yet I felt totally solid and smooth at the time. They have a unique exceptionally soft flex that somehow does not keep them from going right where you point them in fairly heavy crud, and I have no problem diving into the bumps with them. All I know is that I love them in anything over 8" regarless of the terrain.

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=40662
post #32 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mehama View Post
I'd like to see a review too. I bet they'll manuever better than you think in the trees. I'm sure you'll be able to sell them anyhow - shoot I might just by them or Michael (Barrett)?
I'm hoping to demo the 101 this week. I'll pull the trigger on the 94 or 101 depending on the trial result.

We had very deep & soft snow at Alta on Friday, and another 10-15 inches of fresh are expected for Monday morning. If the 101 can float enough to keep the tips up, and still carve nice GS turns... It will just go to prove that bigger is better!

Michael
post #33 of 57
They keep getting better. Pow, steeps, crud, wind blown, speed, and even moguls. The 94's (186cm) treated me well today. Very happy! Mounting point on the line should be just fine. Smooth -Quick-Stable-Carver would be my choice words. Felt the results of deep snow and yes these will do just fine!

The 101's will be super stable - speed demons!!
post #34 of 57
Anybody tried the 08 watea 101? I've read the 2009 101s are different from the 94; a bit softer. I'm really curious how the 2008 101 and 94 compare.
post #35 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by keeskwak View Post
Anybody tried the 08 watea 101? I've read the 2009 101s are different from the 94; a bit softer. I'm really curious how the 2008 101 and 94 compare.
Here is a review of the 2009 Watea 101.

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...ighlight=Watea

I've skied the a 186cm Watea 94. The 101 is a bigger version of the 94 in terms of use. Both are good on-piste, both are very easy to use in deeper snow.

A heavier skier will want the 101 as a all-mountain fatty. The lighter skier may not benefit from the extra width & length of the 101 IMO.

Michael
post #36 of 57
Skier219, how do the Watea's compare to the M666 that you owned? I am on a pair of 168 M666's and have the Ripsticks in 164. I have never skied anything wider than the M666's and am curious about the experience. Thanks
post #37 of 57
Thread Starter 
Since I mentioned width aspects in your other thread, I'll focus on the skis here. The Wateas, despite being wider and a little longer, feel lighter and more graceful underfoot than the M666s and Mag 12s I owned. I believe it is due to the Fischer's construction; whereas the Elans used metal layers (stiff but heavy), Fischer sandwiched carbon ribbons (up on edge) between the strips of their wood core. This ends up making a very light ski with a lot of strength and a nicely balanced flex pattern. The Elans felt like tanks to me, but the Wateas have the opposite feel. What's misleading about the lightweight Wateas is that they are quite strong and were more than capable of handling all that I threw at them in Utah, including some heavy crudbusting and some very energetic carving. These are very confident skis (much in the vein of the M666, just less beefcake and more athletic).

One thing I will tell you is that I takes me a little transition when first trying wider skis, and I spent a lot of time clanking the tips of my Wateas together on the morning of day 1. Same thing happened when I was getting used to my 87mm skis (Karmas) two years ago. In fact, if I was smart I would put duct tape on the tips of new wide skis to keep them from getting dinged up while I work out stance issues. But that's really the worst of it. After some minor adjustment, including a more open stance (I am old school and tend to a narrow stance) it's easy to start ripping on the wider skis.

I really can't speak more highly of a ski -- the Wateas were really great, and I can't wait to get back out on them again. I think you definitely ought to give them a try. The Watea 84 (which I have not skied) may be worth checking out too if you think the 94s are too wide.
post #38 of 57
Skier219, much obliged for your reply to my two posts. I definitely want to check these out. What length would you suggest? I am a 164 in the Ripsticks and 168 in the M666. Seems that people ski the fatties long, but perhaps because its for pow. I was thinking about a 176 in the Watea 84 to make them more suitable for eastern conditions. Since I too find the M666 to be ponderous as you say, perhaps the added length in the Watea will be a non issue. I am 165lbs and 5' 9, and strong 7+ level. Thanks again for the imput.
David
post #39 of 57
I skied both the 94 and 101. The 101 is a great soft snow ski, really stable through deep snow and crud but still easy turning, and has enough sidecut to carve damn well on the hardpack. I thought the 94 was a great carver on hard snow, had really excellent edgehold, and stilll skied the soft snow and everywhere else really well. The 94 obviously skis shorter and is turnier, was really nimble off piste in tight spaces, probably a more fun everyday ski, but for a ski more biased for soft snow, the 101 is hard to beat.
post #40 of 57
Thread Starter 
David, I would go head height, or a couple cm above head height, on the Wateas. The 94s don't feel as long as the length spec suggests. I found the 186cm to be quite manageable in everything but really tight bumps and trees, and that length is 1cm longer than my height. Keep in mind this is more of a big mountain ski, good for gunning big terrain. That's what makes longer lengths more appropriate -- it's really the mission of the ski. I would not be choosing this ski for tight tree skiing or a lot of tight bumps, though stronger skiers could probably make it work.

I bet you could handle the 178cm Watea 94 fine (that happens to be the shortest length anyhow). If you liked the Watea 84, you could go 176cm. The 167cm Watea 84 would likely be too short for you, considering the type of ski. I would actually be curious to try a 184cm Watea 84 myself, but I just don't have room for another ski in my quiver, especially since the 94 is so good. But I have a feeling the 84 could make a great one-ski quiver for many people.
post #41 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post
David, I would go head height, or a couple cm above head height, on the Wateas. The 94s don't feel as long as the length spec suggests. I found the 186cm to be quite manageable in everything but really tight bumps and trees, and that length is 1cm longer than my height. Keep in mind this is more of a big mountain ski, good for gunning big terrain. That's what makes longer lengths more appropriate -- it's really the mission of the ski. I would not be choosing this ski for tight tree skiing or a lot of tight bumps, though stronger skiers could probably make it work.

I bet you could handle the 178cm Watea 94 fine (that happens to be the shortest length anyhow). If you liked the Watea 84, you could go 176cm. The 167cm Watea 84 would likely be too short for you, considering the type of ski. I would actually be curious to try a 184cm Watea 84 myself, but I just don't have room for another ski in my quiver, especially since the 94 is so good. But I have a feeling the 84 could make a great one-ski quiver for many people.
Regarding your recommendation for length on the 94, do you really gain stability by going up to the 186?
post #42 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnus_CA View Post
Regarding your recommendation for length on the 94, do you really gain stability by going up to the 186?
Yes, yes, yes. Though, I have not skied the shorter length on the 94 so I can't give you that response with 100% confidence. I have to base it on my experience with other skis. I think length is especially important for off-piste and for big-mountain skiing. You get more float, you get more edge, and you get more ability to blow over snow/terrain features (crud, bumps, etc). These are exactly the things I want in that kind of ski.

In terms of raw stability, longer skis are more stable "on paper" because they put the tips and tails farther from your boot center, which lends a stabilizing effect (just like the vertical tail on an airplane). If the skis are too long for a particular skill level, the far-out tips and tails can lead to a situation where the ski drives the skier rather than the other way around, so it is important to take length in moderation -- you don't want too much ski.

Based on my experience, the Watea 94 gives me a "just right" balance of stability, fun, and forgiveness when it's about head height. I can take that ski through almost anything I encountered at Alta/Snowbird with ease. I am not good enough to zipper the 186cm ski through tight moguls -- that's where the ski starts driving me because of my skill limitations. But when I charged through the bumps, it worked great. Not something I would do on east-coast ice mounds, but on soft bumps out west it was sweet.
post #43 of 57
Impression of the Watea 94 (186) on harder surface conditions (hardpack, ice, and some sun warmed surface slush): Not that great. Some chatter, edge to edge a bit slow, and I did not feel that confident with these skis in these conditions. My balance point wasn't easy to find today, but the skis did show good edge hold however. This ski definitely prefers softer snow where everything becomes easier (bumps, steeps, etc.) Luckily, I only get stuck skiing hard conditions a few times per year so no need to buy a ski for that just yet. I'll put up with the Wateas for that, and smile for the rest.
post #44 of 57
vaportrail, have you checked to make sure your skis are flat and edges are tuned accurately?

I got some Watea 94 from a Fischer dealer on eBay, totally legit for a ridiculous low price. I skied them 3 days this past week. On two separate days, I found myself heading over to a steepish run with the lower 2/3 hardpacked of the type that only race skis (or race heritage skis like many Volkl or Stockli for example) tend to grip. I was stunned at the Watea 94's grip on that snow. Just like a race ski. What's even more amazing, I could soften the edge at will, and go back and forth between drift/skid and carve in the middle of a given turn. I can't believe how versatile these skis are. My experience makes me think your skis might be a bit off.
post #45 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by stowe's pet goat View Post
vaportrail, have you checked to make sure your skis are flat and edges are tuned accurately?

I got some Watea 94 from a Fischer dealer on eBay, totally legit for a ridiculous low price. I skied them 3 days this past week. On two separate days, I found myself heading over to a steepish run with the lower 2/3 hardpacked of the type that only race skis (or race heritage skis like many Volkl or Stockli for example) tend to grip. I was stunned at the Watea 94's grip on that snow. Just like a race ski. What's even more amazing, I could soften the edge at will, and go back and forth between drift/skid and carve in the middle of a given turn. I can't believe how versatile these skis are. My experience makes me think your skis might be a bit off.
What length are you on? What is your height and weight?
post #46 of 57
I'm on a 178, and like most goats I'm skinny so I weigh only 150 lbs. I'm average height, around 5'11" or 6'0". But hey, do you think my height and weight are the reason the Watea 94 skied so well on hardpack? I kinda thought it was the ski, that's why I made that comment!
post #47 of 57
HTML Code:
vaportrail, have you checked to make sure your skis are flat and edges are tuned accurately? 

I got some Watea 94 from a Fischer dealer on eBay, totally legit for a ridiculous low price. I skied them 3 days this past week. On two separate days, I found myself heading over to a steepish run with the lower 2/3 hardpacked of the type that only race skis (or race heritage skis like many Volkl or Stockli for example) tend to grip. I was stunned at the Watea 94's grip on that snow. Just like a race ski. What's even more amazing, I could soften the edge at will, and go back and forth between drift/skid and carve in the middle of a given turn. I can't believe how versatile these skis are. My experience makes me think your skis might be a bit off.
Cool, how much did you get yours for? I'm using 186cm, @ 200lbs - 6ft.

Yeah, that's possible, because I did take a diamond stone to a few spots to debur a few minor knicks in the edges recently - other than that and hot wax they're factory tuned. But really, I think it may be just getting used to the skis under these conditions. I haven't skied in conditions like this all year - it's been soft every time. For some reason I feel like a rock star with these in soft conditions. They grip very well on softer groomers and thats when I go WOWZA! Today I found myself wanting shorter, narrower, stiffer skis to be better controlled. I would be willing to bet though, that the Fischer Wateas 94 would do as well or better than many of the same dimension type skis out there under these "harder" conditions.

BTW I looked at the bottom of my skis today and they appear dried out toward the sides. I just waxed them - could the wax be rubbed off near the edges in just one day - what's up with that? I must admit - too spoiled with the soft snow this year:
post #48 of 57
vaportrail, it was a lot lower than the great price dawgcatching offered. $400.

Maybe try a little more patience. It takes a bit longer to get 94mm waisted skis up on edge. If you apply the pressure too soon, you will get skid and/or chatter. Too little edge angle and the skis will just drift instead of biting and carving.

Cold, hard snow can definitely burn the wax right off in just one day.
post #49 of 57

Watea Versatility

Thanks for the tips Pet Goat: You got a screaming deal on those:

What are your impressions of the ski overall so far?

What others have you skied?
post #50 of 57
Other skis I've been on in that same size/application -- Volkl Gotama, Head Monster 88, Volkl T-Rock (87mm waist, a Karma w/o metal and w/o twin tip), Black Diamond Havoc.

Yep, that price was insane. The shop had only 1 pair. I was lucky enough to find them on eBay when I did.

Impression so far is pretty much the same as dawgcatching describes them, and as Holiday describes them. Very powerful, lighter and livelier feeling than many skis in the same category, very impressive stability in choppy snow, crud, chowder. Want to be on edge. Want to get to the fall line and run downhill. Incredible versatility. Fairly small sweet spot, doesn't like tail gunners. Attack and you are rewarded. Give precise input and you are rewarded. Fairly forgiving if you have good technique and are staying close to the sweet spot. No speed limit I could find. Overall they feel like a more carvy, lighter Volkl.
post #51 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by stowe's pet goat View Post
Maybe try a little more patience. It takes a bit longer to get 94mm waisted skis up on edge. If you apply the pressure too soon, you will get skid and/or chatter. Too little edge angle and the skis will just drift instead of biting and carving.
Correct! Give it a 1/2 second longer to get going but I think you will find it will lock onto and edge very well. Make sure you are putting enough weight on the downhill edge.

Quote:
Cold, hard snow can definitely burn the wax right off in just one day.
Easily, This is where having several good coats of good quality wax over a good base is essential. Get a wax that is temperature and condition appropriate. It makes a huge difference.
post #52 of 57
Thread Starter 
Addendum: I got three more days on the Watea 94s at Alta this past week, when we were blessed with about 40" of new snow. Once again I was reminded how great these skis are. They were awesome in the 6" to boot top powder I encountered a couple days, and really handled the crud well.

On Thursday, some sections of the mountain had wind packed snow which made the crud look awful junky, but the Wateas sailed right through it. I was able to ski through this junk, uncut powder, and groomed snow interchangeably with ease, confirming my earlier impression that the Wateas can handle variable conditions and the transition between them very well. With a good head of steam, looking down at the snow is the only cue that the conditions are changing so much. Underfoot, it's just one smooth continuous feel.

I skied a bunch of chutes on the trail map, and found the skis overall characteristics and the 186cm length to be just right -- plenty of length for control, but enough lightness and flexibility to make the skis tossable and easy to crank around. These skis have a very even flex pattern. It all adds up to a real nice combination, and it makes for a fun, confident ski.

I also got fairly proficient with the Watea 94s in bumps, at least the soft wide variety that were popping up. The skis are plenty soft and flexible and just quick enough edge to edge for decent short/fast turns. And I found that I could get a real nice buttery skid out of the tails when I worked on skiing a fast line slow. Very nice feel.

On some wind-buffed sections of a groomer (that rivaled east coast boilerplate) I was pretty impressed with the Watea 94s edge hold and stability. In fact, I purposely pushed them kind of hard to evaluate performance, and found that the 94s are significantly more solid than the Watea 84s on hard snow. There's enough extra beef in the 94 to eliminate the chattering I encountered on the 84 when skidded. A good way to put it is that I can overpower the 84, but the 94 can probably overpower me.

About the only time I was not pleased with the 94s was when dropping into deep powder. While the Wateas nicely handled boot top powder on 40-deg slopes off the Wildcat lift at Alta (this was 12-16" of overnight snow on top of a groomer), runs in the ungroomed areas of the same pitch demonstrated that a 94mm waist ski doesn't have enough float for my 195lb load in waist deep powder. I had a hard time keeping up speed as the tails bogged down, and it was challenging to initiate turns. I finally had success by gunning straight down, but that results in an interesting exercise in fore/aft balance that is not entirely comfortable on a 40-deg slope! Folks on fat skis were definitely having an easier time in that deep stuff.

Overall, I continue to think very highly of the Watea 94. In variable soft/loose snow conditions, it inspires a ton of confidence. It's nice to have a ski that you can count on to bust through almost anything on the hill. Just don't ask it to provide a ton of float in deep snow unless you're significantly lighter than me.
post #53 of 57
219,

Interesting comments on the 94.. I too was in Utah last week at deer valley all of last week and had similar impressions.

Me 5' 11" 180lbs.. I have the 178's w/jesters. I felt that in conditions on boot high pow, wonderful!! However I skied it on Monday after over a 2 ft dump and they seemed like they wanted to dive on me quite frequently, especially in the trees..

Made me think that I was too heavy for this legnth.. What do you think? I like the skis in certain conditions but I find my Gotamas are WAY more versatile in variable conditions.. I ski those in 183... Love em!!!!!!

I just can't get a hold on the feeling underfoot of the Watea in certain conditions.. I skied them in alot of crud a week earlier at Alyeska and they had a hard time.. Snow was awful however due to the pineapple express that had wreaked havoc on the conditions.. Rain on mashed potatos then frozen over w/LARGE death cookies... Needless to say these skis did NOT like those conditions...

Any thoughts?
post #54 of 57
Thread Starter 
I can see how they would not have done well in the Alyeska conditions -- that sounds like the kind of situation where you'd want a beefier ski with some metal layers and damping. In contrast, the Wateas are light and kind of snappy, and don't have much damping at all (would you believe the 84s are so light they ski differently with and without snow stuck on top of the ski?). So, I totally understand your observations in the Alyeska case.

(Question, besides the added length and width, don't the Gots have some metal layers? That might explain why they are a bit more versatile).

I think you could go longer than 178cm on this kind of ski, but 186cm is maybe too long. After all, they are not that fat at 94mm waist, and still have a healthy sidecut and edge grip. It's not necessarily the kind of ski I would want to scale up to much more than my head height (mine are 1cm above head height and seem just right).

Unfortunately, I don't ski deep snow regularly enough to comment well, but my experience at least tells me that something fatter is needed to float me in over boot-deep powder. I may demo a pair of fat rockered skis next time I'm in that situation. The people I saw on rockered skis were really tearing it up last week. Of course, they looked like out of control clowns in crud and bumps, and looked a little shaky on groomers, but in the deep powder the skiing was beautiful.
post #55 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1SDSKIER View Post
219,

Interesting comments on the 94.. I too was in Utah last week at deer valley all of last week and had similar impressions.

Me 5' 11" 180lbs.. I have the 178's w/jesters. I felt that in conditions on boot high pow, wonderful!! However I skied it on Monday after over a 2 ft dump and they seemed like they wanted to dive on me quite frequently, especially in the trees..

Made me think that I was too heavy for this legnth.. What do you think? I like the skis in certain conditions but I find my Gotamas are WAY more versatile in variable conditions.. I ski those in 183... Love em!!!!!!

I just can't get a hold on the feeling underfoot of the Watea in certain conditions.. I skied them in alot of crud a week earlier at Alyeska and they had a hard time.. Snow was awful however due to the pineapple express that had wreaked havoc on the conditions.. Rain on mashed potatos then frozen over w/LARGE death cookies... Needless to say these skis did NOT like those conditions...

Any thoughts?
I drive a 178 Watea and I'm your size. I think you'd be happy with either length in boot-top high pow conditions but I don't believe they're meant for bottomless pow in either length. These skis have a small shovel, a lot of camber and a too much sidecut. Sure you can lean back a little more with a 186 length but I'm not sure you're going to eliminate tip dive in those conditions. You'd be better off getting something drastically wider (120cm+) for bottomless days in a 185cm+ length.
post #56 of 57
Thx guys... I'm going to keep them and get on them next season.. When I went out it did not look as deep as it actually was, especially in the trees, whch was knee high.. I would have been on the Goats...

Interesting though, my brother was on his mantras and fared better.. I'm a better skier however, but he's only 150lbs...
post #57 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1SDSKIER View Post
Me 5' 11" 180lbs.. I have the 178's w/jesters. I felt that in conditions on boot high pow, wonderful!! However I skied it on Monday after over a 2 ft dump and they seemed like they wanted to dive on me quite frequently, especially in the trees..

Made me think that I was too heavy for this legnth.. What do you think? I like the skis in certain conditions but I find my Gotamas are WAY more versatile in variable conditions.. I ski those in 183... Love em!!!!!!

I just can't get a hold on the feeling underfoot of the Watea in certain conditions.. I skied them in alot of crud a week earlier at Alyeska and they had a hard time.. Snow was awful however due to the pineapple express that had wreaked havoc on the conditions.. Rain on mashed potatos then frozen over w/LARGE death cookies... Needless to say these skis did NOT like those conditions...

Any thoughts?
The 94s are pretty soft in the tip and overall flex. If they were diving it sounds like they may ski better for you mounted back farther and/or in a longer length. I ski the 186s mounted tele and recently had them in some very deep soft snow. I was suprised at how I could get off balance way forward on one ski and the tips still would not dive.

I can relate to your statement of, "I just can't get a hold on the feeling underfoot of the Watea in certain conditions.." They are a fantasticly smooth ski and will float powder, bumps and crud very nicely, but when it starts to get thick they seem a little too light and soft, which gives them a strange feeling. They still go where you point them, but they feel disconnected. It's funny because I love them on hardpack and soft snow, but sometimes in the inbetween conditions (like Alyeska snow) I wish for something more beefy, although overall I think they are an excellent all-mountain ski, at least for the Rockies.
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