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Three fatties: 999, XXL, 101

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
It's not very often that you can demo a fat ski in deep powder, but Monday at Snowbasin provided this unusual opportunity.

First, a disclaimer: I am a gaper in powder. I can count my total powder days on two hands. I have skied several fatter skis in powder, however. These include the 2007 Salomon AK Rocket, 2004 Volant Spatula, 2004 Dynastar Inspired by Nobis & the 2001 Salomon Supermountain. My comments will be more helpful to the powder newbie than powder expert.

I tested the 185cm Elan 999, 187cm Dynastar XXL and the 192cm Fischer Watea 101. These are all 2009 models that are unchanged from this years skis, except graphics.

The weather was a bluebird day with about 12" of fresh over a very soft and deep base. More than 50 inches of new snow fell in the prior week. Knee to waist deep everywhere. Each ski saw some untracked snow, Some soft & deep crud and some soft groomer conditions.

My criteria for a powder ski is simple: it should support the skier without tip dive and be easy to turn. It does not need to be super stable or rail on groomers. I’ll leave those needs to better skiers than me.

185cm Elan 999: this was my second fat ski of the day after the Head Monster 95 OB. Both skis are not for me. The Elan was better on the groomers than in snow any deeper than boot top. I’m sure a better skier could find the balance point in powder that avoids tip dive, but I could not. The tip is a low profile design and the ski is overly stiff; in addition the camber is about the same as most skinny skis. This design provided the best groomer performance but requires that the skier stay in the back seat to avoid submarine-ing the tips. Twice I had one ski dive like spear, pop-off and send me in the deep.

187cm Dynastar XXL: the second ski was great. The XXL is now available in a 187cm size, much better for mortals than the 193cm size. The ski has almost no camber, moderate flex and the biggest shovel this side of a Pontoon. It is also has a perfectly flat tail. This combination works. The shovel allows the skier to stay upright. The tips stay up even if the skier gets a little forward or if the piles of pushed-up snow are knee deep. I was able to just blast through any “harbor-chop” like a Boston Whaler. It actually felt like a reverse camber ski, almost impossible to dive the tips.

The ski was also great on groomers if you like GS turns and speed. Edge-grip is great and the ski is not overly demanding. Awesome!

192cm Fischer Watea 101: This is also a great ski and ideal for me. The flex is softer than the Dynastar or Elan. The ski features a small up-turned tail that helps the 101 ski shorter than it’s 192cm size. The shovel is large enough to keep the tips up without any backseat skiing style. It was the easiest to turn at moderate speeds. It will carve on hard-pack like a midfat and was the quickest ski in soft snow. Great skiing with less effort. I did not find a speed limit, however the ski does feel much lighter than the Elan or Dynastar.

Michael
post #2 of 12
That XXL 187 just sounds awesome. I can't wait to demo that ski. Dimensions?

Answered my own question...132/109/122
post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by barrettscv View Post
It's not very often that you can demo a fat ski in deep powder, but Monday at Snowbasin provided this unusual opportunity.

First, a disclaimer: I am a gaper in powder. I can count my total powder days on two hands. I have skied several fatter skis in powder, however. These include the 2007 Salomon AK Rocket, 2004 Volant Spatula, 2004 Dynastar Inspired by Nobis & the 2001 Salomon Supermountain. My comments will be more helpful to the powder newbie than powder expert.

I tested the 185cm Elan 999, 187cm Dynastar XXL and the 192cm Fischer Watea 101. These are all 2009 models that are unchanged from this years skis, except graphics.

The weather was a bluebird day with about 12" of fresh over a very soft and deep base. More than 50 inches of new snow fell in the prior week. Knee to waist deep everywhere. Each ski saw some untracked snow, Some soft & deep crud and some soft groomer conditions.

My criteria for a powder ski is simple: it should support the skier without tip dive and be easy to turn. It does not need to be super stable or rail on groomers. I’ll leave those needs to better skiers than me.

185cm Elan 999: this was my second fat ski of the day after the Head Monster 95 OB. Both skis are not for me. The Elan was better on the groomers than in snow any deeper than boot top. I’m sure a better skier could find the balance point in powder that avoids tip dive, but I could not. The tip is a low profile design and the ski is overly stiff; in addition the camber is about the same as most skinny skis. This design provided the best groomer performance but requires that the skier stay in the back seat to avoid submarine-ing the tips. Twice I had one ski dive like spear, pop-off and send me in the deep.

187cm Dynastar XXL: the second ski was great. The XXL is now available in a 187cm size, much better for mortals than the 193cm size. The ski has almost no camber, moderate flex and the biggest shovel this side of a Pontoon. It is also has a perfectly flat tail. This combination works. The shovel allows the skier to stay upright. The tips stay up even if the skier gets a little forward or if the piles of pushed-up snow are knee deep. I was able to just blast through any “harbor-chop” like a Boston Whaler. It actually felt like a reverse camber ski, almost impossible to dive the tips.

The ski was also great on groomers if you like GS turns and speed. Edge-grip is great and the ski is not overly demanding. Awesome!

192cm Fischer Watea 101: This is also a great ski and ideal for me. The flex is softer than the Dynastar or Elan. The ski features a small up-turned tail that helps the 101 ski shorter than it’s 192cm size. The shovel is large enough to keep the tips up without any backseat skiing style. It was the easiest to turn at moderate speeds. It will carve on hard-pack like a midfat and was the quickest ski in soft snow. Great skiing with less effort. I did not find a speed limit, however the ski does feel much lighter than the Elan or Dynastar.

Michael
This is key:

"187cm Dynastar XXL: The ski has almost no camber, moderate flex and the biggest shovel this side of a Pontoon. It is also has a perfectly flat tail."

Great description! If you look closly at the tips, there is actually "tip rocker"!


Nice review!

Coup
post #4 of 12
Thanks for the great review. The XXL sounds very intriguing. I bought my 101s as a pure powder board without trying many other fatties and am always curious how they compare to the competition. I absolutely love mine, but they seem like they are too light and soft flexing to ski the way they do. Never been on an easier or more playful ski. You can relax on them in deep snow (or even bumps) because of their mellow flex, but if you want to put the hammer down they stay right with you. "Great skiing with less effort" is a perfect description.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
Thanks for the great review. The XXL sounds very intriguing. I bought my 101s as a pure powder board without trying many other fatties and am always curious how they compare to the competition. I absolutely love mine, but they seem like they are too light and soft flexing to ski the way they do. Never been on an easier or more playful ski. You can relax on them in deep snow (or even bumps) because of their mellow flex, but if you want to put the hammer down they stay right with you. "Great skiing with less effort" is a perfect description.
The 2008 & 2009 Watea 101 are stiffer than in prior years and stiff enough for me. I'll use these after a recent snow event, so I'm not expecting to cruise icy slopes with these.

The ski has that light & lively feel I like in Fischer skis. They are also firm enough underfoot that I'm never felt limited by the ski. Stability was great.

The XXL is clearly a stiffer ski. It required more speed and input to perform but most good skiers could handle it without any issues. The Watea was versatile enough for relaxed groomer cruising, the XXL would have been more difficult to use at lower speeds. At speed the Watea was a match for the XXL while requiring less effort.

Michael
post #6 of 12
I believe after the first year's Watea 101s (which is what I have) they added a carbon layer which stiffened and dampened them a bit, but I've never seen a real comparison as to how the new ones ski differently than mine. Did they stiffen them again in the newest model?
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
The '08 & '09 models have the Carbon-fiber I-beam stringers installed. The Fischer website claims that this stiffens the ski while reducing weight. Some reviews on TGR state that the '07 is stiffer than the '06 model.

Michael
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by barrettscv View Post
The 2008 & 2009 Watea 101 are stiffer than in prior years and stiff enough for me. I'll use these after a recent snow event, so I'm not expecting to cruise icy slopes with these.

The ski has that light & lively feel I like in Fischer skis. They are also firm enough underfoot that I'm never felt limited by the ski. Stability was great.

The XXL is clearly a stiffer ski. It required more speed and input to perform but most good skiers could handle it without any issues. The Watea was versatile enough for relaxed groomer cruising, the XXL would have been more difficult to use at lower speeds. At speed the Watea was a match for the XXL while requiring less effort.

Michael
My feeling exactly as well, when comparing the 94 and 101 to the Legend Pro. These skis are EASY to ski, but have a very high ceiling with regards to performance.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
I also had the chance to ski two well regarded powder skis that week, the Volant Spatula and the Salomon AK Rocket Lab (Swallowtail).

The 195cm Salomon AK Rocket (130-95-115mm) was the ski that took the longest to adjust to. The ski has a very flat tip, almost no-profile at all. The tail sinks easily and this is required to keep the tips up. The tip shape kept me in the back seat at the end of each turn and also required me to sit back to start each turn. I could then pull myself over the ski center during the mid portion of the turn. The resulting turns were very quick, while the 195cm length of the ski provides a very stable platform for faster skiing. A stronger skier might like this versatility, but it requires huge effort. More like doing sit-ups than skiing. After two days I was getting the hang of it, but there are better powder rides IMO.

The Volant Spatula is the first of the now popular reverse camber/reverse side-cut skis. The 186cm Spatula (120-125-115mm) really makes powder skiing very easy and fun. The reverse camber avoids tip dive with no special effort and helps produce a tight turn in powder and crud. It really feels like a slalom ski in soft snow and is still the best tree ski according to many user reviews. The downside is poor high speed stability at insane speeds in powder and useless hard-snow performance at any speed. While on hard snow you might as well be standing on a saucer. However on a deep & steep powder day, or soft crud everywhere day, it is still the standard for others to measure up to IMO.

The XXL & Watea provide the same great powder performance and resistance to tip-dive as the Spatula while providing acceptable hard snow performance. I would not want to use the XXL or Watea 101 on a hard snow day in Vermont, but they can cruise soft groomed conditions well enough for western skiers. The almost flat camber, high profile tip & moderate to soft flex of these wide powder skis is ideal for those days that require extended hard snow skiing while searching for powder stashes.

Michael
post #10 of 12
How was the 999 mounted? The factory mount point for the 08 was all wrong. When I had mine, I ended up remounting them +5 from the factory line. This put them on par w/ my other skis of the same size.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
How was the 999 mounted? The factory mount point for the 08 was all wrong. When I had mine, I ended up remounting them +5 from the factory line. This put them on par w/ my other skis of the same size.
I do think the mounting point was part of the problem, these were '09s.

Michael
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by barrettscv View Post
First, a disclaimer: I am a gaper in powder.
Sig material right there.
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