How do I review a ski that does-it-all, makes soft snow stupid-easy and is an ideal natural snow ski for most level 6 through 8 skiers?
OK, first about me. I’m a former New England High School USSA racer who spent most of his adult life in Chicago and pretty much stopped skiing for 20 years. I’m a little too “senior”, and a little over-sized to ski double blacks, but I do it anyway. I do manage to ski along with local skiers at places like Sunshine Village & Snowbird if I’m provided with a little patience. I’m still learning how to ski soft and/or deep snow on steeper terrain and I consider myself a level 7.
Today I skied Alta-bird with local skiers including Josh "Bushwacker" and Mark Gardener. About 20 inches have fallen in the last 3 days and every run had some knee deep snow and a fair share of softer crud. I had two memorable runs on High Stakes in Mineral Basin and skied Great Scott twice. This is a chute-then-bowl under the tram near the top. I also skied Shireen twice and got a few runs over at Alta. A good day to test my new all-mountain skis. In-fact it was awesome.
The Watea 101 is a gentle bear of a ski. At 192cm in length and a 134-101-124mm sidecut it provides a 25 meter turn radius. This description might sound like a top-end big mountain skis, but it feels like a 183cm Head Monster 82 on the groomers and is very easy to turn on the kind of steep-n-deep conditions I had today. This is possible because the ski is soft flexing yet retains excellent grip on groomers. It also has more sidecut than most long skis and it's turned up tail makes it feel very short. The tip is like a toboggan and the soft flex allows a very upright and natural body position without any risk of tip dive.
What is best about the Watea 101 is that any terrain, flat or steep, groomed or deep is stupid easy. The ski turns like it has power steering and carves on firm snow and floats just as easily in soft snow. I did not feel the need to change my skiing regardless of conditions. It can even ski softer moguls; the width and length are not felt while skiing anywhere on the mountain.
A few observations: I never felt any lack of stability, however the ski feels very light and some level 9 skiers might miss the beefy feel of other fat skis. The ski also requires some deliberate effort in tighter spaces but much less than other skis of this size.
Any 175 lbs skier who is level 8 or any level 6 skier who is heavier can ski this ski with great results. Want to quickly learn to ski in deep snow? This is your ski.