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Performance of Current Powder Skis?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
NOTE - the following was previously posted to a thread, but did not generate any response so I've used it to start a new thread...

I have a pair of 6-year old, 174cm K2 AK Launchers (90mm waist) that I use as my "powder" skis (I have a 3-ski quiver). They've become like an old friend such that I am reluctant to replace them (even though they are starting to lose their life, from these cold, dead hands...). I even look past their downsides: they ski like lunch-trays on hard pack (not that I intentionally ski them in these conditions...), and start to get bogged down when the snow gets real deep (like 18"+ fresh on top of an unpacked base, which I am more than happy to deal with when skiing these conditions).

The question is have the latest versions of 90mm+ waist skis improved in their edge-grip vs. my AK Launchers (without losing their powder prowess) to the point that putting my K2's out to pasture sooner would be worth it? If so, do you think that the current 100mm+ waist skis that I hear great things about (like the Gotama, Coomba, etc.) would improve deep snow capabilities without giving up this improved edge grip?

P.S. - Me:
-130lbs soaking wet, 5'5" with 40 years of recreational skiing experience (I'm an unconscious skier, in the figurative sense....)
-Athletic, fairly agressive expert skier (level 8-9?) whose ability is limited by skiing only 15 days per year or so and my age (53yrs).
-Ski wherever the deepest snow is (steep bowls/chutes, trees, bumps, but to air is not my thing..., and forget groomers).
-Prefer the performance of expert skis but find that many are not forgiving to my weight. My ski choices are further limited by the length available (I doubt I want to wrestle with a 192cm Watea 101).

post #2 of 7
I have had a pair of AK Launchers since the 2nd year they came out. I ski a considerable amount of powder and I loved those skis. Still use them as my "rock powder" skis, but their day has long since past. The new mid-fat and fat skis (90mm is now mid-far) are so far beyond the AK Launchers that you cannot even comprehend it. Get on a pair of Gotamas, Wateas, Apache Chiefs, etc. and the AKs will never come out of the closet again.

You are holding on to the past, let go of it. The biggest fear is the fear of the unknown ("It may be hell, but I know where all the streets are.") but trust me, almost any of the new fat boards will out perform the AKs in everything from powder to hardpack, and even bumps.

Get some 1/2 price Watea 94s from Sierra Jim and you'll never look back, but if you want a real dedicated powder board don't fear the fat, go even bigger.
post #3 of 7
Icelantic Nomad in 156 cm 140/105/130 R14 (avail in 168cm but that is taller than you I think) or Shaman in 161cm 160/110/130 R12 if you want to go really fat.

Shortest light fat skis available: http://www.icelanticboards.com/

Heard great things from friends that ski them and thinking of trying them myself.
post #4 of 7
Icelantics seem to be a "love it or hate ski" tried them once and probably won't do so again. A good friend of mine loves them, give them a try. I'd also look at skis like the Gotama.
post #5 of 7
Ditto what mudfoot said. Once I went wide...I won't go back. Its amazing what these new wide skis can do...I have the Gots and just love me.
post #6 of 7
Since you weigh 130 lbs, I think your Launchers, at 90 cm wide, are wide enough. I weigh 180 lbs, which is 38% more than you, and my 175cm x 91cm Pocket Rockets work well for me in snow up to 18" deep. However, if it is deeper than 8" I use my Fischer Porohete's which are 180 x 106. Skis with comparable surface area for your weight would be 174 x 79 or 160 x 86. Based on that, you might prefer shorter Launchers. I sure would at your weight and I ski about 80 days per year and have for 13 years. By the way, I used to ski on Olin Outer Limits which were very similar to Launchers and the right size for me was 180cm.

You said your Launcher's get bogged down in snow over 18" deep. There size shouldn't be causing that so why do they bog down? Do you switch to blue wax or colder wax when the temp drops? When the snow is deep and light it is usually colder than 20 degrees and warmer softer wax will really bog down your skis in snow that cold. No wax is even worse.

post #7 of 7
If you can look past girlie graphics, the Volkl Aura and K2 Phat Luvs are excellent options that are available in shorter lengths. If you'd be interested in something a little more unisex and boutiquey, the 164 PM Gear Bro would probably be an excellent choice. I have two pairs of 188s -- one soft, one mid-soft -- and would suggest that you not be afraid to go soft on these skis.
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