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Powder ski construction

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Having spent some demo time (limited, mind you) on some wider skis this past season, I'm curious about what seems to be the trend in the fat/powder skis (>90 mm waist) that they are (to me) remarkably stiff for a powder board.

One of my only complaints with my Volkl AC4's (an all mountain ride - not a true powder ski) is that they are a bit on the stiff side and, despite their 82 mm width, don't have particularly great float in deeper snow. It's a great all mountain ski and I do like the ski a lot, but IMHO, it does dive a bit when it gets in to deeper stuff. Anyway, been looking for a little better powder performance in an all mountain ski and what I've seen and skied so far makes me wonder if some of my basic tenets about ski construction are still true; in this case, does a softer ski make for better powder performance (all other variables like width being constant)? Guess I've been a bit surprised that the skis the shops point me to are stiffer than my Volkl's, although the waists are a bit wider.

Trying to stay more general here, but the specific example here is the shop is pushing the Nordica Hellcat which seems stiffer than my AC4's but he says will be better powder skis 'cause they are wider underfoot (by 8 mm).
post #2 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tag View Post
Having spent some demo time (limited, mind you) on some wider skis this past season, I'm curious about what seems to be the trend in the fat/powder skis (>90 mm waist) that they are (to me) remarkably stiff for a powder board.

One of my only complaints with my Volkl AC4's (an all mountain ride - not a true powder ski) is that they are a bit on the stiff side and, despite their 82 mm width, don't have particularly great float in deeper snow. It's a great all mountain ski and I do like the ski a lot, but IMHO, it does dive a bit when it gets in to deeper stuff. Anyway, been looking for a little better powder performance in an all mountain ski and what I've seen and skied so far makes me wonder if some of my basic tenets about ski construction are still true; in this case, does a softer ski make for better powder performance (all other variables like width being constant)? Guess I've been a bit surprised that the skis the shops point me to are stiffer than my Volkl's, although the waists are a bit wider.

Trying to stay more general here, but the specific example here is the shop is pushing the Nordica Hellcat which seems stiffer than my AC4's but he says will be better powder skis 'cause they are wider underfoot (by 8 mm).

First dont take advice on what powder skis you should get from some guy in the midwest.

Ac4 are a west coaster turnier crud buster they SUCK in powder. The fat nordica like the hellcat again are not good in powder. Soft flex is the way to go unless its an extremely wide ski.

The best sub 90mm ski for powder is the PE go with longest size 179 because length, softness, and the early rise tip will help you out.

If your going to for a wider all mountain ski. The mantra, gotama from volkl are obvisousally great ski in powder and other junk. Once you get up around 100mm most skis ski powder great in the waist range and once you up around 110-120 with the like of katanas and thugs(my personal choice) they are effortless in any bit of deep snow.

summary - soft, long, mid fat to mega fat is what you want.
post #3 of 20
I agree with BWPA, just wanted to add:

There are two VERY different types of 'fat skis'. There are 'Powder Skis' and there are 'Big Mountain Skis', they are not the same.
post #4 of 20
Add to the mix the new crop of reverse camber & reverse sidecut skis and you've got a myriad of choices for a powder ski.
post #5 of 20
BDub is spot on and Whiteroom has a great point.

Yer big mountain skis will have a stiffer layup, and less sidecut for bigger radius turns. Usually a bit heavier, too. A la BRO, Katana or thug.

Powder skis will have a softer layup, a little more sidecut (or reverse camber/rocker tip) and probably be a bit lighter, a la Goats or Lhasa Pow's.

Depending on wheher or not this is a pow specific board for you or if you're looking for a do-it-all'er, narrow it down to a few choices, ask again and I'm sure you can start some good mud slinging as to which would be best. Be sure to list your personal style, where you plan to use it and what's most important to you. Your AC4s are great skis and I enjoyed them very much on trail when I tried 'em, but the second I tried them in fresh snow, the love turned to burning white hot hate almost instantly. Fill out that quiver! Don't go below mid 90s waist for your new planks, I'm tellin ya!

Check out the new Head Mojo 94, I've heard great things!!!!!! Ask Whiteroom!
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoWork View Post
BDub is spot on and Whiteroom has a great point.

Yer big mountain skis will have a stiffer layup, and less sidecut for bigger radius turns. Usually a bit heavier, too. A la BRO, Katana or thug.

Powder skis will have a softer layup, a little more sidecut (or reverse camber/rocker tip) and probably be a bit lighter, a la Goats or Lhasa Pow's.

Depending on wheher or not this is a pow specific board for you or if you're looking for a do-it-all'er, narrow it down to a few choices, ask again and I'm sure you can start some good mud slinging as to which would be best. Be sure to list your personal style, where you plan to use it and what's most important to you. Your AC4s are great skis and I enjoyed them very much on trail when I tried 'em, but the second I tried them in fresh snow, the love turned to burning white hot hate almost instantly. Fill out that quiver! Don't go below mid 90s waist for your new planks, I'm tellin ya!

Check out the new Head Mojo 94, I've heard great things!!!!!! Ask Whiteroom!
thugs are not big mountain skis(they are soft and floppy at speed its just due to no sidecut they still work at speed) katana are kinda of inbetween powder and big mountain.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
First dont take advice on what powder skis you should get from some guy in the midwest.
Actually this was from a guy at Christy Sports in Dillon, CO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
Ac4 are a west coaster turnier crud buster they SUCK in powder.
Well I wouldn't say they suck in powder, just that deep powder is not their strong suit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
The mantra, gotama from volkl are obvisousally great ski in powder and other junk.
I would say that the Mantra is a pretty stiff ski, not much different than my AC4's. Which sorta goes back to my fiirst question. Is the trend in powder skis to go stiffer?
post #8 of 20
As a very, very general rule, "powder skis" run softer. Especially if you are talking about conventionally shaped "powder skis".

Lots of folks ski all kinds of skis under all kinds of conditions. Some ski powder better on skinny skis than I can on any skis. Oh well... But I think most people who ski powder on modern powder skis would indeed say that AC4s, Hellcats, etc. "suck" in powder. Look at the composition of the lineup at a powder place on a powder day...

What can I say? Clearly, it is not wise to take powder ski advice from the folks at Christy Sports in Dillon...
post #9 of 20
In my opinion there is not a definite trend, and it is getting harder to figure out what is a "powder ski" anymore. As noted, there are so many different kinds of fat skis, including single and double rocker in varying stiffnesses that there's not much you can call a pure powder ski these days. For my money I like long, soft and not much sidecut, so I went with the Watea 101s in a 192 length. A fat stiff ski with a lot of sidecut like the Mantra will certainly do fine in powder, but it's a lot more work to control than a softer straighter board.

It used to be there were few choices for true powder boards, if there is any trend I would say that it's variety in your choices.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
thugs are not big mountain skis(they are soft and floppy at speed its just due to no sidecut they still work at speed) katana are kinda of inbetween powder and big mountain.
Ah, see? This is why classifications like this suck. The lines are blurred by the onslaught. You're right though.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tag View Post
Actually this was from a guy at Christy Sports in Dillon, CO.



Well I wouldn't say they suck in powder, just that deep powder is not their strong suit.



I would say that the Mantra is a pretty stiff ski, not much different than my AC4's. Which sorta goes back to my fiirst question. Is the trend in powder skis to go stiffer?
the trend is not to go stiffer and I would never call a mantra a powder ski. its all-mountian ski that happens to ski powder pretty well.

Also colorado doesnt really get powder like we do. I would take advice from people from LCC and the Northwest about powder skis over someone from Colorado aka bump skiers paradise.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
Colorado aka bump skiers paradise.
post #13 of 20
Do like I do. Look for something close to what you want that's on a killer deal and buy it. Ski it and you'll be happy. Skis are so damn good today that if you have a general idea about what works just about anything in your target area will make you smile.

I ski lots of crud and powder. My skis make me very happy. I'll bet that there are 6-10 other skis out there that would be just as good. I took the ones that were on sale big time, though I did demo to make sure that they were in the range I wanted.

Getting all worked up about equipment is counter productive. Get concerned about technique instead and you can easily adjust your skiing to your skis
post #14 of 20
Says the guy who's been skiing for twenty bajillion years and has no particular need for crutches or excuses!

I need both!

BTW, how wide did you say your skis are????
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
Also colorado doesnt really get powder like we do.
Hopefully I didn't misunderstand this quote (given that it seemed to go unnoticed by countless other CO-based EpicSkiers)....

The statistics indicate that many ski areas in Colorado get as much snow (or more) as many of the Utah ski areas. In particular the Park City areas (Park City, Canyons, Deer Valley) get no more snow than Winter Park, Steamboat, Vail and several others. In fact a few Colorado ski areas get as much snow as the Cottonwood Canyon areas (i.e., Wolf Creek and Silverton, though these hardly carry the "Greatest Snow on Earth!" cachet of Snowbird/Alta). Finally, the statistics for Steamboat (which are taken below the area of the "real" skiing) don't even come close to capturing the true amount of snow (and the incredible snow quality) that that CO ski area gets.

Do the UT areas on average get more snow than in CO? Sure but the difference isn't enough to justify any notion that Colorado ski areas don't get the powder that Utah gets. Oh and BTW - over the dozen times or so that I've skied Snowbird I can recall regularly navigating bumps the size of Volkswagen Beetles. Grrr....
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski-ra View Post
Hopefully I didn't misunderstand this quote (given that it seemed to go unnoticed by countless other CO-based EpicSkiers)....

The statistics indicate that many ski areas in Colorado get as much snow (or more) as many of the Utah ski areas. In particular the Park City areas (Park City, Canyons, Deer Valley) get no more snow than Winter Park, Steamboat, Vail and several others. In fact a few Colorado ski areas get as much snow as the Cottonwood Canyon areas (i.e., Wolf Creek and Silverton, though these hardly carry the "Greatest Snow on Earth!" cachet of Snowbird/Alta). Finally, the statistics for Steamboat (which are taken below the area of the "real" skiing) don't even come close to capturing the true amount of snow (and the incredible snow quality) that that CO ski area gets.

Do the UT areas on average get more snow than in CO? Sure but the difference isn't enough to justify any notion that Colorado ski areas don't get the powder that Utah gets. Oh and BTW - over the dozen times or so that I've skied Snowbird I can recall regularly navigating bumps the size of Volkswagen Beetles. Grrr....
Park City doesnt count its the WORST skiing in the central Wasatch. LCC and BCC get more snow than anyplace in colorado almost all the time. I would agree that you 'quality" is better as it is lighter density. But lighter density especailly when its not that much is just dust on a crust and thats not much fun. Alot of days youd have to admit your getting dust on a crust there.

LCC got 701 of snow by may 1st this year, not even counting the May and June snow fall of another 60inches compared to wolf Creek which got 492 inches of snow. 200 inch difference is a big deal and when compared to summit which only got around 400 inch this year .

BTW i just started this thread so that you can prove me wrong with proof aka pictures but I highly doubt anyone in Colorado can do it.

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...505#post937505
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
BTW i just started this thread so that you can prove me wrong with proof aka pictures but I highly doubt anyone in Colorado can do it.
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...505#post937505
I'll see you in the other forum....
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
only got around 400 inch this year .
400 inches...lame...who'd even bother going out for that? Now 500...that's some snow

post #19 of 20
Colorado doesn't really get new snow like WE do.

(Wording slightly amended, emphasis added.)
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
BTW, how wide did you say your skis are????
96 under foot, toothpicks compared to the 2X12 boards you ski on.

I didn't mean to say that he should ski on narrow skis, just that he doesn't need to stress over which skis because there are so many great ones.
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