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Gotama vs Czar vs Hellbent

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking about getting a fatter ski, I'm 6'4 190lbs. Lived a year in Squaw, now I'm up in the Northwest. I have a pair of Volkl AX3's from a few years ago (70mm waist) so i definately need to upgrade. I try to do a little of everything, want to do more powder skiing but I do still love to fly fast down steep groomers.
From reading through threads and checking out big mountain skis online the 3 sweetest looking are the Gotama's Czar's and the K2 Hellbent.
It seems Gotama's have the best reputation as a good powder ski with versatility. The Czar's look good, The Hellbents I like the look of for a big mountain ski but i'm thinking it might be more than I need... I have never skiied a K2 and honestly I do not exactly get what camber---reverse camber exactly means... so if anyone could give me a technical breakdown and differences of these 3 skis it would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 11
the easiest way to understand camber/reverse camber is to picture the ski resting on a flat surface. traditional skis will rest on the ends, and the center (where the binding is) will sit up above the ground. thats called camber. the weight of the skier will press the center down to the ground, creating a springy, snappy feeling while skiing.
nowadays, some powder-specific skis have "reverse" camber, which means that the ski will rest on the center and curve up to the tips. on a flat surface (i.e. hard snow) the tips will both be up in the air. this helps skis to float in powder.
by the way, as a terminology point, "rocker" is another way of saying "reverse camber," although many skis have just "tip rocker," which means that the curve only starts towards the tips. imagine a traditional cambered ski, but the ends lift off the ground earlier than normal. it gives some of the advantages of a powder-specific reverse camber, but without sacrificing as much hard-snow control.

hope that helps.

gotamas have no rocker. the czars have a little bit of tip rocker. the hellbents have a ton of rocker. the hellbents are also fat as hell, making them very powder-specific. a more every-day k2 powder ski, similar to the gotamas, is the obsethed.
post #3 of 11
Search here and TGR and on google for "rocker ski", "rockered ski", and "reverse camber ski". Also read http://www.fuzeqna.com/evogear/consu...il.asp?kbid=61

I doubt you'll be disappointed by any of them. I have not skied the Czar, but several people I respect liked it at industry demos. I've skied the Gotama & the Hell Bent. The Gotama is rightly well regarded as great all-around ski in the PNW. It skis in a pretty conventional style. I've spent a decent number of days on Hell Bents. They are actually pretty solid all around skis for the PNW - but you have to be OK with mounting near the center (the almost universal consensus is to go at least +5 & generally more like +7 or +7.5) and skiing in a more centered stance than some people like. The Hell Bent is a surprisingly all-around ski for its width.

In short -

Gotama - Decently fat all-around conventional ski with a somewhat big powder friendly tip. Arguably sets the standard, if anything does, for all-around somewhat fat skis for use in the PNW.

Czar - all mountain ski with camber underfoot and tip rocker, with conventional sidecut.

Hell Bent - rockered ski (flat underfoot with tip and tail rocker) with relatively conventional sidecut. Very powder friendly, but more all-around than many give them credit for (several folks I know - including the guys who gave the Czars positive marks - will be using Hell Bents or EP Pros as their day to day skis this season)

When someone says the Hell Bent is a powder only ski, ask them how many days they've spent on it. The four skiers in my family probably logged about a hundred days total on Hell Bents last season. My two sons skied them exclusively - leaving Mantras and Sir Francis Bacons on the wall. You may not like the Hell Bent skiing style-wise, and it is not the ultimate groomer ski - but it also is far more all-around than many believe. If I had to pick one of the three you listed as my single ski for the season, it'd be the Hell Bent for sure (and I don't even ski switch).

Where in the PNW are you?
post #4 of 11
You already got some great breakdowns from Bam and Spindrift...particularly a great discussion about camber and reverse camber. I have NOT skiied the Hellbent or the Czar so can't offer a direct skiers experience regarding those skis. I do ski the Gotama as my daily driver in Utah and have an even fatter ski for super deep days.

Just reading the description of what you are looking for: a good do it all ski that will give you float in POW..it makes me think the Gotama is a good choice. As suggested it is very good at lots of things which is difficult to accomplish b/c every ski choice is a trade off. At your size, I'd go with the 190 which will be very stable at speed.
post #5 of 11

Very helpful info, have a few questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
Czar - all mountain ski with camber underfoot and tip rocker, with conventional sidecut.
This discussion, and the link to the SMK Spatula article are very helpful.

What other skis are built like the Solly Czar? I don't want a ski that is only intended for powder. The Czar design doesn't seem that dramatically powder-centric.

Also, what about the Volkl Katana/Liberty Helix, which have no camber? How do they compare to the Czar design in terms of powder capability and all-terrain versatility?
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm 29, grew up in SoCal, after four years in the military and then college I lived a year in Lake Tahoe in Squaw Valley, I recently moved to Portland, OR. last winter I worked at Mt Hood Meadows on weekends as a safety host. That allowed me to get free tickets anywhere in the Northwest states and take a lot of road trips.
This year I will probably ski less than the last two but I do want to travel and take a few road trips, get my passport, take a trip to Whistler, also head east, stay with my uncle in Idaho falls, check out Jackson Hole, Wy. Big Sky Mt and Yellowstone. He lives 2 hours away from each.

I am not really good at dropping off rocks, jumps, park.. but I do want to get better at big mountain skiing, powder/tree skiing. I guess when it comes down to it I know how to ski a groomed run, as long as i can bomb down it and feel safe then it's cool.

All 3 still look pretty sweet. Gotama's for conventional and great versatility, The Czars still seem cool, a little fatter, rockered tip... nothing Salomon or Volkl has let me down.
Are the Hellbents harder to ski when not in powder, or does it just take a couple of hours/days to get used to.
Do you think rockered skis/reverse cambered skis are just marketing and the trendy thing for the year, or the future?

At this point in my life, buying skis is not a good financial decision... but damn it, I want them
post #7 of 11
Although the Hellbents are versatile, I would go with a ski that can be skied almost every day but is still good in powder because your other pair of skis don't sound like much 'good' for anything but rippin groomers. The Gotama, Czar or the Obsethed would be my recommendations, but there are numerous other skis that are similar to those.
post #8 of 11
I bought the Gotama's last year, and I'm happy with them. They're an excellent deep-snow ski that's versatile enough to cruise on groomers after surfing the bowls. They were ideal in Vail.

But, if I had to do it again, I may go with a slight rocker like the ObSethed.

People on the hill say they're decent on groomers (not great), but safer in deep snow.

On fresh days, there's always the fear of hooking a tip, and getting splayed over the hill.

I've never skied a rocker, but I hear the raised tip virtually eliminates hooked tips, while making the ski easier to pivot in nasty conditions. The ski become looser.

Personally, I wouldn't go for a ski as specialized as the Hellbent.

You won't go wrong with the Gotama. It's earned its stripes. But, if you're willing to surrender a bit of groomer performance (not a biggie), the Czar or ObSethed might be an interesting alternative.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Is the Hellbent really that much tougher to learn to ski when not in the deep? Is the rocker designs really the next big thing? Would I get gotama's and 2 years from now be mad that I don't have a rocker deisgn etc. Or is it not a big jump, would it be worth it to save 500 bucks and get last years Gotama's lightly used off of Ebay...
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpine_wonder View Post
Is the Hellbent really that much tougher to learn to ski when not in the deep? Is the rocker designs really the next big thing? Would I get gotama's and 2 years from now be mad that I don't have a rocker deisgn etc. Or is it not a big jump, would it be worth it to save 500 bucks and get last years Gotama's lightly used off of Ebay...
A lot depends on where you're skiing and how much deep snow you'll be in. Will you be 50/50, 70/30, 90/10?

What's the rest of your quiver?

If you're a "deep-days-only" kind of guy, rockers may make more sense.

If you'll be trekking in the BC, some say big rockers don't hike well. They also won't be as versatile on hard stuff you find back there.

Your profile doesn't provide much info.
post #11 of 11
I tried out the Czars in 182 and Hellbents in 179 last spring in Whistler. I'm 5'6" and 115 pounds so I'm not sure how much of this is valid. I usually ride 165 - 170cm park skis.

I jumped on the Czars and had to give them back after one run. They were lovely in the crud, but I could not handle them on the groomed and was scared to take them in the bumps. I think I wasn't used to the big turn radius. I ended up liking Guns (181cm or 188cm, and later 174cm) much more.

I tried the Hellbents a few days later. A bit bouncier in the crud, but overall a total blast. I think the smaller turn radius and amount of rocker made them easier for me manage. I took several runs on them. Awesome in any soft snow, and no problems in other conditions. The only place I wouldn't take them is the park because of their weight.

From other things I've read the Hellbents can get floppy under a heavy rider charging through crud. I think they are meant to be more agile and maneuverable than solid and stable. The Hellbents felt like boats on my feet while the Czars felt like tanks.
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