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Demoed Gotama 176s today

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
With planned trips to Utah and Whistler this season, the thought of a wider ski has been on my mind for the past few weeks. Had a chance to ski solo today, and decided to give the Gotamas a demo. I currently have 05/06 Volkl AC4 170s and love them, but they do sink in the deep stuff. Other than lack of floatation on the rare deep day, they have been the perfect Summit County ski.

Skier: 5'8", 150lbs, prefer high speeds and an equal mix of front and backside skiing. Home mtn: Copper Mtn, Colorado.

08/09 Volkl Gotama 176 with Marker Griffon bindings.

Conditions: packed powder, some windblown stashes, ice free moguls, a mixture of consolidated snow and crud in the bowls.

Groomed performance: effortless, GS turns, a real no brainer. I couldn't find the speed limit of the Gotamas on freshly groomed runs, very stable, no tip chatter, easy to ski.

Off piste: This soft ski (for a Volkl) preferred to go over terrain irregularities rather than around them, and I found it easy to remain balanced in a variety of conditions. Could definitly feel the "float" in the windblown stashes.

Moguls: Not this ski's forte. I didn't feel I was able to turn quickly enough to stay in the fall line. Maybe if the moguls had been buried in 6"+ of fresh powder I could just ski over them.

Firm chalk snow: Not this ski's forte. Ski felt short on edge grip, had to smear turns rather than carve.

After a couple of hours exploring the Goat's behavior, I got out the AC4s and skied the same areas. Immediate impression was how "edgy" the AC4s were. I had gotten used to skiing the Goats flat, but the AC4s prefer to be on edge. As expected the AC4s excelled in the moguls and firm snow. I could feel the edges engaging from tip to tail, and could easily make both short and long radius turns almost telepathically. Sweet spot much smaller on the AC4s and they are not "no brainer" skis, but very rewarding when piloted properly.

I wish I had fresh snow to try the Goats in, but even with today's conditions, I am confident they will be superior powder/big mountain skis for my trips farther west, and the occasional "big" days in Colorado. However, I can't see them replacing the AC4s as my everyday Copper Mtn ski.

At the end of the day, I purchased the 176 Gotamas and opted for the Griffon binding as on the demo model. I guess I have a quiver for the first time now . I'm sure the Goats will be the skis I take to Utah and BC this year.
post #2 of 22
Thread Starter 

Day 2: Soft Snow!

Today was the second day on the Gotamas. Conditions were quite different this time with 3" of snow falling each of the past two days, sunny, no wind, and temps in the single digits.

Started the day with the Gotamas on a groomer. For the first time, I really felt the skis carving on both inside edges. After a quick warmup, I dropped into Spaulding Bowl. The skis made quick work of the headwall which was a combination of fresh snow and large round moguls. Then I headed for Copper Bowl via the Lilly G traverse. Once I started descending off the summit, I was immediately impressed by how "turny" the skis felt. In fact they seemed to be turning even quicker than my 82mm AC4s. Surface was about 4" fresh over small push piles. These skis really rocked it in Copper Bowl, whether in steeps, untracked, trees, or widely spaced moguls. Much easier and more fun than I recall the AC4s being. Once again, the Gotamas seemed to easily initiate short radius turns when in the soft snow, just the opposite of what I encountered in firm snow the first day I tried them.

On the way down the frontside to lunch, I decided to give them another shot at firm, closely spaced moguls. Unfortunately, the Gotamas failed to excel there once again. I just wasn't able to thread them through the narrow troughs. After lunch I took the AC4s out and dropped into Spaulding Bowl for comparison. By this time of day, the rock free lines were starting to get tracked out, so the AC4s ripped down with no problem. I then hit some mogul runs with them for the remainder of the day. Once again, a much more appropriate tool for me to ski frontside moguls with.

Final impression: the Gotamas rock in any soft snow conditions, turning much quicker than I thought a 105mm ski could, and even rail on softer groomers. Firm moguls and hardpack, however, are more fun on a more narrow waisted ski.

Maybe the Goats will get more use than planned......as long as we get regular snowfall here in the central Rockies.
post #3 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by spdskr View Post
Maybe the Goats will get more use than planned.
Pretty much where I ended up with my Goats.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Good to hear, Faisasy. Hope to see you on the slopes this season.
post #5 of 22
Serious OT question: What is packed powder? I hear this all the time. Is it settled powder (packed by gravity and time)? Not trying to be a jackass - just kinda confused. I always considered powder to be by it's very nature "unpacked".
post #6 of 22
That is the surface after the groomers get done.

Look around the ski resorts, photo's of the day and look for the pictures of corduroy snow.

http://www.rsn.com/cams/camshot/4678

Here's me on my AC4's Apr 06 on the packed powder
post #7 of 22
Wow. So packed powder is just groomed snow? Why don't they just called it "groomed"? That's like saying Alta just got two feet of "pre-groomed".
post #8 of 22
"packed powder" is a euphamism for many things in the east. I had "packed powder" that I could see through to the ground according to one resort's definition.

I remember jumping up / down at Whistler and the snow compressed 6 inches and saying - "ahh, now that's packed powder".

But even at Alta, after enough have been over the freshies, it becomes packed - hence - packed powder.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
Serious OT question: What is packed powder? I hear this all the time. Is it settled powder (packed by gravity and time)? Not trying to be a jackass - just kinda confused. I always considered powder to be by it's very nature "unpacked".
It is a term resorts here in CO use for conditions when it hasn't snowed in a few days. Rarely icy, texture more like chalk.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by spdskr View Post
It is a term resorts here in CO use for conditions when it hasn't snowed in a few days. Rarely icy, texture more like chalk.

The chalk type surface we get here in the NE is normally after it has been very cold and sometimes windy. It's a shavable surface, that some call firm and icy. It acturally has a lot of grip to it and well hold and edge if your confident enough to get the ski on edge.

Icy to me is clear.
post #11 of 22
I don't know why people get so bent out of shape about the packed powder thing. It's just a question of semantics. Call it soft groomed, would that be better? On the other hand, if you need a ski report to tell you there's powder, you'll probably be too late to get any of it.
post #12 of 22
Isn't the 176 a tad short if you prefer higher speeds?
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
My everyday ski is 170cm, and the 176cm goat feels equally as stable for me. When I changed from 188cm to 170cm three years ago the 170cm felt short initially, but that is the length I feel comfortable with now. Plus, it takes less effort at my size to muscle the shorter skis in tight spaces.
post #14 of 22
I ski in NH and Vermont and the 176 Gotamas are the BOMB. Their width instills confidence & makes fore a super stable feel.

I feel like I can dominate anything on the things. Trees and a few inches of fresh is their G spot but they'll carver super hard on hardpack/granular.
post #15 of 22
Having a shorter powder ski in New England sometimes isn't such a bad thing. I have a friend that skis 169 enforcers and skies mostly Sugarbush and Jay. He often skis them in a foot of powder no problem and it's a bonus in the tight tree skiing around here. No huge gs type turns like out west to be skiing on a 180+ ski. I'm sure many will disagree but whatever works.......................
post #16 of 22
I ski a 176 goat at pretty high speed and haven't felt unstable once. I can say the same for my 170 Jet Fuels. It isn't always about length. I can ski a longer ski equally well. But the shorter ski is easier and I don't lose stability. I'm 5'10" 160 lb and a strong off piste skier.
post #17 of 22

Short Gots rule!

I want to second the notion that the 176cm got is perfect for those of us around 5ft9 or 10in and 165-170 lbs. There's a lot of "go long" hype, and I tried the 183. But the 176 is so much better!
Powder: perfect, relax and rip. It couldn't be any easier, so why would I go longer? Trees, great.
The big difference with the shorter length is their manouvrebility. Negotiating moguls, tight chutes, is so much easier.
Also, on groomers, the 183 carves great, but it's like you're on a wide radius freight train, while the 176 actually performs a wide variety of turn shapes and is quick edge to edge (in soft snow).
This recommendation is for what I term the "average expert skier." In other words, if you're straightlining the Pallisades, you might have different needs. I understand that, and so do you.
post #18 of 22
^^^Agreed. I'm 135 pounds and almost bought the 183. Glad I didn't! The 176 is magical.

Speaking of the Palisades, here's a cute little line.

Zero to 50 in 2 seconds :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBLjAroo970
post #19 of 22
I've been on my new 176cm 07/08 Got's since the beginning of this year. Me - 130lbs. level 8/9 skier (though over 50) and ski WP, Copper and Steamboat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spdskr View Post
I wish I had fresh snow to try the Goats in, but even with today's conditions, I am confident they will be superior powder/big mountain skis for my trips farther west, and the occasional "big" days in Colorado
I was lucky enough to ski the 16" new over 10" from the day before this past Thursday at Copper. I even got a chance to ski some newly opened lines in Copper bowl. Until then I wasn't sure how they would do in bottomless conditions (since they do so well in everything else except packed). Well wonder no more - they float well but not too much (I like to be in the snow) and make any turn shape with minimal effort. What a revelation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by spdskr View Post
Maybe if the moguls had been buried in 6"+ of fresh powder I could just ski over them.
I've found that they turn on a dime and carve through moguls even without the 6" fresh as long as the base is very soft. You do have to angulate more and drive the ski (i.e., a bit more forward pressure) or they will feel more like lunch platters. If driven properly they actually work better in these conditions than my previous 90mm waisted K2 AK Launchers. Again a revelation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by spdskr View Post
Sweet spot much smaller on the AC4s and they are not "no brainer" skis, but very rewarding when piloted properly.
Funny thing, I was scared to buy my Got's because my impression of Volkl's are that they require a burly and attentive pilot. Worry no more - I find the Got's to be super easy to turn and quite forgiving of pilot error without being weenies. I ski them fairly "unconsciously". My fear of Volkl's is over. The final revelation!

OTOH while you already bought yours (and to be a contrarian to other posts here), I definitely will be recommending something longer than the 176's to anyone bigger than me. These skis are really 172's with a big turned-up tail so they ski short even to a lightweight like me (I'm not saying they're too short for me nor would I have opted for the 183's, just saying they didn't require me to "grow" into the length). Hard to believe that so many bigger folks ski these in the 176cm length (hey YMMV).
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski-ra View Post
OTOH while you already bought yours (and to be a contrarian to other posts here), I definitely will be recommending something longer than the 176's to anyone bigger than me. These skis are really 172's with a big turned-up tail so they ski short even to a lightweight like me (I'm not saying they're too short for me nor would I have opted for the 183's, just saying they didn't require me to "grow" into the length). Hard to believe that so many bigger folks ski these in the 176cm length (hey YMMV).
Glad you are enjoying yours. Used mine for the third day yesterday at Copper. As an experiment, I straightlined them near the bottom of Buzzard's Alley in some cut up powder/crud.......no problem, they were very stable. I am happy with the length.
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by spdskr View Post
Glad you are enjoying yours. Used mine for the third day yesterday at Copper. As an experiment, I straightlined them near the bottom of Buzzard's Alley in some cut up powder/crud.......no problem, they were very stable. I am happy with the length.
Yeah - pretty amazing. If they are stable for you, just think what they're like for me! I can't believe a ski this easy to turn and willing to make short turns can also be this stable (especially without metal in them). I guess that's the advantage of being 130lbs., at least in this case.

BTW - Were you able to find some deep, untracked snow yesterday? If so I hope you found them to be equally wonderful; if not, I'd be curious about your thoughts when you do try them in the deep (there is some chatter that the Goat has slowly been stiffened to the point that it no longer is such a great powder ski).

Take Care!
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski-ra View Post
BTW - Were you able to find some deep, untracked snow yesterday? If so I hope you found them to be equally wonderful; if not, I'd be curious about your thoughts when you do try them in the deep (there is some chatter that the Goat has slowly been stiffened to the point that it no longer is such a great powder ski).

Take Care!
Only some short sections, but nothing like first tracks on a powder day. So far, I like them in all soft snow situations that I've had them in. Still hoping for a deep day.
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