183 Gotamas with Sollie z-12 bindings
other skis in quiver:
179 Soft Bro
186 Lahsa Pow Bro Model
178 AK Pro (racing ski)
Test Terrain; everything except boiler plate ice at Alta, PCMR, & Deer Valley
These are last year Golden Goats. Sierra Jim had an end of season sale and my quiver was down to just the Bros and the Mantras, and I liked the Mantras but wished they were wider, so, well, you know how it goes...
First, peel off the buddas and stick them on the refrigerator.
I got these for powder but was amazed at their performance on groomers and hard snow. They're a big, beefy platform that loves speed, GS turns and are super stable. I borrowed MT's 186 Legend Pros for a few runs a couple gatherings ago- felt close to that but more user friendly.
Short turns are not at the top of the list but are remarkably easy for such a fat ski. The Mantra has the edge here, but the overall cadillac ride is worth it to give up some nimbleness, having said that, they're amazingly nimble for this fat a ski. I just lay them over at high angles,dig in, and they come around real quick. I also find them very easy to ski. First day, I thought that I went too long, but that went away as soon as I got familiar with them. The 183 is perfect for me.
Powder performance is wonderful. I scored top to bottom freshies, as in first one down, on Yellow Trail at Alta last week in a couple feet of blower snow. Makes a real nice round arc, the float is perfect for me, and I didn't have any issues with tip dive or anything else. I could forget the ski and focus on breathing, rythm, and laying down clean symetrical arcs, which is what I like to do with pow. Euro powder 8 stuff.
Crud, fluff crud, variable conditions, no brainer. the 183 just blows through it.
I usually only do bumps when they're between me and powder, but I found these to do fine in small and medium bumps yesterday. I was free skiing with a couple instructors and no one felt compelled to give me pointers. We had great snow, stiff but very edgable, styrofoam consistancy in McConkey's bowl at PCMR. As long as I paid attention and stayed forward, they did great, pivoting or carving.
A few days ago I hiked Jupiter Peak at PCMR after the lift closed (got last call, I didn't walk all the way up). The Goats, while not light, aren't particularly heavy, and with the Sollies on, are easy to shoulder and carry. At the top, the East Face was pretty hard, with the pow partly skied off but mostly blown off (it's 10,000" and exposed). It's steep, falls are not good, too many rocks and small cliffs. I didn't do the chutes because they're pretty bony still and probably skied out. (you don't know 'till your're comitted) I chose the shoulder which promises some nice pow down below. I'd hoped for some at the top but ,oh well. The first three or so tight turns at the top were a bit clumsy. The Mantras or the Bros would have come around quicker, and I had to muscle the big Goats a bit. That might well be me. It's different when you're in a no fall zone, a lot of factors come into play. Once I got down out of the wind a bit, the powder softened up and First Chute and Puma Bowl below were deep powder and cut up powder, the Goats bread and butter. I hit thigh deep powder at one point in the trees and had no problem darting in and out to get it.
One more observation: Yesterday, I skied both the Goats and the AKs, which are a stiff, no nonsense race carver (68 underfoot) on groomers and I found that even though the Goats take a bit more effort to tip up and turn in short radius, they really don't give up much. I missed the big platform and playful nature of the ski, and this on hard snow.
Overall- Love these skis. Good candidate for Utah one ski quiver, though I wouldn't have believed it. Easy to ski, good on groomers and hard snow, great in crud, do everything they're supposed to do in powder, a bit of work in tight trees, bumps and short turns. Good technique goes a long way to fixing the last three.
I'd give the Soft Bros the edge in powder, because my edition (a couple years back) is softer, springier and more playful feeling in light Utah powder. Also, the lack of sidecut makes the Bros more versitile, turn shape wise, in soft snow. The Mantras do short carvers better. But taken together, like I said, I really like these skis.