EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › What will fatter skis do for me?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What will fatter skis do for me?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

This is a bit of a basic question, but I've now read so much I've got myself confused again.

 

I've had very little experience of skiing powder, but am reasonably experienced on-piste (ski everything in the resort with decent - although clearly improvable - technique, normally carving rather than skidding turns). I'm heading off to France in a week's time where I expect there to be a lot of fresh snow, and I'm wanting to manage the powder rather better than I have done in the past.

 

Now, I've never skied anything wider than 75mm at the waist, and I'm looking at renting something rather wider next week. I keep reading that such-and-such a wide ski lets you ski fast, wide arcs in the deep powder, or ski xxx doesn't really come alive until you're going fast. That's not what I want, I'm looking for the opposite. I want to be able to ski powder slowly, with medium radius turns. I just don't want to keep falling over, or grinding to a halt as a result of sinking too deep.

 

Now, I know this is largely a question of technique, which I don't have yet, but I want to smooth my passage in there as much as I can. I frequently read also,  that fat skis are a 'crutch' - great, that's EXACTLY what I'm looking for!

 

On the other hand...I'll probably be doing a 50/50 split of on and off piste, so I'm looking for something which I can still use my on-piste technique with, so it needs to be OK getting from edge to edge.

 

So, what kind of skis should I be looking at?

post #2 of 17

Well, you pose a good line of questioning.  Do you NEED wider skis for powder?  No.  Does everyone like wider skis?  No.  Can they help in the powder? Yes.  Are there advantages to a wider skis in powder? Yes.

 

You mention that you wanted a wider ski that's going to give you a medium radius and be responsive at moderate speeds.  I guess that depends upon what you consider a medium radius turn.  Most of the wider skis do have somewhat wider radii.  From what you're saying  I think you might enjoy something on the upper end of the mid-fat category, if those are working well for you then maybe try a wide ski.

 

From the mid-fat world I'd try...Stockli Stormrider XXXL, Dynastar Mythic Rider, Volkl Grizzly, or the Head iM88.

 

From the wid-"ish' category (by that I mean a 90mm plus waist, not a powder ski but a wider ski) -  Stockli Stormrider DP Pro, Fischer Watea 94, Volkl Bridge, Dynastar Big Trouble, Armada ARV

post #3 of 17


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by J2R View Post I keep reading that such-and-such a wide ski lets you ski fast, wide arcs in the deep powder, or ski xxx doesn't really come alive until you're going fast. That's not what I want, I'm looking for the opposite. I want to be able to ski powder slowly, with medium radius turns.

 

So, what kind of skis should I be looking at?

 Get wider and longer skis to make skiing powder easier (softer flex helps too).  In general, the wider and longer the ski, the less you sink and so the slower you can ski in soft powder.
 

 

Wider (this should actually read skis with more surface area) skis also let you keep the same skiing technique as you would with hardpack - you can still be downhill ski dominant.  If you ski on 180 skis that are 70 waist, and are in 2 feet of lighter powder, you need to maintain a bit of speed and when you turn, you need to weight more evenly between both up/down hill skis (not completely equal but nothing like the typical 90/10 ratio you might do on hardpack -maybe more like 60/40 or 70/30).  If you take the same run on 180 skis that are 100 waisted, you can go quite a bit slower and when you turn, you can maintain downhill ski dominance. 

 

If you use the hardpack technique with skinny skis, you'll almost for certain go over the handlebars as the downhill ski tip dives.  The technique isn't quite exactly the same as hardpack but wider skis (especially tip rockered) don't require much change in technique to ski deep powder compared to hardpack.  This doesn't mean you can't use traditional powder technique with wide skis....it is optional rather than required.

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yes, certainly the idea of being able to ski with a similar technique appeals very much. The problem is getting started in the powder, when I keep falling over or grinding to a halt all the time. I'm sure I can make good headway with my technique once I can stay upright and moving. It's slowing everything down to a manageable flow which is important for me.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skierhj View Post

 

You mention that you wanted a wider ski that's going to give you a medium radius and be responsive at moderate speeds.  I guess that depends upon what you consider a medium radius turn.  Most of the wider skis do have somewhat wider radii.  From what you're saying  I think you might enjoy something on the upper end of the mid-fat category, if those are working well for you then maybe try a wide ski.

 

I hadn't really thought about turn radius, but I imagine something like 18-20mm would be just fine, which means something like the Head im88. I think the idea of starting with something like this and going wider if I still need more flotation is a good one. Thanks for the input.

post #6 of 17

I have found the biggest advantage of a wider ski is actually in deep cut-up powder, not the pristine stuff.  My mid-fats (83 mm) are a lot of fun in fresh powder.  But once it gets cut up by skiers, the variation in drag as I ski across ruts makes a constant fore-aft jerk that is tiring and annoying.  I demoed Coombas (101 mm, and a slightly longer length than my own skis) and they smoothed things right out.  That cut up stuff felt just like untouched. 

 

(By the way, the Coombas have a 22m radius, if I remember correctly.  They were very nimble.)

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

That's very interesting! I found the cut up stuff quite difficult to deal with last time, on 75mm wide skis (although hugely easier than on the slalom skis I'm more used to). I think the leap to 101mm at the waist might be too much for me on piste, but I'm ever more tempted to go for something like the im88, or maybe Scott Punisher or Mission.

post #8 of 17

I was in a similar position to you earlier this season, decent on the groomed but struggling in powder, crud and deep snow. Widest ski I had skied was 75mm.

 

I was in Les Arcs and a serious amount of snow started falling. I rented some mythic riders (90mm) to see if  I would fare better. Everything was so much easier, finally I could actually ski powder with some level of confidence and no matter how much crud there was the skis blasted through it. It wasn't only the skis, you still need the right technique on the different snow but it just made everything much easier to deal with and more forgiving.

post #9 of 17

I spent a day on Mythic Riders in cut-up powder.  They were among the best crud skis I have ever been on, besting many wider skis.  I found them just a bit sluggish on the groomed (meaning that I had to expend some energy to make then turn quickly), but they were adequate there.  Head iM 88's were lot more nimble, a bit less stable through the cut-up.

 

Since you say you are looking at a 50-50 ski, don't forget the Volkl Mantra.  While perhaps not as good a powder ski as some less-stiff skis in its range (94mm width), it is still very good in chop and absolutely a blast on the groomed.

post #10 of 17

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by J2R View Post

 

That's very interesting! I found the cut up stuff quite difficult to deal with last time, on 75mm wide skis (although hugely easier than on the slalom skis I'm more used to). I think the leap to 101mm at the waist might be too much for me on piste, but I'm ever more tempted to go for something like the im88, or maybe Scott Punisher or Mission.

Also, check out the Fischer Watea 94s, I love mine in every condition except really hard ( or ice).  

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by narc View Post

 

I was in a similar position to you earlier this season, decent on the groomed but struggling in powder, crud and deep snow. Widest ski I had skied was 75mm.

 

I was in Les Arcs and a serious amount of snow started falling. I rented some mythic riders (90mm) to see if  I would fare better. Everything was so much easier, finally I could actually ski powder with some level of confidence and no matter how much crud there was the skis blasted through it. It wasn't only the skis, you still need the right technique on the different snow but it just made everything much easier to deal with and more forgiving.

 

How did you find skiing the piste on the Mythic Riders?

post #12 of 17

"Turn radius" means basicly nothing when you are skiing on your bases and not on the edges. Its all about flexing the ski into an arc. Softer flex makes a tighter arc = shorter turn. As far as width... a wider ski will let you ski pow more agressively (not as much worry about diving tips) and plane higher in snow = more speed and easier to steer skis. It will also make balancing over the ski easier. 

 

I think you have gotten some really weird ski recs in this thread. The im88, volkl grizz, any ski with the word stockli in the name--they aren't going to float or turn at the speeds you want. Don't do it. Go wider with a medium to soft flex. Scott P4 would be a good place to start.

 

 

post #13 of 17

I agree with tromano about turn radius (tho it does matter when you wind up on hardpack).

 

I demoed a stiff wide ski and absolutely hated it.  Wide-ish and soft-ish is the way to go.  

 

 

(Not really relevant to this discussion, but I'm realizing I should have made a list a week ago -- here are the skis I've demoed recently.

 

At Kirkwood during storm:

K2 Coombas

Nordica Enforcers

Rossi Phantom 108

something with similar specs to the enforcer but I did not write it down

 

At Kirkwood day after:

Volkl Mantras

 

At Loveland nowhere near a storm:

K2 Xplorers

Nordica Hellcats

Volkl Katanas  (purposely skied on an inappropriate day because I wanted to see what it would be like)

)

post #14 of 17

I will admit I was very sceptical especially since "carves like a GS ski" gets thrown around so much on internet forums and I love skiing slalom skis so have got used to excellent hard snow performance.

 

But I have to say the mythics really did rail GS turns very impressively (20m radius). A bit slower edge to edge as you would expect and perhaps without the precise feeling of a high end piste ski but I had no issues with edge hold with the tune from the factory (brand new skis) and felt buttery smooth. I was more than happy skiing groomers with them.

 

The mythics are known to carve groomers very well, as are the mantras (apparently). Unfortunately both pay for this performance by suffering from tip dive in powder due to their stiffness.

post #15 of 17

I will admit I was very sceptical especially since "carves like a GS ski" gets thrown around so much on internet forums and I love skiing slalom skis so have got used to excellent hard snow performance.

 

But I have to say the mythics really did rail GS turns very impressively (20m radius). A bit slower edge to edge as you would expect and perhaps without the precise feeling of a high end piste ski but I had no issues with edge hold with the tune from the factory (brand new skis) and felt buttery smooth. I was more than happy skiing groomers with them.

 

The mythics are known to carve groomers very well, as are the mantras (apparently). Unfortunately both pay for this performance by suffering from tip dive in powder due to their stiffness.

post #16 of 17

J2R:

 

I think of all the suggestions made so far, the Dynastar Mythic Rider is the one I would choose if I were in your shoes.  It's a pretty nice ski (for its width) on groomers and it's a darned nice ski (for its width) in powder.  It's quite a bit softer-flexing in the front portion of the ski than the Head iM88, which makes the MR a bit more floaty in powder.  By way of full disclosure, I'm affiliated with Head. 

 

In my opinion, the Mythic Rider is not AS good on hard snow as the 88, but it is definitely more forgiving and "easier" to ski in powder than the 88.

 

I think as you go wider than the high 80's underfoot, you really start to see a falloff in performance on groomed snow.  There's no doubt that many (probably even MOST) of the 100mm+ skis will make your powder skiing quite a bit easier, but they'll probably also feel like unwieldy tanks on groomers.

 

If you can find a pair, go with the Mythic Riders.

post #17 of 17

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

 

"Turn radius" means basicly nothing when you are skiing on your bases and not on the edges. Nope; a deeper sidecut can get hooky in heavier soft snow, want to turn everytime its front is pulled or pushed. Its all about flexing the ski into an arc. Softer flex makes a tighter arc = shorter turn. Absolutely true, have never gotten the trend toward stiffer and stiffer pure powder skis. As far as width... a wider ski will let you ski pow more agressively (not as much worry about diving tips) and plane higher in snow = more speed and easier to steer skis. It will also make balancing over the ski easier. Well, all true, except that getting aggro doing face shots on a very wide ski can help you reach terminal velocity pretty quick, since you're mostly planing instead of down in the snow. IMO, takes a real expert to ski a fat ski aggressively, but all good since the rest of us can enjoy it at lower speeds and with more turns. 

 

I think you have gotten some really weird ski recs in this thread. The im88, volkl grizz, any ski with the word stockli in the name--they aren't going to float or turn at the speeds you want. Again, some truth here, but unclear OP is being realistic about conditions in France. My experience in Europe is that they'll get a dump of dense powder, followed by a bunch of sun. Think New England most of the time, with Tahoe dumps. The iM88 is a nice choice for what most people find there most of the time: Crud and deep chop and big bumps, not to mention quite a bit of ice. Mythic Riders also a nice call. And don't forget that "Stockli" can also be attached to the Snake Coral or the TT, both really versatile smooth twins that are significantly softer than the DP or XXXL, which I assume you're thinking about. Don't do it. Go wider with a medium to soft flex. Scott P4 would be a good place to start. Normally, I'd jump all over this ski for powder, but again, it could turn out to be a handful if OP finds the pow has not materialized, or hit three days before he showed. 

 

 

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › What will fatter skis do for me?