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2009 Fischer Watea 94 - First day in the East

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Me:  Male, 47 yoa, level 8 skier, 6 feet and 170 pounds.

 

Boots:  Salomon X-Wave 10 with 325 mm sole length (size 28.5).

 

Ski:  2009 Fischer Watea 94 in 178 cm length.  Bindings mounted at manufacturer's mark, which for my boot sole length put me very close to my BOF measurement.

 

Went to Mt. Sunapee in NH yesterday and used my new Fischer Wateas.  I decided to pick up a pair to enable me to have a two-ski quiver.  My other skis are 78mm underfoot, so I was looking for a much fatter ski.

 

The conditons were Eastern spring.  It was very firm in the morning and got softer during the day and then firmer again as it clouded up and got colder.  There was spring "crud" on areas of the mountain to a depth of around 6-8 inches.  Some random piles were probably 12 inches os so.  There were still some hard and icy spots in the shade all day long.  Temps were around 42 degrees on the mountain at the warmest point.

 

My overall impression of these skis is, in one word, "Wow!" 

The Fishers are light, smooth and stable.  They held an edge even on the very firm hardpack and areas of ice.  Granted, these are not slalom skis with cracked steel edges but they held on the very hard stuff/ice much better than I expected. 

 

Speedwise, they were pretty impressive.  They could really get going and at my weight, they felt very stable at speed.  These skis seem to want a balanced or forward stance though.  Get in the rear and they take off.  I would say they have a smaller "sweet-spot" than other skis I have been on so the skier needs to stay balanced.  The other thing about these skis is that they are fairly damp.  They really soak up small chatter and hits but not to the point of being dull.

 

As for crud, these skis were a lot of fun to run.  They did not get knocked around or deflected in the heavy 6-8 inches of crud they went through or the bigger piles.

 

Moguls were the skis only weaker point and to be honest, moguls are my weak point on any ski.  However, the extra width did slow me down but again, they were doable.  These skis are fun in the soft spring like afternoon moguls I found but a handful in the harder and icier moguls that were on the mountain in the am. 

 

Finally, although short turns were more work than my other skis, I was surprised at the versatility of these skis.  They can make short, medium and long radius turns but they do prefer medium and long turns.  To be clear though,  I could rip a lot of fall line short turns but it was a little more work than my other narrower skis.  I did not ski the glades so I'm not sure how they would do in amongst tight trees. 

 

After one day on the Watea 94s I am seriously considering going with them as my primary go-to ski.  We'll see how they perform as the season goes on, but for now I'm very impressed.

 

post #2 of 25

I love mine (ski the 186cm).  They rock in every condition except hardpack and ice.

post #3 of 25

I love the Wateas and especially the 94. Fischer does a great job of balancing the flex and torsion plus dampening to make these among the best balanced skis I've ever been on. Naturally there are those who want (or think they need) a stiffer burlier ski......no problem they are out there. But the vast majority of skiers are not Gnar Shredders but just folks that want a tool that'll help them have fun. The Wateas in general, fit this skier to a "T"

 

It's hard to do better.

 

SJ

post #4 of 25

I am a big guy (6'1", 230lbs) and have been skiing the Watea 94 (178cm) all season in lots of different snow conditions.  These are, by far, the most versatile, fairly wide ride that I have ever skiied.  They carve suprisingly well on packed and groomed conditions, and don't seem to "wash out" on me at any speed.  I haven't skiied them on truely hard or icy conditions, but they do hold an edge very well.  I agree that they like medium to longer turn radius, but I have skiied them in fairly tight places and bumps with very agreeable results. 

 

This past weekend I skiied them at Big Sky and Bridger Bowl in great soft snow (8-15" of powder and crud) conditions.  This is definitely where they shine the most, but I sometimes wished that I would have had the 186cm length for more stablility in the cut up crud.  I got a little tip dive at times.  But for the most part they were predictably excellent in these conditions.  

 

I also skiied the Watea 84 (184cm) in these same conditions, they also skiied pretty well, but even with the longer length the tips dove more readily on these than with the shorter 94's.  I had a more difficult time keeping balanced with the Watea 84's than with the 94's.  The one situation where the Watea 84's shined was in soft, cruddy bumps, they were an absolute blast there, probably more nimble than the 94's.  

 

This is the first time in many years that I haven't been skiing skis without metal in their layup.  I think, that my size requires a pretty beefy ski.  But, the Wateas are more than equal to the task, and I find them excellent, all around skis for western skiing.  Don't let their lightweight, and lack of metal in their construction, make you think that they are only for lighter weight people, or less aggressive skiers.  These skis absolutely rock.  I highly recommend them for all types of skiers on softer snow.  

post #5 of 25

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

 

I love the Wateas and especially the 94. Fischer does a great job of balancing the flex and torsion plus dampening to make these among the best balanced skis I've ever been on. Naturally there are those who want (or think they need) a stiffer burlier ski......no problem they are out there. But the vast majority of skiers are not Gnar Shredders but just folks that want a tool that'll help them have fun. The Wateas in general, fit this skier to a "T"

 

It's hard to do better.

 

SJ

 

What, they don't shred the Gnar ???

post #6 of 25

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaportrail View Post

 

 

 

What, they don't shred the Gnar ???

 

No they don't......................they do nibble the Gnar pretty well though.

 

SJ

 

 

post #7 of 25

The brings the question, what is Gnar exactly?  Would the level 10 skier choose the 101 Watea (192cm) to shred the Gnar?  

post #8 of 25

No....the Watea 101 is not nearly.......uhhhhmmm.....GNARly enough. You must keep in mind that the level 10 Gnar Shredder is only making a brief pause on his way to level 13. Hence a level 10 ski is sadly inadequate.

 

Reallly!! you have to ask this??.....clearly your level of GNARitude needs adjustment.

 

SJ

post #9 of 25

I'm just trying to educate myself.  I thought maybe I wanted to be in the Gnar Zone, but maybe not since you have to buy new skis for that. Gjeezse

post #10 of 25

1+....

Demoed last Spring... 5'8", 173, 287bsl.  Really enjoyed the 94s(178cm)..in that they felt pretty nimble for a 94mm ski.  Have demoed the powderboards this season...will probably buy something for next season.  Really did look forward to dealing with some crud and slightly heavier snow...but never found....;-)

...But have had enjoyable days with Nordica's Afterburner and Praxis's Backcountry as well.  When it rains it pours....

$.01

STeveD

 

post #11 of 25

I walked into my friends ski shop with my 186 cm Watea 94s the other day and he commented on how short they looked.  We put them up agaist some other brands and they were much closer to 180 than 186, so with the slightly turned up tails the effective length is pretty short.  I love the way they ski, but the measurements confirm my impression that they felt and skied very short for their advertised length.

post #12 of 25

Weird.  I've got 186's and have found the exact opposite.  I feel like they measure out pretty true when comparing them to other skis, and don't actually think they ski short.  Just out of curiosity, you weren't comparing them to K2's, were you?  Since I know K2 measures chord length so they always measure short.

post #13 of 25

As a matter of fact, when he compared them to a K2 they measured the same as the 181s, but I just put them up to my Atomic 185s, and the Wateas are shorter.  They ski so well that it's not a big deal for me, but I do find that they feel shorter than my Atomic and Salomon 185s when skiing, but because of the big fairly soft flexing tips the Wateas seem very forgiving if you get your weight too far forward.

post #14 of 25

Weird... Trying to remember what i've held them up against.  Prophet 90's, Rossi S5, Obsethed, not sure what else... They've always seemed like the measured up correctly (except against the 179 Obsethed's, but that's because of K2's measuring technique).  <shrug>  I agree, it doesn't really matter a whole lot.

 

Edit: I realize everything I listed there is a twin.  I tried to factor that in when comparing.  The watea in a 186 is taller than the prophet 90 in a 186 if you just stand them up next to each other.

post #15 of 25

Well, my 186cm Watea 94s are definitely 1cm shorter than my 187cm Head Mojo 94s -- so whatever the convention, both of these skis are consistent with one another.  Anybody measure the raw, actual length so see what it is?  I know K2 has some fishy length specs, so I would not use them as a reference.  In fact, they change their conventions year to year sometimes (for instance, the Luv series gained 3cm on paper this year, despite unchanged hardware).

 

post #16 of 25

Just measured mine.  186cm if I measure along the whole base (not "running surface", since I include the tip and slight tail, not really sure what this measurement is called).  183cm if I measure the chord length, which I think is more along the lines of what K2 does, at least for their factory team skis.  If I just measure how tall it is standing off the floor (I don't think anyone measures lengths like this), it's about 183.5 to 184cm.

post #17 of 25

American ski companies have "historically" designated length based on "chord length" (a straight line from the tip to the tail; this included Head, Hart, K2, Durafiber, Hexcel, etc.) back in the days when they were manufactured in the good ole' U S of A.

European ski manufacturers have always designated ski length based on "mold length" also known as "base length," which was the actual internal bottom length of the mold the ski was "cooked" in.

K2 determined,however, that in order to reduce the confusion on the ski shop sales floor, beginning with the '08-'09 model year, they would begin designating (most of) their skis based on the same criteria that other  manufacturers use. (I believe there are a few of the T9 series that did not change.) This decision "marks" or labels them approx. 3 cms. longer than their previous designations. Their ski lengths have not actually changed, merely the "designated" lengths. ie. a 174cm ski is now designated as a 177cm ski(however, it's "chord length" is still 174 cm.) "Twin tips" and "rockered" skis are probably factors as well.

I believe that an additional major factor(for whatever reason) is due to K2 now building most of their product line in China.

 

 

post #18 of 25

219, could you compare and contrast the Watea and the Mojo?  Had the Watea in 178 and ended up selling it because I couldn't get a good handle on it in crud.  Could be that I just need the 186, or could be user error, but the shorter Watea seemed to get bounced around a lot.  Is the Mojo any better in cut up crud conditions?
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post

 

Well, my 186cm Watea 94s are definitely 1cm shorter than my 187cm Head Mojo 94s -- so whatever the convention, both of these skis are consistent with one another.  Anybody measure the raw, actual length so see what it is?  I know K2 has some fishy length specs, so I would not use them as a reference.  In fact, they change their conventions year to year sometimes (for instance, the Luv series gained 3cm on paper this year, despite unchanged hardware).

 


 

post #19 of 25

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeC View Post

 

219, could you compare and contrast the Watea and the Mojo?  Had the Watea in 178 and ended up selling it because I couldn't get a good handle on it in crud.  Could be that I just need the 186, or could be user error, but the shorter Watea seemed to get bounced around a lot.  Is the Mojo any better in cut up crud conditions?
 

 


 

 

The Wateas are far better in crud, by a long shot.  The Mojo has a low-rising shallow tip that gets deflected quite easily, making the front of the ski bob up and down in shallow crud.  The Watea's tip is longer and has a more aggressive curl to it.  Whatever combination of shape/stiffness/etc that Fischer designed into the tip of the Watea 94, it's damn near perfect for my needs in crud -- it rides over some stuff (smoothly) and blasts through the rest.

 

I do think length has a big impact on crud and powder performance.  The farther the tips are from the boot center, the more length the ski has to smooth out and stabilize variations in the snow before they feed back to the skier.  Longer skis just seem to ride smoother to me, and provide a lot more stability in variable snow.

 

Overall, the Mojo is more of a fun goof around ski, and it does better on ice (it's got the classic Head damp/smooth feel) and steamrolls soft spring snow.  It's very stable at speed, has a wide sweet spot, and is super easy to dial in.  But to me, the Watea outclasses it quite a bit, especially on groomers.  The Fischer has an athletic race-ski feel, whereas the Mojo has more of a dumbed-down feel.  I still like having both skis in my quiver, but there is no question in my mind that the Watea has a lot more refinement and character than the Mojo.

 

BTW - despite the twin tip, the 187cm Mojo has a longer running length than the 186cm Watea.  I measured and wrote it down on a sticky note somewhere.  If I can find the numbers, I will post back here.  I attribute this to the Wateas longer tip, it's turned up tail, and the -1cm length difference.

post #20 of 25

OK, you guys talked me into a set of Watea 94's, without even a demo ride.

 

I wandered into a SLC ski shop, just killing time (dangerous, I know).  A set of 94's with Tyrolia HD14s were sitting there, with 1 day of demo on them.  Mastercard, anyone?  $400

 

They seem to be only imperceptably larger than the Mojo 90's I currently ride, with similar flex (just the standard tail on the floor and bend test, mind you).  I have to wait until the end of April to 'officially' get them, since they are my birthday present.  When you're my age, you buy most of your own birthday presents.

 

I set them up for centerline on the boots - anyone do it differently?

post #21 of 25

Cool.  Boot center on the ski's mark is how mine are mounted, and it seems to be just about right.  I have 325mm boots. 

post #22 of 25

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post

The Wateas are far better in crud, by a long shot.  

I was just cruising along this thread until I got to this. Really surprised me. Haven't skied the Mojo, and have like half a run on the Wateas in non-challenging conditions, but all the Head's I've ever skied ( a whole bunch up to and including the 88) are less deflected in crud than every Fischer I've ever skied (RX8, AMC76 and 79, Watea 94). What do you mean by "better?" Tip deflection? Stability underfoot? Following a trajectory? I ask because some skis that are legendary for their stability in crud, Stockli's and Dynastars, for instance, have floppy tips, while others that have firmer fronts can get twitchy. Fischers and older Rossi's, for instance. Also, I note that the limited sample of rockers I've tried get front end deflection in crud but it doesn't affect performance that I notice. 

post #23 of 25

 The Mojos have a very flat, shallow tip, with a low rise.  This ends up being a big handicap in crud because they want to ride over everything, so the tips bob a lot.  This makes the Mojos very unlike, say, a Monster 88, which *is* a good crud ski.  

 

So it's not a Head vs. Fischer issue, it comes down to the tip shape on the Mojos.

post #24 of 25


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post

 

Cool.  Boot center on the ski's mark is how mine are mounted, and it seems to be just about right.  I have 325mm boots. 


 

Well, we'll see how that works.  I had my Mojo 90's set up way back, almost 30 mm.  Nice thing about the railflex is it takes very little time to adjust.  The Watea's have just the teensiest back twin tip, so I figure it's not a park ski like the Mad Trix Mojo.  Should be easier to stuff them into a gondola slot.

post #25 of 25

First day on my Watea 94's - Alta - last weekend they were open (April 18).  The snow was pretty mushy down low, never really approached powder even high on Devil's Castle.  First thought was - these are quite similar to my old Mojo 90's.  I could go a bit faster in crud, might be a bit less agile in moguls, but not unexpected.  First couple of turns on groomer were spent trying to find the balance point.  Never felt any feedback from the tails, very neutral.  Mount point had the arrow on the ski and the boot matched up, which actually moved the Railflex HD14 center slightly forward of ski center.

 

Second day - Snowbird - May 2 - 9" of wet freshies.  I moved the RF bindings to the far back, which put the center of the boot about 1" behind the ski center.  I like the feel much better at this setting, and the tail kicks back with authority now.  There was no groomed runs at all in the morning, and I ripped several nice runs off Road to Provo.  I felt more float than I would have got with the Mojo 90's, which is understandable given the increased surface area and lack of twin tip.  I felt completely balanced while dropping into Mineral Basin in dense fog; very playful feeling even with heavy wet snow.  I saw most people were on wide skis riding up the Tram, with a preponderance of Pontoons and other rockers.

 

So, after two days, I think I like these boards.  Its the 2008 model like the picture in the original post.  Cons I can think of so far:  I'm slicing the hell out of my boots now.  I carved up the inner instep area pretty good - a combination of sharp edges and wider skis, I imagine.  They aren't as agile in the moguls, which I think is a particular forte of the Mojo 90's.  Last little nigling tidbit - that slight little upturned tail is still a bitch to slide into the ski bus rack, and I had to split them up to get them in the slots.

 

Thanks for talking me into them . . . . sorta.  I didn't need that much of a push.

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