PNW: Whistler, Crystal, Snoqualmie/Alpental
Skiing every day of the weekend from 8 in the morning to dodging the groomers past 10pm this winter season, I was able to log many hours and put my quiver through all imaginable conditions from blue ice to waist-deep powder. Reviews/Comparison of my stuff.
About me: 23 years, 167cm, 125-lb, instructor, 40+ days a winter, in pretty darn good shape, ex-snowboarder, ex-park rat (well sometimes =), likes going-off piste. My current quiver include:
2009 Elan Magfire 82 Ti 168cm
2008 Scott Punisher 162cm, PX12 mounted +3
2009 K2 Obsethed 169cm, PX12 mounted +0
Has/Had: Salomon Gun, Salomon Fury, Dynastar NTB, Magfire 12
Scott Punisher 162cm: An all-mountain ski with soft-snow bias. 85 underfoot. Skis short. Made for in-bounds off-piste and occasionally poaching terrain parks. Probably the most versatile tool in my quiver.
The Punishers felt short, and rightfully so with their super-high profile tip, floats over crud instead of piercing through. Quick to release turns, the Punishers are good for situations that calls for pivoting. As far as the ability to hold an edge is concerned, it can carve rather comfortably... just not anywhere near the gripping power of the Magfire. On softer variable snow and/or for zipperlining the bumps, jumps, I'd bring out the Punisher as the bridge between the Obsethed and Magfire...
Well, that was the review of my Punisher almost verbatim from my last. I would probably like to have a 172cm punisher as an upgrade in the future. For now, these 162's will be my designated mogul skis.
Elan Magfire 82 Ti 168cm: The newly updated version of the Magfire 12, same dimensions, a tad bit lighter construction. Super edge grip, damp but packs a ton of rebound. Great for non-powder days.
It didn't took me long to realize that I was overpowering my 160cm Magfire 12's and going over the handlebars where I shouldn't. Fortunately I sold it and upgraded to this year's 168cm. I was pleased. Like the Magfire 12s, these things are super-stiff torsionally while the nice flex pattern allows me to flick short radius turns during morning clinic. On the cruddy snow, it pierces rather than ski over, there were a couple of times that it saved me from a crash on otherwise noodlier skis. The Magfire 82 Ti just has a bunch of good things going for it: edge grip, crudbusting ability, flex when I need it, and no speed limit that I've ran into. Going off piste didn't give me any glaring issues with these Magfire 82 Ti, but I wouldn't bring these things out in deep snow conditions when I have the Obsethed at my disposal. The 82 Ti is easily my favorite skis on non-powder days.
K2 Obsethed 169cm: A bottomless powder weapon (for someone my weight), 105mm underfoot with recurve design (tip-tail rocker with camber under the foot), tolerable on harder snow, if only to sniff out that bottomless stash.
Ever since I went on my Solly Guns in the deep, I always wanted to go fatter. I brought it out last weekend when the PNW had an 18-inch dump, and was impressed by its performance for what it is.
When I first got off the chair, they felt incredibly short... slightly shorter than my Punishers. It was perhaps the rocker that made the Obsethed feel like giant snowblades. I'd say the feel of these thing is like 155cm on groomers, and I've skied on the Dynastar NTB 155cm before! As far as edge grip goes, I could still carve with them, not bad for a fat ski... but compared to the 82ti, the edge grip and quickness of the Obsethed on harder surfaces is tolerable at best, tolerable enough to use groomers to get to the untracked stuff...
In softer snow, the Obsethed has a surfy loose feeling akin to snowboarding. The rocker just works... it was effortless turning through the fresh with more maneuverability than my Guns. No matter what I do, the tips would not dive, which is great when I was skiing bottomless on low pitches (like <15degrees) between the trees of Silver Fir. Even when I stood completely still, I was amazed that I didn't sink like a rock... and said "holy crap."
The Obsethed may be marketed as a Big-Mountain ski, but for someone my weight, it is for all practical purposes a bottomless powder life raft. With this much float, I don't think I'll ever need a fatter ski; the Obsethed gave me all the float I need even in the deepest of conditions.
So the Obsethed is the ultimate powder weapon, so what? Powder gets skied out within the first hour of opening at Snoqualmie/Alpental. On chopped powder, the Obsethed does pretty well, that feeling of fore-aft jerk is not as apparent as my Punishers. On crud, the Obsethed tends to rise over it than pierce like my Magfire 82 Ti, as long as crud is relatively soft this isn't a problem. At higher speeds, the rockers gets flappy. As far as the bumps go, the Obsethed can be tolerable in it as well, just don't expect the same blowout performance like the Punishers in bumps.
The K2 Obsethed overall is a great powder tool and probably the only one I'll ever need, as far as its performance in variable conditions and hardpack goes... it's tolerable but I wouldn't have it as my quiver of one as some people tout it. The K2 Obsethed is currently my be-all-end-all powder sniffer.
There is no favorite ski for all conditions in my quiver, just the right tool for the right conditions. My ranking of the skis' attributes:
Forgiveness (most to least)
3) Magfire 82 Ti
Stability at Speed (most to least)
1) Magfire 82 Ti
Edge Grip (most to least)
1) Magfire 82 Ti
Edge2Edge Quickness (most to least)
1) Magfire 82 Ti
Pivot Quickness (most to least)
3) Magfire 82 Ti
...based off dawgcatching's review format.