Originally Posted by dawgcatching
Since I am being much maligned here allow me to explain my position:
Simply put, I have been on a 70~80mm ski as my narrower ski forever: it has just worked for me. No sales agendas, just personal preference. Last year it was the iM78, Progressor 9+ or Cold Heat, year before it was the Speedwave 12 or RIPstick, year before that it was the iM82, year before that the Elan 666, year before that it was the Elan S12. I haven't felt any need to have a wider ski as my "narrow" ski: Bachelor is a pretty flat mountain, if it has snowed quite a bit I could always pull a wide ski out of the demo fleet, which is great, as skiers get stuck on a narrow ski in deep snow. But, if it hasn't snowed much, skiing off-piste, save for the few small bump runs we have, is pretty boring. The snow can get crunchy and sketchy in the trees if it has been warm or wet, and is more fun that work. So, that pretty much puts you on groomers or the 2 semi-bumped up runs we have here (the runs that are set aside for "bumps" never get bumped up, due to lack of traffic. Skiers here stay away from anything not groomed). I have skied the 94 a bunch, in all sorts of conditions, and think it is sluggish, slow, and lazy as a groomer ski. I like a bit more snap, more of a racy feel, and if it hasn't snowed much or I am skiing spring corn, 70-80mm seems to be the most effective width I have found. I may be stepping up to the Magnum 8.7 as my "no new snow" ski, but that is more due to the fact it accepts a Duke. Otherwise, it would be an 8.1 if I was sticking with Blizzard, even a 7.6 if it was a stronger ski instead of much detuned from the 8.7. More width is just getting me a more sluggish ski, and if I don't need the float (remember, I have options as to wider skis) then why go wider? Personally, out of what we sell, I find myself skiing and liking the 90-100mm stuff the least. Go up over 100mm and you have a good to great deep snow and crud ski, step down under 85mm and you can get a superb frontside ski that isn't too far off race-ski performance. The 90-100mm stuff, for me, is needlessly narrow for deep snow use, and needlessly sluggish for harder snow use. To me, most of them feel like their bigger brothers (Watea 94 like a 101, Mojo 94 like a bigger Mojo) but without the float that makes them so versatile in the deeper stuff.
One thing to consider: many of the narrower skis these days are pretty stuff, which makes them less versatile than a somewhat softer version of the same ski. A barely-disguised race carver isn't going to be great in bumps when compared to an Elan 777, which is why Elan brought it out. Need a versatile ski for off-piste skiing, but don't get a lot of new snow?
Anyways, that is my opinion, and it is what works for me. Holiday and I have traded skis: I liked my narrower 82's better, and he liked his wider 94's better. Which is cool: we both have skis that suit our needs and what we are looking for in a ski. Obviously, there isn't a one-size fits all when choosing skis. One person's (or Realskiers) "ski of the year" and everyday ski (Dynastar 4x4) is another skier's nightmare ski (crap, that ski makes me work WAY too hard) and a 3rd's "would be fun to own, but not really the way I ski" ski. Having so many choices can be great, or can be terrible, as you can end up on the "what ski to buy" merry-go-round for far too long. I sometimes think that manufacturers are doing committed skiers a great service by offering such a wide range of product, but are confusing the hell out of weekend warriors who just want to get on a ski that is fun and doesn't make them work too hard. Far too many customers have contacted me with "what ski to buy" questions and never ended up pulling the trigger: they just couldn't make up their mind, and the plethora of options on the market were making their head spin.
In the end, I figure that most of these reviews are worth just about what you paid for them (hopefully the cost of a supporter subscription). Only you can figure out what is best (by demoing), but if you absolutely can't determine what is going to work with you, then work with someone you can trust, and they probably can get you pretty close. Close enough that you can forget about gear for a little while and go enjoy your skiing
I would never malign you! (I'm pretty sure I've never used that word before in my life:0)
I like your post here. and I like the 8.7 for you, within my parameters:)
I also stand by my preferences for a bigger mountain w/ a huge array of snow conditions on any given day.
As you well know, and anyone else whose read my props before, I think you have an great talent for describing skis and not only the black and white numbers, but that intangible feel aspect.
I get even more out of it then most, as I've had the enjoyment of making quite a few turns w/ you.
I still don't see a 70mm ski making sense at bigger mtn's in the west, unless you race, or just ski groomers and like a high maintenance ride.
Vaportrail's #2 option is closer then a 70's to 115 quiver, where the whole range of skis that most good skiers that I see at Squaw and other tahoe mtns actually want to ski on. If I skied Northstar, that quiver might work. you ski groomers alot, or pow then bumps, so it's more defined. (although it still wouldn't be what I'd recommend to a client).
For example, take today at squaw...
it was 60 yesterday, and froze hard after the groomer last night. so glazed boilerplate, everywhere! off piste closed on all N aspect for slide/die consequences in the AM,
seems 70 would be right, and a few parents of race kids were on 'em,
so a couple ice runs,
watea worked fine, i touched up the edge yesterday.
then some frozen bumps i found open, like the width so I don't catch that outside edge on frozen ice piles.
then I found a great due E steep pitch (far left of the funnel), the was buttery, w/ huge piles of frozen chunks pushed up from the last melt,
watea was great, skinny ski people were catching edges on chunks.
then to tower 16, melted to about 5 inches deep, i'm skiing sweet ca spring corn and loving it, skinnies are getting tossed and trenched more then they want.
I think there are 2 points here to think about,
1. on a larger mtn w/ lots of exposure, you can ski a huge variety of conditions on any given day.
I like a ski that will ski the boilerplate on the wind scoured ridge well, to get down to the 2ft of wind deposit, and then float and surf w/ the best of 'em.
2. width is much more then float. it effectively puts the outside edge higher off the snow and less likely to catch or get deflected by any piles, debris, or even icey groomer ridge.
My perfect ski for today might have been 1cm skinnier, at around 85ish, but I haven't found one I love yet. My wifes 78mm waited victory was great for her (115lbs).
but, my 94 was Great!
seems my 101 review may be in the middle of hijack,
but to clarify,
Dawgcatching (and sierrajim) do a fabulous service. I abuse both of their impressions when I can't find a ski to demo and greatly respect both opinions. They are true professionals and know their skis very well.
I still think a ski in the mid/high 80's to mid 90's is the money ski for many western resorts.
on Vaportrails list, I'd go w/ the 3 ski option, or do a mid 80's do it all, with a pow second that can handle getting to the pow scoured ice.