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The perfect PNW quiver and finding an "anchor" ski

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I am beginning to understand why people have so many skis!

My main mistake building a quiver has been buying skis that were too close together in terms of size & performance..  This is a fine approach if your quiver is 10 skis deep, but I can't afford that.  So I'm un-doing and re-setting, now that I have a better idea of what I'm doing.  My goal is to build a three-ski quiver that creates some true differentiation between skis.

I ski at Crystal in WA and elsewhere in the PNW including Whistler, so we get a combination of sometimes light but mostly heavy powder, plenty of crud, and lots of groomed snow.  Depending on the time of year, some hard snow, but not too much ice.  On a given day at Crystal I'll ski in the woods, off-trail looking for untracked bits, on groomed runs and on moguls, and I'll even race my J3 daughter for short sprints, and I'm looking for an everyday ski that will accomodate this wide variety of terrain, conditions and use.  I'm thinking of this as my "anchor" ski, and then I'd like to fill in on each side of it with a pure carver (Fischer RX8 170 cm) for really packed snow/ice and a powder ski in a 100 to 110 mm waist for the occasional true powder days.  I'm thinking the anchor ski should be 80 to 85 mm in the waist and 172 to 176 cm long.

I am 52, 6' 0", 170 lbs. and a competent and I would say ambitious skier.  I took it up later in life and I now ski 30 days/winter, and I'm improving every winter.  There's nothing I won't try and I ski with some pretty capable skiers who go just about everywhere.  I ski on Atomic Nuke 120's.

I'd really like advice and suggestions on the following:

1.  If three skis is a good number, is there going to be enough differentiation here?
2.  What are some suggestions for the anchor ski (Sultan 85, K2 Explorer, Blizzard 8.7 or 8.1, Salomon Fury, others)?  Is my planned length aok?  I want to make sure I can use them in powder, and that they're different from the RX8's, but still enjoy them on groomed/packed surfaces - a tall order I know.
3.  I know I could go wider on the powder skis, but I am just a competent powder skier and I am still learning how to handle length.  So I'm thinking Line Prophet 100, Watea 100, what else, maybe in 178 cm?

I have Watea 94's and, moment of heresy, I don't find them to be a suitable everyday ski (for me) and they're not quite wide enough to be a dedicated powder ski.  I know lots of folks here really like them!

I ski older Salomon Tornados (170 cm) for early season and low snow, and I've always really liked their performance.

I know this is a long note with many questions; partial answers would be great too.  Really appreciate any advice.
post #2 of 8
1) Three is good. There will be enough differentiation if you choose well.

2) The ski you have is pretty good in this spot but there are dozens of good skis for this middle spot. They range from mid-80s to mid 90s in width. Some will favor hard snow, others soft snow, still others are tweeners. This is somewhat a case of ordering priorities.

3) Yes, you are correct, go wider. (110 or more) Conventional, partial rocker, full rocker, whatever....that's really up to you but a 100mm ski will not be dramatically better than what you have in deeper snow.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
I think I'm looking for a tweener as my anchor ski.  The Watea 94 favors soft snow (from my experience with it).  I'd welcome any suggestions for tweener skis for demoing later in the year.  I assume 172 to 178 cm is right for my height/skill?

Also, what's the shortest length you'd recommend for the 110'ish pwder ski, and do you have some demo suggestions?

post #4 of 8
For the tweener, I'd suggest the Sultan the Nordica HR Burner, or the Blizzi Cronus. All three have a reasonably even split between hard and soft snow characteristics. The Blizzi 8.7 is somewhat on the hard snow side and the 8.1 is a lot on the hard snow side.

The shortest I'd suggest for the wide ski is roughly 176-78 depending a little on the model. On some softer or semi/rockered models, you could go even longer. Think in terms of Dynastar 6th Sense Huge, Fischer Watea 114, Solli Czar, Rossi S7.

You may be chasing your tail a bit if you try to demo all this stuff. If you do, make sure that stay within category on each demo session.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Jim, thanks so much for the advice.  Your contributions throughout this forum are invaluable.  Could you give me two or three suggestions for the "anchor ski" that favor soft snow and hard snow bias, in other words on each side of the tweener recs above?  From past demoing experience I know that I need to be wary of skis that are too stiff given my weight and ability.  Thanks!
post #6 of 8
On the softer snow side: (emphasis on compliance)

Fischer Watea 84
K2 Explorer/Outlaw

For the hard snow bias: (emphasis on precision)

Blizzi 8.1
Volkl AC 50
Atomic Crimson Ti

Here's what I mean by the bias thing. Imagine a cold January day where it has snowed a bit and the wind blew hard over maybe 2 week old snow. You'll have little pockets of powder but a lot of bumpy wind buff, chalk, and patches of "loud" snow in the off trail. On the groomers, you'll have area where the tiller has turned out nice cord but the steeper sections may be scraped down to shiny in a lot of spots.

The hard snow biased ski will slice and grip nicely on the shiny stuff. It will allow you to rip at eye watering speeds on the groomers and will feel damp on the rattley cords yet energetic when you bend the ski and release it when it crosses under. In the off trail, that ski will probably seek the bottom and tend to comfortably slice through the little pockets of powder. But......it will buck you around some in the lumpy stuff and feel as if it wants to grip too hard on the rough chalky snow. When you try to maneuver quickly between the rocks and the tree, it may feel too grippy and unwilling to make that quick little skiddy turn thing that keeps you out of trouble.

OTH......The soft snow biased ski will often feel smooth and easy going on the cord but won't grip real well on the shiny steeps. You will have to accept some skidding on the really slick snow and and if you try to force the edge to grip, you may get some chatter. When you try the real eye watering speeds, the soft snow ski may feel a little floppy. But.........when you hit the mixte salad stuff in the off trail, the soft snow biased ski will accept the rough conditions rather than fight them. The ski will feel a little floatier in the soft powder. The softer torsion will allow the ski to "flow" rather than fight the rough chalky snow and buck you in the scoured bumps. When you hit that choke point you can  cheat the ski off it's carve and make swivelly snaky turns more easily.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
As with many others, I am going to go with the Sultan 85.  I am thinking 178, longer than I'm used to skiing, but I'll get more stability at speed and more float than I will with the 172.  I am also thinking I'll go with the Dynastar PX 12's, with lifter plates mounted straight to the skis.  Any argument for 172 instead of 178, or Griffons instead of the PX 12's?  Crystal is opening this WED, really early, can't wait!

For powder ski still pondering S7, JJ or SFB, but leaning towards one of the first two.
post #8 of 8
I like the looks of the Sultan, saw one the other day. Very sexy, wish I try it, but I just bought new skis last year. Oh well. Have fun!
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