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Powder Skis

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I’m looking for a single purpose powder ski to be used five or six days a year when we have a decent storm.  I’m looking at waists of 115 mm or so.  I'm not looking for a really wide ski to use daily.

The more I read and learn the more complex it is. Demo'ing for this category is hard, so it appears it's going to require a leap of faith purchase. I have some questions and would love some feedback.

1. What are the pros/cons of a traditional approach (Line SFB, for example) vs. a newer rocker design (Armada JJ for example)? When is one better than the other? Is one harder to ski (requiring more expertise), or is it just a different experience and thus personal preference?

2. What's the trade-off in a softer ski vs. a stiffer ski? Would someone who's still mastering deep snow tend towards a softer ski? And what would be happening when you outgrew it? Or is it just a question of preference/condition/terrain that would lead you to one or the other?

3. While I understand length gets you more float, how do you evaluate what too long might be? Stepping up from 170 to 175 cm all mountain skis to 188 cm plus powder skis, it feels like a big jump. Even if a ski "skis short" you still have to be able to maneuver all of it, especially in the trees and other tight spots. How do you balance the float/maneuverability trade-off (and what would be too short no matter what)?  BTW, I've read the Wiki on powder ski length and that's got some good info.

4. When you think through the indy options - Armada, Icelantic, Moment, 4FRNT, Praxis, Line (just to name a few) - and throw in highly rated skis like the S7 or Huge Trouble or some of the K2 skis – what’s the right way to think about creating a stack rank or categorization? Would experts be interested in just some of these models and less experienced powder skiers would flock to others? Or would categorization depend more on intended utilization including terrain and conditions? In other words, how would you think through and try to make sense of the choices?

I'm 6'0" and 170 lbs., and I know that drives choices that are different than if I weighed 220 lbs. I'm not interested in jumping off cliffs or skiing in terrain parks. I ski in the Pacific NW so the powder can be heavy and it's rarely Utah deep. I’ve skied enough in powder to have some sense of what it feels like to do it right, but I wouldn’t say I’m an accomplished powder skier.  Working at it!

If this is too complicated, I’d be grateful hearing from folks about skis they really like or can't wait to try.
post #2 of 2
Actually, if you hit it lucky you may be able to demo.  We were at Kirkwood during a storm, my son and I did the "demo 5 skis" deal and had plenty to trade off in the 95-105 category. (115+ category may be different). We each loved one of what we tried, and I bought us each a pair over the summer.

Of course, the next morning which dawned bluebird there were slim pickings at the demo place -- so you do have to get lucky.

The other option is to try them on inappropriate days.  That can still give you some indirect feel for them, and you can often find what I like to call "one turn patches" of powder in odd spots (just uphill of a traverse, for example) that are not worth skiing but are worth seeking out to try gear.

It would be kinda ridiculous for me to relay my thoughts about specific skis when my experience is so limited, but I will if no one else chimes in.
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