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Beginner on the backside

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've always skied the frontside almost exclusively - usually at Keystone,CO; and have experience with the AC20 and Mantra of 3 years ago. I am happy with them but considering getting a more backside oriented ski. I always make a resolution at the beginning of the year to make effort towards learning to ski the backside. This year is no different but I am actually going to sign up for lesson to get started.

I was looking at how deep my resolution was while staring at the Gotama. I;ve heard two salesman talk about this ski and I don't know how smart it might be. (They both thought I was very smart). If I got the Gotama I would spend a lot more time in the back 'getting it', but also would ski the front with the older skis. Yet there would be some times I would have the Gotamas on and do some runs on the front.

So I had a few quesions for the knowlegeable:
1. The new Gotama has a rocker style shape - not the Gotama I looked at the last few years. Volkl calls it the same name but has it completely changed? I realize few have probably skied this years model yet as resorts are open now, but feel free to pontificate.

2. Just how much am I giving up using it a little on the frontside groomers? The salesman both poinmted out the rocker shape already has the ski flexed to carve. (Must have got this from the rep or some training brochure as this sounded like a script - theses two could have been twins at that point).

3. I know it would work for the backside. (I'm the problem), and I don't think I want a completely powder type ski like the Karma. But this last question is how does getting these as a newbie on the backside strike you. I would describe my level as 61/2 on the frontside. Could they be for all skiers going for this type of skiing, or are they for more advanced skiers doing this type of sking that learned on something else? I don't want to spend the $$$ and be over my head.

4. Oh, assuming I get past 1,2 and 3, I would probably choose the Griffon or Jester binding. Any comments between the two? Many thanks, Tom
post #2 of 11
Since I ski Keystone a lot I'll reply. Have you never gone beyond the front of the first mountain or are you using backside as a general term meaning hunting for pow, trees, cliffs, whatever? Most of the rest of Keystone that's not a groomer just like the front (but a little steeper) is bumps or trees (or bumps in trees).

I use a three ski quiver. Something low 80s for hard snow days, cruisers, junk, bumps. Something mid 90s for soft days or small pow, sniffing in the trees for old pow, soft pow bumps, and a wider ski for real pow days. The mid 90s ski gets most of my time.

Some people use the Mantra to fill the second slot. I haven't skied it but understand it's a bit on the stiff side. I use a Watea 94. The Goat would work fine at Keystone for the pow ski, but we're talking Keystone, not a lot of huge days.

BTW, is there a new Karma? The one I know was a mid-80s twin tip, not a dedicated pow ski.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Sevesmith7 -
Yeh, you're right about Keystone and the "backside".  While I will do most of my sking there this year I meant "backside" as a general term for powder/deeper snow; and the "frontside" as a descrition for  groomers. It is the deeper snow I want to learn to ski in better. I am terrible now. I can go from black runs on teh groomers if not too steep and feeel pretty good and then go voer the top to the back like at Copper Mt or Vail bowl and completely fall apart.

So with the lessons I thought I might really get up some motivation and dedication to learning it with a better ski for the task. But my basic question is this Gotama ski really for a near beginner?  And does the style change to a rocker ski this year change any of that.

I ski the AC20 in a 170cm and the mantra in a 177cm. At 180 lbs / 6' tall some would say I am a bit short or close to what the charts might say but I felt more comfortable manuvering in them. As for the Gotama I am guessing they ski short (meaning a longer ski will feel like shorter one), as when I stood on them the fronts and backs left contact with the floor due to the rocker shape a long ways before the tips. Then again since they are designed to float more and will thus have contact in powder I do not know it this is a valid point like it would be with other skis.

Anyone who could enlighten me on any of the origninal questions above or this would be appreciated.
Thanks again,

The Mantras seem a stiffer (to me) than the AC20's but less than the AC30's I decided against. But that is all I have to comapre to. And to your question on the Karma - one of the salespersons said it was a different graphic on the same ski - a clear Powder only choice.  
    
post #4 of 11
I haven't skied the 10 goats but I have a pair of older ones. Wider skis are flat out easier to ski in deep snow. Period. Don't worry about being a "beginner", you're not.  You just need some new ways of skiing to handle the different snow conditions. A wider ski will make it easier to pick up. I keep a pair of first generation Elan 999s with demo bindings in the garage for guests who show up on powder days. These things float and turn so easily it lets anyone feel like a hero after a couple runs.

As far as the goats for you. Well, it's a fine choice if money is not an object, but it's a new model and the wrong time of year for deals so I'm sure it will be somewhat expensive.  I ski 40-50 days a year and count myself lucky to take the goats out  more than 8-10 days. You can usually find good deals on used powder boards, but less so now. Check the ads here and over at TGR. Craigslist has some stuff usually.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hey thanks for your comments.
I'm mulling it over. I suppose I could use the mantras for the lessons and continue to consider the Gotamas after that. Evidentally the new rocker type shape is not of any particular concern. 
I'll probably start hunting for a deal on last years if nothing turns up at some point maybe I'll get the the 2010 Gotamas and the Griffon binding in a 178, whcih is the Same size I have in the mantras. (The 186 seems a bit too long) 
post #6 of 11
It sounds as if your sales guys have sipping a little too much Volkl Kool Ade.

Here are some general thoughts............

Gotama: I owned the older one for several years and it was my favorite ski in that width category until last year. I skied the new '10 version five different times last season and it is better in 3D snow but worse at everything else so IMO unless you have a very narrow view of versatility, it is not as good a ski. But......If that's what you want, end of story.

Mantra: Owned two of those and tried hard to like them but never did. I think it is too wide for a frontsider and not good enough in deep snow for a backsider. Highly overrated (IMO) Here is fairly lengthy reveiw I wrote last spring on my two Volkls vs. a Blizzard Argos.

www.epicski.com/forum/thread/77586/blizzard-argos-and-my-two-volkls-gotama-mantra

Karma: Doesn't exist currently except possibly under a different name as a narrow backcountry ski. Never was a pure powder choice.

So....what to get?....IMO there are a flock of versatile skis out there in the ~~100mm width range. I skied maybe 25 or so skis in this range last year and it happens that the ones that I personally like don't have the Volkl nameplate on them. The list is nearly endless but includes the Watea 101, Sollie Shgun, Line P-100, K2 Sidestash, Blizzi Answer and Argos from '09, Argos from '10. The list goes on and on. I like a lot of them over the 2010 Goat and like almost everything better than the Mantra. FWIW I wouldn't put a Griffon or Jester on anything except a frontside if I could help it, (but that's just me).

And of course.....YMMV.

SJ
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well, you pretty much poo poo'd my idea  
You left me hanging on your binding choice(s) over the Griffon though.

It's easy to put my 'big' plans together when I'm not especially encumbered with knowledge.
Probably just contiune to read and listen for a while. I hear there is a Demo day coming up at Loveland soon.

Sounds like you think the 10 Gotama is very different from last years model indeed.  
post #8 of 11
Probably plenty of pre-2010 goats around for sale used and new if that is what you want.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbarb View Post

Well, you pretty much poo poo'd my idea  
You left me hanging on your binding choice(s) over the Griffon though.

 

The Griffon and Jester have too much lift for my tastes on a backside or all around ski. This tends to make the ski feel too grabby or grippy in those tight spots where you have to do an emergency braking manuver. (like when a rock outcropping jumps into your path) I sorta verified this for myself last spring when skiing the Blizzi Atlas with the system (Jester) and the flat mounted (slider) version.

OTH, some folks like them a lot and I'm OK with it on a wider carver type like a Magnum 8.1 or 8.7 for example.

SJ
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
I meant your prefered choices over the Griffon/Jester....?
Thanks
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbarb View Post

I meant your prefered choices over the Griffon/Jester....?
Thanks

Oh!....................

My preference is Look. The PX, or the Pivot when they get re-released, or the Rossi versions of same. I like the Sollie STH and Fischer flat mounted bindings too.

SJ
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