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SFB vs. S7 or JJ (as examples)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I spent some time at EVO yesterday trying to understand the trade-offs here in terms of design/performance.  If I understand correctly, a more traditional design, like the Line SFB (or the Pandora for my daughter) will give great float and offer more torsional strength and stability for inevitable time spent on the groomers.  The S7 and JJ (as examples) (or the Rossi BC 110) would turn more easily in powder and more nimbly on the groomers, but flap around at speed.  I am looking for just-special-day easy-to-ski powder skis that will work well in heavier PNW snow... no tricks... no jumps... no switch... no Alaska... so stiffer boards ruled out.  Have I got the trade-offs right, or am I all wet?
post #2 of 15
I thought the Line SFB was the same type of ski as the S7 and JJ because of the early taper. Am I wrong?

Free bump because I would like to know the answer to his question too.
post #3 of 15
I'd say you are pretty close. Generally, you'll find the more powder specific features you throw into the equation......guess what........the more powder specific the ski becomes. While something like the S7 is indeed nimble on groomers (not much ski touching the snow ya know) but I personally don't qualify that as nimble in a good way.

Skis like the Bacon or the Watea 114 are big, conventional shapes with a soft flex. They are more stable in rougher conditions and on groomers but it is not just the torsional stiffness that does it. It is the conventional shape combined with the torsional stiffness (which BTW is still fairly low).

Think of it this way....rev. camber (rocker) pre-flexes the ski so it is already in a turning configuration. Early taper does something different and more subtle.

SJ
post #4 of 15
The short answer to your question is that the closer to the base "reverse/reverse" Spatula design point a ski is, the "better" it will handle in the kind of fresh snow often found in the PNW. Not too shabby on soft spring days either. Depending on your "style", pintail variations on the design theme can add a nice "anti-tip dive" factor on slabby &  breakable crust days.  (of course YMMV if you have a passion for the way a traditional cambered ski feels in soft snow...)

The longer ramble...

As you add sidecut of varying types & degrees, you can make for better behavior on groomers & firmer snow. Likewise as you flatten, or even camber, the middle of the ski. But everything comes at a price. And the more you deviate from the Spat/Praxis/Pontoon style designs, the more you lose the "looseness" in soft snow that turned heads & started a revolution.

Opinions differ as to whether going into the realm of hybrid cambers is a real benefit or not. I think if people like "pop", then they like the camber of a JJ, S7,  Bent Chetler, etc.. If they like damp smooth predictability & soft snow looseness, then maybe less so. I have no real experience with the latter skis, but have talked with people playing with a pretty broad range.

OTOH, camber is clearly not "needed". Some seriously fine skiers (including some at Evo) are into fully rockered skis for everyday use. 
Personally, I'd only look at the more hybridized camber-in-the-middle models if I wanted a more traditional feeling ski on hardpack or I just liked camber's "pop" (ala Atomic's tagline) for any of several reasons. 

FWIW - my kids would rate the SFB as a powder friendly all mountain ski. Lots of love when it first came out. But their bias the past couple of years has been to take out a Hell Bent or EP Pro  over 95% of the time - even for all around use. SFBs only come out for touring or some crusty days (and now reside out of state...).


You have a very broad range of options. My bias for a "special day" ski in the WA Cascades would be to skew toward powder performance and looseness: Praxis Powders (maybe Protests), Kuros, Pontoons, ARGs, etc., etc.  Or maybe relatively close cousins like the EP Pro, Hell Bent, etc., etc., etc.

If you live near enough to Evo, you may well benefit from chatting more with folks there.  And picking their brains on this general topic some more.  Evo, in Fremont, is quite possibly the most progressive specialty ski shop in the US. Their inventory of this class of ski is about as good as it gets - at least that I've seen.  And their wall tells you what most other shops will be chasing in a year or two. A number of their staff are heading into their fourth year (give or take depending) of using rockered skis of the general class you are considering. On the snow you are going to be skiing...  The crew at Gerk's in Redmond also has been playing with rockered skis here in the PNW quite a bit the past couple years & might be useful to you as well. My experience with both shops has been outstanding.
 
Obviously there are worthy brands and models I have not mentioned... 

[/ramble+tome]

That ramble was already too long, but you might also contemplate what soft vs stiff means in a world where, as SJ notes, the ski is pre-bent.

edit: and I wouldn't worry about any of these flapping around...
Edited by spindrift - 11/2/09 at 9:14pm
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

I'd say you are pretty close. Generally, you'll find the more powder specific features you throw into the equation......guess what........the more powder specific the ski becomes. While something like the S7 is indeed nimble on groomers (not much ski touching the snow ya know) but I personally don't qualify that as nimble in a good way.

Skis like the Bacon or the Watea 114 are big, conventional shapes with a soft flex. They are more stable in rougher conditions and on groomers but it is not just the torsional stiffness that does it. It is the conventional shape combined with the torsional stiffness (which BTW is still fairly low).

Think of it this way....rev. camber (rocker) pre-flexes the ski so it is already in a turning configuration. Early taper does something different and more subtle.

SJ

I could not agree more.  The real super-reverse camber skis feel "loose" for a reason: they ride on 80cm of edge.  Where this comes in handy is when you are in super deep snow, especially heavy snow that is really tough to release from: the ski just pulls you out of the crap and re-engages with a minimal amount of effort. Unfortunately there are the limitations that SJ noted.   By shortening the running length and filling the space in between the tip and the start of the reverse camber with snow, the ski is effectively turning the same way a super short ski with a wide shovel does. Definitely not the best design for variable conditions or groomers, unless you need help there (can't release the ski properly, get to the cuff, and pressure the tip to re-engage).

I guess it comes down to the trade-offs you want to make either way.  I have found that early rise, wide skis (around 115mm underfoot) do a great job of being fairly versatile provided new snow is around, yet float really well and are much more subtle in that they respond well to good skiing movement, yet still make skiing the crap easy. If I really wanted a specialized ski, and could afford it, I would grab one as well.  Probably nothing is better than a reverse cambered ski in, say, rain over new snow, or 35-degree heavy, wet PNW snow. 

I am a big early rise fan.  Most of the skis that are wider that I have really enjoyed recently are early rise, and you may be able to get what you are looking for on one.
post #6 of 15
Interesting discussion guys. Thanks.

Being the gear whore that I am, I just bought a set of S7s from my local shop. Several of the guys there that I trust have been raving about this ski since last season so I figured I'd give it a shot - and they certainly know the local conditions. Their feedback suggests more versatility to the rocker/reverse sidecut/traditional camber design than perhaps what SJ and Dawg imply.

Other "powder" skis owned by me in recent years:
- Volkl Sanouk: flat cambered and noodly. Long. Superb in soft snow - the best I've tried. But darn near useless anywhere else and simply treacherous on the luges coming out of the tree  because  the straight cut and legnth weren't conducive to quick turns
- K2 Apache Chief: meh.....soft enough for powder, but overall kinda weak and boring. A powder ski for those that don't charge and just need a little help
- Dynastar Huge Trouble: doesn't float as well as the other two despite it's width and favors strong technique and a hard charging style - but an absolute bulldozer in the cut-up, crud & slush. Rewards the strong skier but asks for a lot of input to make it go.

I'm hoping the S7 combines the best qualities of each. I'm keeping the HT for versatility. The others are gone.


One thing is for certain....I'll have lots of fun trying to figure it out for myself
Edited by The Squeaky Wheel - 11/3/09 at 8:15am
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel View Post

Interesting discussion guys. Thanks.

Being the gear whore that I am, I just bought a set of S7s from my local shop. Several of the guys there that I trust have been raving about this ski since last season so I figured I'd give it a shot - and they certainly know the local conditions. Their feedback suggests more versatility to the rocker/reverse sidecut/traditional camber design than perhaps what SJ and Dawg imply.

Other "powder" skis owned by me in recent years:
- Volkl Sanouk: flat cambered and noodly. Long. Superb in soft snow - the best I've tried. But darn near useless anywhere else and simply treacherous on the luges coming out of the tree  because  the straight cut and legnth weren't conducive to quick turns
- K2 Apache Chief: meh.....soft enough for powder, but overall kinda weak and boring. A powder ski for those that don't charge and just need a little help
- Dynastar Huge Trouble: doesn't float as well as the other two despite it's width and favors strong technique and a hard charging style - but an absolute bulldozer in the cut-up, crud & slush. Rewards the strong skier but asks for a lot of input to make it go.

I'm hoping the S7 combines the best qualities of each. I'm keeping the HT for versatility. The others are gone.


One thing is for certain....I'll have lots of fun trying to figure it out for myself
 

Squeeky Wheel,

Where do you have your HT's mounted?
I'm thinking of pulling the trigger on a pair of HT's based on reviews (I've done a fair load of reading) cause I wont get the chance to demo. I understand that HT's compromise deep snow floatiness for better versatility compared to reverse/reverse options or hybrid fun shapes...
The only ski I've really demo'd properly in this width range is the Obsethed (clearly a softer ski and tip and tail rocker). I only got to try the 179, and at 6'4 and 210lbs it was still loads of fun in untouched, and exceptionally easy, but got knocked around a bit when things got chopped up. So the crud-busting ability of the HT really appeals to me.
I guess my question is, whilst distinctly different skis, can you or anyone else tell me how the HT floats compared to an Obsethed?

Cheers,
Vinski
post #8 of 15
My HT are mounted -2 from the center line. It's an incredibly versatile ski for its width, but I want something more playful in the pow.

I haven't skied the Obsethed. Sorry.
post #9 of 15
I have skied both. The OB floats better and is more nimble. OTH the HT is more powerful and stable in mixed and broken snow conditions.

I bought the HT.....I didn't buy the OB.

SJ
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel View Post

Interesting discussion guys. Thanks.

Being the gear whore that I am, I just bought a set of S7s from my local shop. Several of the guys there that I trust have been raving about this ski since last season so I figured I'd give it a shot - and they certainly know the local conditions. Their feedback suggests more versatility to the rocker/reverse sidecut/traditional camber design than perhaps what SJ and Dawg imply.

Other "powder" skis owned by me in recent years:
- Volkl Sanouk: flat cambered and noodly. Long. Superb in soft snow - the best I've tried. But darn near useless anywhere else and simply treacherous on the luges coming out of the tree  because  the straight cut and legnth weren't conducive to quick turns
- K2 Apache Chief: meh.....soft enough for powder, but overall kinda weak and boring. A powder ski for those that don't charge and just need a little help
- Dynastar Huge Trouble: doesn't float as well as the other two despite it's width and favors strong technique and a hard charging style - but an absolute bulldozer in the cut-up, crud & slush. Rewards the strong skier but asks for a lot of input to make it go.

I'm hoping the S7 combines the best qualities of each. I'm keeping the HT for versatility. The others are gone.


One thing is for certain....I'll have lots of fun trying to figure it out for myself
Hopefully we get some new snow in early February at WP to put some of these skis through their paces.  Should be fun! 
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

I have skied both. The OB floats better and is more nimble. OTH the HT is more powerful and stable in mixed and broken snow conditions.

I bought the HT.....I didn't buy the OB.

SJ
 

Thanks SJ,

Loved the Huuuuuge Trouble review.
Interesting to note the OB floats better despite being 10mm narrower underfoot - obviously its the softer flex and rocker that does it - but good to know. I found the OB supremely easy in pow - widest ski I'd really been on before that was an '05 PE at 80mm underfoot so the OB felt like cheating compared to that.
I reckon I'll go for the HT - realistically, skiing untracked pow is unfortunately by no means the majority of a day's skiing inbounds. And it sounds like the HT will still make the deep and fresh a blast anyway.

Cheers,
Vinski
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinski View Post




Thanks SJ,

Loved the Huuuuuge Trouble review.
Interesting to note the OB floats better despite being 10mm narrower underfoot - obviously its the softer flex and rocker that does it - but good to know. I found the OB supremely easy in pow - widest ski I'd really been on before that was an '05 PE at 80mm underfoot so the OB felt like cheating compared to that.
I reckon I'll go for the HT - realistically, skiing untracked pow is unfortunately by no means the majority of a day's skiing inbounds. And it sounds like the HT will still make the deep and fresh a blast anyway.

Cheers,
Vinski

Absolutely.

"Realistically" is the keyword here that folks sometimes forget. It's very possible to buy a ski that excels at conditions that you rarely see at the expense of getting one that excels at conditions you regularly see.

The width is only part of the equation. The soft flex of the OB plus it's moderate rocker are enough to overcome the width advantage that the HT has as far as float goes. However, that float isn't a free lunch and you certainly pay a price in some conditions. Besides, it's not as if the HT is a submarine by any means. It's really good in deep snow and superb when it's all hacked up.

I'll have several variations of rockered skis at my fingertips this season and on big days, I'll have one or another with me. However, I'll also have the HT with me as well and will probably be on it  more than the rockers.

SJ
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post




Absolutely.

"Realistically" is the keyword here that folks sometimes forget. It's very possible to buy a ski that excels at conditions that you rarely see at the expense of getting one that excels at conditions you regularly see.

The width is only part of the equation. The soft flex of the OB plus it's moderate rocker are enough to overcome the width advantage that the HT has as far as float goes. However, that float isn't a free lunch and you certainly pay a price in some conditions. Besides, it's not as if the HT is a submarine by any means. It's really good in deep snow and superb when it's all hacked up.

I'll have several variations of rockered skis at my fingertips this season and on big days, I'll have one or another with me. However, I'll also have the HT with me as well and will probably be on it  more than the rockers.

SJ

 

Realistically indeed. I reckon my Contact 4x4's and a pair of HT's will make a nice two-ski quiver to have a grand time in any hard/soft snow conditions.

Maybe one day (possibly in another life) when I'm skiing nothing but pristine, untracked powder lines endlessly I'll go for a one-ski quiver of a Kuro, Toon, or ARG of sorts... Until then, or until I can afford to expand beyond a 2-ski quiver, I think the HT sounds like the perfect balance of 'powder performance' and 'mixed soft-snow versatility' for me.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Since I started this thread (and it's been enormously helpful), I thought I'd also take a whack at synchronizing vocabulary.  I think there are different terms used here and there which mean the same thing.  Feel free to clarify/edit if I've got any of it wrong.

I am having a trouble classifying early taper.  As for the rest:

Rocker and reverse camber and early rise are all the same thing.  A representative ski (of pure rocker design) would be the xxxxxxxxxxx. 

Rocker can come in a hybrid form, i.e. with camber in the center of the ski.  A representative ski would be the S7 or JJ or Atomics (with pop!)?

Rocker can come with traditonal sidecut - shovel and tail wider than waist.  A representative ski would be the SFB?

Reverse sidecut might involve a pintail front and or rear - the widest part of the ski is below the shovel and up from the rear.  A representative ski would be the xxxxxxxxxxxxx.

There is, of course, a conventional cambered ski with "traditional" sidecut - wide for float.  A representative ski would be the HT or big Watea.

Did I miss one or two categories?
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

The short answer to your question is that the closer to the base "reverse/reverse" Spatula design point a ski is, the "better" it will handle in the kind of fresh snow often found in the PNW. Not too shabby on soft spring days either. Depending on your "style", pintail variations on the design theme can add a nice "anti-tip dive" factor on slabby &  breakable crust days.  (of course YMMV if you have a passion for the way a traditional cambered ski feels in soft snow...)

The longer ramble...

As you add sidecut of varying types & degrees, you can make for better behavior on groomers & firmer snow. Likewise as you flatten, or even camber, the middle of the ski. But everything comes at a price. And the more you deviate from the Spat/Praxis/Pontoon style designs, the more you lose the "looseness" in soft snow that turned heads & started a revolution.

Opinions differ as to whether going into the realm of hybrid cambers is a real benefit or not. I think if people like "pop", then they like the camber of a JJ, S7,  Bent Chetler, etc.. If they like damp smooth predictability & soft snow looseness, then maybe less so. I have no real experience with the latter skis, but have talked with people playing with a pretty broad range.

OTOH, camber is clearly not "needed". Some seriously fine skiers (including some at Evo) are into fully rockered skis for everyday use. 
Personally, I'd only look at the more hybridized camber-in-the-middle models if I wanted a more traditional feeling ski on hardpack or I just liked camber's "pop" (ala Atomic's tagline) for any of several reasons. 

FWIW - my kids would rate the SFB as a powder friendly all mountain ski. Lots of love when it first came out. But their bias the past couple of years has been to take out a Hell Bent or EP Pro  over 95% of the time - even for all around use. SFBs only come out for touring or some crusty days (and now reside out of state...).


You have a very broad range of options. My bias for a "special day" ski in the WA Cascades would be to skew toward powder performance and looseness: Praxis Powders (maybe Protests), Kuros, Pontoons, ARGs, etc., etc.  Or maybe relatively close cousins like the EP Pro, Hell Bent, etc., etc., etc.

If you live near enough to Evo, you may well benefit from chatting more with folks there.  And picking their brains on this general topic some more.  Evo, in Fremont, is quite possibly the most progressive specialty ski shop in the US. Their inventory of this class of ski is about as good as it gets - at least that I've seen.  And their wall tells you what most other shops will be chasing in a year or two. A number of their staff are heading into their fourth year (give or take depending) of using rockered skis of the general class you are considering. On the snow you are going to be skiing...  The crew at Gerk's in Redmond also has been playing with rockered skis here in the PNW quite a bit the past couple years & might be useful to you as well. My experience with both shops has been outstanding.
 
Obviously there are worthy brands and models I have not mentioned... 

[/ramble+tome]

That ramble was already too long, but you might also contemplate what soft vs stiff means in a world where, as SJ notes, the ski is pre-bent.

edit: and I wouldn't worry about any of these flapping around...
 

Hi, Spin.

I just want to say that I really appreciate your willingness to share info on all of these new ski designs.  I know that you're researched all of these concepts and you've tried a lot of the skis.  As near as I can tell, you know more - across the board - about this stuff than just about anybody else.

As you know, I'm not exactly onboard with why all of this is necessary, but I'm trying to keep a more open mind.  It helps me a lot to read your posts and I'm glad you're willing to keep adding to the information base.  At least I have a better idea what I'm looking at when I see some of these skis on the rack.

Keep it up. 
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