Originally Posted by Minnskier
I have a pair of Volkl Super Allstars, length 182, and they are wonderful for carving down the hill - fast. But I get thrown around whenever I hit any powder or even chopped up crud. I understand the aspects of a ski that makes a good carver, sidecut and stiffness, but what makes a ski good for crud?
Is the theory to plow through it or float over it? Prefered sidecuts? To rocker or not?
There are about as many theories on what makes a good crud ski as there are about what it "crud", but I'll throw out my own opinions.
First of all, I really believe that HOW you ski crud is much, much more important than WHAT you ski it with.
The variablility of chopped-up snow is what seems to cause the most trouble for many skiers. That feeling of "scooting" when you come out onto a scraped-off area and of almost going over the handlebars when you come back into the denser stuff is what seems to bother lots of people. Having your weight on your heels or even further back amplifies the problems, so I believe it's absolutely critical to ski crud with an aggressive approach and with your weight centered or even slightly forward. You also need something that's been called "functional tension" here on Epic. The only way I can describe that is that you're always driving the ski forward so that the ski cuts THROUGH the clumps and piles and scraped-off spots rather than being deflected by them. Strong technique and attitude will go a long way toward making nearly any ski "good" in crud.
That said, I think there are some general characteristics that make some types of skis better in crud than others. Unfortunately, some of those characteristics run counter to what makes a ski really nice in deeper powder. For crud, I like a fairly stiff flex with a moderate (at best) sidecut. I think soft-flexing skis are deflected more by variable snow and I think that a wide tip relative to the waist and tail also result in the fronts of the skis being easily bounced around. I also don't think that hugely-wide skis are great for crud because they're not blasting through the snow rather than floating over it. Others disagree strongly with this opinion, but that's what's great about skiing.
I'm not a huge fan of rockered skis for crud (I'm much more of a fan of them for powder), but I've promised myself that I'm going to be more open-minded about that this winter. To me, a rockered tip translates to a softer-flexing front of the ski and I don't like that much. We'll see as this winter moves along.
For me personally, the Head iM 88 was probably the best pure crud ski I've ever been on. Fairly stiff, sidecut over 20m, damp as can be, and it would cut through practically anything.