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2 ski quiver advice for a season at Jackson Hole

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm seriously considering a 3 month skiing escape in Jackson Hole this winter (would ski almost every day) and need some advice on a 2-ski quiver.  I haven't done much skiing out West so that's why I'm not real sure how to build a quiver around softer snow, bigger dumps... the kinda stuff you don't experience much skiing in PA most of your life :)  The amount of choices is what I'm struggling with most. There seem to be so many great options out there (do they make a bad ski these days?)

25 yrs old, 5'8", 175 lbs, Level 7/8.  Advanced but not a serious expert yet, though I'm in good shape and think I should improve pretty quickly once I'm out there.

My inclinations are:

Dynastar Contact 4x4 172cm (or should I go 165 since I hear it skis a bit short?)
Dynastar Legend Pro XXL 187cm

My first question is underfoot width for the quiver... 75 & 100, 85 & 110? Is 10-15mm here and there going to make a huge difference?  Should I err on the fatter side?

For the first ski, I'm keen on the 4x4 because it's the most comfortable type of ski for me (front side, harder snow carving) but wonder if it really should be left on the east coast since it's 75mm underfoot. Perhaps I should up my front oriented ski to something around 85mm.   Maybe a Blizzard Magnum 8.7 (87mm), a Nordica Jet Fuel (84mm), or Sultan 85?  Ideally this would be something that can carve, go fast, and handle the bumps every now and then.  

The second ski... well, I've never done much powder skiing so I can't give too much input on whether I'd prefer a turny or bomber type fat ski, but from my research people all across the board seem to give the LP XXL nothing but awesome reviews and a lot of love.  I considered the Blizzard Titan Argos but am afraid it might be too stiff / too much for me since I'm not a powder expert.  Line Prophet 100 is supposed to be great as well, as is the Gotama.  

Additionally, price/accessibility isn't too much a factor since I work at a ski shop and get major discounts on most ski brands. Would prefer to choose skis from Dynastar, Volkl, Blizzard, Atomic, Nordica, Head, K2, Stockli, Rossignol, Salomon, Line, Icelantic.

Would love to hear what advice anyone has for me, thanks :)

post #2 of 25
I won't offer advice on the exact skis that are right for you, but I will offer an opinion on the general profile of the skis that I would use for a 2 ski quiver in JH.  I would definitely have a frontside ski in that 85-90mm range...which I think is what your instincts are telling you.  This will be a great ski even if it hasn't snowed in awhile.  165 seems extremely short to me, given your size and professed ability.  172-178ish feels like the right length for a big mountain resort like Jackson.  I like where you are going on your big ski with the XXL, but I do think you should figure out what personality you desire in POW/soft snow ski.  I I like the XXL but I prefer a more playful ski like the Gotama--just a personal preference.  You seem to be loyal to Dynastar so you could also consider the Huge Trouble or the Big Dump.  Do you have to buy before you go--- or could you get your ski shop discount after trying a few so that you can make a more informed decision? 

Best of luck...sounds like a blast!
post #3 of 25
 5'11' and 170lbs
my 2-ski quiver =
1. 188 Lib Tech NAS Freeride (93/99mm waist)
2. 185 Volant Spatula (125mm waist reverse camber)

for skiing out West (Colo, Utah, WY, Cali, Or, Wa, BC) i think you really only need a ski in the 95-105 (give or take a few mm here and there) range and then something in the 125mm+ range, preferably reverse camber (but that really depends on your skiing style/preference). 

a lot of people are scared about going to a 95-105mm as an every day ski, but you really shouldn't. those sizes are no longer "wide" or merely designated for powder.  i've skied JH twice (roughly a week total) along with Snow King and Targhee and both times my "every day" plank was in the 95 range (either a Mantra @ 94mm or the Lib Tech @ 99mm). i would suggest demoing something in that range and you'll be surprised.

also perhaps check in with Bob Peters and TetonPowderJunkie, since both live/ski in Jackson. i know BP skis a Head in a 90ish waist...
post #4 of 25
It's kind of hard to choose a really good powder ski for you because you don't know if you want a tree-skiing ski (quick/turny, quite a bit of shape, fairly soft if powder specific) or a charging ski (stiff, less shape, longer turning radius) because the types of ski are almost opposite.

For some charging skis I'd look at the Armada ANT and the Blizzard Titan Argos (I think that's the ski I'm thinking of).

For some tree-skiings I'd check out the Rossignol S7 (definately check this out!!!!!), Icelantic Shaman, Prophet 130

For some skis that can do both I'd check out the Volkl Gotama, Salomon Czar,

Remeber this is my opinion and don't be afriad to go wide (around 115mm) with your powder ski.

good luck!
post #5 of 25
Contact 4x4 and XXL sounds like a great quiver for JH.
 
post #6 of 25

What do you plan on skiing in Jackson? There is a lot to ski there and you can find just about any kind of terrain both in and out of the resort.
 
I guess I will go a different route and give my opinion that you should go out there with nothing but your boots and demo a few skis and then buy what you think works best. You have three months and plenty of time to figure it all out. You can find plenty of shops to rent demos around the resort. IMO, it is easy to go to a relatively out-of-the-way place like Jackson, envisioning a certain type of terrain and fields of deep untracked powder etc. When you get there, however, what you encounter may be different than what you thought it would be and you may find that, based one what you end up taking a liking to there, you really don't need the super fat skis and a 80-ish midfat is what works best for you based on where and how you end up skiing.  You may find that instead of powder, you end up skiing deep tracked out crud(which is pretty common as I recall). Most of the fresh powder is out-of-bounds and the inbounds stuff gets cut up quickly on a snow day, like any other place. So, if anything, I wouldprobably look for one good crud busting ski to be in the quiver, as that's likely what you will encounter a lot inbounds. I am likely to get ragged on by everyone for suggesting this route, but I think it might be the way to go.

I would say, start demoing, start conservative in your choices and work your way up. Ski a lot and buy the superfat sticks only when you find you venture into terrain that requires it. Otherwise, you may just waste money and the skis will sit back at the condo because you preferred something else. Or, better yet, decide on an everyday ski and only rent powder sticks on days when there is actually fresh snow.

I have beent there twice. You will have fun and there is also Targhee around the corner and Snow King for night skiing. We have similar ability levels and, if you are anything like me, you will probably spend a lot of time at first just trying not to get into trouble and will be taking it easy on the mid-mountain/Gondola area. A lot of the terrain can be intimidating at first. I would also suggest maybe hooking up with one of the guides or skil school or perhaps take a clinic specific to skiing at Jackson.


Edited by MojoMan - 11/14/09 at 9:32pm
post #7 of 25
 Bob Peters seems to be your best source for advice. 

Here is my idea for a two-ski quiver.  Get a midfat that is decent on hardpack and great in crud and use it as your daily driver.  Then get a wide dedicated powder ski for deep days.  That ski won't see nearly as many days as your ski #1, but those few days will be precious.   

My daily ski is Dynastar Mythic Rider (and/or Head Mojo94 this winter).   These are proven formulae, and they work well for the majority of snow conditions.   For the deep days almost any soft fat ski with rocker/early rise or reverse camber/no camber should work well.  Go crazy on that one.  
post #8 of 25
 For what it's worth... this year my two ski Village quiver will be a Gotoma and a Dynastar Contact Limited.  I will be using the Jet Fuels at The King.  I think the 4x4 and the Pro XXL would be great.  I have a good friend who uses the Argos as a one quiver ski.  The Mythic Rider is also good.  Bob Peters endorses Head.  Bring whatever you like.  There are lots of good skis.  You might want to get a touring binding, like a Duke/Baron, and plan on taking an Avy course.  There is sign up for the local discounted courses happening right now.  If you can ski, you will find yourself drawn OB.  
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

Contact 4x4 and XXL sounds like a great quiver for JH.
 

Ditto;

I used the Contact 4X4 at JH last year. It was capable of any turn on any run and will be your ski of choice on every no-new-snow day.

Michael
post #10 of 25
Given your description of your powder experience, I think you would be best off with a softish, playful pow ski. The XXL, the Titan are both pro models of their respective companies' model line, way, way too stiff and charging designed. For example, I was at the ski wall yesterday flexing and mauling everything there.  I learned that the Watea 114 is about half as stiff as the Dynastar Sixth Sense Huge (last years Huge Trouble renamed). Do not buy a ski because everyone who wants to come off as bad recommends it. It's a macho thing that will not serve you well when actually out skiing. It's like a bicycle: no matter how good the bike/ski, you will have to make it perform with your ability and body as your tools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by locknload View Post

..... I like the XXL but I prefer a more playful ski like the Gotama--just a personal preference.  You seem to be loyal to Dynastar so you could also consider the Huge Trouble or the Big Dump.  Do you have to buy before you go--- or could you get your ski shop discount after trying a few so that you can make a more informed decision? 

Best of luck...sounds like a blast!
 
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

Given your description of your powder experience, I think you would be best off with a softish, playful pow ski. The XXL, the Titan are both pro models of their respective companies' model line, way, way too stiff and charging designed. For example, I was at the ski wall yesterday flexing and mauling everything there.  I learned that the Watea 114 is about half as stiff as the Dynastar Sixth Sense Huge (last years Huge Trouble renamed). Do not buy a ski because everyone who wants to come off as bad recommends it. It's a macho thing that will not serve you well when actually out skiing. It's like a bicycle: no matter how good the bike/ski, you will have to make it perform with your ability and body as your tools.

 



 

Good advice.  The OP said he never skied powder to any extent and is a level 7. Suggesting the biggest, baddest skis on the market in the longest lenghts is not something I would do. I would really use your own best judgement and hold off on any purchases until you can try things out on your own.  Use what people suggest as a demo guide, but there is no shame in starting out on skis in the middle of the skill range. Try before you buy. It's likely going to save you some expense and frustration. You may find you do not like skiing powder. Who knows. Worse thing you could probably do if you really want to get into powder is buy a ski beyond your means, You may end up hating the experience and not want anything to do with it. Anyways, at a place like Jackson, even on a snow day, you are likely going to be skiing mostly a lot of heavy, tracked-out crud on the more advanced inbound runs. Like any place out West, the stuff gets eaten up quickly by the locals who know where to go and are up early for first dibs.

We are of similar ability levels. The biggest mistake I ever made was thinking a middle-range ski does not offer any peformance or benefit. They do, in buckets, because it allows you to really get going and add to your skill set without having to fight your equipment. Trust me, go conservative, then move up as needed. Leave the ego at the door when thinking about skis and length. You do not need the biggest, baddest, stiffest, high-end gear to enjoy yourself and get the job done. If anyone says you do, they are flat out wrong.

Like I said before, I would really look at some of their camps. I know Jackson has camps for intermediates on up that introduces them to skiing this type of terrain. If you want to go back country, I would also take a camp or lesson designed to introduce you to this terrain.
post #12 of 25
Yes,  XXL is very stiff so you need to go pretty fast to bend it.  I'd go for a softer ski in powder.  My current powder ski is not that soft (Nordica Blower), and I am definitely wishing that I had softer easier pow boards.  Davluri's advice is spot on.
post #13 of 25
I was talking to a race coach here and he said an interesting thing when I asked him about taking a young kid on a hard run. He said that you don't want him to flail. You want him making great turns. reason: when you flail you teach your muscles the wrong moves. It gets in your muscle memory, and muscles don't forget. OTOH, if you're making good turns, that becomes second nature and kicks in when you are in a tough spot. So, If you get an XXL and can only ski it by sitting  back and throwing your upper body around, that will become natural to you and you will have to un-learn it, not just mentally, but physically. So, make good turns on a ski that is right for you, from the get go.
post #14 of 25
It is interesting to note that, that when i go West, most of the skiers I see in powder or steeps are flailing around, cutting accross the hill, tearing up the powder and just trying to stay alive using quick slash turns. A lot of times they are on the biggest and baddest rockered skis with the sickest graphics. When people first go West, they likely expect to see everyone riding in chest deep, virgin powder that stretches for miles. You envision everyone riding this unlimited bounty like they are straight out of a Warren Miller flick.  Then reality sets in. What you likely will see a lot of the time while riding the chairs is a form of controlled chaos and a fight for survivial as tourist-skiers on superfat, super long, reverse camber, extra-stiff,  fatty super-duper twins desperately bash through piles of powder that has turned to fields upon fields of chopped up crud. You will know who the locals are because, chances are, they are the rare ones who ski like they are straight out of a Warren Miller flick and are on skis sensibile for the conditions. I would say for every ten skiers I see in powder, eight of them are just trying to just stay alive and make it down.

I certainly would be one of the eight, as I lack much experience in this venue. While gaining such experience, however, I would not want to be fighting the equipment as well as the snow. Demo and JH ski camp.  That's what they're there for.
post #15 of 25
 Davluri- So true...  Especially with wrong stiffness boots, not just skis.  (BTW, I really like the look of the furniture that you make).   
post #16 of 25
Ah yes, I remember when I moved to Jackson.  I had a fresh pair of K2 X-15s.  Granted I came from California and had grown up skiing Squaw and Alpine, I was just weekend good- i.e. not that good.

That said, if you are planning on getting the most out of your stay in Jackson, realize that you will be skiing all sorts of snow, from powder to hardpack to steep chalky stuff and corn in the spring.  My every day ski for the last 3 years was the Stockli TT.  Metal laminate makes pretty damp but moderate flex with turned up tail make it pretty forgiving, 95 under foot made good in powder too.
Every skier like yourself, mostly friends from the Bay Area,  that I put on the TT in 177 loved it.  Think of a Mantra with less sidecut, or a damper, less poppy mythic rider.  If you are planning to ski all over the hill any of those would be great for an everyday ski.
For the powder option, well there are a gajillion now.  Some surefire hits that still ski "regular snow" include the Gotama, Obsethed, Katana, Atomic Coax.  I also think that the Salomon Czar is a great, easy to ski ski for powder and crud and very managable for a variety of skiers. 
You might not need to try any of the "big dogs" yet-  any of those skis would be fine for 90 percent of skiing here in Jackson. 
This assumes you will be skiing the Jackson way, not much groomers lots of off piste in all conditions.

Just be warned, I came here for one year to really ski, 11 years later I am still at it!
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by supergaper View Post

Ah yes, I remember when I moved to Jackson.  I had a fresh pair of K2 X-15s.  Granted I came from California and had grown up skiing Squaw and Alpine, I was just weekend good- i.e. not that good.

That said, if you are planning on getting the most out of your stay in Jackson, realize that you will be skiing all sorts of snow, from powder to hardpack to steep chalky stuff and corn in the spring.  My every day ski for the last 3 years was the Stockli TT.  Metal laminate makes pretty damp but moderate flex with turned up tail make it pretty forgiving, 95 under foot made good in powder too.
Every skier like yourself, mostly friends from the Bay Area,  that I put on the TT in 177 loved it.  Think of a Mantra with less sidecut, or a damper, less poppy mythic rider.  If you are planning to ski all over the hill any of those would be great for an everyday ski.
For the powder option, well there are a gajillion now.  Some surefire hits that still ski "regular snow" include the Gotama, Obsethed, Katana, Atomic Coax.  I also think that the Salomon Czar is a great, easy to ski ski for powder and crud and very managable for a variety of skiers. 
You might not need to try any of the "big dogs" yet-  any of those skis would be fine for 90 percent of skiing here in Jackson. 
This assumes you will be skiing the Jackson way, not much groomers lots of off piste in all conditions.

Just be warned, I came here for one year to really ski, 11 years later I am still at it!

This is my 20th year.  I only came for a few months myself.  I think I had a pair of X-15s for a while.  They featured a pizo-dampeing system that converted vibration into electrical energy and made an LED flash on the top sheet.
post #18 of 25
 I was very happy with my 2 ski choice last year.... 

Blizzard Magnum 8.7
K2 PBR (Maiden AK w/ 10/20 rocker)
post #19 of 25
I live up the road and ski similar snow & similar terrain.  I'd go with Dynastar Mythic Riders for your everyday ski and Dynastar Huge Troubles for dumps.
post #20 of 25
Is that enough advice for you yet, ajh88?  We can go on forever.........
post #21 of 25
This is a dilemma I'd really like to have someday. Go for it if you can!

Three months at JH is a long time to milk a 2 ski quiver.  I usually ski two different skis each day switching at mid morning/lunch break.   If you feel the need to expand the quiver some, you could always contact the local head rep and arrange some demos
post #22 of 25
post #23 of 25
I think the Contact 4x4 is an excellent choice for your "everyday" ski.  It's powerful and turny and handles a very wide range of conditions very well.  Of your 90 days of skiing here, odds are that 50 or more of them will be days when it hasn't snowed overnight.  The 4x4 is a great ski for those days.  I think the 172 is a good length for you.

I agree with those who are hesitant about the XXL as your soft-snow ski.  I think it's a pretty demanding ski for someone at your skill level.  Something a little softer like the Gotama (last year's or this year's) would be a better choice, I think.

For whatever it's worth, my two-ski quiver here at JH for last season was the Head SuperShape Magnum and the Head Mojo 94.  The Magnum is pretty comparable to the 4x4.  The 94 is 94mm underfoot and provides all the float I feel I ever need.

Have fun in Jackson Hole.  It's only the best ski resort in North America.
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for all the responses everyone.  They've definitely helped me narrow my choices and give me a better picture of what I'm getting in to.

I'm definitely going to get the Contact 4x4 to fill my crud buster / carver / comfort zone / east coast needs (um, if I move back, that is!).  It's been on my wish list for a year now anyway.

As for the more powder oriented skis I think I'll be more comfortable with something in the 95/100mm range and am leaning towards the Stockli Stormrider TT or Line Prophet 100.  Stockli's just have such great a reputation (there's something comforting about Swiss construction :)) and a lot of people have turned me towards the Prophet 100.  I'll see what my options are at the shop.  Given the learning curve, you guys are right that I shouldn't get ahead of myself with a real powder-y ski, and I'll demo some fatter things once I'm there.
post #25 of 25
As you are info overload by now, I'm not adding to the lists. But, to be clear, no one said not to get a powder ski or a fat ski. They (I) would steer you away from a pro-model powder ski, that is, a super stiff powder ski, as you would not be able to put the requisite amount of power into the ski.  Fat and soft = gooooood for learning powder.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajh88 View Post

......, you guys are right that I shouldn't get ahead of myself with a real powder-y ski, and I'll demo some fatter things once I'm there.



 
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