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ski quiver for tahoe

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
for better or worse (ok, worse) i unexpectedly find myself having the time to write this post as i sit here with a sack of ice on my left knee and 2-8 weeks to contemplate the problem.  i'm looking to find myself a good ski quiver for tahoe.
about me: 42 yrs old, 5'9" & 150 lbs, probably a psia level 8, fairly aggressive skier, good fitness, midwest background (recent sf bay area transplant).  i was hoping to do 30-40 days this season but due to, ahem, "unforeseen circumstances" will probably be more like 20-30.  i like a moderately stiff boot (110 currently) and i have no biomechanical irregularities of note.
what i like to ski:  i struggle to answer this question.  the answer is kind of "everything", as i simply love to ski.  i tend to avoid groomers but hey, every once in a while i too like to open it up on the flat stuff and let it rip.  midwest heritage means that hardpack and ice are second nature to me, so the deeper it gets the more i have to work (and learn: a goal of mine is to become as proficient an off-piste skier as i am on-piste).  i'm hoping to get to alta, mammoth and mt hood this year, but for pragmatic reasons (read "season pass") most of my days will be at squaw.
reality check: i'd love to say that since my home base is tahoe i need lots of float for all the glorious snow, but the reality is slightly different.  i live in the sf bay area (though i'm looking for a ski lease for the winter) and typically drive up for 2-4 day stints (and try to avoid weekends when i can).  i do generally have to plan ahead a bit to get away so it's a bit of a crapshoot what conditions i may get.  that being said, i think it falls into roughly 3 categories:
1) true powder:  i happen to be up there and it's dumping that night.  while ideal, the stars aligning on this one are rare.
2) recent snowfall:  fairly common.  decent snow on the groomers plus lots of chowder and/or crud around.  some stashes around but it's work to find them.
3) no new snow:  nothing in a week or two means the goods are skied out, lots of bumps, hardpack, and ice shortly after the sun comes off an aspect.
(by the way, this is only my second year in the area so i'd love a reality check on my reality check from long-time tahoe vets)
given the above, i think i've decided that the best way to go is to match a ski to each of the above general categories.  the one decision i've made is that i'll almost certainly buy a dedicated powder ski, but not until after the season's over when everything is ridiculously cheap.  so for the time being, i'm focusing my dollars on a 2-ski quiver and one of them has to at least keep me alive in the deep stuff.
before i actually pick specific skis to demo i need to figure out what type of ski fits categories 2 & 3.  for cat2 it needs to be a good crud-buster, handle well at speed, and manageable in changing conditions.  almost certainly the most versatile ski i'll buy (and likely the first), maybe 90-100mm under foot?  cat1 needs to handle well in the bumps, hold an edge well, and carve nicely once conditions relegate me to the groomers, maybe 75-80mm or so?  once i've got those figured out i can actually start putting skis into each category.
so, do my categories make sense?  what types/widths/sizes of skis would you put in each?  the above are just my initial thoughts on the matter and i'm open to altering any or all of my plan.  many thanks in advance!
post #2 of 17
I ski a lot at Kirkwood and Mammoth. I just retired my 190 Gotamas in favor of 184 Icelantic Shamans. The Shamans are insanely versatile. If its the least bit soft it's the Shamans. My back up ski is 184 Mantras for when the off-piste hasn't had any  new snow for a while. I'm 200lbs that is faster than most but slower than some. I like everything but moguls and boiler plate.
post #3 of 17
See if you can get Sierra Jim to chime in, but IIRC, he liked the Blizzard Titan Agros last year and suggested it could make a Tahoe qiver of one.  I skied the Agros at Squaw, Alpine Meadows, Heavenly and Kirkwood last year and found it a great ski for everything but hardpack and bumps (but my bump skiing sucks - slow feet syndrome).  For hard snow days I'll take out something sub 80mm, like my Stockli Stormrider XL or XXL.  Caveat, at 150lbs, the Agros may be a little beefy, but I understand it has been softened a little this year (see dawgcathing's review).  IMO, a 2 ski quiver is prefereable , one for hard snow (something < 80mm )and one for the rest (something > 100mm). My $0.02.
Edited by Taxman - 12/20/09 at 9:48pm
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
SierraJim helped me hash the answers to this out via PM, so i thought i would post a summary as it might help others out in the future (and many many thanks to SJ for his time and very helpful input).
- categories are pretty good for typical tahoe conditions
- cat 2 will be most used and most useful. 
- getting a general idea of categories is a good idea, but until you know exactly what that middle (cat 2) ski is, you can't begin making decisions on 1 & 3 since you don't know what, if any, deficiencies in ski #2 you're trying to address with other skis.
so my methodology is now:
1) determine the range of conditions i'll commonly encounter (done).
2) demo my wishlist for the middle/most common condition, find and buy my favorite.
3) once i've skied it for a bit, figure out what (if anything) i'm unhappy with trying to ski it in the other conditions.
4) demo skis in other cats based upon info gained in step #3.
i think a similar methodology would work for east coast skiers, but instead of the most common ski being cat2, it's probably much more hard-snow biased, and you'd just work up (softer) from there.
i'm now looking at a cat2 ski of 85-90mm underfoot, and my demo list is:
Dynastar Legend Sultan 85
Fischer Watea 84
Volkl AC50
Kastle MX88
Blizzard Magnum 8.7
Blizzard Titan Cronus
now once i heal, i know what to demo!
post #5 of 17
do yourself a favor and add the Elan 888 to your list for a "Cat 2" ski. 
post #6 of 17
Originally Posted by spach View Post

SierraJim helped me hash the answers to this out via PM, so i thought i would post a summary as it might help others out in the future (and many many thanks to SJ for his time and very helpful input)........
i'm now looking at a cat2 ski of 85-90mm underfoot, and my demo list is:
Dynastar Legend Sultan 85
Fischer Watea 84
Volkl AC50
Kastle MX88
Blizzard Magnum 8.7
Blizzard Titan Cronus
now once i heal, i know what to demo!

Some good suggestions.  SJ knows his stuff, like dawcatching, one of the very good reviewers on this site.
post #7 of 17
Blizzard Magnum 8.7... AMAZING ski.
It's my daily driver up here...
post #8 of 17
Originally Posted by spach View Post
Kastle MX88
Cali Ski in Berkeley has some great deal on some demo MX88 they got from the rep.  It is a $$$ ski, but the deal makes it reason.  

BTW:  The skis look bomber, like Stocklis.   Probably worth the $$$.
post #9 of 17
 i ski Tahoe almost exculsivley and have the Fischer Watea 84, love them!!! they are great skis and will handle just about everything. from the sounds of it, i think your going to love too.  cheers.
post #10 of 17
Well, I'll put my 2 cents in...  I live in the tahoe area and ski Heavenly and Kirkwood exclusively.  I have three skis:

Soft snow :  Moment Night Train 140-123-135

All mountain/Daily driver:  Line Prophet 100

Groomer/early and late season ski/When it hasn't snowed in three weeks ski:  Line Chronic

That being said, The first two skis will be the ones I use most often...
post #11 of 17
I'd also demo the Watea 94 along with the 84.  It's similar to the 84 and holds great on hard snow and has some extra float for softer snow.

post #12 of 17
I skied on PM Gear 188 Bros for several years in Tahoe, and found them to work well for just about everything I skied.  This year I added 196 lhasa pows and those'll probably by my goto most of the time.  I bet neither of these skis are right for you based on your description, but if you ever get the chance to demo these (I think they are available at kirkwood) I highly suggest it - they might open your eyes to what is possible in a wider ski.
post #13 of 17
I think you're thinking too hard about this-especially since you're looking to buy multiple skis to cover multiple conditions (choosing a one-ski quiver would be more daunting). 

There are so few bad skis, especially when using a ski for it's designed purpose.  Case and point, if you bought any of the skis listed in the category 2 that you propose to demo in the medium length offered-you'd love any one of them when used as specifically as you propose.

Pick one powder ski (110mm waist and up-softer flex, probably some sort of rocker or flat camber), one mid-width ski (the ones you listed are, by all accounts, all excellent choices) and one hard snow ski (I like the Contact 4x4, I liked the Progressor 9+ as well..) at the local shop based solely on how they look and, honestly, when used in appropriate conditions, you'll love each one.

You could drive yourself nuts going into this great a detail buying three use-specific skis.
post #14 of 17
 Volkl AC50 do amazingly good in cat 2 and 3. They bust crud and ice like butter. However I didn't like them much in 2 feet of snow in Kirkwood on Feb 27th. They can ride it (85mm waist) but with some difficulty. They are very stiff and unforgiving.You may be a little light for them though. 

Also I really liked 4frnt VCT turbo ,104 mm waist, minimal rocker in tip/tail, minimal camber(almost flat) as a quiver. They do the job pretty much in all conditions.Try to demo them.
post #15 of 17
Most friends that I know and ski with in Tahoe rock the following formula.
  • 1 park ski (175-185cm in length, 85-95mm in width)
  • 1 everyday driver (185-190cm in length, 95-110mm in width)
  • 1 powder tool (189-200cm in length with rocker and 115mm++ in width).

post #16 of 17
I'm a bit late to this thread but perhaps you are not yet on your feet.  At any rate I wanted to encourage you to rethink your category widths along the lines of what AtomBomb pointed out.  What I mean is that on most of your cat 2 days, if you look around in the lift lines (Headwall and KT for sure) you will see lots of Gotamas, Legends and other 105 mm +/- waisted skis (this year Shoguns and some Blizzards showed up too).  That width works very well on a daily basis at Squaw, as it does for me (last year's Goat is my daily).        
post #17 of 17
see lots of:  PM Gear Bro, older Gotama, 4FRNT VCT, Czar, Obsethed,

And, on the bigger side:  Rossi S7, 4FRNT CRJ, JJ, Bibby, Lhasa, Mothership

FWIW, I'm 170 and I've got 07 Gotamas (183)  and 188 CRJs...
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