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!