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Best Third Ski

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've been skiing the Tahoe area for 35 years. In the early 80's I was a lift operator at Squaw, my daily ride was a pair of Kastle 223's. My first paycheck after that went to a pair of Atomic SG 215's that I still take out once a year. I've always enjoyed big turns at high speeds, but after getting a couple of good powder days last season and sinking a bunch due to a lack of flotation I'm interested in a pair of wider skis. Currently I have a pair of atomic gs skis, and a pair of K2 recons. I bought the recons after a day skiing in trees at Northstar on the atomics. Most discussions seem to deal with one ski quivers, what if you aren't limited to one pair? I'm 6' 220#, so I've always bought the longest ski available. I was skiing Gentian Gully with a buddy at Alpine last week and we both were wondering how fat and long skis would work in there. Should I go down a size or just stay out of those types of runs on bigger boards? I'd like to do some demos but need a short list to get started. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

I had a pair of boots fitted at Starthaus last year. They control I get from a perfect fit is amazing.
post #2 of 12
This is one of those threads that could go circular (as in tail chasing) but FWIW here are my thoughts. First, you are not really dealing with a three ski quiver here, you are really dealing with two. The SG doesn't count b/c it is not something that you can have a reasonable use for other than very very rarely.

So.....my take on ski categories for Tahoe is as follows.

#1 Narrow width, mostly groomers bumps, packed off trail conditions, shallow powder and crud. (widths 75-82mm)

#2 Medium width, not as good on groomers or bumps but better as the snow gets a little deeper. Widths range from say 82-95mm or so.

#3 Wide (everyday). These start to favor softer or deeper snow significantly more than other conditions but still can work pretty well when it hasn't snowed in a while. These can be in the 95-105mm range (give or take). Some skis in this range will be totally conventional in sidecut, camber and shape. Others may be flat cambered or have small amounts of tip rocker. There are a couple of skis in this range that have tip and tail rocker or continuous rocker but IMO they are less than satisfactory outside of deeper snow.

#4 Wide (specialty) These are skis that are heavily biased toward deeper snow conditions. They may just be conventional but wide (110+ mm) or they may have more dramatic variations of the "rocker" theme. For the deepest conditions, these are the best tools available. For most skiers though, these are skis that are best suited for special days. Some folks may choose skis in this range for common use but for anything other than storm days or (maybe) the day after, there are better choices.

So....given that you already have the Recon, (category #1) I'd suggest #3 or #4 as the next choice. Which sounds best to you?

SJ 
post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

This is one of those threads that could go circular (as in tail chasing) but FWIW here are my thoughts. First, you are not really dealing with a three ski quiver here, you are really dealing with two. The SG doesn't count b/c it is not something that you can have a reasonable use for other than very very rarely.

So.....my take on ski categories for Tahoe is as follows.

#1 Narrow width, mostly groomers bumps, packed off trail conditions, shallow powder and crud. (widths 75-82mm)

#2 Medium width, not as good on groomers or bumps but better as the snow gets a little deeper. Widths range from say 82-95mm or so.

#3 Wide (everyday). These start to favor softer or deeper snow significantly more than other conditions but still can work pretty well when it hasn't snowed in a while. These can be in the 95-105mm range (give or take). Some skis in this range will be totally conventional in sidecut, camber and shape. Others may be flat cambered or have small amounts of tip rocker. There are a couple of skis in this range that have tip and tail rocker or continuous rocker but IMO they are less than satisfactory outside of deeper snow.

#4 Wide (specialty) These are skis that are heavily biased toward deeper snow conditions. They may just be conventional but wide (110+ mm) or they may have more dramatic variations of the "rocker" theme. For the deepest conditions, these are the best tools available. For most skiers though, these are skis that are best suited for special days. Some folks may choose skis in this range for common use but for anything other than storm days or (maybe) the day after, there are better choices.

So....given that you already have the Recon, (category #1) I'd suggest #3 or #4 as the next choice. Which sounds best to you?

SJ 

Well done.  You must work in a high end Ski shop in the mountains?

You should just save this and paste it into 30% of the threads that are started here.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
I agree this topic can end in a tail chase, but for us older folks there are too many choices. Thanks for your synopsis, it helps.

#3 sounds good to me. I can't always time my schedule to get fresh powder, so I end up in conditions where it hasn't snowed for a while but will still go out off piste to fool around. I'm wary of the tip, tail or continuous rocker since those designs sound sketchy on harder snow. What would be good skis to demo?
Thanks
klondike
post #5 of 12
There are a bunch of good choices. Here are a few suggestions varying from 100-105mm. All comments apply to 180-184 lengths.

Ficher Watea 101............Medium-soft flex, fairly close in temperment to a Recon.
Salomon Shogun.............Medium flex, has minimal tip rocker but quite good all around.
Dynastar Legend Pro.......Medium-firm flex, good all rounder, best crud ski in this width range.
Blizzard Argos................Medium firm flex, flat camber also stellar in crud. For a good skier.

SJ
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the recommendations. Why aren't any Volkl's on your list? Where is the best place to demo these skis?
Thanks
klondike
post #7 of 12
*deleted!*
Edited by DtEW - 1/6/10 at 9:02pm
post #8 of 12
Well....one place would be the world famous Start Haus in Truckee. We have all those skis listed to demo.

As far as Volkl, they don't have a ski that fits the parameters. The Mantra is a possibility as it is conventional camber and 96mm. It is stiffer than the others I listed and despite having owned two of them, I'm not a fan b/c it is not particularly good in soft conditions. IAC if you want a Volkl, that would be the best choice. The Gotama is 106mm and would be a fit for width, however it is a continuous Rocker which you said you weren't especially interested in.

SJ
post #9 of 12
*removed*
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Cool. See you on Monday.
klondike
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
So I stopped by the world famous starthaus and picked a pair of Shoguns, I think they were 180's. The guy I checked them out with noted that the snow wasn't really in the best of shape for what they were intended for, but I had made a plan to try them and decided to stick with it, so I headed over to Squaw. The snow on Monday was pretty crappy, hard and icy, with some corn appearing. The light was flat and I was still sore from falling in a chute at Alpine last week so I started out easy. I had gotten lots of negative feedback from friends about rockered skis on hardpack, and I was pleasantly surprised. I had no problems keeping an edge and they ran like what I considered to be a typical ski. There was a get together in the afternoon to trace the original men's 1960 downhill course with Tamarra McKinney and Johnny Mosely, so I took a mountain run and got my gs skis.

What a difference. They did not want to turn. I was in shock the first turn I made. I thought being on hard icy snow the GS would be a better fit, but I just turned into a spaz. I followed the tour down the course, and just tried not to embarrass myself. I did another mr, and got my apache recons. Life was great again. I felt like I could do whatever I wanted. The snow was getting pretty soft, so I made one more switch back the the shoguns. They were fine in the corn, but it wasn't the best day to get the most out of them.

I thought about what I wanted out of a pair skis on the way back. I had thought about starting masters racing, but I realized I didn't like racing because of all the waiting around you have to do, so I probably don't need race skis again. I realized I just like to make big turns at high speeds on all kinds of snow, don't like bumps much, and would like to have more fun in powder. So I talked it over with the guy I had checked out the shoguns with when I dropped them off. He suggested a two ski quiver, a salomon czar for powder, and keep the recon or switch to something livelier.

So my three ski quiver is down to two. One of the biggest lessons learned so far is don't buy your skis anywhere except at a store that has people that know what they are talking about. There are too many options out there, and having a good advisor is important. Secondly a better ski won't necessarily make you a better skier, you need to be in shape and pay your dues by spending time on the mountain to get the most out of your day.
post #12 of 12
It's good to hear that you liked the Shogun....everybody does. The advice on stepping up a notch in width to the Czar is also a good call. The Czar is wide for sure and not quite as grippy as the Shogun but it is even better suited for deeper snow.

SJ
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