Or..........pulling a rabbit from my hat.....
So……I’ve been sorta thinking about offloading my S7’s for a while now but just haven’t gotten around to it. I really wasn’t expecting to ski them anymore but today offered a surprise opportunity. A strong front had moved through on the 30th accompanied by high winds. Over the course of the day, and into the night, snow piled up in variations of 12”-24”. I wasn’t really expecting to ski today (31st) but the winds had dropped so I stalled a fairly busy agenda for the day and went for it. About half my gear was at the Start Haus including my Huge Troubles but I had my boots, the S7s, and enough other stuff at home so I headed for Northstar for a couple hours of tree skiing. My decision to go was made fairly late so I didn’t hit the lift until almost 10:00.
As I cut into one of the backside tree runs, I could tell it had been hit pretty heavily already but there were still several lines that were not too cut up. Near the top, the snow was not very deep. There was maybe 12” or so with some wind effect in evidence. While a stiffer ski or one with less rocker (or none) might want to blast the wind chop, the S7 wants to dance through it. Shorter turns were the order of the day in order to keep the tips from deflecting. As I dropped farther down, the snow got deeper, the trees start to tighten up a bit and the number of tracks dropped off. This is where the S7 delivers in spades. I could just aim at a space between the trees and dart through the opening with ridiculous ease. Any form of turn in my arsenal was stupid easy. My normal style of powder skiing is to slice across the fall line in “powder carves” and the S7 does this just fine. In fact the S7 is so nimble that even the tighter spots can be skied in this fashion. However, the S7 also allows and even encourages more skidded types of turns with the feet more opposed to the fall line. I’m not a huge fan of that skiing style but once in a while, I’d just flick my heels sideways to either brake or change direction and the S7 was completely comfortable. Near the bottom of many the backside runs, the trees close down and you have to bushwhack or cut back to the groomers in order to get back to the lift. Out on the groomers where the soft snow was pushed and pulled around into piles, the S7 had solid grip under the foot but at lower edge angles the tips and tails got knocked around.
Back to the top and onto another tree run I had a little more room to turn and a little less wind effect. The S7 was super playful in this area and I could toy around with the bumps, rolls and sidehills with ease. In fact, I got so distracted by my fooling around that I forgot about the many roads that cut across this part of the hill. I was reminded about them when the high side of one of those road cuts darted out in front of me. At the last instant, I saw it coming and tossed the skis as sideways as I could to get a little braking. I had one of those tiiiiiiime slooooows dooooownnnnn moments when you think to yourself.........”ooooooboy…..this might not turn out too well” Then, as I flew off the high side, I was just able to get the skis pointed back downhill before I hit in the middle of the road which was about 18” deep in snow. On another ski, I might have gone over the bars but the S7 just about won’t let you do that. In fact the opposite happened and the ski “wheelied” tossing me off the low side of the road in the back seat and on a path to destruction in the trees below. I got it together and threw a couple of wild, flailing direction changes to slow down. Somehow or other I managed to avoid stacking myself into something big, hard, and immoveable. I skied out the rest of the run a little more slowly and the S7 made the slower turns easy even as the terrain flattened out.
Back on the lift, I had some time for reflection on what had just happened. The first thing was to wag my finger at myownbadself for skiing a little too fast for the terrain and not thinking ahead. The second thing was to reflect on what the S7 had just allowed me to pull off. Basically, I feel that I managed to fire a bullet at myself and then with the help of the S7, I was able to dodge that bullet. I think that there is a fair chance that some other skis would have allowed me to miss the trouble as well but for sure the S7 helped to keep me out of a potentially bad situation. On the next run I went back down the same line and this time with a little forethought (DUH!!!) the run flowed better and the fun factor was equally high. In the spaces where there was room to open it up, the S7 was very stable as long as the snow was consistent. When the snow got rough, cut up, or fully tracked out, the S7 was more comfortable at medium speed and smaller turns.
Skiing back to the car, I thought more about the S7 and what the ski offers to me. First, I think this is the most nimble, quick and versatile of all the double rise skis that I have been on……...as long as the snow is consistent. When the snow is rough or inconsistent, the S7 is still better than any full rocker ski that I’ve been on but is less stable than some of the low double rise skis or single rise skis I’ve skied. I personally think that the 115mm width is enough for anyone, anytime, any depth. Whether you choose a single rise, double rise or full rocker is dependant upon preferences. If you are choosing a ski for deep snow only and especially in tight conditions, it is my opinion to date that there is nothing better than the S7.
Skiing be a fun sport………………….
Edited by SierraJim - 3/31/10 at 5:56pm