Originally Posted by beyond
Fat, lazy, maybe, but mainly out of touch with what most skiers actually encounter. Meaning: The folks here who proselytize long fat skis for "wide open bowls at speed" or "narrow chutes at 55 mph" either 1) live near enough to that bowl that they can hit it just after a storm, 2) are unemployed and can ski whenever and wherever they want, or 3) have very flexible work schedules, live only for pow and big air, and eschew skiing anything else.
For the rest of humanity, who work in towns or cities a ways away (100 miles to 1,000 miles say) , and don't necessarily huck cliffs, it's tough enough just to get there the next weekend. Or on a week vacation planned a year earlier. For them, odds are that bowl will be cut up and settled, with lots of bumps over the bottom 1/3, and some crust and ice in the steeper bits. Or maybe full of rocks and refrozen crust courtesy of the latest El Nino/La Nina. I've skied Tahoe on and off for 45 years and I don't recall the sidebounds constantly being that clogged with new snow, or the cliffs having such long lines of experts waiting to do air. Last time I was at Squaw I must have miscounted all the folks doing epic air. From the comments here, assume it's at least 2/3 of the the total ticket count.
So curious: How many who advocate rockered fatties over your head for "daily drivers" have actually skied in Europe? Do you know anything about the terrain and the typical conditions? Probably not, or you wouldn't attribute Euro ski choices to being behind the curve or "Brits leading the way." (More like British college students aping what they see American college students apparently doing in magazines.) Similarly, glad folks can extol the virtues of soft fat rockers for New England, but where do you live? Do you work in Stowe? Do you work in Boston or Hartford? Do you have a job that requires you to actually show up, regardless of snow conditions up north?
So carry on with these endless threads about how real men/good skiers should all ski on rockered fatties above our heads. They keep the post counts up for the advertisers, they fuel sales for our own retailers, and we all need a good laugh.
PS: Yes, I own some fat rockers above my head. No, I don't see them as the Second Coming.
Growing up in the US, I only got out to the mountains 1 week a year. But even the, by the time I was 15, I was bored with the marked trails and started going into the trees (back in the days of skinny skis).
From the UK, I get out to the Alps about 3 or 4 weeks per year. With the heavy level of grooming at European resorts and the edge hold of modern skis, staying on piste is even more boring than it was in CO in the 80's and 90's. Even the steepest blacks are pretty tame unless your skis have absolutely no edges; I've seen guys making it down on ski blades with no problems. So, I use the marked pistes as transport routes to get me to various parts of the mountain in search of little (or big) patches of interesting off-piste terrain that aren't skied out. Having skied in Verbier, Val d'Isere, St. Anton, and others, I've noticed that quite a lot of other people do this as well, including those who live just as far from the mountains as I do. I'm not talking about every Joe Blow on the mountain, but there are enough people going off piste to track out the snow in easily accessed areas in popular resorts. And, there are a number of companies selling off-piste holidays with instructors and/or guides.
So, given the heavy nature of snow here and the basic on-piste capabilities of some of today's fatter skis, why would such skiers want something that has more grip than they could ever need on piste and noticeable limitations in heavy powder? Why should such skiers be riding chin-height race skis if they really don't care about carving up the piste? What's wrong with riding something 95-110 mm if it can hold a decent enough edge to comfortably get you where you want to go? When I say that "Brits are leading the way" in terms of following new trends, all I mean is they show more willingness to try new things, though I've seen a number of Swiss/French/Austrians on fat boards having a good time.
I'm not saying that Pontoons are good daily skis for the average Joe and Jane piste skier. But, to say that race skis are all that is needed for the not-so-average guys and gals because that's all you personally need is just as silly (and pretentious). Just because it can be done doesn't mean it's fun. I've skied off piste on chin-high carvers and had a good time, but it's nothing compared to the weeks I've spent on 100-110 mm boards.
You could do a cross-country road trip in a Smart car if you wanted, but you'd probably enjoy it a hell of a lot more in a bigger, faster, and more comfortable car. In fact, a Smart car is perfectly adequate for 90% of drivers 90% of the time, despite what they say about carrying kids or loads of stuff. But, how many people do you see driving Smart cars?
Edited by CerebralVortex - 9/9/10 at 4:02am