Discuss: Is "punching through" helped by stiff heavy tips, stiff light tips, softer heavy tips, or softer lighter tips?
Or is it caused by stiffness zones further downstream, in the lower shovel, or where the shovel meets the ski body, and has nothing to do with the tip? Or is it the total ski weight, and forget the front end? Or is it shovel curvature/shape, which will allow the ski to ride up or down in the snow? Or is it technique, and any ski will punch through if your weight is right? Or is it just so numbingly complex that mere skiers could never understand, so we should just buy on the basis of graphics or athletes in magazine ads?
I bring up these alternatives because Sierra Jim used the term in another thread about 4x4's and I realized I didn't really know blip about what works and why. I've heard arguments for each combination above. For instance, the classic stance is that heavy stiff tips will blast through anything. Makes intuitive sense: Ski an icebreaker. But Kastle says that's wrong, that all that inertia will create more vibration, not less, once the tip gets moving. And Stockli says that a softer tip will absorb the energy from an impact, rather than pass it along to the skier. This makes sense to skiers who have owned Stocklis and watched their tips move while the ski underfoot is silky smooth. And in another thread Sierra Jim argued that Dynastar 4x4's, which I think have typical Dynastar milled out capped shovels, are better in crud and chop than Kastle MX78's with their cutout. Finally, I've found Heads to be the best crud ski on the planet, and they increase their stiffness when they twist or bend, although I doubt it affects the tip. This is all cool and gives me a headache when I try to reach a conclusion.
Meanwhile, I've owned several Contacts, skied the 4x4 (finally), and for me they were like every Dynastar I've ever skied (a bunch) except the original orange LP. Meaning that the tips let you know when they were taking a hit. They deviated a bit. Not visual flap, and not in a way that changed the performance of the ski, and not related to ski length, since I've skied a number of different lengths in these skis. But I've never regarded Dynastars as great crud skis because of that shovel. By contrast, Kastles (for me) react to crud differently, not worse. Nothing gets back to you except a slight change in snow sensation. Ultimately, neither excel in crud. (And note Kastles are made in the Head factory. Head lite?)
Disclaimer: This also must have to do with skier weight. Any of these skis are going to be stiffer, resistance to bending per square cm, for me than a 200 lb guy. Could be that Dynastars in longer lengths are just plain stiffer, front to back, thus better for heavier guys. I already ski a 178 MX88, which is one down from the top, and incidentally the length for my weight recommended by Kastle. This is kinda weird when you realize I'm 30 lbs lighter than an average size male in the U.S.
You will be graded on penmanship and punctuation.