Originally Posted by SierraJim
It may be hard to some to believe but just because you are going off the groomers sometimes does not mean the conditions off trail require a wide ski. When it has snowed 12" overnight......no doubt a wider ski is a hep. OTH when it hasn't snowed for a 3-4 days or even a week......a wider ski does nothing substantial for you. Given that you are considering an AC-50, some skis that are similar in width but more versatile would include the Dynastar Sultan 85, Rossi S86, Atomic Crimson Ti, and Fischer Motive 84. If you want to get something a little more soft snow oriented, the somewhat wider Sollie Sentinel and Dynastar Sultan 94 come to mind as great choices. You could go wider than this of course but the range of 85-95 (ish) mm waist widths is a very good place to be thinking.
As usual, SJ is right on with his line of thinking. As a frequent visitor to Squaw and Tahoe in general, I can remember my first 3 road trips there. 10 days of skiing, and not more than 2 inches of fresh snow in that whole time. Mid 80's skis were the perfect answer (actually, I had my Head iM78's part of that time, they were just as good as my other "no new snow" ski, the Elan 888). Both were about perfect for most of those conditions. Would I have had as much fun skiing laps on West Face and Headwall on a big, soft ski made for deeper snow? It surely wouldn't have been as effective (I tried it last year at the Alpine Meadows demo: no new snow and trying to pilot a 115mm reverse cambered big-mountain ski through the steep bumps over on Keyhole. It was more scary than fun). The key on those fairly firm days is having a ski that had a large enough sweet spot to handle off-piste conditions, which the AC50 really does not. It is more of a wide-ish, stiff groomer rocket. A good skier can pilot a stiff, aggressive ski off-piste, but there are better choices (SJ's list is great, I would add the Kastle MX88, FX84, Elan Apex, Fischer Watea 84 to it as well). Skiing bumps and steeps on a really stiff, aggressive ski isn't as much fun as a ski with a larger sweet spot. A nice wider 50/50 ski (like the Sultan 94 mentioned by SJ) would also be awesome, and should still be great in that up to 12" dump. If has snowed 3 feet, that is the time to pull out the big guns (or rent). Others that may be solid in that range: Fischer Watea 98, Kastle MX98 or FX94, Elan Spire, Blizzard Atlas, Salomon Shogun, Nordica Enforcer. That Fischer Motive may be just your ski for all-around performance. An under the radar brand, but one that puts out a very well-designed product.
BTW, on my subsequent 3 trips to Tahoe, there was at least 10 inches of new snow each trip, but obviously they get plenty of long, dry periods punctuated by big storms. How do I know this? The skiers that vacation here for the 1st time and are Californians come to Bachelor totally unprepared. They are ready to hit the mountain in sunglasses and soft shells, and we get daily blizzard, whiteout, driving snow conditions for the few months of the season. They ask "where is the sun?" and "why is the mountain so cold and windy" and I tell them to come back in April: we get plenty of sunny warmth then! In Tahoe, you might actually see the sun in December: I haven't seen the sun for more than 30 minutes in around 2 weeks here.