Many thanks to those who’ve contributed reviews of the "Goat" – both positive and negative. The reviews, scattered in various threads, were invaluable in making my choice of powder boards. Time to make a post, and stop lurking. As with all reviews, take mine with a grain of salt: reviews are subjective, created by human tests rather than machines. People tend to love what they have. Different skiers have different requirements. Further, I did not rent other fatties before purchasing the Goats, so I can’t compare skis. I apologize in advance for an overly long review, but hey, bail at any time.
I’ve owned many different skis over the last fifteen years, including Head Cybers, Volkls (P30, Carver, AC30), and K2s (Mod-X, Big Kahunas). I have no brand loyalty. In the old days, I read the ski magazines to find the right gear. Now I surf the web.
I’m a vigorous half-day skier, low level 9, 75" tall, 200 pounds, ca. 70 yrs old, and still loving the slippery slopes. "Energy conservation" is absolutely key, and I’m green with envy of those who do not have to consider that factor! Optimizing energy use is the numero uno factor, period. I live at altitude (7300') and in my age group have an ultra-high level of CV fitness. But physiological facts are just that: at roughly minus-two heart beats per year after the age of 35 off the optimal sustainable heart rate, my motor is not what it used to be. Enuf said.
I am also more cautious than ten years ago (in lower DIN setting, slower speed, softer boots, and so on: old guys heal slowly ). Chutes are out, as is hiking to find fresh. Otherwise I’m good to go.
So why new fatties (although Volkl classifies the Gotama as an "All Mountain Ski") and bye-bye Big Kahunas? Easy to answer. While I live in NM, the 2010-2011 snow conditions are miserable, so I’ve been skiing at Wolf Creek, the powder capital of Colorado (annual average of 450" plus). The Wolf is howling, with 8' of new over the week before Xmas day. Thus the obvious answer: Fatties = less effort in powder = more fun time.
So what’s my verdict on the Goats? FOR ME (please) they meet every requirement. They "float like a butterfly" in powder and cut-up snow, and almost flatten steep black "powder" bump runs. The effort required is minimal. Essentially they drive themselves.
I differ from some of the reviewers in one regard: for ordinary "no fresh" conditions I prefer my AC-30s. That’s not a knock on the goats by any means. Metaphorically the difference is like that between say a two-seater with a six speed and a BMW coupe with automatic. The Goats rock, don’t get me wrong. But they’re a different tool for different conditions, and not as fast edge to edge in normal conditions.
I must note that there are some less positive reviews of the Goat scattered around the EpicSki site. For example, "Dawgcatching’s" review of the Goat is negative (basically good for an intermediate skier, only, he observes). He believes the Katana is the way to go. He also points out that he is an aggressive, younger skier who loves to let the skis rip. I’m jealous, of course, and I haven’t skied the Katanas. But the Goats have more "go" than I have. My point again is to emphasize that different skiers have different needs.
One more incidental: I fell once on each of the first two runs with the Goats. How did I adjust? I’m clueless (probably just finding the feel for powder), but I haven’t fallen since. The ride is incredibly stable and solid, and the outside edge is real easy to get on a hard surface (as with rocker skis typically).
I love the "mystery" of how a rocker type design with minimal sidecut (137-106-122) magically turns. The Volkl website explains the mystery of its ELP (extended low profile) design, of course. For example: "The flex of each rockered model from Völkl is matched to the intended use. For instance, Gotama, Kuro, Kiku each feature three flex zones: the front of the ski is stiff – since the rocker profile is pre-flexed, stiffness in front provides stability. The flex in the mid-body of the ski is medium, providing a transition to the slightly softer tail, for ease of turning on the groomed, and maneuverability in powder."
I lucked into the last pair of 2010-2011 Goats at the local ski store (Albuquerque), which were the length I wanted at 186mm. I added Marker Schizo bindings, but have not used the adjustment feature yet. I will, soon.
Final word: My guess is that unless you’re a younger, level 9, full of energy, totally "_alls to the wall" skier, nothing too steep or narrow or icy to ski, let ’em rip all day, then the Goat deserves consideration. Likely some of the other makers have equally good, possibly better skis in this category. But the EpicSki reviews on the Goat convinced me to put my money on the Volkls.
I've now skied the Goats about a dozen times in conditions ranging from full blown, two feet plus powder days to left-over fresh in the trees and along the sides of runs. I've also used the Schizo adjustment feature on deep powder days, with a rearward adjustment near the maxium (30mm in one direction). For me the ski-binding combination performs as anticipated: while deep snow requires more effort, the ease of turning and flotation extend my day considerably. The skis basically turn on a dime, and give me a level of confidence in the trees that I did not have previously. The Schizo binding adjustment feature is a strong plus on deep powder days.
A plus that I did not anticipate is that the Goats will run fast (likely due to the length of 186mm and the weight of the skis). For me, again, I'm more comfortable at speed on the Gotamas than on my AC30s.
The negative, as many have noted, is that the edges do chip easily. I know nothing about the engineering of ski design and manufacture, but conjecturally the desired performance features and the ELP design contribute to this issue. On the other hand, I view the "virgin" appearance of skis like I view the virgin appearance of a new pickup truck bed: both are to use.
Edited by OlderThanDirt - 3/15/11 at 6:18am