Author Topic: Am I Off My Rocker  (Read 933 times)

LivingProof

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Am I Off My Rocker
« on: February 20, 2013, 07:28:49 pm »
Answer...of course

For some time now, I've been musing getting a ski for my late March Big Sky adventure. Lately, I've been, well, thinking about just taking my Hart Pulse 78's. I like the ski, it's me in turnshape, no speed limit (for me anyway), great grip should we get morning crust and crud busting seems pretty good (limited observation to date). Taking a 78 goes against all modern thinking for a western ski, a knife to a gunfight some might say. My understanding is Big Sky is an east facing mountain, unless it snows, it could be hard. Was (am) thinking of a Head Rev 85, but that's only 7 mm or 1/3 of an inch wider. Don't want to go much wider due to beating up my knees on my 88's and 94's, plus, technique gets sloppy.

So in this day of Rocker's, am I off track? Really, how much difference would a slightly wider ski make?Philpug tells me he will have some wider demo's available, can always use one and get some on-snow experience.


Svend

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2013, 08:40:30 pm »
Hmmm....interesting, my dear Watson.  What ski for LP?

Mike, some quick thoughts, but no clear answers for you:

1) I'm sure you know all of this, but aside from rocker, a ski's performance in soft snow has a lot to do with width and length (natch!), but also flex pattern, stiffness, tip width, and sidecut.  Specifically on the latter, I am thinking turn radius and where the sidecut starts back from the tip...further back = better float.  You can have a frontside oriented 88mm ski like the Blizzard Mag 87, Rossi Experience 88, etc., which will not float nearly as well as, say, a Blizzard Bushwacker (also 88mm), Dynastar Outland 87 or Nordica Steadfast.  Not being familiar with your Hart's, I have no idea how they would behave in soft snow.  Depending on your choice of a mid-80's ski, there may be little appreciable improvement....or perhaps to the contrary(?).  It all depends on how the Rev 85's size up next to your Hart's, I guess.

2) Could your knee pain be alleviated with a bit of extra stand height on a wider ski? Simple physics dictates that there is far less strain on the knees if the boot is raised off the ski a centimeter or more. I have a great book that has a description of this -- I can scan the page and email to you if you wish.  Not sure if your past experience with 88mm+ skis has been only with flat mounted bindings, but this knee pain is clearly an issue for you and is preventing you from going wide.  Perhaps a flex plate or lifters would be the answer?

3) Have you tried the combo of wider skis with your new boots? I am thinking not, as the Redsters are so new. Perhaps the better fit, better ski control, less slop, less jarring/vibration, different (upright?) stance, different (taller?) cuff, better alignment of the Redsters will help eliminate some of those issues?

4) I am not familiar with Big Sky, but as Montana is directly south of Banff, Alberta, I may venture a guess that they may have similar snow characteristics(?).  In my experience (I have skied in Banff a lot), and seeing what the locals are skiing on and chatting them up about their choice of ski, I can say that the snow in that area is typically rather firm, even when they get some fresh stuff it's like that.  The area is on the dry side of the Rockies.  They don't tend to get the deep light fluffy powder that, say, the interior of BC or Utah would get.  The majority of locals, including those who go into the back country with AT gear, ski on boards that are less than 90mm, and a lot of them are on 78 to 82mm skis, including instructors and patrollers.  These guys take these skis all over the mountain, and when prompted, say they feel no need to go wider.  Personally, skiing in Banff I have only ever been on my Mach 3's (72mm) which were fine for on-piste and week-old off piste, and my Mythics (88mm) which I can take everywhere.  I have never needed a wider ski there than the latter.  Just unlucky to have missed all the mega powder dumps, I guess.  Worth checking out if Big Sky is similar.....you may be fine with your 78's.  And if it really dumps, you can rent something.

It would be interesting to see if you demo anything out there and how they work for you.  I'd be curious to know if a mid-90's ski that was lighter and less burly than your Sultans, combined with your new boots, would still give you knee pain.  If you do try anything, but don't want to go 90+, try the Outland 87 on for size.  It looked like it had a lot of off-piste cred judging by the rocker, wide tip, sidecut profile, etc., but it still held solid on hard snow and icy patches.  Very fun ski.  Much lighter underfoot and way easier to handle than any of the Legend series I have tried, save the Sultan 85 perhaps.  Would probably perform a bit better off-piste than the Rev (not sure on that, though).

Hope this helps.....some food for thought at least.....

« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 06:52:44 am by Svend »

HighAngles

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 05:23:11 pm »
I think your goal should be to find a ski that is "adaptable" - in that it will reward in both firm conditions and soft conditions.  The Dynastar Sultans you had in Tahoe didn't quite give you enough of the "reward" in deeper conditions.  Finding wider skis that can actually perform well across variable conditions and terrain is tough.  It seems as though every other thread on ski forums is from skiers seeking that ultimate one ski quiver that can do it all. 

Of course in your case you've already got a ski (probably "skis") that can handle the firm fairly well.  So I would lean toward a ski that will reward in the softer 3D snow that you won't absolutely hate to ski on firmer conditions.  You're a bigger guy so I would recommend that you don't shy away from going wider.  If you want float out of this ski then you're going to have to go at least over 90mm underfoot (if not over 100mm). 

So here are some skis that I like that fall into this "use case".  Of course YMMV, but there's a reason I've gravitated to these skis (after tons of demos) - they're skis that perform well in 3D snow and yet still can be skied on hard pack without fearing for your life. ;)

Atomic Savage Ti (134-93-120, 177cm, 18.0m)
Nordica Soul Rider (134-97-124, 185cm, 18.5m) - some "interesting" graphics
Blizzard Bonafide (135-98-118, 180cm, 21.0m) - you're big enough and skilled enough to handle this ski properly
Nordica Patron (143-113-132, 185cm, 18.5m) - once again you'll have to get "past" the graphics. :o

BTW - I really dislike the Dynastar Cham series.  Really heavy (and they ski heavy) with a tail design that does not reward a skier that actually likes the tail of the ski to be engaged at the end of a turn.

The sleeper is really the Nordica Soul Rider.  Lately both Finn and dawg have been "waxing ecstatic" about this ski on Epic and I have to completely agree.  It's just a wonderful ride that rewards without punishing in any particular condition.

BTW - My avatar is a demo run on the Patron.  Think a 113mm underfoot ski can achieve some angles on hard pack? ;)
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 05:25:06 pm by HighAngles »

LivingProof

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2013, 08:37:51 am »
@Svend

Thanks for the thinking. My knee pain is simply the aging process. :-[ There are very few of my age that I would trade knees with, I'm very fortunate in that respect. Just skiing for 6 straight days in Tahoe last year took many weeks of rest and rehab to get back to normal. We are in violent agreement that a softer ski should be tried.

Admittedly, I don't understand wide skis, they feel clumsy. Another issue is that I'm not a big mountain skier in that ungroomed conditions are something I just don't deal with on a daily basis. Not sure new boots will have a positive effect, I do hope some of the work I've done recently on being better centered pays off. I was just reviewing my gear review post from last year in Tahoe and the ski I was most excited about was the Kastle LX 82, but, at that waist, it's a ski I understand. Perhaps the good experience with the LX 82 and the reviews of the Rev 85 are pointing me in a narrower (mid 80's) ski direction, plus, I can use them at home in the spring.

Demoing a western ski is a crap shoot. One day only at the conditions available that day, the next day, it's the wrong ski as conditions change. I'd be inclined to find a great deal, ski it for a week and if it does not work, sell it "north of the border".

Your review of Big Sky conditions based on Alberta snow is interesting. I wonder if observing the skis of those actually at a western mountain is in perfect alignment with the ski forums passion for wider skis? Somehow, I doubt it. ::)

Still have 3 weeks to figure this out.

LivingProof

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2013, 09:54:32 am »
I think your goal should be to find a ski that is "adaptable" - in that it will reward in both firm conditions and soft conditions.  The Dynastar Sultans you had in Tahoe didn't quite give you enough of the "reward" in deeper conditions.  Finding wider skis that can actually perform well across variable conditions and terrain is tough.  It seems as though every other thread on ski forums is from skiers seeking that ultimate one ski quiver that can do it all.
I would throw out the one day at Squaw as data point for float with the Sultan 94's, eastern groomer skier that I am, I was way over-matched. But, yup, everyone wants a variable condition ski.
 
Of course in your case you've already got a ski (probably "skis") that can handle the firm fairly well.  So I would lean toward a ski that will reward in the softer 3D snow that you won't absolutely hate to ski on firmer conditions.  You're a bigger guy so I would recommend that you don't shy away from going wider.  If you want float out of this ski then you're going to have to go at least over 90mm underfoot (if not over 100mm). 

So here are some skis that I like that fall into this "use case".  Of course YMMV, but there's a reason I've gravitated to these skis (after tons of demos) - they're skis that perform well in 3D snow and yet still can be skied on hard pack without fearing for your life. ;)

Atomic Savage Ti (134-93-120, 177cm, 18.0m)
Nordica Soul Rider (134-97-124, 185cm, 18.5m) - some "interesting" graphics
Blizzard Bonafide (135-98-118, 180cm, 21.0m) - you're big enough and skilled enough to handle this ski properly
Nordica Patron (143-113-132, 185cm, 18.5m) - once again you'll have to get "past" the graphics. :o

The sleeper is really the Nordica Soul Rider.  Lately both Finn and dawg have been "waxing ecstatic" about this ski on Epic and I have to completely agree.  It's just a wonderful ride that rewards without punishing in any particular condition.

BTW - My avatar is a demo run on the Patron.  Think a 113mm underfoot ski can achieve some angles on hard pack? ;)

I did get to demo the Bonafide for a morning at Northstar in eastern ice conditions. It's competent, but, not sure I want a high 90's waist and doubt I'd get much use at home. Soul Rider would be one I would like to try, Finn loves too many skis. No way a Patron makes sense for me at 113 waist. Can you comment on the stiffness of the Soul Rider? I'll have to check out the Savage. I'm thinking more in the 85 - 90 range, similar to what Gary gets with the Kastle 84. Did you try the Kastle LX 92?

And, I just wish that I could get the angles displayed in your avatar. Some very great skiing going on there. Are you coming to Big Sky, have not seen you sign-in?

Svend

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2013, 10:21:34 pm »
Mike, some thoughts are starting to gel here.  A quick synopsis, if I may:  max 90mm; early rise tip and softer longitudinal flex to absorb jarring on rough snow to save the knees; high torsional stiffness to give good edge grip on hard snow, increasing versatility; perhaps a binding lifter, rail binding or plate to give you more stand height, quicker edge-to-edge, less clumsy feeling; pref. adjustable binding to play w. fore-aft to find the sweet spot; longest length possible (180+) to maximize float in soft snow; sub-20m turn radius for agility; and light weight.  Am I on the right track here?

A couple of models come to mind:

- Nordica Steadfast...90mm, very light, torsionally stiff, apparently excellent in both soft snow and crud, and rips on groomers, early rise tip, reviews are all A+ on this ski

- Atomic Nomad Crimson...88mm, early rise tip...I have skied the 82mm Blackeye Ti, and if the Crimson is anything like it, this may suit nicely; the Blackeye was very light underfoot, but exceptional edge hold on hard snow, a great carver. but a bit unrelenting grip in crud though, which I didn't care for, as you had to be on it at all times (could have been the tune, though); not a crudbuster.

- Dynastar Outland 87....yeah, I keep coming back to this one, but it was fun, light underfoot, damp and calm and quiet at speed, great grip on hard snow, easy to handle in crud and broken snow, very agile, just lacking some power and energy for a guy my size, but a great all-rounder.

- Stockli Stormrider XL...88mm, similar to the Nomad in feel, but more damp, hard to judge this one as the binding setup was way off for me (see my review)

Re. Head and Kastle:  as I recall, the Peak 84 didn't feel especially light underfoot.  Pretty solid ski; not sure how well it would do in soft snow.  From what you've mentioned about the feedback on the PMTS forum about the Rev 85 compared to this, the two are apparently quite similar.  Besides, it's so close in width to your Hart, I really wonder whether there will be much improvement in all-mtn. versatility that you are looking for.  HighAngles makes a very valid point - adaptable and versatile is the name of the game for a mid-fat all mtn. ski.  Not trying to talk you out of a Rev 85, just playing devil's advocate....  ;D

I know there are a few Kastle fans here, but to offer a counterpoint, my wife skied a couple of models last year - BMX98 and MX78, and disliked them both.  She found them ponderous, heavy, tiring, lacking agility, overly damp, and just kind of dead feeling underfoot.  Not pleasant to ski, just a burden, and therefore no fun, in other words.  She much prefers the feeling of her Head Supershape Speed's, iM78's, and Dynastars -- still damp and stable, but much more life in them than the Kastles.  No experience on the FX or LX series, so they may be very different -- I know the FX are softer and much lighter than the MX/BMX series in general, so probably more versatile for all-mtn. conditions.  Perhaps the FX94 with a rail binding would be just the ticket?



« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 06:32:34 am by Svend »

LivingProof

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2013, 09:18:19 am »
The perpetual state of indecisiveness continues. ???

In a conversation with Philpug, he threw in the Head Rev 90, which address some of the issue regarding getting more width than the Head Rev 85. Starthaus carries them, so, another joins the list.

A sleeper is a pair of almost new Blossom Hooks, which are twin tip 90 mm waist. Only one pair in the USA, available via an Epic associate. Soft snow focus, soft flexing, solid edge hold from two people who have skied them. I do like Blossom skis, graphics are kinda funky but I like different graphics. Least expensive solution, so....

The Head 85's make the most sense as they would work best on my home mountain during it's spring crud season.

Or, just take the Hart 77's.

The solution, or lack of solution, will come from these 4 options. 

Svend

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2013, 10:11:32 am »
The perpetual state of indecisiveness continues. ???

Sounds like some demoing might be in order, then(?).  Might make sense to ski your Harts for a day or two, see how they work out there, and in the terrain that you like to ski on, then try a few demo skis on for size if they are not working for you.  I still think you might be fine with a 90 to 95 waist if the binding had some stand height.  Would feel like a sub-90 flat mounted ski.

FWIW, I looked at the map, and Big Sky lies almost directly south of Banff, and is also on the eastern edge of the range.  That is not necessarily an indicator of similar snow, but if it is, then you might be fine with a 77 for most terrain (depending on its stiffness, sidecut and flex pattern).  As mentioned, the only fat skis you see at Banff are under the feet of out-of-towners.  You would almost never see a 100+ ski on a local; most are on 85 or narrower.  The snow is rather firm, and you just don't need the float.  YMMV....

Whatever you do, sounds like a great trip.  Have a blast!

« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 10:16:08 am by Svend »

Perry

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2013, 09:54:07 pm »
The perpetual state of indecisiveness continues. ???

In a conversation with Philpug, he threw in the Head Rev 90, which address some of the issue regarding getting more width than the Head Rev 85. Starthaus carries them, so, another joins the list.



FWIW - the Rev 90 has less medal and is softer.  I would definitely try that if I could travel with a hard snow ski and a soft snow ski.  I love my Rev 85 but I wasn't too worried about the stiffness at 200lbs.  It would be interesting to demo them back to back though.  All the guys who store our skis comment on the Rev 85  "Great ski" They also like the Oblivion which is 90mm under foot, twin tip with tip and tail rocker and camber under foot.  I had a ski like this and they were fun as can be off piste but not so much on piste.

HighAngles

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2013, 12:52:30 am »
I think you'll be fine on the Pulse and/or your Sultan 94.  If we get a deep day just rent something wide.  A twin tip/no rocker ski is pointless these days unless you're a park skier who likes to ski switch.

LivingProof

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2013, 02:25:30 pm »
And, the winner is:

Head Rev 85, 177 cm.   :D

I found an ebay auction for a pair of new, flat Rev 85's, and, just won them. Will put my Marker Griffon demo bindings on them early next week. So, I can get some turns on them prior to leaving for Jackson / Big Sky.

Thanks for all the input, I'm thinking the Rev 85 is the best balanced choice given most of my skiing is the east, and, of all the candidates, they should be kindest to my aging knees. I know that's just too logical.

Will post up reviews

Perry

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2013, 04:25:56 pm »
Let me know how you like them.  A very good 50/50 ski for me.  I took a picture of the tip rocker that I will post - it is very small amount and they don't ski like a rocker on groomed to me.  (I was skiing real soft groomers so it may be more noticeable on hard groomers - wouldn't surprise me.  But then again I didn't buy them for that use and neither did you.)

Svend

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2013, 05:40:15 pm »
Congrats on the new skis! Nice one Mike.  From what I've heard the Rev 85 are very similar to the Peak 84 (maybe it was you who told me that), in which case I know from skiing the latter that it is one sweet ski.  If I didn't already own 3 pairs.....  ::)   Like good chocolate, hard to stop at just one...or two....or three... 

Have fun at Big Sky, and post back how you like the new boards.


Perry

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2013, 08:41:47 pm »
Here is a picture of the tips of the Rev 85

Gary

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2013, 08:22:23 am »
I think Head does a nice job of not over doing the rocker on their Rev series.

For me, makes them more versatile.

G


Perry

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2013, 11:21:15 am »
OK LP, wondering if the Rev 85 is working for you.  ;D

LivingProof

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Re: Am I Off My Rocker
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2013, 02:30:44 pm »
OK LP, wondering if the Rev 85 is working for you.  ;D

Perry,

They arrive this  comingTuesday and I hope to be on them later in the week. But, they are coming to Big Sky, so the extended review may be a few weeks away.

Glad your are working for you.