Fat Skis - The "Playful Charger"

Byron

Addicted
Mar 23, 2014
156
179
113
Back in July I put up a wanted post looking for a fat (110-120mm) "playful charger" for Australian spring slush and soft crud busting. As can happen, life occurred and I never responded to the thread despite there being a few questions raised, so I thought I would put up a post here of lessons learned for posterity.

I picked up a pair of Faction Royale in 184cm from Facebook shortly after posting the thread. It's a 122mm Rocker-Flat-Rocker freeride twintip from 2011 with a big focus on soft snow and tricks. No metal in it, so it is a bit soft and the edges are blunter than a bowling ball as the french guy bought it from was heavily into park.

After two full days on them here are my thoughts on the playful charger concept, using the lessons I've learned from these skis:

Edit: TL;DR - A playful charger (to me) is a big, wide, stiff ski with camber underfoot (aka, a charger) with the length and stiffness balanced by tip and tail rocker to provide a bit more flexibility in it's use.
  • Rocker. Tail rocker one of the key design features because it gives you the ability to release the edge when you're mid turn and slide the tails. Tip rocker is needed, but it doesn't seem to matter as long as it's there's enough to ride over lumps in the snow

  • Camber profile. These were the flat skis I've owned, though I've demoed a bunch of full rocker and flat skis. Personally I'm not a massive fan of flat rocker - they feel dead to me. These skis with the very deep rocker lines make slarving essentially mandatory (on harder snow the effective edge is about 2 feet long). The flat underfoot feels like it compromises edge hold with no real benefit.

  • Width. I'm starting to think width matters less and less once you have enough width to float the skis. These feel the same to lay on edge as my Wailer 112's did, despite the 10mm increase in width.

  • Length/Shape/sidecut/taper. This seems to be a major differentiator between skis. I don't like tip taper - it's why I sold the Wailers. To me, it makes the ski feel shorter and the reduced sidecut radius makes it a hooky-er ride, while the extra length out front doesn't really do anything. Admittedly, I've never ridden a really big early taper ski (190cm+) so maybe that would change things.

  • Flex. These are soft. It was always going to be the case, with their age and soft snow focus. It's not a major detriment - I want to ride over the lumps, not punch through them. With the tip rocker and the width it works, and it makes such a big ski easy and fun to handle.

  • What makes a "playful charger"? To me, I want the following:
    • Tip and tail rocker - as much as is needed to allow it to ride over lumps and release the tail at will. This give the ski it's playful side and balances the stiffness
    • Camber underfoot - Australian conditions require hard snow performance and camber underfoot helps. It also gives the ski some "pop", helping the playful side
    • A bit of stiffness - probably more than expected. I want the stiffness in the tips to let me punch through soft lumps if I'm driving the tips and I want stiffness in the tails and underfoot to spring out of turns and help hold me when landing airs. This is the chargey side and is balanced by the rocker profile
    • Longer length, large sidecut radius and a "standard" tip shape. These are generally big skis, but the length is managed by the rocker profile reducing the effective edge length when laid over on harder snow. The longer ski also gives you more leverage to bend the ski so it can be managed.
    • Width - Enough to float in most conditions - I thing mid to high teens (115-120mm) underfoot.

Those are my thoughts. Is anyone else looking/riding skis like this. Any recommendations in skis to get that fit the bill?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Annabuzzy

Sandy

Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
Moderator
Ski Pass
Jan 1, 1998
71,083
31,354
1,515
Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
My take on skis is different.

"Rocker. Tail rocker one of the key design features because it gives you the ability to release the edge when you're mid turn and slide the tails. Tip rocker is needed, but it doesn't seem to matter as long as it's there's enough to ride over lumps in the snow"​

I don't like much tail rocker, I like a long straight tail. I can release the tails by using retraction. A big tail rocker reduces the edge length making the ski feel too short.

"Camber profile. These were the flat skis I've owned, though I've demoed a bunch of full rocker and flat skis. Personally I'm not a massive fan of flat rocker - they feel dead to me. These skis with the very deep rocker lines make slarving essentially mandatory (on harder snow the effective edge is about 2 feet long). The flat underfoot feels like it compromises edge hold with no real benefit."​

I agree. I don't like flat camber because it compromises edge hold.

"Length/Shape/sidecut/taper. This seems to be a major differentiator between skis. I don't like tip taper - it's why I sold the Wailers. To me, it makes the ski feel shorter and the reduced sidecut radius makes it a hooky-er ride, while the extra length out front doesn't really do anything. Admittedly, I've never ridden a really big early taper ski (190cm+) so maybe that would change things."​

I like tip taper. If the taper doesn't go as far back as the contact point on the front rocker, then you don't get much reduction on the edge contact length, so the ski doesn't feel shorter. It also reduces the "hookiness" of the ski in deep snow.

"Width. I'm starting to think width matters less and less once you have enough width to float the skis. These feel the same to lay on edge as my Wailer 112's did, despite the 10mm increase in width."​

I've had skis with 125mm under foot. I found that it was just too wide, limits the versatility and are crap on packed snow. My widest skis are 108mm, and they're are perfectly good in deep snow.

"Flex. These are soft. It was always going to be the case, with their age and soft snow focus. It's not a major detriment - I want to ride over the lumps, not punch through them. With the tip rocker and the width it works, and it makes such a big ski easy and fun to handle."​

I hate soft skis. I think the opposite regarding riding over lumps. If the rocker at the front is pronounced, they rise over lumps rather than punching through them. And if the ski is stiff, you ride over lumps without feeling them... if the skis are soft, you feel every single lump.


- A stiff tail with very little rocker is playful because you can use the tail length & stiffness for "rebound".
- Camber helps with this as well
- Longer ski because rocker shortens the edge length
- Not too wide (105-110mm)
 

Fozzie Bear

Where's my flapping ears gone.....
Ski Pass
Jun 2, 2014
8,156
14,889
563
In the woods
Don't think you need to go that wide. Of all the skis that I've had over the years, the best gloop/crud charger would be the Black Crow Daemon. Not that wide at 99mm, fully rockered but not boat shaped, straightish and quite stiff, yet turns on a dime.
 

BoofHead

One of Us
Ski Pass
Ski Pass
Aug 8, 2007
3,802
11,266
363
Brisbane
I would be happy in Spring slush and soft crud on my Elan Boomerangs (190 long, approx. 120 underfoot) although They would not be something I would pack for an Oz trip. Would also be happy on my Ninthward THA 187’s which I purchased for an NZ clubbie trip. 108 under foot but cambered twinnies with no rocker.
however, for Oz I think my older Mantras would be my pick for slush and crud. Definitely not playful; exact opposite of playful in fact.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Chaeron

BoofHead

One of Us
Ski Pass
Ski Pass
Aug 8, 2007
3,802
11,266
363
Brisbane
@BoofHead interesting that you mention Mantras as many ski testers reckoned the Black Crow Daemon skied like the Mantra.
When things open up again I’ll be looking to replace the old Mantras with something else for OS (excluding Japan). I’ll check these out. Cheers.
 

fenrir

One of Us
Ski Pass
Jul 23, 2010
3,216
5,266
363
Back in July I put up a wanted post looking for a fat (110-120mm) "playful charger" for Australian spring slush and soft crud busting. As can happen, life occurred and I never responded to the thread despite there being a few questions raised, so I thought I would put up a post here of lessons learned for posterity.

I picked up a pair of Faction Royale in 184cm from Facebook shortly after posting the thread. It's a 122mm Rocker-Flat-Rocker freeride twintip from 2011 with a big focus on soft snow and tricks. No metal in it, so it is a bit soft and the edges are blunter than a bowling ball as the french guy bought it from was heavily into park.

After two full days on them here are my thoughts on the playful charger concept, using the lessons I've learned from these skis:

Edit: TL;DR - A playful charger (to me) is a big, wide, stiff ski with camber underfoot (aka, a charger) with the length and stiffness balanced by tip and tail rocker to provide a bit more flexibility in it's use.
  • Rocker. Tail rocker one of the key design features because it gives you the ability to release the edge when you're mid turn and slide the tails. Tip rocker is needed, but it doesn't seem to matter as long as it's there's enough to ride over lumps in the snow

  • Camber profile. These were the flat skis I've owned, though I've demoed a bunch of full rocker and flat skis. Personally I'm not a massive fan of flat rocker - they feel dead to me. These skis with the very deep rocker lines make slarving essentially mandatory (on harder snow the effective edge is about 2 feet long). The flat underfoot feels like it compromises edge hold with no real benefit.

  • Width. I'm starting to think width matters less and less once you have enough width to float the skis. These feel the same to lay on edge as my Wailer 112's did, despite the 10mm increase in width.

  • Length/Shape/sidecut/taper. This seems to be a major differentiator between skis. I don't like tip taper - it's why I sold the Wailers. To me, it makes the ski feel shorter and the reduced sidecut radius makes it a hooky-er ride, while the extra length out front doesn't really do anything. Admittedly, I've never ridden a really big early taper ski (190cm+) so maybe that would change things.

  • Flex. These are soft. It was always going to be the case, with their age and soft snow focus. It's not a major detriment - I want to ride over the lumps, not punch through them. With the tip rocker and the width it works, and it makes such a big ski easy and fun to handle.

  • What makes a "playful charger"? To me, I want the following:
    • Tip and tail rocker - as much as is needed to allow it to ride over lumps and release the tail at will. This give the ski it's playful side and balances the stiffness
    • Camber underfoot - Australian conditions require hard snow performance and camber underfoot helps. It also gives the ski some "pop", helping the playful side
    • A bit of stiffness - probably more than expected. I want the stiffness in the tips to let me punch through soft lumps if I'm driving the tips and I want stiffness in the tails and underfoot to spring out of turns and help hold me when landing airs. This is the chargey side and is balanced by the rocker profile
    • Longer length, large sidecut radius and a "standard" tip shape. These are generally big skis, but the length is managed by the rocker profile reducing the effective edge length when laid over on harder snow. The longer ski also gives you more leverage to bend the ski so it can be managed.
    • Width - Enough to float in most conditions - I thing mid to high teens (115-120mm) underfoot.

Those are my thoughts. Is anyone else looking/riding skis like this. Any recommendations in skis to get that fit the bill?
If I'm hearing you correctly you want something similar to those skis but with camber?

Black crows anima fits that description.

I took out my totally ludicrous blue house mavens this year (similar age and idea to yours by the sound of it but the waist is 139). They were surprisingly fun. The playful aspect came more from the mount point which I put forward of their suggested "all mountain" but a few cm behind their "freestyle" mount. They felt like large, heavy sir Francis bacons. I wish I had taken them out more as they would have been great on days with chundery snow.
 
  • Like
Reactions: crackson
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass

DPS Driver

A Local
Jul 18, 2014
5,764
6,931
563
Back in July I put up a wanted post looking for a fat (110-120mm) "playful charger" for Australian spring slush and soft crud busting. As can happen, life occurred and I never responded to the thread despite there being a few questions raised, so I thought I would put up a post here of lessons learned for posterity.

I picked up a pair of Faction Royale in 184cm from Facebook shortly after posting the thread. It's a 122mm Rocker-Flat-Rocker freeride twintip from 2011 with a big focus on soft snow and tricks. No metal in it, so it is a bit soft and the edges are blunter than a bowling ball as the french guy bought it from was heavily into park.

After two full days on them here are my thoughts on the playful charger concept, using the lessons I've learned from these skis:

Edit: TL;DR - A playful charger (to me) is a big, wide, stiff ski with camber underfoot (aka, a charger) with the length and stiffness balanced by tip and tail rocker to provide a bit more flexibility in it's use.
  • Rocker. Tail rocker one of the key design features because it gives you the ability to release the edge when you're mid turn and slide the tails. Tip rocker is needed, but it doesn't seem to matter as long as it's there's enough to ride over lumps in the snow

  • Camber profile. These were the flat skis I've owned, though I've demoed a bunch of full rocker and flat skis. Personally I'm not a massive fan of flat rocker - they feel dead to me. These skis with the very deep rocker lines make slarving essentially mandatory (on harder snow the effective edge is about 2 feet long). The flat underfoot feels like it compromises edge hold with no real benefit.

  • Width. I'm starting to think width matters less and less once you have enough width to float the skis. These feel the same to lay on edge as my Wailer 112's did, despite the 10mm increase in width.

  • Length/Shape/sidecut/taper. This seems to be a major differentiator between skis. I don't like tip taper - it's why I sold the Wailers. To me, it makes the ski feel shorter and the reduced sidecut radius makes it a hooky-er ride, while the extra length out front doesn't really do anything. Admittedly, I've never ridden a really big early taper ski (190cm+) so maybe that would change things.

  • Flex. These are soft. It was always going to be the case, with their age and soft snow focus. It's not a major detriment - I want to ride over the lumps, not punch through them. With the tip rocker and the width it works, and it makes such a big ski easy and fun to handle.

  • What makes a "playful charger"? To me, I want the following:
    • Tip and tail rocker - as much as is needed to allow it to ride over lumps and release the tail at will. This give the ski it's playful side and balances the stiffness
    • Camber underfoot - Australian conditions require hard snow performance and camber underfoot helps. It also gives the ski some "pop", helping the playful side
    • A bit of stiffness - probably more than expected. I want the stiffness in the tips to let me punch through soft lumps if I'm driving the tips and I want stiffness in the tails and underfoot to spring out of turns and help hold me when landing airs. This is the chargey side and is balanced by the rocker profile
    • Longer length, large sidecut radius and a "standard" tip shape. These are generally big skis, but the length is managed by the rocker profile reducing the effective edge length when laid over on harder snow. The longer ski also gives you more leverage to bend the ski so it can be managed.
    • Width - Enough to float in most conditions - I thing mid to high teens (115-120mm) underfoot.

Those are my thoughts. Is anyone else looking/riding skis like this. Any recommendations in skis to get that fit the bill?
You were just on the wrong DPS ski and the wrong length by the sound of things. What you describe is the W112RPC, the "C" stands for Charger. Its 115 underfoot and stiffer than the standard W112. Less and lower tip & tail rocker. My favourite all time DPS ski. Also favoured by most of the team riders and staff at DPS.

I made the mistake of selling my last pair and had to wait 3 yrs to replace them with the current RPC. https://www.dpsskis.com/products/powderworks-lotus-115-rpc

In the same bracket but narrower waist is the 2020 Wailer 110C2. https://blisterreview.com/gear-reviews/2019-2020-dps-alchemist-wailer-a110-c2
 

DPS Driver

A Local
Jul 18, 2014
5,764
6,931
563
Seriously is Charger becoming an industry term? Gotta be something better than that pretentious marketing babble. We are approaching max cringe.
@sly_karma to be fair, it was named back in 2011 and we needed to convey it's relationship to it less serious brother the Wailer 112RP. We never really marketed it as "Charger" it was always referred to as the RPC. Charger was the term we used to distinguish it from the standard RP. ie RP is Resort/Powder and RPC, well you can guess the rest.

It was the most appropriate description because it does lean more toward fast charging skiing. Perhaps we could have call it RPS, "Serious" or the RPFM "#*@k Me" or RPHO "Hold On".
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Fozzie Bear

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
22,770
17,359
1,063
Penticton, BC
@sly_karma to be fair, it was named back in 2011 and we needed to convey it's relationship to it less serious brother the Wailer 112RP. We never really marketed it as "Charger" it was always referred to as the RPC. Charger was the term we used to distinguish it from the standard RP. ie RP is Resort/Powder and RPC, well you can guess the rest.

It was the most appropriate description because it does lean more toward fast charging skiing. Perhaps we could have call it RPS, "Serious" or the RPFM "#*@k Me" or RPHO "Hold On".
Ok fair enough on that model I spose. But feck me, for most people who talk it up big like this, the only charging they do is on the credit card when they buy said skis.
 

Conners

One of Us
Ski Pass
Jun 27, 2013
1,009
737
363
South Coast SA
Those are my thoughts. Is anyone else looking/riding skis like this. Any recommendations in skis to get that fit the bill?
I have Whitedot Preacher’s 112mm cambered, stiff, good fun
Like to be driven rather than have a passenger
 
  • Like
Reactions: skifree

Telemark Phat

Pass the butter
Ski Pass
Jun 21, 2008
22,501
23,428
1,063
45
Jindabyne
www.telemarkphat.org
Ok fair enough on that model I spose. But feck me, for most people who talk it up big like this, the only charging they do is on the credit card when they buy said skis.
Its been in use for almost 20 years. "Charger" was synonymous with "Big Mountain Comp Ski" back in the days of the Head Monster 105, Salomon Rocket Lab and Blizzard Titan. As the big mountain Comps have become almost as flippy spinny as they are about big lines the older style of ski have become "Directional Chargers" and the more flippy spinny skis have become "Playfull Chargers".

The production models are pretty similar to a Masters race ski as far as the skills they demand from a skier go.
 
Last edited:

Chowder11

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
Oct 21, 2003
13,595
9,992
813
35
Elwood
Carveman would probably know better.

The true "chargers" don't sell.
People like the idea of it but only the 1% can actually ski them, so they don't buy them.
Expensive wall candy that gets sold on sale.

I remember being up at Hotham for the demos a few years ago and asked the Volkl guy if they had the new Katana's I could demo and he laughed at me.
 

CarveMan

I Never Slice
Ski Pass
May 12, 2000
86,689
74,710
1,515
Les Hautes Montagnes
aussieskier.com
Carveman would probably know better.

The true "chargers" don't sell.
People like the idea of it but only the 1% can actually ski them, so they don't buy them.
Expensive wall candy that gets sold on sale.

I remember being up at Hotham for the demos a few years ago and asked the Volkl guy if they had the new Katana's I could demo and he laughed at me.
Yep over ~100mm it's all about rocker and pivot.

I'd still take a Corvus to Cham or an Anima to Alaska.
 

fenrir

One of Us
Ski Pass
Jul 23, 2010
3,216
5,266
363
Carveman would probably know better.

The true "chargers" don't sell.
People like the idea of it but only the 1% can actually ski them, so they don't buy them.
Expensive wall candy that gets sold on sale.

I remember being up at Hotham for the demos a few years ago and asked the Volkl guy if they had the new Katana's I could demo and he laughed at me.
As someone carrying some extra kilos I appreciate the stiffness of a "charger" ski. I may not be in the 1% by skill but if you have mass they are easier to handle.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chowder11

sly_karma

Green Bastard
Ski Pass
Dec 12, 2005
22,770
17,359
1,063
Penticton, BC
The true "chargers" don't sell.
People like the idea of it but only the 1% can actually ski them, so they don't buy them.
Expensive wall candy that gets sold on sale.

Its been in use for almost 20 years. "Charger" was synonymous with "Big Mountain Comp Ski" back in the days of the Head Monster 105, Salomon Rocket Lab and Blizzard Titan. As the big mountain Comps have become almost as flippy spinny as they are about big lines the older style of ski have become "Directional Chargers" and the more flippy spinny skis have become "Playfull Chargers".

The production models are pretty similar to a Masters race ski as far as the skills they demand from a skier go.

Accurate perspective on the situation summarized in these two posts.
 
  • Like
Reactions: crackson
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass

Log in

or Log in using
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass