Advice needed What happened to skiing below the the powder?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Spence, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    I'm very new to the site so a million apologies if this topic is already covered elsewhere. I've looked and couldn't find anything. So some advice/information please. I spent 10 years living in Kitzbuhel Austria from the 87 to 97 when I moved to Australia. I used to ski powder as often as there was powder to ski. This is in the days of "long" skis so I would ski a slalom narrow waist ski (around 203 long, 76 underfoot I think). The skis would be under the snow and skiing would be by "feel", weighting and un-weighting. Powder ribbons were a must and bindings cranked to the max DIN settings (sucks digging for a ski in deep snow, rather take the chance of blowing out an ACL. Young and dumb back then!). After moving to Australia the shaped/carve ski revolution happened. I resisted for a couple of seasons but after doing a side country crud run first on my long skis (jump turns above the crud and massive thigh burn and lots of sweating and swearing) then swapping with a ski patrol friends short shaped skis (smashing through the piles of rubbish whilst yahooing and ginning like my head was going to split open) I was converted. My much loved Saloman Force 9's (the first ski marketed as "all mountain"?) went in the bin at the ski shop that evening. I missed a few seasons skiing (kids, mortgage etc). About 7 (maybe longer) years ago I was staying at Smiggins and we got some great midweek snow fall. I got about a day and a half of shin to knee deep snow. I skied on a pair of K2 Apache Recon's 167's. Skis still below the snow and had a ball (it took a couple of runs to find my balance on such short ski's but the technique kicked in and I had a blast). I then missed a few seasons and had to go cold turkey on skiing and all things snow related (it would make my chest hurt if I saw snow or skiing on TV knowing I couldn't be there). In the meantime there was another ski technology revolution: Wide skis.

    Which brings me to my point (thanks for hanging in there). I skied this last August for 4 days at Perisher and I am well and truly back on the drug (skiing). So I am planning to get down to Perisher at least twice this season and to get a couple of weeks (3 if I'm lucky) in Japan next February. I need to totally re-equip myself as all my gear is old/thrown away or no longer fit for purpose (except for my 30 year old North Face Gortex Mountain Jacket that still looks new. Quality product!). So what's the go? Do people ski below the powder anymore? I have watched lots of videos of people skiing wide skis in powder. Mostly floating above the snow in a surfing/snowboarding kind of style. It looks a blast and I'm hoping I will be able to experience it first hand in Japan. I appreciate that the ski technology has changed a lot and I don't want to sound like a dinosaur but for Australian conditions (often hard groomers and crud) surely a narrower ski would be more suitable? I am thinking of the new Enforcer 88 in 177 length (I'm 175 tall and 90kg. 54 y/o). I have never skied rockered/early rise skis so I have no point of reference but from what I've read they sound like a lot of fun. In my mind I feel as though I could ski any powder that my turn up in Aus (if were lucky) with an 88 underfoot and nice wide tip and tales and a bit of flex. However, I don't feel so confident that I could set an edge on a bullet proof Zali's or Olympic on anything much wider than an 88 (and thats about 20mm wider than anything that I have ever skied).I appreciate that I am not factoring in the rocker or early rise, etc, so this is where I need your help. Please can I get the low-down from any one? Especially keen to here from you if you have lived through the first and second ski revolutions (evolutions). Sorry this is so long winded but I thought some background was need for context. (I will be buying wider/wide skis for the Japan trip and will be back to pick pour brains about those a bit closer to the time of purchase).
    Thanks for your time and advice.
    Peace, Zen and Powder.
     
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  2. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room
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    Sorry I have no clues, but an off-topic question for you.

    What was it like to first move from Austrian to Oz resorts? Did you feel like committing suicide? LOL
     
  3. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Yes!:(. The whole experience of moving here was a shock to the system. We had a lot going on. My wife was pregnant when we moved here and we had no/little family support. Also had to find jobs (Not ski jobs either, but real, grown-up type jobs!) and somewhere to live (didn't turn out to bad. 7 min walk to the beach. And both of my boys are total wax heads. I certainly didn't see that coming having grown up in a council flat in the East-End of London). It is now that my kids are much more independent that I have been able to reignite my love of skiing (just need to lose weight and get fit, oh! and remember that I'm not in twenties any more).
     
  4. fenrir

    fenrir Hard Yards

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    The short answer is 'it depends'. There have been a number of advancements in materials, shapes, rocker profiles and even mounting position which can change the dynamics of how you ski. There are plenty of traditional skis still out there but it's worth checking some of the new styles out to see if it works for you.
    A couple of examples of wider skis which can still hold on ice yet provide you with a stable platform when things get slushed up in the afternoon are the Volkl M5 Mantra (96mm) and the Blizzard Bonafide (98mm). Both of these are rockered tip and tail yet retain a lot of stiffness due to their metal layers and when I tried them on ice they held an edge without needing to work too hard. My best suggestion would be to check out the demo days on offer in Australia and try a few different shapes out at the same time.
     
  5. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    I'm a similar vintage and my last straight powder ski was my 205 Head world cups so I totally get your point of view and your question.

    Short answer no.

    Long answer, modern ski design provides much better overall feel, maneuverability, crud busting ability & ride. A wider platform of performance if you like.

    I should point out that I am the DPS ski rep, so my feedback may be biased. Get on a pair of DPS Alchemist and you will hold an edge on Zali's, float through pow and bust through crud like it was fresh pow on a ski 30% lighter than a traditional glass ski. Sounds like a sales pitch. Well yeah but let me qualify.

    Most wide skis have too much torsional flex so someone like yourself who could turn a straight ski and has that foundation will generally not like that and see them as a one trick pony, that's where the construction comes into it. There a few skis out there that can maintain their edge hold even with the width underfoot, Head Core is one, DPS obviously because of it's prepreg carbon fibre and then some of the metal skis which suffer the weight problems associated with extra ski volume and metal.

    Skis have gone wider and are now coming back a touch, not to the same degree as your Kitz days but a tad. 100mm underfoot is a standard all mountain ski, fine for Australia if you're on the right ski. The nineties underfoot work well in Australia and provide good off piste capabilities, under that and you are starting to limit yourself from a construction and intended use perspective to piste only. Not that you or anybody can't take and 88 underfoot ski off piste, more so from a manufacturers perspective, in that they are designing skis in the eigthies as piste oriented skis. ie the Enforcer is the narrowest in the line at 88 for all mountain.

    Now for shape, the rocker helps with off piste, yes for float in pow but also for smoothing out the crud the shape allows the ski to ride up and over so you get a smoother ride with less shin bang. This takes away from the effective edge so move your ski length up generally 10cm. The tail rocker allows for smearing your turns making the ski more playful and forgiving. Also helps with landing jumps and removes that locked in feel. be that good or bad, provided the ski has enough guts and torsional strength the tail can be compensated and you can still carve a good turn with a wider ski with rockered tip and tail.

    I could go deeper into all of this but I've prattled on enough. Oh! Japan, go 110 plus. Don't even think about it.

    The Enforcer 88 with it's stiffer tail sounds like it would suit you perfectly or even don't be afraid to jump up to the 93 which will provide a little better off piste cred. You still won't be over-gunned for Australia with that. or have a look at the DPS Cassiar 87 or 94. I love the 94, the 87's no slouch either. Ok, so the last bit was a pitch but consider that payment for the free current ski info. Cheers Spence and have fun out there.
     
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  6. piolet

    piolet Found anything yet?
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    You can ski nice pow on almost anything, the width/shape helps with the inevitable crap
     
  7. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Thank you for your reply's guys. Special thanks to DPS Driver for such a comprehensive break-down. That has really helped me with my "fear" of wide ski's. So my thinking is this:
    Volkl M5 Mantra (177) for Australia.(I'm 175cm and about 90kg although trying to drop 5kg. 54 y/o).
    DPS Lotus A124 for Japan. (Best length please DPS Driver?)
    Please advise me if you think I'm wrong with my choices and what alternatives I should look at.
    I am very conscious of my age and weight. To be honest I really don't know what my abilities are any more.
    When I skied last season (in sloppy hire boots) I did struggle sometimes with the lack of response from the boots and a total lack of fitness (last minute trip so no prep). But there was nothing that I came across that made me think "I can't ski that".
    So whilst I don't want to over estimate my ability I also don't want to sell myself short.
    Coming from a long, straight ski background I have found all of the short, shaped skis that I have tried, to be fun and easy to ski. As mentioned above, I have never tried rockered/early rise skis.
    I am also just a little shy about the Mantra's in case it is "to much ski". Or more the Volkl name. I once bought a pair of Volkl P9's. This was the bench mark comp slalom ski of it's time. Those things were insane. They used to (maybe still do) review slalom ski's by their "S" turns. The P9's were "J" turn skis! A pair of Olympic diving springboards with metal edges and bindings would have been easier to stay on top of. They had a massive amount of the stiffest camber imaginable and if you dropped you full weight onto the edge they really would kick you out sideways.You would have to transition in the air to make the next turn (who would have thought that in a competition slalom ski?). Great fun at the beginning of the day for a few runs but after that you needed to go home and have a sleep. Not a ski for all day play (not for me at least). So I sold them after a month or so (just another of my many expensive, ski gear related "mistakes").
    So can any of you reassure me, if you have experience with the Mantra M5, that they are not as brutal as the old P9's?
    I've read lots of reviews of them and whilst they all say how good they are they do differ in the "how forgiving they are" area.
    Are they any good as an "all day" first to last lift ski (kidding myself a bit there. I'll be in the bar by three). Especially at the end of the day when the legs get a bit tired?
    The ski's I own are the K2 Apache Recon 167 (I know! It is that long since I bought a new pair of skis). It is a very easy ski and can handle a bit of everything, but it is a very "boring" ski with little feed back or energy. I'm going to keep hold of them as rock hoppers for when conditions are bit ordinary in Perisher.
    Once again guys thank you for all of your wise words. And I would like to say as a new poster and reader of the forum, thanks for all the great information in other threads on the site. My work productivity has defiantly taken a downturn since I discovered this forum.
    Cheers.
     
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  8. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty
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    Silly question? Have you sorted new boots yet? That would be the first priority, you can then demo various skis.

    I don't have much to offer on the ski front but having skied powder through the 80's, 90's and beyond on skinning skis I can relate to where you are coming from. I have been on the old Mantras for the last 8 years and been happy with them but expect to retire them now. I did try a pair of the M5 Mantras heliskiing last year in 50cm of powder and they were great but I reckon plenty of skis would have been good in those conditions. Intend to do a bit more research this season.
     
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  9. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Thanks for the reply Heinz. I haven't sorted my boots yet but that is definitely my first order of business. I am very keen on the Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 120 or 130. I have spoken to my local ski shop and they are organising with the Atomic rep to get some for me to try. I have been doing plenty of research and I feel these fit the bill closest to how I like to ski and for comfort. I especially like that they have a forward lean adjustment as the boots that I have tried seem to all be quite upright. I have a concern that a 130 flex my be too stiff for all day skiing. But I have also read that the flex in an AT boot is more like a 110/120 in an alpine boot. I'm not sure if this is correct or not. Another of my expensive ski equipment mistakes was getting a pair of custom foam filled Technica race boots back in about 1992. They were like cement bricks. Racers were their boots for about 4 minutes before unbuckling them. Somehow I thought I could ski in them all day. Every time I flexed into the front of them it was like slamming my shins into a wall. I am keen on an AT/hybrid boot as I would like to get into some side/back country skiing in the future.
    As I am only just getting back into skiing I am fully open to being corrected about any of my assumption about skis, boots, bindings and especially the new (I really have been away a long time) skiing techniques.And just about anything else to do with skiing. In my background I feel as though I was a pretty decent skier (for an auslander, as my Austrian friends would say). But as someone that never had a lesson I know that my technique was pretty average in some areas. I concentrated on certain things and got good at them and avoided other stuff that I wasn't that bothered about. Hence I feel that I was a strong off-piste skier (old school style) and always liked a slalom style ski and short punchy turns down the fall line on piste. In longer turns I'm very sloppy at finishing the turn off and I tend to initiate the next turn before I have properly finished the previous one. This results in catching the tails and is something I need to always remind my self about. I very well might do a correction lesson or two this season. It would be good to learn how to ski shaped ski properly. Again I struggle with the wider stance. After skiing with my knees locked together for so many years it always feels un-natural to me to ski with a wider stance. It doesn't help that I don't really know any skiers at my level to ski with so I end up with going to the snow with a few snowboarding mates and following them around. They are the same guys that I will be going to Japan with next Feb.
    So I do genuinely appreciate any advise and your time.
    Cheers.
     
  10. Tonester

    Tonester One of Us
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    Ahhh....you've touched on a much debated topic in my neck of the woods. I have always been a ski below and feel the powder person. I don't see the point of floating on top. I've even been heard to say on a few occassion that if you can ski, then you don't really need a special pow ski..it's all in the skill set that you bring to the party.
    BUT....I did eat my words last January. I was in stupidly deep snow, kinda light and having a blast. However as soon as the pitch levelled out a tiny bit I just slowed right down. I was in it so deep that without a decent pitch to keep me going the snow just brought me to a stop. Right then, was the first time that I thought a super wide, rockered ski (I was skiing on cambered 98 mm skis) would be a good idea.
    So, it kinda depends on how you like to ski, the conditions (to a certain extent) and the skill set you bring with you. Just my 2 cents!
     
  11. Tonester

    Tonester One of Us
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    My first "fat pow" ski was a whopping 78 mm. I thought they sung in the japow. Ahhhh...fun times they were
    Now my go to Australian in bounds ski is 78 and pow day/crud/outbounds is 98. Would I go wider? Unless it's stupid deep, no I don't think so.
     
  12. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    Also have a look at this thread:
    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/one-ski-quiver-for-overseas.74299/
     
  13. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    Good you're getting your boots sorted. Why did you go away from the Enforcer, I think it would suit you but so too will the Mantra. Nowhere near as critical as the P9. The P9 was a beast the Mantra in comparison is a puppy.

    Re the Lotus, I admire your enthusiasm but I would pull it back a notch. The L124 is awesome in Japan but it's not as forgiving as the Wailer 112, so if you're getting your ski legs back, I would consider the W112 or if you want something with a little more startch the Wailer 110 which is the skinnier version of my all time favourite ski the Wailer 112 RPC which was actually 115 underfoot. It's stiffer with a bigger turn radius. Both perfect for Japan and easier to handle in the trees. The L124 is more a wide open, full throttle pow slaying machine. In fact the Lotus 138 is more nimble than the L124.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  14. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    My first fat pow skis were 76 underfoot and I thought they were awesome in the pow, then I went extra wide and racheted up to 77 underfoot. I know, ridiculous right. Then, I got on the Wailers and could open up the speed, put 'em sideways at speed in pow, drive 'em fast through trees and stop on a dime in deep pow. It was an epiphany.

    The 76ers used to squirrel when I tried to open them up in deep pow which was really unnerving. So you had to ski them controlled with short pop pow turns, whereas the wider skis give you far more bandwidth in deep pow.
     
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  15. piolet

    piolet Found anything yet?
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    Well, there is pow, deep pow and then deeeeeep pow :D
    Then add in all the other variables, pitch, skier desire, open-ness, speed and so on
     
  16. fenrir

    fenrir Hard Yards

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    I spent a day demoing the M5 in 177 and found it to be extremely forgiving and easy to get along with. I didn't really find them to be too much at any point.
    However I wouldn't be in any great rush to buy skis before you try them out. If you can hold out until the demo days (I think in July this year?) you can try a broad range of skis and find one that works for you.
     
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  17. Jacko4650

    Jacko4650 One of Us
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    @Spence - you might try to hook up with other forumites to gauge where you fit in terms of ability as you ease back into it. Once you find your groove, you could hook up with other like minded and similarly skilled? Just remember, there are no friends on powder days - everywhere bolts for their favourite stashes! You will often find quite a few forum regulars lining up for first lifts on the V8 at Perisher 8.30am. There's also a mob that prefer Smiggins for the very mellow 8.30am start before heading over to Interceptor and beyond for 'more serious' skiing; though doing a few laps off Burke T-Bar can warm you up very nicely. Personally, I like Guthega where it's far more relaxed; quite peaceful and very friendly until they open up the runs from blue Cow and the crowds head over. The Blue Calf T-bar also opens at 8.30am though you have to walk up hill from the car park to get there or wait until 9am for the car park chairlift. This year I will practice my uphill skills with my new Solomon Shift Bindings and skins on the way up to the Blue Calf.
     
  18. fenrir

    fenrir Hard Yards

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  19. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture
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    Never have I felt like I was "on top" of powder, and I've been skiing western Canada for 30 seasons now. The skis disappear, who knows - or cares - if they're not as far under as they used to be.

    These days my daily driver is a 105 with a bit of early rise and a quick 16 m sidecut. So agile in the trees it is ridiculous. The wide skis with rocker just make the junk snow so easy you dont feel the difference between it and groomed. As @piolet said, in perfect pow you can ski anything, it's the crud snow where you need better tools. I'd get 90-100 for Aussie conditions, make sure it is wood core with good torsional stiffness so you have some stability on the louder powder.
     
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  20. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    Ha ha, "Loud Powder" I like that.
     
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  21. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Thanks for the reply. Can I ask you your height and weight. I’m pretty sure this is the Aus ski for me the more I hear and read about it. I just want to check the right length for me. I was thinking the 177.
     
  22. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Can I ask you what you are skiing for Canada and Aus?
     
  23. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    I would like to catch up with some forumites for some runs. I’m not sure when I will be heading down yet. Nothing booked. Depends on work.
    I will definitely put it out there when I know more. Cheers.
     
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  24. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    I’m thanks for the advice te the Wailers. I’ll definitely be looking into them some more.
     
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  25. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Thanks for your reply DPS Driver. I’m thinking more the M5 over the E93 mostly because of it’s crud busting ability. The snowboarders that I will go to the snow with like to jump into any type of trash stash’s that they see. Can get a bit ordinary on skis ( my Recons a a bit flappy in the crud). I’m definitely looking at W112. Cheers
     
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  26. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture
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    Head Rev 105 in the 177cm length. Haven't skied in Oz since I moved to Canada full time in 1993. Head skis aren't everyone's cup of tea, they make race skis first and foremost and all the rest of the line has that at its core, figuratively and literally. The Rev series have that racy structure so they rail when you want but its point and shoot in the trees. Not some big soft powder sticks at all.
     
  27. Astro66

    Astro66 Still looking for a park in Thredbo
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    My 2 cents.

    As Ive got older, a wider ski means I can ski Powder or Crud longer. Whilst I can still ski it with narrower skis. The effort required with wider skis is significantly less.

    I'm now on Armada TST 100mm under foot for both Australia and Canada. And whilst a touch narrow on really deep powder days. They work brilliantly on groomers and crud. And really well on 95% of powder Ive experienced.

    I'm skiing longer and more days consecutively, directly because of these skis.

    I would never go back to narrower skis, unless a way to reverse the aging process was discovered first.
     
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  28. fenrir

    fenrir Hard Yards

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    I'm 180cm/82kg/43yo. I also tried (and eventually bought) the 184's - the extra few cm of titanial frame made them noticeably stiffer and harder to maneuver but they worked better for my sloppy technique when railing turns on ice at high speed. I would have no hesitation in recommending either length - the 177 is easier to control and less fatiguing to use, even if you have to work a little harder on ice.

    I was riding with some snowboarders the day I demo'd the 177's and had no problem following the same lines.
     
  29. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    I started skiing in 1985 so I've been through the skinny skis, carving skis and now fatties.

    For me the fats (105mm Head Revs) make skiing deep powder and heavy chopped crud so much easier, and allow me to hit lower angle terrain and still keep the speed up in deep snow. In saying that they're slower edge to edge and don't have the rebound of narrower skis on the groomers.

    So that means I take my 105mm skis to japan and North America where I expect greater snowfalls, but when I head over to NZ in July I'll be back on my 78mm Head Monsters. The Monsters are more fun on the groomers and still easily handle smaller snowfalls (under 20cm).
     
  30. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Thanks very much for this Astro66. This is the best justification I've read for the switch. Appreciate your reply. Cheers.
     
  31. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Thanks for the additional information. I think it will be the 177's for me then.
     
  32. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Another great explanation for the advantages of making the switch. Having been away from skiing for a long time and somehow only having snowboarders for mates (does that something about them or about me?) this is the sort of conversation I was hoping to find here. Thanks for the great reply.
     
  33. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Hi again DPS D (I hope you don't mind me being a bit familiar there) The differences between the W A112 and the W A110 very noticeable? I also see that Astro 66 and born2ski are both very enthusiastic about skis in the 105/106 range (sub 110).They feel that they have "enough" ski at those widths. This brings into play the DPS 106 as my powder ski for Japan. From a purely aesthetic point of view I like the look of the more traditional shape of this ski (although I am warming to the slightly quirky look of the W112). Some more advice to help me narrow down my choice please. Also a stockist in the Sydney Eastern Suburbs of Sydney that you would recommend (if that's within forum rules please). Thanks mate.
     
  34. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    Hi Spence,
    Re stockists, go and see Alpsport in West Ryde or Snowbound in Chatswood.

    I've done 15 seasons in Japan and have access to whatever DPS ski I want. I ski the W112 or Lotus 138 in Japan. The Wailer 106 isn't as versatile and is a more demanding ski to ski than the W112. The W112 is more maneuverable in pow and you will have a far better time in the mixed conditions on the W112.

    Gneral rule for me is 110 or up for Japan. Sure you can ski something narrower but you'll access more stashes and have a better time on something wider.
     
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  35. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Thanks again for the great advice. I have to work at Rosehill every few weeks so I'm sure that I can drop in to Alpsport in West Ryde on one of my trips out there. Cheers.
     
  36. Joysticks

    Joysticks First Runs

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    Spence,

    For what it's worth - I bought a pair of Wailer 112's (Alchemist build) and used them in Japan between Dec 2018-Mar 2019 (season just past), made postings about it on the equipment thread along with a photo of end of season slush in Niseko. I originally rented a pair in the Foundation build last season and had a lot of fun with them on and off piste and after a bit of research decided that the A112 was going to be a better fit for me. I got fed up trying to get the A112s on rental as they never seemed available when I wanted and figured by the time I rent for several weeks, cost is covered in any case.

    So I've had around a total of 4-5 weeks on them, with the Phantom 2.0 base treatment and can honestly say I really enjoyed them in all conditions, from chalk to pow. They were surprisingly good at holding an edge on the chalk even when I compared them against a different pair of skis I have which are 95mm underfoot (of carbon construction but not damp as it was a very early type of carbon ski, plus a flat tail). The other pair I use is 100mm underfoot - an all mountain ski, but I felt a lot happier with the extra width in deeper pow. As others have said, you can ski anything in perfect pow. I agree with that to a point. You simply can't expect a 78mm (which I consider skinny for Japan) and expect to enjoy the pow and be as manoeuvrable in it.

    If you have a chance to try different stuff, by all means as sometimes it's the best way to know vs the educated guess. I have zero regrets about buying the A112, except to say I wish I discovered them earlier! I'm not related to any ski company, I'm not a dentist either. I've seen a lot of DPS bashing on the New Schooler's site saying they're not the most crud busting blah blah blah, they're not meant for everyone or every type of skiing. I think some people need to grow up. Whichever pair you go for, have a great ski season .
     
    DPS Driver likes this.
  37. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Thanks Joysticks. The more I hear and read about these skis the more convinced I am that they would be a great ski for me for Japan. The only caveat I have is the cost. As I will be re-buying all my gear, new boots priority #1(Atomic Hawx XTD 120/130. If they prove to be comfortable), #2 Ski for Aus (Volkl Mantra M5+binding), #3 powder ski for Japan (Wailer A112+binding). I would like to fit my powder ski with a Saloman/Atomic Shift binding as I would hope to be getting into some near distance back country stuff in Japan (the guys are I am going with are all snowboarders and they go to Hakuba ever year and know the backcountry pretty well. They snowshoe in the back country). As I have never used a pin binding the Shift sounds like the best of both worlds.
    The cost of the Shift binding plus the Wailer starts to be a very expensive set-up. On the plus side I won't be buying Japan skis until much closer to the time (Feb next year) so I am sure I will find a way to justify the expense by then. So if my finances don't allow for a purchase of the Wailer A112 I'm thinking of the Blizzard Rustler 11 for Japan powder. This would allow me to go with the Shift binding at a more affordable overall price point. In a perfect world I would get the chance to demo these and other skis. But it is unlikely I would be able to get down to the snow for specific demo days.
    This does lead me to another question, that you my be in a good position to answer. As someone who travels with ski equipment do you take extra travel insurance to cover the value of your equipment? I plan to take a double ski bag to Japan and with the two sets of skis plus boots, helmet, goggles and skiwear in the bag (5 or 6 $000's) I already feel paranoid about it going missing or being damaged (I sound like the kid in the Kafka novel Amerika). Also on-mountain theft. I once had a new pair of skis stolen in France at lunch time on my first day! That stays with you. The Wailers do tend to stand out in their bright banana yellow. Do you secure your skis on the mountain during pit stops? All advise is greatly appreciated.
    Cheers.
     
  38. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    Getting skis stolen in Japan is uncommon, but it can happen.

    If you've never skied anything wider than about 70mm under foot, I'm not sure you will handle a 112mm ski easily on piste. The edge is not under the boot, and that effect of the sideways flattening of the ski will probably be a bit disturbing.
    If you were able to handle the old straight skis in powder, then I'd be looking at something narrower, like 95-100mm, because it's not powder all the time.
     
  39. Team Weasel

    Team Weasel One of Us

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    Get the Rustlers. They are great - a tad lighter than your other option, and much more versatile. I'll be getting a pair later this year.

    The more Australians there are, the more I keep an eye on my skis.
     
  40. Joysticks

    Joysticks First Runs

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    Regarding cost of the DPS's - true not cheap, but you can get a discount during "Dreamtime" in August each year (if I'm not mistaken) when they knock off US$200 and provide worldwide shipping for free, however, not sure about import taxes in your part of the world. I actually have the Shift Binding. My A112's are red not yellow as I got them during "Dreamtime" when they had limited edition colours/graphics last year. Even though the are 112 underfoot the Atomic/Salomon, the 110 wide brakes are fine with the ski. I tried the latest Mantra M5 in Whistler in Feb earlier this year and had high hopes. They were definitely a big improvement on the previous version which I tried in Japan a couple of season back, but I still didn't find them as much fun as the Wailers. Type of snow ski'd was similar, it ranged from chalk, crust dust with pow to deep pow in some nice glade tree runs in Whistler depending on the part of the mountain we were on at the time.

    With ski insurance - sorry never bought any! As others have mentioned - it's very rare to have skis go missing in Japan but it can happen and I've never secured them but I do keep a look out for shifty characters! I was a little paranoid at first especially when you read stuff about x, y, z missing something in Niseko from some cafe etc, but it is rare, more the exception than the norm. Two sets of boots is really going to make your day heavy! I have two sets too (with the view of abandoning one pair later down the road). Both have a hike mode, but one also has a pin binding (+Grip Walk vs the WTR) so the Shift's being Multi-norm are a great help as they can accommodate the different sole types (as can many others at a cheaper price!).

    I switched to cross-over/hybrid types but it's taken a while to bed them in even with the customised bed and Intuition liner. I just have weird feet! It's taken the best part of the season for my feet to finally feel as comfortable as my old pair. Hope that is of some help. Caveat - I'm not saying you should or shouldn't buy whatever, but find something that you think will suit you best for wherever you are going and the type of skiing you expect to do
     
  41. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Sorry, I wasn't very clear in my previous reply. I'm planing on just one pair of boots I meant I'd choose between the 120 flex and the 130. I also assumed that you were Aus based. Hence me talking about a ski for Aus and A different ski for Japan. Thanks for the advise.
     
  42. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    120 for the boots

    80-85mm skis for Australia
    95-100mm skis for Japan
     
  43. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Hi Sandy, how much of a learning curve do you think there is in using the 110+ wide skis? I plan to ski on the Volkl M5 in Aus which I believe is 98mm underfoot. I hope that will act as a transition ski before going to the wider ski for Japan. I am not locked into any of my choices and I am open too, and appreciate all suggestions. Astro66 and born2ski earlier in this thread have both expressed an preference for sub 110mm width ski for powder and I am still more than happy to consider that. I guess when I try the 98mm I'll have a much better idea of how much width I can handle (wow! that last sentence just sounds plain wrong ha ha!).
    Cheers.
     
  44. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    You are a mind reader Sandy. I was just typing that question and you had already answered it. Thanks.
     
  45. Spence

    Spence Early Days

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    Thanks TW. Have you skied the Rustlers much? If so was that here in Aus or OS?
     
  46. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    I live in Japan, and my widest are 125mm. I never use them, They are too wide, and not versatile enough.

    I have too many pairs of skis, and my all rounder is a 98mm which I use for everything. (anything up to 30cm deep powder, but they're ok in deeper). If it's deeper, I have a pair that are 108mm.... that's all I need.
    I don't like a big rocker in the tail, because I find double rocker too short on piste. (edge contact is too short, as I like the length in a stiff tail)
     
  47. craighelo

    craighelo One of Us

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    My understanding from their emails although I didn't purchase in the end, is you order online and then collect from your local dealer.
     
  48. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    You can do both. The aim of DPS online is to drive the business through our retail partners. If they have the stock we will do that.