Newsflash: Your skis are too fat.* Vote Now!

[poll id=”5″]

*Probably.

These days everyone seems to want their partner to be skinny and their skis to be† fat. Every year the trend gets fatter and fatter.

I’m doing a season in Rossland BC,† looking around it seems that my 95mm waisted ski are a bit, well….skinny. Now this place is known as a bit of a powder mecca. I’ve certainly been looking for it at every opportunity, either at the hill, the local backcountry or longer tours further afield.

I’ve been here about 50 days now and have had 2 days that I would consider “Epic”. Only once have I actually thirsted for† some fatter skis. Looking back over 20 years of skiing,† including many seasons in Europe and Canada, I’d say the following split would be about right:

Type of Day Probability Ideal Type of Ski
Epic Powder at ski hill. 5% Chance About 110 under foot.
Good Powder at ski hill. 10% Chance About 90-100mm.
Limited powder at hill but can hike to it 50% Chance About 80-95mm
No powder anywhere. Hard conditions. 35% Chance About 80-90mm

So the reality is, for 95% of the time a ski that performs well in mixed conditions of about 85-95mm is the best. If you can lug about a 2nd pair then sure, get a fat set too,† but it will be the mid width ones you go to most days.

The majority of days are mixed and you want a good ski that can handle that. For me that means a relatively stiff and responsive ski that can work in bumps, tracked powder, steeps and handle icy pistes. They also need to be light enough to tour on. Any ski that can tackle that lot will still be good in powder.

The problem with fatter skis is that they just don’t ski mixed conditions particularly well and they are a bit heavy† for touring. If your only aim is to ski powder faster than everyone else then fair enough.

Having a set of fat powder skis as your “do it all ski”† is a bit like having a rally car as your daily driver, or a 6inch travel bike for your daily commute. Hmmn,† maybe need to rethink as I want a Subaru and I use a 6” travel bike. Damm. Where are those K2 Obsethed skis.

Would love to hear your comments.

One comment

  1. My latest set-up seems to do the trick, a Rossi S86 (86cm waist) with Fritschi Freeride bindings, Scarpa Maestrale boots.

    As ever though it’s a compromise. The skis could be firmer for high speed piste runs, fatter for off-piste and lighter for touring, but to get 90% of the performance 90% of the time is good enough for me.

    These are way better in powder than the 207 K2 Extremes I had back in 1990. If I could ski powder on those, I shouldn’t need super fat skis to do so now.

    In my opinion, most of the performance comes from the skier, not the ski

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