If you own powder skis, why don't you own groomer skis?

Posted by David Rosi on

So, many skiers today own more than one pair of skis.  But, even more of us own just one pair, and it might be a ski that was the new, hot model over the past few years.  If that is the situation for you, that ski might be a Soul 7, Nordica Enforcer 100, Blizzard Bonafide, Volkl 100Eight, Bent Chetler, or ???  What all of these skis have in common is that they are 100 mm wide or wider.  They ski great in the morning after a big storm the night before.  Or, they ski great when the storm is raging.  And, they would ski great if you went on a heli ski trip.  You probably think they are just fine on the groomers, because ... well everything feels fine on the groomers, right?

Wrong.  What I see happening is that many skiers who own only this pair of skis aren't taking advantage of everything that our sport has to offer.  Either, they don't ski on the sunny groomer days, or they go home early on the days when the powder morning turns into the bumpy, crappy, trashy afternoon.  Generally speaking, wide skis with lots of rocker are not good in other conditions; they are great in deep snow, but either down right bad as the day wears on, or boring on the groomers, or both.

Really, there is no way to deny geometry.  Wider skis are designed to be ridden flatter, and to float when the snow is deep, more like a water ski in water than a snow ski on snow.  But, when it is bumpy, as it always is in the afternoon of a powder morning, skis need to carve.  And to carve, skis need to get up on edge.  Maybe you are an expert skier, who has no problem with bending at the waist enough, and angulating enough to get a wide ski up onto a high edge angle.  If that is the case, this is not you I am talking about.  However, most of us aren't that skier.  For us everyday skiers, a narrower ski will be easier to get up onto the edge angle that allows the ski to arc, and to be engaged strongly with the snow on its edge.  This is what works when it is bumpy, and this is what is exhilarating on a groomer.  But, it is common to show up at a local ski area, when the temp is cold, the sun is out, and all the groomers are fresh, and parking is a non issue.  That same parking lot is probably full early when it stormed last night and the groomers all have 8" of unpacked snow, ready to turn into a huge mogul mess.

So, I say, head up there on one of those sunny groomer days, and leave your wide skis in the car.  Demo a pair of Head Supershapes, or Blizzard Quattros, or Nordica GTXs.  You will be amazed at how fun it is to mike high speed, high G turns, laying your boots over close to the snow, carving a deep groove into the snow.  In much of the world, this is skiing that is considered to be the most desired.  But, for some reason, here in the Western United States, we have become obsessed with deep snow.  And, when it happens, and we have just the right ski, it is amazing; for a while.  But, it is fleeting and it is not the most common type of ski day.  There are lots and lots of different kinds of ski days.  But, the ones that are the easiest to enjoy, are the ones that many of us are not equipped to enjoy like we should be.

Don't waste your winter, waiting for the powder days.  Get on a pair of frontside skis, and carve it up baby!

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