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Powder ski suggestions?

CindiSue

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I ski Sun Valley. I recently bought Rossignol Experience 84's and I'm having a blast on those. I just broke out of intermediate skiing and suddenly am skiing at a whole new level. It's an awesome feeling, and skiing is finally fun!

This year I'm going to focus on moguls and non-groomed conditions, plus icier steeps. I'm looking for a powder ski for snow days. I see widths everywhere from low 90's up to 110. What is a good width for a place like mine? We don't get feet of powder often; once in a while but more often just several inches. Any specific suggestions appreciated as well!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Glad your new skis are working out!

Please remind us of your stats. That does make a bit of difference in terms of how wide you need to go for powder skis. I'm petite so 100mm is plenty wide for most powder conditions. Only time I rented skis that were 117mm was for a deep powder storm at Alta with 25+ inches first thing in the morning and it was still snowing heavily. My Alta instructor doesn't want me on skis over 100mm for a lesson with there was powder available.

Technique also makes a difference. Not so much powder skiing but more fundamentals that hep in any conditions. When I was starting to ski regularly my all-mountain skis were 75 underfoot. I could use them for 4-5 inches of fresh snow. I was just starting to ski off-piste. That was 10 years ago. After a lot of lessons at an advanced level in recent years (after age 55), I can use my 85mm skis in 10-15 inches of fluffy powder without any issues. But for heavier snow, I have more fun with wider skis that are 100-110mm.
 

CindiSue

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
56 years, 5'6", 125#. I've been skiing on and off about 10 years but the last couple years I've been in weekly women's lessons (and will be this year). I used to ski very slowly and now I'm significantly faster.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
I wonder if you'd like the Blizzard Black Pearl in 98. I don't think you need to go really wide for SV. Like you said, you won't usually be skiing super deep snow. I don't find the snow there all that light (why it isn't has always been a mystery to me), and it can get skied out and cruddy on snowy days. The BP98 is super versatile--it's great in snow, crud, and even somewhat firm slopes though you'd probably still ski your Rossis on hard pack days. The thing about having really wide skis is that they might suck in anything BUT deep snow, so later in the day, when the slopes are getting skied out, and there is that nice hard scoured layer exposed in spots, or on runs like Flying Squirrel, which always seem to be hardpack even on snowy days, wide powder skis may not handle that well. Whereas something like the Black Pearl in 98 will.

I hope you have a great season and that the slopes will be even quieter than usual. We always love our SV trips but they won't be happening this year. I will miss the lodge hot pool, the Roundhouse, the cookies at Christina's and so many other things a LOT.
 

CindiSue

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Thanks! That's helpful. Look me up next year if you come! But I do expect it will be even quieter than normal this year. I usually hate to ski around the holidays but yesterday was dead.

Yes we tend to get the skied out stuff in the afternoons for sure, although so far this year Flying Squirrel has been one of the most fun runs. The snow has been soft, so once it gets pushed around it's like soft mini-moguls.

I usually am not a first tracks early riser kind of person, but there have been several times during my weekly 9am ski divas classes when it was snowing and the instructors told us to bring our pow skis if we had them :-)
 

CindiSue

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
What about length on pow skis? Usually the same as normal skis, or longer?
I see for 2021 they are the new design and 97's...
 

Christy

Angel Diva
Does Pete Lane's still let you demo, and swap skis as much as you want? I believe they used to, which is great, as you can try different skis the next powder day.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
Oh also I think in terms of length, you might try different lengths when/if you demo. I know longer skis can provide better flotation but I'm not sure how often people deliberately go longer. Hopefully others will answer that.
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hm, I deliberately went longer for my powder skis because I wanted max float and least chance of tip diving :smile: though that was also the length recommended to me by a few people. My all mountain skis are Black Pearl 88 (2020) in 159, and I went to 165 for my Line Pandora 104 powder skis.

They actually have a lot more taper and rocker than my BPs though, so the effective edge looks very similar.
 

CindiSue

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Does Pete Lane's still let you demo, and swap skis as much as you want? I believe they used to, which is great, as you can try different skis the next powder day.
Yes, I think it's $90 a day or something and you can switch out. It's tough to demo with powder skis though since you can't plan it and since I don't yet know how to ski powder:-) But actually that might be a perfect reason to demo since I've never used them. God idea.
 

chasinghorizons

Diva in Training
Hm, I deliberately went longer for my powder skis because I wanted max float and least chance of tip diving :smile: though that was also the length recommended to me by a few people. My all mountain skis are Black Pearl 88 (2020) in 159, and I went to 165 for my Line Pandora 104 powder skis.

They actually have a lot more taper and rocker than my BPs though, so the effective edge looks very similar.
Ooh how do you like the Line Pandora 104? I bought the Blizzard Sheeva 10 on a Memorial Day sale but the Line Pandora 104 sounded a little better in reviews. There's nowhere near me that demos it though so I'd have to buy it on faith and I'm not sure it's worth it over the Sheeva 10?
 

Analisa

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hi! Just saw your question on the Mindbender post. Pulling together some specs (I ski & review a lot of mid-fats skiing in the PNW).

In the meantime, I wrote a piece last month about learning to ski off piste and how powder skis can help - especially if you're cautious and slow. Width matters, but not as much as the ski's shape, which is why you'll see some recommendations that are fairly narrow and others that are quite wide.

The piece also has a recap of some good intro powder skis, but they skew towards powder specialty tools. Just let me know if you're looking for something that excels off piste, but has some all mountain versatility (I'd put the Pandora 104, Sheeva 10, Ripstick 102, Blaze 106, etc) and I'll tweak the recs a bit.

 

chasinghorizons

Diva in Training
Hi! Just saw your question on the Mindbender post. Pulling together some specs (I ski & review a lot of mid-fats skiing in the PNW).

In the meantime, I wrote a piece last month about learning to ski off piste and how powder skis can help - especially if you're cautious and slow. Width matters, but not as much as the ski's shape, which is why you'll see some recommendations that are fairly narrow and others that are quite wide.

The piece also has a recap of some good intro powder skis, but they skew towards powder specialty tools. Just let me know if you're looking for something that excels off piste, but has some all mountain versatility (I'd put the Pandora 104, Sheeva 10, Ripstick 102, Blaze 106, etc) and I'll tweak the recs a bit.

This is a really great article! Thanks so much for sharing :smile: Sigh I think I'll probably like the Sheeva 10s... I'm like 90% sure just based on descriptions and reviews... I just have major FOMO when I read about all the other great skis out there. I was going to hold off on mounting them until I demo'd them and a couple others somewhere else first and was sure I liked them the best, but I'm not sure I can bear staring at them in the corner of my apartment for the next 6 months and then NOT try them out as soon as the season starts.
I guess for background, I'm 5'1"/110, probably advanced, just started getting into off-piste this season, absolutely love trees and am starting to like moguls. I ski primarily at Mammoth in CA. Demo'd the Blizzard Sheeva 9 (probably in a size too small, I think it was 148 - loved how light and maneuverable it was, didn't love how it chattered at even moderate speeds on early morning groomers). Volkl Yumis, 154 - liked them, felt like they carved well, but weren't as easy to turn in bumpy terrain - sometimes felt like the skis were too long for me. Blizzard Black Pearls - didn't feel as fun as the Sheevas or Yumis, not sure of length or width. I ended up with the Rossignol Stargazers - I felt like they combined the best aspects of the Sheeva 9 and the Yumis, felt like I could turn on a thought, and I didn't get that chatter on the groomers that I got with the Sheevas. These were the last ones I tried that weekend and it seriously felt like my skiing ability improved by several notches just as soon as I got on these skis! Prior to this I had only skied on a pair of old K2s that my parents bought for me when I was in high school, and I would never have thought that skis could feel so different.
I really want my second set of skis to be powder-oriented but with a similar light and easy to maneuver feel as the Stargazers. I think the Sheeva 10s worry me because the few negative reviews I've seen mention tip flapping as a primary concern, and that's what I really disliked about the Sheeva 9... I keep telling myself though that I demo'd the Sheeva 9 too small and the longer size will feel different?
Sorry for the long post, ski season just ended at Mammoth a little over a week ago and I miss it dearly already T_T any and all advice is much appreciated!
 

scandium

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
The Sheeva 9s you demo'd would definitely have been too small for you, I think they ski short. I demo'd the 2021 model (I think) in 157cm and didn't get much chatter on them on early season minimal snow cover conditions, but my notes were "not very damp on crud, ok on groomer, easier to turn"
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
The Sheeva 9 does ski short. It’s been my daily driver for a few seasons now and I find it quite stable everywhere except heavy crud at high speeds. There are also better tools for very icy days obviously. I ski them the majority of my days in the East though and take them West as well. I ski the 164 length and am 5’4” ~120 lbs. If I skied in the West as my home base I’d likely want the 172, but for the East and my preferred terrain of bumps and trees I seek the nimbleness of the 164.
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
The Sheeva 9s you demo'd would definitely have been too small for you, I think they ski short. I demo'd the 2021 model (I think) in 157cm and didn't get much chatter on them on early season minimal snow cover conditions, but my notes were "not very damp on crud, ok on groomer, easier to turn"
I"m your size but lighter weight and have the Sheeva 9 in a 157....You should try that length as the ones you tried are too short. They ski short.
ETA: I tried the Sheeva 10 in a 157 and skied them for two days at Heavenly a couple years ago in heavy thick snow. I really liked them a lot !
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I'm 5'1"/110, probably advanced, just started getting into off-piste this season, absolutely love trees and am starting to like moguls. I ski primarily at Mammoth in CA. Demo'd the Blizzard Sheeva 9 (probably in a size too small, I think it was 148 - loved how light and maneuverable it was, didn't love how it chattered at even moderate speeds on early morning groomers). Volkl Yumis, 154 - liked them, felt like they carved well, but weren't as easy to turn in bumpy terrain - sometimes felt like the skis were too long for me. Blizzard Black Pearls - didn't feel as fun as the Sheevas or Yumis, not sure of length or width.
I'm in the same size ballpark, same weight, a bit shorter, have become a solid advanced skier after age 55. 148 for the Sheeva 9 is probably too short. I happen to like BP88 and BP98. Last time I demo'd the BP98 was at Taos and the length was 152cm. However, that week there wasn't much snow so even during the morning lesson there were only small bumps from a snowstorm the day before.

For skis 90-100 underfoot, I've skied lengths from 152 to 166. Sometimes hard to get the best length when renting demo skis for a deep powder day. Usually around 160cm is the best length.

As I improved technique (lessons helped a lot) and gained experience in deep powder, I found that my all-mountain skis were fine when the snow was light and fluffy even if it was knee deep. They are 85 underfoot and 159cm, with a flat tail.
 

chasinghorizons

Diva in Training
The Sheeva 9s you demo'd would definitely have been too small for you, I think they ski short. I demo'd the 2021 model (I think) in 157cm and didn't get much chatter on them on early season minimal snow cover conditions, but my notes were "not very damp on crud, ok on groomer, easier to turn"
This is very helpful - as long as they're okay on groomers I think I'll be happy with them. I don't expect them to be great on crud, but at least don't chatter on groomers, you know?
Out of curiosity, what else did you demo and take notes on? I love hearing people's comparisons.
 

scandium

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
This is very helpful - as long as they're okay on groomers I think I'll be happy with them. I don't expect them to be great on crud, but at least don't chatter on groomers, you know?
Out of curiosity, what else did you demo and take notes on? I love hearing people's comparisons.
In the last year I only took out the Sheeva 9s, the new version of the Nordica Santa Ana 93s, and previously the Camox Birdies (but in Japan the day after powder). I loved the Santa Anas as they go through crud, but they weren't so easy to get around in moguls or on icy slopes.

I currently own the 2018 Volkl Flair SC (damp, narrow, and excellent when it's crusty or icy but harder work when it gets soft or I need to turn in a hurry) or the 2019 Volkl Yumi (turns easily, good in spring snow, but not great at bouncing across crud, and is likely to end up mostly being my mother's daily driver). I've only just really started looking properly at the 90-something width skis as all my previous seasons were spent on rentals and looking at demos. My choices are influenced by the fact that I ski whatever I get as I have to either drive 5-6 hours or fly to get to the skifield, so a degree of versatility is important in whatever pair(s) I take with me.
 

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