OT: Any MGoSkiers Out There? Looking for Advice

Submitted by WichitanWolverine on May 24th, 2014 at 11:42 AM

I'm hoping to get a good summer deal on some skis and was wondering if anyone on the board could give me some advice.

I'm trying to decide between fat skis and big mountain skis. I'm moving back to Ann Arbor in 2 weeks so I will be skiing in Michigan some, but really hope to hit the Rockies at least once or twice a year.

If I'm living in Michigan, I think the easy answer is that I should go with big mountain skis so I can easily handle a wider variety of terrain, but I do love riding deep powder whenever I can get it. Is there really a noticeable difference between the two types? Are fat skis really much tougher on groomers than big mountains?

Thanks in advance for any insight.


Billy Ray Valentine

May 24th, 2014 at 12:19 PM ^

IMHO, get all-mountain skis.  Kind of a no-brainer if you live in Michigan, unless you do 2+ weeks of annual ski vacationing.  Your thoughts are almost spot on.  If you're coming here on vacation, and you get lucky in that your trip coincides with a storm, you could demo powder skis for the day.


Don't forget to save your money for the gaper gear, though:





May 24th, 2014 at 7:19 PM ^

IMHO, the question is which side of the line of big mountain skis do you want to fall on - new school rockered / powder or older school carving.  I'm assuming you ski fast, it's just how fast and do you want to sacrifice some edge hold and some stability for an easier time in powder vs. work harder in powder and be able to better arc/carve your turns.  Once you make the decision on where you want the tradeoff, the decision gets way easier

Focused powder skis will turn less nimbly and the wider the width underfoot, the more like a barge (my Volkl Kuros are NOT for groomers - they take a LOT of effort to turn on a groomer).  And they don't carve as well (duh) either because of the rocker and or the flexibility of the ski itself

For me, even skiing nearly solely in tahoe, I chose the older school with a Volkl AC40.  Super stiff, great edge hold, but wide enough to take on up to a foot of fresh without even thinking about it and bust some crud.  Beyond that, it's to my powder set and I often switch back once everything is skied up.   S7s are cool skis but were too soft for me.

Hope that helps!


May 25th, 2014 at 8:56 AM ^

This is really good info. Thanks.

After reading what everyone has to say, I think I'm looking for something with some tip/tail rocker and underfoot camber to handle the groomers.

Last season I skied a pair of rental Dynamic TT77s that were just too narrow for any reasonably deep powder (171 long, 123/77/107 wide). Right now I'm leaning toward a pair of K2 Shreditor 102s (179 long, 133/102/127 wide) cause I don't want to go crazy cost-wise on my first pair. They have rocker and camber with a low 21m side cut radius so I think they should handle groomers nicely but definitely give me much better pow float than what I used last year.

Anyone have any experience with these skis?

Billy Ray Valentine

May 24th, 2014 at 1:55 PM ^

My opinion is to trust what you already know.  Don'y buy skis you never tried.  If you enjoyed a particular model this season, and felt comfortbable on front-side terrain, off-piste, light powder, bumps, etc., then lean towards what you know you'll like.  If you need to take next year's early-season to demo prior to buying, do it. 


We ski the same terrain, but I'm getting older, and I have kids that ski.  My opinion as to a specific model, such as the Kastle FX94s, probably shouldn't mean much to you.  I also prefer shorter skis for tighter turns.  Again older guy + kids = sacrifice speed.






May 25th, 2014 at 9:54 AM ^

why would he want a slalom ski when he says he mainly wants to ski off-piste?

I just skied a season on volkl mantras. They're 98 at the boot and I found them great for both bumps and steeps in a variety of snow conditions (pretty much everything up to over a foot of fresh, where I just demoed powder skis)


May 24th, 2014 at 12:20 PM ^

Well I went out to Utah this past winter and skied on a real non-Michigan mountain for the first time ever.  It was really awesome, and I was able to handle most of it.  I did try to go off the beaten path into this un-groomed area though, and this "deep powder" you speak of got the best of me: 

Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

Farmhouse Funk

May 24th, 2014 at 12:28 PM ^

Go with a solid all mountain ski. I have been west to ski many times sometimes with lots of powder sometimes with none. You may get 1 maybe 2 powder days out of a week, and normally the all mountain ski will do the job.

If you take say a helicopter skiing trip they rent powder ski's that you can use.


May 24th, 2014 at 12:42 PM ^

I get in about 30-40 days on the mountain each year and I love me some powder, but I don't think I'll ever get a dedicated powder ski.  All mountains come in a variety of widths, so pick something on the wider side with the front rocker set back a bit and you should have something that will do well in powder, but won't have you cursing the bumps.


May 24th, 2014 at 3:26 PM ^

Some advice for a future ski purchase.  I lived in Aspen for three years in another life, and skied almost every day the slopes were open.  When you are out west you might want to talk to a ski shop and see if they have demos that you might be able to rent.  On occasion ski manufacturers send reps to ski towns and have demos. Not all skis are the same and the better you are as a skier, the more you will notice the difference.

I've skied for a long time.  We used to do powder with the relatively stiff narrow skis made in the eary 70's.  Most of your modern, all-terrain skis are fine for powder if you adjust your technique, but then have the added advantage if you are a good skier to be able to hold an edge.

Regardless, I'd go to a good ski shop, if you have on in your area. and talk to the people who sell skis. If not, wait until you go skiing in the west where you will definitely find people who know what they are talking about.


May 24th, 2014 at 1:16 PM ^

Pick up a pair of all mountain skis. As an above poster stated, people were skiing deep powder for years before powder boat fat skis were introduced. The only benefit they provide is if you're planning on skiing DEEP powder more often than not. Despite being a trendy item, they're more of a highly specialized tool that really only manifests its usefulness in extremely specific situations. They also aren't great to ski on here in Michigan. I've found that on the ice and hard-groomed stuff, they tend to chatter a bit more and are harder to really dig in with than an all mountain ski would be. 

Unfortunately, deep powder isn't all that common here. Sure, you can ski the UP, but for most of the ski resorts in the lower peninsula, you're looking at groomers and icy glades. 

All mountain skis are essentially the leatherman multitool of the ski world. They do everything and they do everything well enough for 99.999% of the population. I've owned pairs from K2 and Rossignol and skied a friend's Vokl's extensively. Unless you're planning on doing a ton of off-piste and intense backcountry when you're on your trips out west, my advice would be to stick to a traditional all-mountain ski. 

Best of luck!


May 24th, 2014 at 2:01 PM ^

I ski over 20 times a year easily. You are asking for a generic answer when it can be a complex question.
If you are a skier that just does groomers and everything off of a chair lift, then it's not going to matter.
If you only ski moguls, or hike to ski then go fat and shorter skies.
If you are speed demon maybe an all mountain ski will suit you better.
If you like to do some tricks and need some maneuverability then maybe shorter twin tip skis are in your future.
If you are an expert skier no better place than crested butte, co. Best place by far and I've skied all of colorado except for silverton (next gear hopefully).

Hope this helps.


May 24th, 2014 at 2:37 PM ^

I'm actually a snowboarder opposed to a skier but every year I usually go to resorts on the east coast, in Michigan, and out west. I've found that generally speaking, it's more convenient to go with something designed for versatile, all-mountain terrain. If you can afford it though, having a set of powder skis as well is certainly convenient, but only if you can find a decent, used pair for a good price.

Side-note: I highly, highly recommend any skiers/snowboarders on the board to look into making a trip to Whistler, B.C. It's far and away better than any US resort I've been to and the village is a fantastic ski town. It's also no more expensive than skiing in the US (save for maybe Utah). In fact, I've found the lodging there to be quite cheap and if you fly into Seattle (instead of Vancouver) and drive up or take a bus from there, that will likely save you some money as well.


May 24th, 2014 at 5:16 PM ^

Fantastic place to ski.  I actually prefer Blackcomb mountain to Whistler--they are both part of the same resort.  Only drawback is that it is lower elevation than your typical ski resort, so you can sometimes get some fog and some moisture in the snow if you get unlucky with weather. 


May 24th, 2014 at 6:28 PM ^

Whisterl?  If you like West Coast skiing in mashed potatoes, I'd agree with you.  I have been fortunate in that I have skied about every major area in North American and a bunch of places in Europe.  Whistler has a much higher water density in its snow than do the areas in the Rockies.  I've been fortunate to lay down the first set of tracks in deep powder in both Colorado and Utah and it's a high all its own.  Those who ski powder know this. I've used a snorkel for deep powder in Utah.  I kid you not.

If money isn't part of the equation, I'm a big fan of the major areas of Colorado.  Great snow, you can fly in to certain towns like Aspen, and apres ski is amazing, but this comes at a price.

If I were looking to go cheap and have great snow, I'd stay in Salt Lake City and drive to different mountains each day, making sure that I leave one day for Alta and one for Snowbird.


May 24th, 2014 at 2:39 PM ^

Unless you are a park rat, I'd recommended an all mountain ski. I've got 3 sets (park, all mountain, powder/big mountain) and 95% of the time in MI I use the park or all mountain set. I have the Line Phrophet 98, definitely recommend that ski for anything but really deep days.


May 24th, 2014 at 7:30 PM ^

Honestly, buy the Rosignal Soul 7 skis. I've demoed my fair share of skis, those are by far the best IMO. It has a honeycomb structure so that the skis are lighter and more flexible, worth every penny.


May 24th, 2014 at 9:01 PM ^

Another vote for all mountain skis. Something in the 90mm underfoot size should still be pretty good on groomers (let's face it, it's more like ice here most of the time), without totally bogging down in powder too much. The biggest advantage of fat skis is that them make 8" of powder feel bottomless, while your all mountain skis would bottom out and not give you that "floating" feeling. If you're planning out heading out in the really deep stuff, just rent for fat skis for the day.


May 24th, 2014 at 9:56 PM ^

and rent skis when you head out West.

I got nice skis once, went out West, and United Airlines dragged them back to baggage claim - totaled them. Got new ones and they were outdated in 3 years.


May 25th, 2014 at 11:29 AM ^

A go to Michigan ski trip:

Drive to the UP and do a day at Marquette Mountain to warm up.  Hit the breweries in town.

Move on an hour and a half to Houghton and do Ripley in town (drink some beer while doing this b/c it is ok but great views and great breweries in town).

All of this working up to a day or two at Bohemia about 45 min. north.  Great back country skiing.  I am 3 for 3 with powder days there.  Buy the season pass in November when it is on sale for $99.


May 25th, 2014 at 1:19 PM ^

They tear it up at high speed, are really fun in crud and powder -- I had to learn to run more up front on these in the loose stuff, compared to the back-seat approach with older skis.  They have a 123/78/108 profile and rebound really well, a trait I really like. I grew up racing on K2 710/810's back in the dark ages and those rebounded like Rodman.

I demo'd a pair of K2 AMP 80 XTi's at the end of this year -- I may go that way for my next pair -- they have a similar 125/80/109 profile and had that bounce I like.  They were really good in powder, especially for a carver that you can lay over on edge and go fast.

The only place I don't like these skis a bunch is in bumps -- not all that quick and plenty heavy. On the other hand, I'm older than dirt and shouldn't be hitting bumps too much anyway.  I tore my labrum and rotator cuff a few years ago when my pole stuck in a bump and I wound up getting stopped completely by the arm.  Lesson learned.

Best thing I ever did was demo a bunch before buying -- it's the only way to really know.

Have fun -- buying skis is one of life's great pleasures!



May 27th, 2014 at 11:31 AM ^

I've had surgery at both L4-5 and L5-S1, and have completely returned to skiing, including bumps and stuff you have to hike to. Just do a lot of ab work and make sure you're legs are in shape before you go out West, so you don't end up hurting yourself when you're tired.


May 26th, 2014 at 12:35 AM ^

It really depends on whether you do, and how often you, ski off the groomers (and where you're skiing in Michigan).  Most "good" skiers in Michigan want something with some metal on the ski to make a nice, stiff, predictable ski on groomers.  I have an older pair of Heads, which is sort of like a GS ski in this regard.  They are heavy.  Too heavy for out west (and not wide enough, or long enough for a power day).

Last season I purchased a pair of Nordica Steadfasts.  No metal.  It is a wood core ski.  Yet, it really rips the groomers reasonable well. I found it responsive on the groomers at Boyne Mountain.  It was also a nice bump ski, and excellent in deeper stuff.  It is not a twin tip, but does have rocker in the tip. i belive that is true for the entire Hell and Back series by Nordica.

I took this skies out west this year, and skied some powder in them.  On an epic poweder day, which we had one, they are probably not wide enough under foot, at about 90mm.  On the ohter hand, I liked them in the powder much better than a pair of powder skis that I rented just for that purpose.  The Steadfasts were quicker, lighter, and I just "liked" them better.  I didn't have any trouble skiing the powder with them (and after renting the pow ski for on day,  I wishedI hadn't). 

Of course, there is no substitute for demoing the ski, that said I did not demo these before I purchased as I knew I was looking for that width, and I had some trustworthy people tell me what to expect from the contsturction and rocker.  If you're looking for a one ski to fit all, this type of ski is a good bet.  There are others similar, or at least sort of similar.  The Volkl Mantra might be worth a try if most of your skiing with be groomers.  The Bonafides are probabliy the hottest ski last year. 

You might also check a website called Epic Ski.  They have some folks on there who konw what they are talking about.  Though, for me, I'd trust your local shop, say Boyne Country, or whetever local independent shop in your town.

Good Luck!  Enjoy the turns.