Skis Getting Narrower -- Did Colorado Ski Shops Not Get the Message?

Marker

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I don’t know where you’re skiing. But where I’m, just about every one-week-a-year “casual” skiers own their own equipment.
And I don't know where you're skiing, but you see plenty of rentals in the Poconos and at Killington. Even if they are not the obvious resort skis, the stickers on the rental skis says it all and they are narrow...

No dog in this fight, I have 69, 88, and 115. The Rangers were fun on the few fresh snow days we had last season at Killington, and the Hero Elite LT's were damn fast over on Needle's Eye hardpack. Both were were bought on close-out the following season from east coast shops.
 

Slim

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I don’t know where you’re skiing. But where I’m, just about every one-week-a-year “casual” skiers own their own equipment.
I am pretty sure @Jacob is skiing in Europe.
And I don't know where you're skiing, but you see plenty of rentals in the Poconos and at Killington. Even if they are not the obvious resort skis, the stickers on the rental skis says it all and they are narrow....
So that explains part of it. East Coast US and Europe, lots of rentals. Notice both these are also areas with huge populations nearby and generally firmer snow. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Western US and Canada, softer snow and far less densely populated.
 

François Pugh

Making fresh tracks
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This is the point that's being missed by some. If you ski 10 to 30 days a year, pick a ski from mid 80s to mid 90s that's on sale and ski it. If you wan to get better quickly then take a bunch of lessons and ski blue trails every day.
It's more like if you ski groomers that aren't covered in soft snow your skis will sink into more than an inch, and want more enjoyment, get yourself some skinny carving skis. Bonus, you will be able to make tighter turns at higher speeds. No need to stick to blues or take lessons, just ski. Tip and rip.
 
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SSSdave

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Here in the south SF Bay Area, I've rarely seen any narrow skis in local ski shops over several years. Saturday at a ski show festival there was a huge corral with skis at big discounts. None were less than 80mm or so. Local Tahoe shops have a wider range of skis of course.

I've skied mostly on the above 66mm at boot 168cm 2011 Twisters since 2011. In the last couple seasons much of that has been on Little Dipper off Comet Express at Heavenly, that has the most people skiing bumps of any resort in Tahoe primarily because 50k people live down at the base in South lake Tahoe. A lot of skiers have been looking at my narrow skis while riding the lift that follows the run and I wonder what they think since almost all of them are on midfats or fats and obviously I'm making look easy what most of them struggle with. I also enjoy the Twisters on groomed snow though there are no doubt narrow carvers and wider midfats that I'd probably enjoy more. In fact I have been looking to add a 90mm midfat for all mountain skiing. Although The Ski skis are 88mm at boot, on groomed I prefer the smoother more predictable rebound off the Twisters and are too short for all mountain areas. I bought The Ski short skis for shallow powder skiing less than 10 inches deep which they are a bit more fun on than the S7 tanks (110mm at boot) and are far lighter climbing slopes in the back country.
 

Jacob

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I am pretty sure @Jacob is skiing in Europe.
I also do some trips to UT and CO, since I grew up in the US and still have family there.

My last US trip was to Summit Co a couple of seasons ago, and I saw a very large number of people on rentals in the various resorts there. I also noticed that the rentals on offer in most of the shops in the area were exactly the types of skis that everyone seems to agree that a majority of skiers should be using since they’re mainly sticking to the groomers. And, the only people I recall seeing on skis that were far wider than the conditions warranted were patrollers.

So that explains part of it. East Coast US and Europe, lots of rentals. Notice both these are also areas with huge populations nearby and generally firmer snow. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Western US and Canada, softer snow and far less densely populated.
As I said in another thread, I actually get a lot of use out of my wide skis in Europe, because there’s a lot of easily-accessible off-piste terrain in European resorts, and it takes a while for any fresh snow to get skied out in a lot of places.

Europeans stick to the groomers more because going off the marked trails means going into terrain that hasn’t been controlled, which means unmarked hazards and avalanche risks. It’s usually not hard to find soft snow to play in, but you have to put more effort into scoping your lines and assessing risk. Plus, ski racing still has a much bigger influence here.

That said, there’s a significant number of serious off-piste skiers in the Alps.
 
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KingGrump

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Just got back from a meet & greet at Paragon Sport in lower Manhattan (NYC). They had about 40 skis on their wall. Two pairs of front side carvers. The rest are all mountain skis. 85 mm to 108 mm.
I guess all their customers are living their dreams. :huh:
 

dbostedo

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I also noticed that the rentals on offer in most of the shops in the area were exactly the types of skis that everyone seems to agree that a majority of skiers should be using since they’re mainly sticking to the groomers.
On my first trip out west to Vail in 2014, they put me on Rossi E88's... which was by far the widest ski I'd ever been on. I asked if they had anything narrower, and they said they did, but the 88 was actually pretty narrow compared to what they were mostly renting. So I took it and skied it. It was fine. I'd have probably been better off on something narrower though.
 

jmeb

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Did you all miss what happened in CO last year?

If you didn't ski a few dozen pow days last year where a 110mm+ ski was the ticket, you missed out.

It's no wonder that after a snow year like that everyone wants to buy a big ski here.

Give it two bad snow years and let me know what you see on the wall.
 
Thread Starter
Mike King

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Did you all miss what happened in CO last year?

If you didn't ski a few dozen pow days last year where a 110mm+ ski was the ticket, you missed out.

It's no wonder that after a snow year like that everyone wants to buy a big ski here.

Give it two bad snow years and let me know what you see on the wall.
@jmeb, no need for a 110 in bounds. I've never found a reason for anything wider than 98, and I'm thinking I could go narrower.

OB is another issue. I generally ski between 115 and 128 OB.

Mike
 

Ken_R

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@jmeb, no need for a 110 in bounds. I've never found a reason for anything wider than 98, and I'm thinking I could go narrower.

OB is another issue. I generally ski between 115 and 128 OB.

Mike

I used my Noctas (122mm's) wide quite a bit in-bounds last season. They are great for lower angle pow.. In the backcountry my 102mm wide Navis w/ Dynafits were always the ticket. The 140mm wide tips always provided enough float. I would want to lug uphill skis much bigger than that. kick turns and the like become much more difficult with big skis.
 

John O

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@jmeb, no need for a 110 in bounds. I've never found a reason for anything wider than 98, and I'm thinking I could go narrower.
No *need*? Sure, there's no need. But it can be damn fun at times.

I've skied my 98 daily drivers on unexpectedly deep days, and I've skied my 117 powder skis on unexpectedly thin days. I've brought the "right" and "wrong" ski to the mountain plenty of times, and I know how my skis behave when they're both in their element and not. Yes, I have no "need" for my powder skis... but I do like them and they sure are fun on good days. I'm gonna keep skiing them.
 

Jacob

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On my first trip out west to Vail in 2014, they put me on Rossi E88's... which was by far the widest ski I'd ever been on. I asked if they had anything narrower, and they said they did, but the 88 was actually pretty narrow compared to what they were mostly renting. So I took it and skied it. It was fine. I'd have probably been better off on something narrower though.
On my last trip to CO, I decided not to take my skis with me. I didn't feel like lugging them with me to/from Heathrow, and with with the heated discussions back on EpicSki at the time about how rental shops in CO were putting people on skis that were too wide, I thought it would be easy to just walk into a shop and find something 80-90 mm, which is what I like to ski in the conditions that Summit Co had when I was there.

But, I had to go to several shops before finding one at Copper that had anything similar to what I was looking for. I ended up on a pair of K2 Pinnacle 95's. I would've preferred the Pinnacle 85 for the conditions that week, but the shop didn't have that wide a selection in terms of styles of ski. It was either the Pinnacle 95 or something below 80 mm with a lot of camber and metal, which all of the shops I went to had plenty of.

Maybe Vail is different. But from what I saw around Dillon, Frisco, and the shops at the bases of Copper and Breckenridge, those looking for sub-80-mm directional skis were spoiled for choice. Those looking for twin tips or something wider had a limited selection. They had them on the sales wall, but not on the rental racks.

From what I remember from my trips to SLC, the shops there had a wider variety of skis available to rent, but it was still easy to find sub-80-mm directional carvers.
 

fatbob

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I am pretty sure @Jacob is skiing in Europe.
Yup in general "people who ski" will rent for their one week a year (taken as 6 consecutive days). In fact if you are doing the standard "having a ski holiday" you are probably looked upon as a bit of a weirdo keen bean if you buy your own skis. Such people are typically undemanding and just ski whatever the rental shop gives them, which nowadays is probably something around 75-80mm waist as that's where standard rental fleets seem to have ended up. What people don't generally do is then go out and buy a ski that is exactly the same as what they have just rented - there is no point, transport costs, tuning costs etc probably make it broadly breakeven.
 

jmeb

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@jmeb, no need for a 110 in bounds.
No need for you and your preferences.

Why oh why do people feel like their choice of ski is the right choice of ski? There were many many days last season where I had way more fun skiing my 112mm Deathwishes (or 118mm Bibbys, or gah! 128mm Protests) inbounds than my 98s. This year probably won't be like that, but the a crazy good snow year is still in everone's memory and dreams.

Whatever ski makes someone have the most fun is the right ski.
 
Thread Starter
Mike King

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No need for you and your preferences.

Why oh why do people feel like their choice of ski is the right choice of ski? There were many many days last season where I had way more fun skiing my 112mm Deathwishes (or 118mm Bibbys, or gah! 128mm Protests) inbounds than my 98s. This year probably won't be like that, but the a crazy good snow year is still in everone's memory and dreams.

Whatever ski makes someone have the most fun is the right ski.
Guess I hit a nerve there. But here's what you said:

Did you all miss what happened in CO last year?

If you didn't ski a few dozen pow days last year where a 110mm+ ski was the ticket, you missed out.

It's no wonder that after a snow year like that everyone wants to buy a big ski here.

Give it two bad snow years and let me know what you see on the wall.
Sure seems to imply that enjoying the few dozen pow days required a 110m+ ski. All I pointed out was the there are a lot of people who enjoyed those conditions on a ski that isn't that wide. But feel free to ski whatever you want.

Mike
 

jmeb

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Sure seems to imply that enjoying the few dozen pow days required a 110m+ ski. All I pointed out was the there are a lot of people who enjoyed those conditions on a ski that isn't that wide. But feel free to ski whatever you want.
You asked why retailers weren't going narrower. I think a big part of this is because for many people -- last years epic snow was more fun on fat skis. Especially for the Frangers who have the good luck to choose their ski days.

Very few people in Boulder are buying a ski with a second thought about improving their technique -- which yeah--wide skis aren't good at. Most are buying what they either know to be fun from experience or what their friends/retailers tell them is fun.
 

Seldomski

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How many days per year does the median skier ski?

If you own skis, what is the typical number of pairs of skis?

My guess is that these numbers are much lower than those posting in this thread. If you only have time for 6 days on snow per year and can choose to ski (or not) based on conditions, what kind of ski would you buy?

If instead your mentality is that you ski every day regardless, then skis for different conditions make sense.
 

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