This question has been getting a lot of attention on the forum that I participate in. The answer is driven by how much fun you want to have skiing in powder.
In the ‘old’ days of the last century, almost everyone was on long, narrow skis. We managed to ski powder with them and had a blast. We didn’t have any other options, so we used what we had. At various points in time, manufacturers came out with ‘powder’ skis. Head Skis had a long and very soft ski that allowed the front of the ski to bend up to help keep you from sinking into the snow. Miller came out with the Miller Soft, a slightly wider than usual ski that also sported a soft tip to let the ski rise up out of the snow. Along came Atomic with Powder Plus, a truly fat ski at 110 mm wide at the waist. And so it continued.
Now there are skis with rocker, early rise, reverse camber in a variety of widths. By comparison, skiing on the older gear seems downright archaic and difficult. New skis like the Rossignol Soul 7, with rocker tip and tail and a 106 mm wide waist are the standard for powder. The rocker lets the ski plane up from the snow while the width of the tip provides superb flotation.
Alternate configurations for powder feature more traditional shapes, such as the Kastle BMX 108 with its 108 mm waist and early rise. The side cut is ‘normal’ in comparison to the Soul 7’s ‘5 point’ design which places the widest part of the ski further back.
Both skis have their merits with few pitfalls. The rockered design allows for a wide range of tactics in the snow such as smearing, pivoting and banking in the snow. The width of both skis provides excellent flotation. The interesting thing is that with all this attention to powder performance, they ski quite nicely on softer snow that isn’t deep like the crud that develops on groomers on a powder day. They can even carve in soft snow, making for a wonderful all around experience.
Even the narrower skis in the 80 – 90 mm width at the waist will make your powder day memorable. With more flotation than skinnier carving or race skis, they allow you to maneuver in the powder with ease that was unthinkable in the ‘old days’.
When you visit Breckenridge, our ski rentals will tip the balance in your favor for experiencing a great day in the powder. So feel free to ask for the best ski equipment rental for the conditions on the slopes when you’re there…if the day calls for powder skis, we’ll make sure you get a great pair!