No doubt about it, I fully embraced fat, rocker tipped skis last season with the Black Diamond Megawatt. In the powder, they turn with the slightest rotation of the hips, making just about any skier, with any ability, feel like they are the king of the hill, allowing them to rip big bowls and phat chutes like they are a hot shot ski model posing for the next TGR movie.
Many people I know are riding reverse camber skis these days, and why not? They float in the powder like nobody’s business and in soft snow, turn on a dime. They also often make challenging ski conditions like breakable crust and wind funk, a bit more bearable. Now this is all well and good, but what are the drawbacks?
Kind of a poop-stance turn with this guy.
Well, I don’t think there are too many, but I do think there’s one big one worth talking about. The thing with rocker tips skis is that they require very little in the way of hip angulation to make them turn. Often, when skiing fat skis, people are said to look as though they are sitting on a toilet when they ski, just steering their way down the hill with little in the way of articulation in the hips and knees. Not too big of a deal really, but things can get a bit more confusing when you reach for traditionally cambered skis and hit the hardpack.
The thing isï¿½is that traditionally shaped skis need way more hip angulation to engage the edges and drive them through the turn than rocker tips skisï¿½especially on steep, hard snow. For someone like me who has a few pairs of skis, and uses them all, it can sometimes be challenging switching from one construction to the other. With out hip angulation, traditionally cambered skis will skid through turns instead of carve and a relaxed (on the pot) stance will often put one immediately in the back seat and out of control. So what does this tell us?
Much better hip angulation with this guy.
Photo courtesy of OffPisteSkiing.com.
Well, it could tell us that Randosteve is just lacking the skills to be able to switch from one ski to the other without being able to adapt to them quickly. Maybe I do, but in past years when all my skis were traditionally cambered ski, I’d found it much easier to switch from one ski the other. Orï¿½it could tell us that reverse camber skis are really just a crutch for skiing powder. This is closer to the truth I think, and although I enjoy the ease of the turn on reverse cambered/rocker tipped skis, I do think they allow for a lot less refined technique from the skier and lower the learning curve of skiing a lot.
Is this a bad thing? Well, not necessarily, since now nearly every skier can ski fast and fearless down the mountain. But what about the pros that have put years and years into refining their technique and bulking up their quads in order to crank a turn at 90mph on long, stiff, cambered skis?! What about the day when there was only a hand full of hot-shot skiers, like Plake, Schmidt, Peterson, that could rip through the crud with the greatest of ease. Now-a-days, nearly every tall-t’d, snot nosed kid can be seen doing their best TGR impersonation down the mountainï¿½and doing pretty well at it at the same time. I guessï¿½this is a good thing?
So what makes a good skier these days? Is it the ski?