Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

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Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby AnI » Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:53 pm

My son recently turned 15; he is now a out 6 ft (180 cm) tall, and he needs new powder skis. In the past several years, he skied Head Ethan Too, junior powder skis. They behaved well in the fresh, but also could carve nice turns on the groomed (aside from a wider width and more difficult turn initiation). I was lucky that years back, Diana agreed to give him a few lessons: he learned at an early age to ski correctly. He is tall, but is fairly skinny and light. He needs skis which are more on the finesse side than on sheer power and athleticism of the skier (which he might still be lacking). I wonder if anyone has a recommendation?
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby HeluvaSkier » Thu Dec 02, 2021 8:29 am

Check out the Liberty Evolv90 and 100.
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby AnI » Sun Dec 05, 2021 3:15 pm

Thank you for the recommendation!
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby AnI » Sat Feb 05, 2022 11:32 pm

I have an update. I ended up ordering Evolv100 for my son around mid-December. Unfortunately, by the time when skis and bindings arrived, we did not have enough time to get bindings installed in time for our trip to Utah. In Utah, we had 5 to 6 powder days out of 8, he skied them on his old powder skis.

For reference, until now, he had two pairs of skis: Head i.SL and Head Ethan Too 93. The latter are junior skis, nominally rated as "park and pipe", but in reality they excel everywhere: They have short sidecut radius, hold quite well on icy slopes, work for jumps, work in powder. He grew through several sizes of those. But they do not come in adult sizes.

Regarding his skiing, he was taught by Diana (and a little bit by Harald) between the ages of approximately 8 and 11, and he only knows how to ski the way how they taught him. He also had a couple of 3-5 days sessions with Walter Edberg later on. He is now 15. I reassess his skiing, build him new footbeds, and plate his boots every time he moves to a new size. He skis in the Raptors.

Regarding myself, I started skiing late in my life, acquired too many bad habits, and not very athletic. I took probably in the ballpark of 15 HSS camps over the years, including alignment training, to get rid of bad habits. Despite all this, my son skis better and faster than I do. He never had the bad habits that I had.... And never was taught how to ski in wedge.... And I never allowed a PSIA instructor get anywhere close to him...

Our first opportunity to test Evolv100 was this weekend on Mt. Bachelor. On the first day, it was cold and windy and icy. On the second day, it was sunny and it started softening a little bit. Both days, off-piste was not skiable (total ice). The Pacific Northwest got multiple feet of snow in a dump around New Year, then immediately after that multiple inches of warm rain, and then all of this froze and there was no snow, except maybe a few inches, through the whole month of January.

Granted, skis with the width of 100 are not designed for skiing icy groomed slopes. In the past, the ability just to get down a groomed run with some level of grace was an excellent mark for powder skis. In the recent years, however, plenty of skis with width of 90-95 were released as all-mountain skis. So, this test was not totally meaningless... sort of...

So, he skied them much of the day on Friday, and the last run of the day on a (a little softer from the sun) snow on Saturday. I rented him demo skis on Saturday, and since he is now in the same boot size as I am, got a chance to ski a little bit with the same skis. But only very little (since it was for him, not for me) and not all of them.

Friday, Evolv100:
His impressions:
* very bad on ice, very hard to get grip
* very stable at speed
* the faster you go, the livelier they get

my impressions:
* they absolutely do not like twisting and even seem to resist twisting. This is a good sign.
* they require a lot of effort to turn at very slow speed (lift maneuvering).
* They are very PTMS - unforgiving. If one does everything as one should do - full weight transfer, all movements in place, they carve short turns and are responsive. A little sloppiness, kind of relaxed skiing without doing much of anything, and they make one think about skiing on 2x4's.
* Really difficult to ski on ice. Basically, impossible. Not with my skills.

Saturday, demo skis and Evov100 at the end.

Head e-Titan Supershape (33-84-115, R=17.2). Nothing to "write home about". These are the only skis from the ones he demoed which I got to ski a full run. Our verdict was the same. A solid, well performing, but very boring ski. My old Movement Jam (with a similar geometry) is better. I waited much more from Head. [don't mixed them up with a narrow Supershapes discussed in several recent threads, this is a wider Titan]

Kaestle 96Ti (96 mm, R=18). My son said that these skis are amazing, some of the best he ever skied. Better than his old skis. Hold well on ice, carve very well, not too stiff, not too soft, can do anything, even ice. He skied with the same angles as on his slaloms skis. He could not get enough of it and did not want to return them.

Solomon Stance 96 (96 mm, R=20). He said, they were not bad, but he was not too excited about them, either. Kind of neutral.

Evolv100 again, at the end of the day: He did one final run and said, they are not bad compared to others, but worse than Kaestle 96 Ti, and poor performance on ice stands out. They are worse on ice than other skis he skied this weekend.

When I asked him about his ratings, he said:

First place, Kaestle 96Ti (and his Head i.SL). On days like this weekend, he still would ski his slalom skis.

Second place, shared between his old Head Ethan 93, Evolv100, and Solomon Stance 96.

Third place, Head e-Titan Supershape 84.

When I asked him, what should we do: use REI satisfaction policy, return Liberty Evolv100 and get you better skis, Kaestle 96Ti? He said, Kaestle cost twice as much, but they are not two times better, and Evolv100 are, ultimately, not bad skis, as long as there is no ice. We bought them as powder skis and should wait until we can test them in powder.

So, now we are waiting for powder. The forecast, however, shows a late spring weather for the next 10 days, sunny and up to 50 degrees on the mountain.

P.S. it is kind of funny and weird, but after I skied a couple of runs on Evolv100 with full effort (without effort it was more or less scraping snow on skis which refuse to ski), I definitely felt that I could ski better when I got back on slalom skis - they kind of forced me to do the right things :)
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby HeluvaSkier » Sun Feb 06, 2022 5:47 pm

Good review. None of the impressions shock me, especially the ice comment. I was able to combat the ice performance on mine with a VERY sharp tune, but they are still not very damp, despite holding. Where my Evolv90 really shines is spring slush... Make sure you take these out when it gets warm this spring. No doubt, the Kastle would be a superior ski in snow feel, quality, and performance... If money is no object, go for it... I could make a similar list of skis that would probably blow the Kastle away... but again, you'll pay. If you're looking for a specialized ski that will only come out on certain days, the 100 isn't a bad place to look, especially since these can often be had for $200-$300.
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby jbotti » Mon Feb 07, 2022 11:36 am

Ani, if you use the Evolve's for powder and soft snow off-piste skiing, they are fun and user friendly skis. Edge hold on groomers is not their strong suit and they should never be taken out on ice!
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby AnI » Mon Feb 07, 2022 3:46 pm

HeluvaSkier, jbotti, I agree with you, this was not a particularly value added exercise. I keep my fingers crossed that the winter on our coast is not over yet and more fresh snow is to come. The weather pattern here in Oregon is unusually dry for this time of the year, sunny every day as far as the forecast goes. WA-OR-CA ski resorts expect to see temperatures in the low 50s in the next several days.

HeluvaSkier, would you be willing to share your list of skis which you think are superb? Mount Bachelor, as it turned out, has quite a few of different brands and models of demo skis (in the midfat and wider groups, no slalom). It is good to have a list of fun skis to try, especially skis which people on this forum tried and liked. We might be headed there again later this month, and, who knows, maybe we will repeat the demo thing with a few more skis (in the slush??).
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby HeluvaSkier » Mon Feb 07, 2022 5:12 pm

AnI wrote:HeluvaSkier, would you be willing to share your list of skis which you think are superb?


Shoot me a PM. It is likely my list is not suitable for typical PMTS skiing as my preferred skis don't always sync with skis that are typically recommended. I'd rather have a list from JB on the forum publicly.
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby jbotti » Tue Feb 08, 2022 3:04 pm

HeluvaSkier wrote:
AnI wrote:HeluvaSkier, would you be willing to share your list of skis which you think are superb?


I'd rather have a list from JB on the forum publicly.


There just aren't enough good skis that I have tried to put together a list. There are a lot of skis that are rather one dimensional, meaning they ski pow and chop pretty well and make those conditions easier to ski, but do nothing else particularly well. The Kastle FX 95/96, The Kore 99 and Kore 105, The Liberty Evolve 100 (have not skied the 90), Liberty V 92 and we could add a long list of Rocker 2.0 and 3.0 skis that all make skiing Pow and chop easier for the average skier but fail miserably at everything else (not to mention they have so much tail rocker that you WILL start pivoting on them and give away your hard earned PMTS movements).

What Harald has always tried to do is find skis that reward PMTS movements and that will ski off piste and on piste equally well. The Head Rock N Rolls are gone. The Head Monster 88s are almost gone (I still see a few pairs in limited sizes on Ebay). That leaves the Kastle MX 88 and probably its younger brother the MX 83 ( I have not tried it) as PMTS all mountain skis. Lets add to that the new Head SS e-Titan. None of these have a width or the float that anyone currently thinks of as powder skis.

I ski the MX 88 in everything, even 2 feet of fresh, which we rarely get in Montana. But if you want and need a fat/wide powder ski, in todays market you are going to have to make compromises. And there really isn't anything wrong with taking out a fairly heavily rockered ski, 3-4X per year because it helps one ski pow better and to have more fun on those days. Just put it away when the pow is gone.

And if we are talking more one dimensional skis, one can easily build a decent sized list of skis that will work fine. I guess its easier for me to demo skis than for most people. My home mountain carries all the newest rockered skis and the skiers there flock toward those skis. I have reviewed the bulk of the names mentioned in this post. There are issues with most or all of them but many of them will work great and be fun for most in the right conditions.
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby jbotti » Tue Feb 08, 2022 3:31 pm

I will also say that for all the intermediate to advancing skiers on my home mountain that ask me for an easy to ski, all mountain ski (these are non PMTS skiers) for pow and chop, I universally recommend that they try the Head Kores. And everyone who I have told to demo a pair ends up owning a pair and they all tell me that they love them.

Here is my review on the Kore 93. I have also skied the 99 and the 105 and I would say they all ski pretty similar, just wider and less responsive as you go up in width. They are all over ebay and you can get them cheap. One could do a lot worse as dedicated pow ski.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5252
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby AnI » Thu Feb 10, 2022 7:06 pm

jbotti, could not resist: I opened the link to your review of Head Kore, and was full of joy when you wrote that you hated Rossi S7! I still have Rossi S7, they are still in an very good shape because I use them so rarely, and I totally, absolutely hate them - except days in a deep power in Utah, when they behave just fine. On anything less then deep, they are pretty much anti-PMTS in everything they do.

So glad that I am not alone in this feeling :)

Thank you for your additional comments!
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby jbotti » Fri Feb 11, 2022 10:31 am

I do think its good that the industry has moved to Rocker 2.0 and 3.0. While we may never love those skis either, they are way better than Rocker 1.0 (S7 style rocker). Having said that, many people (generally non PMTS skiers) just loved the S7 and for intermediate off-piste skiers, those skis were game changers.
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby jbotti » Fri Feb 11, 2022 10:38 am

I wonder and hope that the ski industry will end up like the golf industry. When Calloway first introduced the Big Bertha irons, everyone made a knock off and these super forgiving irons were all the rage. Now some 25 years later, the industry realized that good players wanted and needed less forgiving clubs that produced a more boring flight on the ball. And the innovation that has occurred in clubs for good players has been nothing short of amazing. We can all hope that the ski industry eventually heads in that direction. We are seeing some of it, as Kastle's full camber MX line is a strong selling line. And rocker 3.0 is much more subtle than 1.0 and 2.0. But we still have a ways to go before we see lots of quality skis for good PMTS skiers.
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby AnI » Tue Feb 22, 2022 9:25 pm

A short update. Finally, snow returned to the Pacific NW. 18 inches on Sunday and Monday were destroyed by holiday crowds, we went to our local mountain on Tuesday (today). Ice was covered with new, skier compacted snow, and the mountain reported 4 inches of fresh overnight. Not exactly a powder day, but much more appropriate for these skis. Today, we found a true strength of these skis: this is skiing on heavy snow, also known as NW cement, Sierra cement [and California powder :(]. The snow that tries to slow you down and attempts to take your ski. Let me take a step back and say that for some, hard to explain reasons, quality of snow was very variable today and depended dramatically on where you are on the mountain. Some areas had wind compressed, incredibly heavy snow, some of the heaviest I seen, while others (especially at lower, wind protected altitude) had much softer and lighter snow. Not Utah or Colorado light, but light by our standards. In softer snow, these skis felt a little heavy, but in heavier snow they showed an impressive ability of cutting through the heavy stuff without hesitation or effort. These are probably the best skis I tried so far for that type of conditions.

Stability at high speeds has been confirmed again. On groomed runs with new snow, without ice, the skis were OK.

It was mentioned before by HeluvaSkier that Liberty skis are good for spring slush. This no longer surprises me because there is some similarity between spring slush and heavy snow that we often see on the west coast. Both have high moisture content and heavy.
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Re: Reasonably PMTS compatible powder skis?

Postby gozoogle » Mon Mar 14, 2022 6:07 am

jbotti wrote:There just aren't enough good skis that I have tried to put together a list. There are a lot of skis that are rather one dimensional, meaning they ski pow and chop pretty well and make those conditions easier to ski, but do nothing else particularly well. The Kastle FX 95/96, The Kore 99 and Kore 105, The Liberty Evolve 100 (have not skied the 90), Liberty V 92 and we could add a long list of Rocker 2.0 and 3.0 skis that all make skiing Pow and chop easier for the average skier but fail miserably at everything else (not to mention they have so much tail rocker that you WILL start pivoting on them and give away your hard earned PMTS movements).


Curious if you’ve tried any of these below and how you would compare them to the MX88?

Stockli Laser AR (83/84) or SR 88
Blossom AM 85 (the Whiteouts are 77?)
Augment All Mountain 88
New kid on the block: https://www.stereoskis.com/product/piste-v3/

Searching for a mid to high 80s “east coast powder” ski; oxymoron I know. Meaning days when you get about a foot but still hit some patches of ice underneath so it can’t be a total fail on ice. And don’t want anything that would degrade PMTS learning.

Price is not an issue; leaning towards Augment and Stockli AR.
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