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All Mountain skis - minimum waist size?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Does any snowhead have views on the minimum waist size required for an all mountain ski?

I have just returned form a powder course and the instructor was saying that the minimum waist size to ski powder is 74mm ( this may be because he was skiing on Dynastar Inituitive 74 - which has that waist size).
I had previously read somewhere that 70mm was the critical size.

In any case my current skis (Atomic Beta Ride 9.20) are too narrow at 66mm.

They say that you should look for a ski which is good in the conditions in which you are weakest. In my case this means ice,deepish powder and moguls.

I tried some rather tired Screams on the last day - more floatation but rather plank-like. Other guys said the same of the Bandit B2 and the Dynastar Inituitive 74 skis they were on.

I have seen a review that rates the K2 Apache Crossfire as a great all-round ski - even good on ice and moguls as well as powder ( which is what I am looking for) - but it also gives the waist as being only 68mm.
Does anyone who is not an expert skier have good experiences of using a ski that narrow in deepish powder?

Thanks,
Ian
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
crud-cutter, When you say All-mountain - what do you mean ? All mountain piste or all mountain, off piste ? The more you ski off-piste, the fatter you can go.

There is no minimum waste size for skiing off piste, but fatter will give you more stability and more float. Fatter also means heavier, and (despite what the ads say), less good grip on ice.

I have skied powder for years on touring skis, waist size 68mm, they felt fine. I've also skied 150cm 9S slalom skis off piste, and they were fine too - if tiring.

Lot's of people rave about the B2 - it's a great all round ski. The best (only) way is to demo some, and then make a choice. Remember that if you are going for an off piste (La Grave, Alagna, Fernie) week, you'll probably want to go even fatter ..... Toofy Grin
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Nothing at all wrong with Intuitives 74s as an all mountain ski IMO and it is a fave ski with guides for this reason.
If you book a guided tour and don't know what to expect condition wise, this is why you take this kind of ski. The B2 and old XX's are the same, good in all kinds of conditions. If it is a perfect powder day you may want to go wider with PR's or something but I think you should aim to be comfortable on what you know.
I have done routes in the past and instead of powder got every type of snow you didn't want, this is why I feel you need a ski you know you can rely on and get round.

Depending on how long you have skied you could be able to ski anything on anything but for me 74-76 at the waist is a good start for an all-round ski for the week. If you have time to change skis for certain conditions then great but circumstances may inhibit this.

Americans on this board will say try the Atomic Metron b5 which is supposed to do it all. I couldn't try it but the reviews stateside are very good. It has less appeal here but I don't know why.

The skis I would look at for ALL mountain would be
The b5
Rossi B2
Head Monster m 75
Dynastar 6200
Head Mad Trix.......all aound 74-76 waist
And all these skis should excel in deep snow and cover the other bases very well.
But if you are asing is there one ski that does it all, I would say, no, there is always a compromise.
That's why a lot of people on these boards carry two/three pairs for what ever conditions they get...

And if you want to keep your Atomics then look at Apache Recons and the like, skis which start at 80m at the waist. They will be really helpful in deep snow although I think the above skis should be more than enough
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Tend to agree with ski - the choice really does depend how much you ski off-piste and what your ambitions are.

'All-mountain' is a confusing marketing term at the best of times. For what it's worth (?not much?) - I reckon the last ski-test in Fall-Line magazine got it about right on ski categories. Fall-Line's test categories were;
'All Mountain'
'Race Skis'
'Freeride'
'Freestyle'
'Big Mountain'
'Back Country Freestyle'

The B2 and most of JT's picks above would be 'Freeride' in their definition (i.e. go fast in powder and crud, hold it together on the piste but pistes are not what you're really out there for). The Atomic b5 they've chucked in the 'All Mountain' though - more piste-oriented than not, but with those dimensions it's a bit of a freak.

Their 'All Mountain' is basically a catch-all for the mainstream skis that aren't in the other more specialist categories. All-mountain waist dimensions there are 64 to 70mm, average looks about 68.

Quote:
"Your customary all-mountain ski reflects the sort of skiing most skiers do most of the time, translating as plentiful piste cruising with the occasional foray off-piste. It's a catch-all category ranging from newbie-suitable cruisers to tail-loaded skier-cross models; there are even a few skis that could live in the race category without being shamed.

All mountain hints at skis that are the most versatile out there. At least two other categories could take issue with such a claim - freeride and freestyle - offering more width underfoot for off-piste or twin-tips for doubling the number of ways you can go down a hill. But that's not what most skiers do.
....
If you're skiing a week or so a year you could happily match a pair of these skis to your ability and ambitions and still be having blast on them in five years. Plenty of our testers, running at 80 per cent effort - the lazy slackers - couldn't tell the difference between the top-end models here and their course-specific brethren tested later."


I agree with JT though it's always a compromise, but if your ambitions are mostly off-piste from here on, and you only want one pair of skis, then a Freeride ski of 75mm-ish is the way to go. If you're spending more than half your time cruising the piste then you're better off narrower.

And always demo as many different pairs as possible before you buy Very Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Heh, I would have defined freeride as being more piste-oriented than all-mountain. I would have said:

For bombing down the mountain, from piste friendly to powder friendly:
Race skis -> Freeride -> All Mountain -> Big Mountain

And for tricks, from piste to powder:
Freestyle -> Back Country Freestyle

Though most park skis are pretty wide anyways, and the difference is pretty slim there.
On a side note, what are the dimensions of a b5? Doesn't say on Atomic's site.
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crud-cutter, welcome to snowheads! snowHead snowHead snowHead

For an all mountain ski there is also the Volkl 724 range. I know the EXP has a 74mm waist, and I think the PRO is slightly fatter (also stiffer). The Apache Recon is quite good - a bit stiff for me - the Crossfire is softer I believe. But you are not going to get anything that is excellent in deep powder, on ice and on moguls, so figure out what you are most likely to ski, and demo for the days when conditions are opposite to what you have skis for - unless you can afford/carry a whole quiver of skis!

Oh yes, and thin waists in powder are skiable - my current skis are 65mm at the waist and I skied a fantastic powder day last month with them - knee to thigh deep, and snowing enough that our tracks were filled in before the next run! As always it is down to personal preference! Very Happy
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ponder,

I think, from memory the b5 is 128,76 and about 110. I am sure ssh will correct me. Skied short this gives it the freakish appearance that johnnyrotten, refers to.

Although it has received some rave reviews in the US, it is less well received here. I think this is because of the emphasis on carving. It may be a one off or it may be the shape of things to come but I've only read about them, have not tracked them down yet.
ssh has a thread on this and has some very positive veiws and referalls
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
crud-cutter,
And I would say that when I typed ALL mountain I was not really thinking of the marketing defintion that may be. I was trying to imply ALL mountain should mean all the mountain. As I think you may have meant.
For me this would be in a single trip, a ski that could cope very well with big dumps but worthy of keeping when the snow goes off. So it would need to handle the piste and hard-parked reds and blacks and go well in moguls.
So I would say all mountain should mean you can ski all the mountain. What the advertisers mean by it, I don't really care.
I find you have to do a bit of homework and read up about them. You get there in the end.
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ponder, I don't know what definition "all-mountain" has in Canada but over here in europe it is basically marketing speak for on-piste skis (i.e. it is a misnomer). They can handle a bit of limited off-piste but it is freeride or big mountain skis that you need if you intend to do serious exploration off the beaten track.

Freeride skis tend to have a waist width of 70mm and upward. Big mountain skis tend to be even wider, say 80mm and up. Freestyle skis have a similar width to help land jumps, which tends to make them useful off-piste as well. But as some have already pointed out, the classes blur into one another and most retail skis nowadays can do a bit of everything.
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Keep in mind that what's fat for a light-weight person (ie, gives them plenty of float), will almost certainly not act like a fat ski for a heavy-weight:

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=521

Tom / PM
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Yeah, I wasn't sure if I was right or not. In Canada, for snowboards, freeride generally refers to a stiffer, harder caving board than an all mountain board (though freeride can also sometimes refer to 180 cm powder monsters Smile ), so I figured it would be the same for skis. Have skied alot more than I have snowboarded, but was never too interested in equiptment specifics until the last couple years.
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My Head Monster im75 have a 74mm waist. I haven't really given them a powder work out hope to do that in Canada in 20 days time. On piste they were good and responsive and carved well. On ice and boiler plate they were adequate but I didn't feel that they excelled on ice but they weren't a problem. I did do some off piste in powder but nothing deeper than 12 inches. The skis floated well and I managed to stay upright which in powder for me is a first but its not an area where I am an expert.
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Physicsman, I've not heard of anyone picking ski-width based on their weight before. General practice (as far as I know) is to pick a ski length suitable for your weight and adjust up or down several cms depending on your ability & how much off-piste you intend to do. If a heavyweight skier finds he is sinking off-piste he needs to look at length as much as width.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
the ice perv, it's surface area more than length for off piste, so, if you had a 170cm ski that was 75mm wide, that's 1275cm^2
If you increase the ski length by 5cm, the area increases to 1312.5 (175cm, 75mm)
BUT
If you increase the ski width by 3mm, the area is 1326 (170cm, 78mm)
Increasing the width by 5mm (80mm), gives a greater area that increasing the length by 11cm
Increasing it way up to 95mm (the minimum width of my Seth Pistols), while staying at 170cm long, is equivalent to a 215cm ski that's 75mm wide. Or, to look at it another way, 2cm in width = 45cm in length!)

Yet, when on piste, a 170cm ski is a lot more manoeuvrable than a 215cm one, so if you're looking for one ski to do all, it's better to go a little bit wider than a lot longer.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Wear The Fox Hat, I wouldn't disagree with your last sentence at all: that is why freeride skis are wider than "all-mountain" (on-piste) skis, becoz they are designed to be more versatile.

While your figures make interesting reading (zzzzzzzz!) my point was that your weight/ability generally determines your ski-length; and then you pick your width and make adjustments depending on what purpose you want the ski for e.g. narrower under foot/more side cut for on-piste carving; wider under foot, slightly longer for off-piste floatation; wider under foot, with twin-tips for the half-pipe etc etc.

BTW are those figures net of sidecut and tips????!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
no, the figures were just illustrative of the difference in surface area of a rectangle where the width is <10% of the length.

Yes, I agree that weight and ability are important in choosing ski length, but if those are the only 3 variables that are considered, then there's a lot missing. Using that argument, why would I be going shorter and shorter on my on-piste skis? Surely, as has been true in the past, as your ability improves, your skis get longer. My current skis are 11cm shorter than the ones I took as my piste skis to Utah 12 months ago, yet my ability has improved.

But the point that PM is making is about Off-piste skis - it's to do with float.
When I bought my Pistols, my question was not "how long?", but "how wide?"
What WIDTH of skis do I need to float in powder?
If I have a long powder ski, and a short piste ski, then their characteristics are going to be totally different, but if both are of similar length then it will be a lot easier to switch from one to the other.
So, considering my weight, and my ability off-piste, the Seth Pistol was considered wide enough for float, yet I could go with a length I could ski.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Granted, there is an anomaly there, with piste skis seeming to get shorter year on year. As I understand it, advances in construction are leading to greater torsional stiffness, which in turn leads to more stability and edge hold for a certain length... which then allows skiers to go shorter and take advantage of the easier manageability of short planks.

When you picked your Pistols you obviously looked at width/type of ski first, then length, which is only natural: but would you agree that your "identical twin" in ability, experience, useage etc, would go for longer Pistols if he weighed significantly more than you? Or would he go for a different model entirely, with more width underfoot? Both approaches have merit, but I would go with the former.

Reading between the lines we seem to agree on more than we disagree, but please:- no more figures!

BTW where does "Wear The Fox Hat" come from anyway?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
the ice perv, if he's wanting to be able to switch skis without suffering from massive changes in handling characteristics, then he should look at something wider, in my opinion.

as for WTFH... you tell where "The Ice Perv" comes from first. Very Happy
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Well there you have it crud-cutter, (if you are still listening!) go longer... or wider....

or ignore us, demo both long and wide and take your pick!

the ice perv likes to ski on ice, which confuses his friends, who think he is strange... & perverted. Confused
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"wear the fox hat?" A scouse (or Irish?) query as to the location of somewhere? Very Happy
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johnnyrotten, IRISH, please!
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Russell,

I think you will love them in deep snow when you get it in Canada.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:
Americans on this board will say try the Atomic Metron b5 which is supposed to do it all.


Wife has the Metron 11s, which are same geometry as the b5s. There were superb in the varies conditions we had in Canada this month: excelllent floataion in the powder thanks to the large tip and tail, yet excellent grip on the 'ice', and past edge-to-edge on piste due to the (relatively) narrow waist.
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Just got back from La Grave. Lot's of folks skiing (badly !) on thin skis (B2 size or thinner). As soon as they tried Fatties....skiing much improved. Minimum waist size to be effective seemed to be 85mm. Note all of this was off piste.
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ski,

Must be the skiers as the B2 is a dream in deep snow/off piste. Skiing fatter certainly wouldn't hurt and may be most desirable but if they can't handle the snow on a B2 it isn't the ski IMO.
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