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The return of 99 underfoot
Posted: 21 December 2012 02:50 AM   [ Ignore ]
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So I've been thinking about skis a lot with the slow start to this winter and the basic lack of a winter that went down last year. We had gotten really spoiled here in Colorado with a series of epic winters all in succession. With that, the skis kept getting bigger and bigger. Finally, the sweet spot seemed to settle in some where between the 112 underfoot and the 115 underfoot. Namely, the wailer 112 from DPS and the JJ from Armada seemed to be every where. Nearly every ski company jumped into territory with really awesome skis. BD Amps, Rossi S7, Ski Logik Rockstars, Salomon Rocker2, every wanted in here.

Well, the start of this season was pretty slow going. It is turning on now, finally and not a moment too soon. However, it got me thinking of what that one ski quiver really is these days when we aren't faced with a glorious winter and powder up to our chins every day. When reality strikes and 115 underfoot actually doesn't make perfect sense. Where is that sweet spot of all around versatility, but still surfy and fun enough to float on powder, but stiff enough and lively enough to tear up groomers or steam roll crud.

I was talking to Hank the other day and a couple of other friends, and I'm starting to come back to thinking that 99 underfoot really is that all around sweetest spot and the DPS Wailer 99 just might be that ski. Maybe Hank will chime in here with his 2 cents. I know he has been out a lot lately up at Jones and Berthoud on his Wailer 99s with Dynafits.

Last year, when Marshal Olson of DPS was giving me the run down on the Wailer 99, he told me he thought that it was their best ski to date. At the time I was still caught up on endless powder and the glory of the Wailer 112 in those perfect conditions. Now that the reality has struck of those not so perfect conditions, I just might be convinced that 99 is where its at.

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Posted: 21 December 2012 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I am a fan of the 99mm one ski to rule them all mentality. If you want one backcountry/inbounds ski to ride on from October through June, then the 99 wailer is probably that ski. The big rockered tip means you get some float and lift when its deep, but the narrower underfoot means you can be quicker edge to edge, and you can really stand on the ski when it gets steep and conditions get hard to downright nasty.

However, after putting two seasons on Icelantic's Keepers and my first day (yesterday) riding their new Seekers, I have to say that in deeper snow, nothing compares to 115-120mm underneath your feet. The amount of float you get out of a ski that wide underfoot and with a gradual rockered tip, is on an entirely different level from that of a 99mm ski. And with more float comes a different turn shape and sensation in deep powder. The wider skis allow for a more natural/aggressive stance on the ski which means you can be much more active on the mountain, and less reactive/passive.

This dilemma plagues the mountain bike scene as well. Many riders find it difficult to select a XC/trail/all-mountain bike because each bike does something all little better than the others but with a sacrifice.

I will be the first to admit I am biased to the wider skis, because I am a bigger guy and I tend to ski pretty hard. I would love to hear some input from all sides on the issue. It would also be nice to get some input from people in the industry. I like the topic Dan, and look forward to the communities stance on the one quiver ski.
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Posted: 21 December 2012 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I agree that a smaller ski is needed in times of thinness. I don't think a one ski quiver exists. I have a 122 SkiLogik Bomb Squad that's perfect for those massive days. They are too heavy for really long days in the hills. I just got a pair of SkiLogik Yetis. They are 105 under foot and super light. I haven't skied them yet but the previous version that I was testing were great in mixed conditions and the soft that you encounter in the trees even when the wind had its way with the alpine zones. I also have the SkiLogik Piton which is 94 underfoot. This is more a mountaineering ski but was my go to ski last year. There were so many "bad' days, snow-wise last year that I could rarely justify the extra weight of a big ski. I've also skied the Howitzer which is 110 underfoot. This was my go to ski two years ago when we had reliable snow almost every time in the hills.

I think if you had to have one ski 95-105 would be the range that I'd go with. For those deeper days you'd get better penetration into the pack and therefore more faceshots. After all isn't it about how many faceshots you get smile For the sparser days you'd have a better time dealing with the mixed conditions that you will certainly encounter
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Posted: 26 December 2012 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I actually think that the Wailer 99 is the ultimate quiver of one ski for Colorado resort skiing. Rocker, flat tail and good underfoot to take on most conditions you will find at a Colorado resort.

My quiver is the 99s for resort, 112 pures for backcountry and the soon to be revamped 120 pures for powder.
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Posted: 26 December 2012 02:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I remember when 96 underfoot was considered a fat ski, as I am sure many people do as well. i always liked the 95-100 dimension, as it is nimble but still burly enough to bust through some crud. I find that on hard-pack my knees are much happier with a ski around 99, as opposed to the larger 115-120 dimension. I am not sure if it is technique or what, but the 99 underfoot seems more playful.

In deeper snow, give me something rockered and fat any day now though smile
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Posted: 27 December 2012 05:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Not sure you can have just one ski. I have a pair of Keepers and they can carve on groomers if needed but not something that I would ski October to June. I also have a pair of BD Drifters. My go to touring and groomer ski. They were the most versitle (except on hard pack). Got them to they for that reason knowing I would have to work a little harder in the powder. So far they ahve been fun in UT.

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Posted: 04 February 2013 08:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Well if you're stuck with just one ski, that's a bummer because there are too many conditions and types of skiing for anyone who's actually into skiing to have just one ski. But, if you are looking to just have one ski I'd have to say between 99-110. 110 is pushing it, but you can still have fun on groomers at that width, and it won't be too much if you get stuck in the bumps. A ski 99-110 underfoot would still have enough beef to handle variable conditions as well. If I were going to have one ski I think I'd go Armada TST, 102 under foot, 132 at its widest, you could have fun with that in most conditions. And most importantly, you can still charge in the soft stuff (though we don't seem to get any of that around here (Colorado) anymore)

The other big question is what length??? (If you could only have one ski, like a sucker) fyi: I'd go 183 on the TST
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