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Preferred width for a Wasatch backcountry ski

Original Post
KC Utah · · Layton, UT · Joined May 2010 · Points: 30

Hey all, I am looking to get an AT set up to go backcountry this season. I have noticed that there are some crazy wide powder skis out there these days. What is your preferred shovel width for Wasatch skiing?

kBobby Hanson · · Spokane, WA · Joined Oct 2001 · Points: 1,245

130+ for deep days. Less for most other days.

I ride 131-98-116 x 174cm on deep days:
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These are 114-78-105 x 175cm and super light:

BC skiing Silverfork, BCC, UT

Boissal - · · Small Lake, UT · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 1,363

As wide as your scrawny legs can drag uphill.
My daily driver is 140/120/125, I take the skinny sticks out for long or really steep days (130/125/?) and megawatts for deep days.

Unless you want to log more than 5000' vert a day fat skis make perfect sense in the Wasnatch. Opinipons though...

Ty Falk · · Park City, UT · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 270

I typicaly think of widths of siks by underfoot size not tip size. That being said I ski a 106 under foot ski everyday in the Wasatch BC. They are 130-106-120. I would stay away from a ski under 90mm underfoot for a everyday wasatch bc ski.

mattnorville Norv · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 90

Ken, depending on what size you are looking for I may have some skis if you are looking to buy. I got some Atomic Drifters that may be for sale

Landon McBrayer · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 440

Underfoot width is more important than shovel width. 110-120 waist is perfect for the Wasatch if you only have one ski (this, of course, is not uncontroversial). If AT is your game, you'll be able to find a hand ful of wide-ish skis that are still super light.

Carl Dixon · · Boulder · Joined May 2007 · Points: 25

I have some 102mm waist BD Verdicts for sale cheap it that's what you're looking for.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,421

You might want to target the skinny dimension underfoot as you'll need that size to buy skins.

I've been on the Dynafit Manaslu for a couple seasons now. 95 underfoot. I think that's a nice size for weight and still getting a fair bit of fun float especially for low angle daze when the avy hazard is not great.

Wild how wide skis have got. I thought my Voile Mountain Surfs were wide 10 years ago at 88 in the middle.

Get too heavy a set up, and, unless you're uber'll be hardpressed to do much longer touring and still feel like another lap. Wait a second...yeah, find some nice super fats...120 mid minimum...good to go. Ha ha.

Most of us have more than one ski in the ol''d my Surfs yesterday...and...they lost a bit off the bottom...scrappy out there! Too funny, a feller coming up the trail stopped for a chat, and, we commented on how it was a day to be on the rock skis. He mentioned he only had one pair of backcountry skis and they were brand new. "Well, looks like you're going to have a pair of rock skis after today."

ddriver · · SLC · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 626

I only weigh 140 and an 88 waist is fine for me.

Stan Pitcher · · SLC, UT · Joined Oct 2002 · Points: 205

I weigh 200 and a stiff 84 works for me. Gotta decide if you wanna be in the pow or on the pow?

Tyson · · Seattle, WA · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 1

I ski Lotus 138s (138 underfoot) for any shots that are close to the road. They aren't much heavier than a lot of "bc-specific skis" and it's worth every step when I'm skiing deep pow. I've done plenty of 5K+ days on that rig. I couldn't imagine any other ski for Kessler/Superior/Wolvie/etc.

For all-day tours or not-deep days I'm on something 99-112 underfoot.

On the uptrack your biggest efficiency gains will be made in binding choice. I'd way rather have a fat/wide ski with a Dynafit binding than a superlight flimsy ski with a Duke/Fritschi/etc.

As they say: opinions abound and everyone has a different approach.

bus driver · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 1,075

People used to say that 210cm tele skis that were like 60mm underfoot were the best in wasatch powder.

The snow here is so good on some days it really doesn't matter what size of ski you are riding. On the other days . . . a nice fat ski with some rocker in the front and some in the back will keep the sailing smooth. The rocker keeps you up and rippin even when it gets "upside down" "layer cake""too deep to ski" or "dust on crust".

Basically big fat and rockered skis make more pow feel like good pow and more days feel like good pow days.

btw. My skis are 150 122 150 and are kinked in the front and the back. Worth the few extra ounces on the way up. The rocker handles the nasty wind scoured stuff better than cambered skis also.

Ty Gregory · · Salt Lake City · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 115

This is a website dedicated to mountain and rock climbing, not skiing. Cease and desist.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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