Ski Canada Magazine
SUPER FAT IS NOT WHERE IT’S AT
Five years ago K2 had at least four skis with waist widths of more than 120mm. Today they have two. To Mike Hattrup, a former pro skier and veteran industry insider (he’s worked for Marmot, K2, Fischer and recently joined Black Diamond), that says a lot about where waist widths are going.
“Super fat skis are great for the first run, but unless you’re heliskiing, most people need a ski for more conditions,” he says. “Super fat is just not that beneficial.”
Ski designers can create almost as much float just by playing with the ski’s characteristics. In addition to sidecut and width, they tinker with rocker, camber and taper. Where there was little difference between two GS skis 20 years ago, today two 100mm-width skis can have totally different personalities, says Hattrup.
“That makes it more challenging to choose a new pair of skis,” he acknowledges. “The good news is that if you can figure out what you like, in terms of sidecut, rocker, taper, etc., then you can have a pretty good idea of what a ski is going to feel like on snow just by looking at its dimensions on paper.”
With all these variables to play with, the evolution of allmountain and freeride skis is now focused on refinements within the 90 to 115mm range. And particularly with skis that can pivot between resort and backcountry.
“It’s a hangover from last year when people didn’t know if resorts were going to close,” Hattrup says. “I think the touring-capable skis and bindings are so proficient at the resort there’s not a huge sacrifice anymore.”