Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ski Shopping for Jonny Jay

OK, enough about resort development, let's talk about SKIS.

Jonny Jay has concluded that the Solly X-Scream Pilot Extra Hots may be a bit long in the tooth and that it is time for new boards. Since I, through my association with the Official Ski Shop, am the default ski acquisitor (is that a word?) of this crew, here are the SBR-recommended skis for our fearless leader. Since our humble blog now seems to have a bit of a following outside the family, I should explain the criteria.

We are seeking the perfect "quiver of one" ski for Jay Peak, in all conditions. The skier in question has impeccably smooth technique, rooted in old-school, feet-together style, honed by many years on his home hill. That said, none of us are getting any younger, so a ski that is light, responsive, powder-friendly but capable of being dialed back when the legs get a bit tired is the order of the day. This ski will be the perfect ski for the expert eastern skier who skis in all conditions. Tall order, or what!?

In general, I think the ski will have a 90 to 100 mm waist, a fair bit of sidecut and possibly some tip rocker for the powder days. Plus, the graphics can't be too wierd or vibrant. The current generation of rockered skis claim to be capable on hardpack but, with the exception of the Green Beret, none of us has actually tried a pair, so I think the jury is still out on full rockered skis. The GB, now firmly planted in the Wild West,  actually has two pairs, K2 Hellbents and 4FRNT EHP Pros, and seems to prefer the 4FRNTs.

So, without further ado, I present the SBR list of recommended skis for Jonny Jay at Jay Peak, in alphabetical order. Skis marked with an * are available through the Official Ski Shop. For anything else, you are on your own. There are a lot of skis left out here, I've focused on those that are readily available or, for some reason or another, just stand out in the crowd.


MSP: I seriously considered this ski when shopping for myself last year. It gets rave reviews from expert skiers as an "all-round" ski and has pretty groovy graphics. I decided against it mostly because I thought it might be a bit on the stiff side for me. Maybe not the ideal ski for JJ but probably the perfect ski for Pudd or his hard-charging brother. Here is one review and then another.


Access: Don't know much about this ski except what I read in the Powder Buyer's Guide. It has the right dimensions and is not overly hideous. I did track down a few vague reviews and they all seemed highly positive. You generally can't go wrong with Atomics.

Blog: What a great name for a ski! I must have them. This ski has full rocker plus camber. It would be a great candidate for the "quiver of two." Seems to get mixed reviews but I would really like to try a pair.


Wailer 95 or 105: When you win the lottery, these are the skis to get. Handmade, high-tech and have a huge cult following among the cognoscenti.


Spire: Flat tail, tip rocker, very light, quick turning. In theory, this may be the ideal ski for JJ at JP. And if it is good enough for Glen Plake, it is good enough for me. No reviews to be found.


Hardside: Similar specs to the Elan above and gets some good reviews. It might take a while to get used to the paint job but it would be fun to hear Jonny sing the "rocky K2" song again.


Prophet 90 or 100: I love my Prophet 100s. They are reasonably light and do it all at Jay Peak: turny in the soft stuff,  surprisingly nimble in bumps and seem to have no speed limit on hardpack groomers. Dogski said he thought I became a better skier on them. The 90 would be a little quicker edge to edge. I am still wondering if I should have got the 179s instead of the 172, despite the sage advice. Graphics are outstanding.

Prophet 115: I was very tempted to sell to P100s and get these. Sanity ruled, they might be a bit fat for a little guy's "daily driver." This again, could be the ski for Pudd or a second ski for JJ or I.


This "boutique" ski company has a big following and the skis are pretty affordable, even though you have to buy direct, on-line. The Billy Goat would be a great second pair of rockered fat skis for the "big" days, as professed here.


It seems we are a Salomon family. JJ and the GB both had the original X-Screams, JJ now has the Xtra-hots, Pudd rocks the magical Guns, Ron has the Crossmax, Throckmorton the Lords and I think almost all of us have Salomon bindings and/or boots. There also seems to be a love affair around here  with French skis: Salomon, Dynamic, Dynastar and Rossignol are all found in the ancient ski quivers of the Jonny Jay Ski Club.

Sentinel: This might be the Xtra-Hot for the new age. Like the Elan Spire and K2 Hardside, the Sentinel sports a rockered tip and flat tail but the graphics are way more understated. I don't think we need to read reviews, we just know these skis will work. You can read a strange but generally positive review here.

Shogun: Need to step out and go big? This could be it, though I think you'd be better off with the Line P100. The graphics are bizarre but not horrendous.


The coolest-looking skis on the planet. They probably ski well too.  Ullr's Chariot would be the pick.


The Gotama is seems to be the "go-to" everday ski of most western skiers. It may be a bit big for an old fart's everyday Jay Peak ski. You might consider the Mantra, which has a large following, though most reviews call it a "fat GS ski" and find it a bit on the stiff side. Graphics are very cool on both.


  1. SBR you are OUTTA control. I need guidance in this said same arena. Although you'd have to compensate for like say 200 inches less snow. HELP. ;0

  2. Harv, I don't think you can go wrong with any of the skis above. For tele-skiing at a less snowy area, you might consider something a bit slimmer, say in the 85 to 95 mm range. I think the Line Prophet 90 (or something similar) is the ski for you.

  3. How about the Fischer Watea 94? This will be my new BC ski for this coming season. Also surprised that the K2 Coomback did not make your list, that seems like a winner and has a little rocker which the Watea 94 does not. Might not be a great everyday ski though... you need something for when there is no fresh snow or early season.

    I agree that the Mantra is a fat GS ski. I enjoyed it more for ripping groomers than ripping trees. Though I know a lot of tree skiers that like it... it just didn't do it for me. I don't like skis with layers of metal in them for powder and tree skiing... too heavy and too stiff. Gotama seems a bit wide for everyday use.

    I say to heck with a quiver of one!! :)

  4. Steve, both those skis were considered. My nephew Pudd is very interested in the Coomback but I personally think it may not have the versatility and ice capability for JJ's "one ski do do it all."

    I don't know enough about the Fischers to make a recommendation and I couldn't find many reviews out there. I'll check out yours and take them under advisement, as the "Official Ski Shop" is a Fischer dealer. I have a pair of Fischer Big Stix 75, which you could probably call the predecessor to the Watea series. I use them for telemarking and they are a pleasant cruising ski but ultimately disappointing when you open it up.