As we watched the forecast with great intent leading up to our visit to Japan, we could see that there was some potentially serious powder days heading our way. So with that, we made sure we took some handmade skis that were designed specifically for their powder ability and all-round performance.
In this post, we'll focus on the Fat-ypus D'riddum. These ones were 188 with a 5 point design giving specs of 134/143/118/138/129. Tested by Blackbird Ambassador, Michael Dixon.
The original 5 point ski design from Fat-ypus has a lightning quick turning ski because of its shortened edge contact length, but also carves long radius turns surprisingly well. The versatile nature of this rockered powder ski makes it a perfect ski for Japan as it would need to be nimble for the trees, float in the deep, but also provide the ability to chew through the chopped up snow, pop off booters and lay a carve on the way back to the lift.
Needless to say, these skis did not disappoint.
In the deep end:
They were everything I was hoping for: wide enough for great float, held a solid line when needed while still capable of being broken loose and thrown sideways at speed. Even in the standard flex version, which gave them a lovely rebound and very playful feel, still gave them enough stiffness to handle the chop and more firm sections. (I have also skied the M5 in Athlete Stiffness layout and can attest to the 'all-mountain' ability of these with the extra bite they provide on the firm stuff). The D'riddum can hold precision lines through chopped up snow, and allow for the tail to be loaded up to get a lot of pop, which is not there in all skis. You can let these skis rip wide open with big GS turns and you'd be mistaken for thinking you were on a narrower GS style ski. they exibit great stability at speed which really inspires confidence and something that I totally didn't expect from a 118 underfoot rockered powder ski.
On the rest of the hill:
The 15m radius is very apparent on hardpack and was exceptional on softer groomers. Japanese corduroy is a thing of beauty first up in the morning and it is usually ripped apart by speeding carvers in a matter of runs. So to be out there laying these over on edge and making tight turns, I was giggling all the way down. As these are wide, you have to ensure you get your weight over the steel to get them to trench, and the shorter radius was great in helping to go edge to edge. These skis were great at speed as well, with very little chatter. Due to the nice camber underfoot, these skis never felt overpowered or felt that the tails would break loose early when exiting turns. Considering the amount of rocker there is, they were quite precise for their width.
Out the back:
Teamed up with a set of Daymaker Alpine Adapters and some G3 Skins, we took them out the back on a day tour of the Hakuba Backcountry. As these skis don't have any metal, they are pretty light for their size, and keeping the alpine bindings on there (not a set of full AT Dukes), they were reasonably adept at walking in the trail. I don't know if I would like to walk in these for days on end, but for the touring we did, they were great.
Their performance in the backcountry powder (while not as deep as our tree day at Cortina earlier in the week) was excellent and there were tracks made deep in the countryside.
What an amazing powder ski. Not only for its powder performance, but its ability to be an all-mountain performer when needed, making it very versatile. You may think that these are possibly a bit too wide for an all-mountain ski in our firmer Australian conditions, but I feel that it would hold its own, be a whole lot of fun and get you all over the mountain. It would be an excellent choice for any overseas trips, or Australian Backcountry touring when it's fresh, and even ripping our spring corn with ease.
Demo a pair this season and see what you think. You may just be surprised.
Chest deep pow in the trees at Cortina.
Michael (in red) about to head out into the backcountry at the head of the trail.
Skinning up the trail.
Earning your turns has its rewards... fresh pow out the back for days. Fat-ypus D'riddums showing how much they love soft snow.
Cheers - T