Intro from Lou: Ever been in a ski bum rental house? Lived in one? Most such dwellings retain a scary edge of un-repaired appliances, stove burners that smoke as they cook off the last ten meal’s bacon grease, and dishwashers that shudder through their terminal load the same morning you’re waxing for an eighteen inch dump.
If the winter is big, sometimes our own beautiful home starts a downward spiral. Toilet hissing and burbling? Leave it for later and just turn the shutoff on and off to flush it. Roof need shoveling? It’ll live for another week. But when it’s a few days before Valentine’s day and your dishwasher quits, you’d better install another one or V-day may cease to have much meaning in your life.
Yet to paraphrase Warren Miller, even when you’re installing a new dishwasher, someone, somewhere is skiing. In this case, our guest blogger and Aspen Skiing Company powder guide Bob Perlmutter was indeed up there in his element. More, he was hosting a gaggle of journalists trying out Black Diamond’s new skis. Thus, Bob joined the esteemed scribes at their own game and filed this interesting review of BD’s new Megawat widebody reverse camber ski. I’m sure glad guys like Bob are around, so I have time to fix dishwashers instead of banging out perfect powder laps. According to Bob:
Review – Black Diamond Megawatt Ski
by Bob Perlmutter
Is it appropriate to giggle and laugh while skiing? Because that’s what I kept finding myself doing while riding Black Diamond’s new ski, the Megawatt. Was it because the ski seemed so unlikely or because I was just having that much fun? It was initially because of the former but ultimately because of the latter. I kept thinking it must be illegal having this much fun — and kept exceeding my own personal speed limit, on purpose, on a ski that on first glance appears nothing less than strange.
|Bob on the Megawatts.|
Megawatt is a wide(153-125-130), zero camber ski with a rockered tip. It comes in one size only, 188cm. I am hesitant to call this solely a powder ski, as our perceptions of what’s inside or outside the box (or if a box even exists anymore) are being shattered and obliterated on a daily basis. Let’s just call this a primarily off-piste tool and leave it up to imagination to come up with the Megawatt’s limits, if any.
The group I was with included male and female freeheel and alpine skiers of varying shapes, sizes and abilities. We kept trading pairs of Megawatt’s back and forth throughout a day of cat skiing with the Aspen Mountain Powder Tours, in boot top powder Regardless, everyone seemed right at home on the user friendly wide body planks. I watched slightly struggling skiers become smooth soft snow glisse specialists and hard chargers up the ante one more level.
|Black Diamond Megawatt.|
At first I was a bit concerned about the long length but felt comfortable from the very first turn. The reverse camber tip provides good float, easy turn initiation and smooth transitions over any chop or mank, but does not figure substantially into the running surface equation. The effective shorter running surface combined with an overall soft flex and light feel made for very easy and relaxed medium radius turns. That said, the wide body and damp feel allowed one to put the pedal to the metal and let the wind blow back your hair for a stable ride. If I wanted to feel some pop or make a quick move in the trees then all I needed to do was push a little more under the foot and the ski came right back at me or the radius of my turn shortened up nicely.
Is the Megawatt a backcountry touring ski? This question really applies to all reverse camber skis. The effectiveness of climbing with skins is a function of having as much of the surface area of the ski covered by the skins and in contact with the snow as possible. Reverse camber skis by their very nature eliminate a certain amount of skin/snow contact and thus may make for less effective climbing while backcountry skiing. I have no doubt some people will see the advantage of skiing reverse camber skis outweigh the loss of climbing performance, and I’ll be watching to see how common it becomes to climb on this type of plank.
Lastly, I finished the day with a run down Aspen Mt. to see how the Megawatt would handle packed snow. They felt a bit like an old Cadillac on the freeway; certainly capable of turning but nothing was going to happen in a hurry. They felt more responsive and started to come to life as I allowed the speed to pick up.
All in all, Megawatt is about as much fun as one can have in soft snow. Let people stop and stare because eventually you will be viewed not as weird but at the vanguard of a new movement. Make room for yet one more pair of skis in the quiver because here they come.
Bob Perlmutter and his wife Sue live in Aspen where Bob manages Aspen Mountain Powder Tours, a snowcat skiing operation. Bob has sought adventure skiing over the past thirty years, in the nearby Elk Mountains as well as numerous locales around the world. Presently, he is reeling it in close to home to embark on his biggest adventure yet, fatherhood.