I have yet to get my dad on a pair of 110+ underfoot skis. Not sure why, ’cause they are a blast. He’s getting close as he’s been seen on some 107 waist skis lately, but still, he needs to get with the program. Perhaps it’s an age thing. Personally, I use a lot of wider skis and have quite a bit of experience on the original BD Megawatt — and now their carbon enhanced version is a well used option in my quiver.
Only problem with fat skis is their fat weight. Thus, for days of big vert I do sometimes grab something with less girth. But how about the best of both worlds? Looks like that’s happening, as skis are getting lighter. By next winter, we’ll be able to rock a growing variety of fat planks with less weight penalty. Less strain on muscles and joints during the climb — but the best ski for the down.
The original Black Diamond Megawatts were on the heavy side but they skied great, albeit a little soft. Over the past few seasons I loved mine to death, and they now have the same flex as boiled pasta. When BD came out with the Carbon Megawatt I was eager to try out a pair of slick new boards with less mass. I’ve been skiing the Carbon Megas this season and am impressed.
In the past Black Diamond had a single Megawatt model that was unchanged for several years. For 2012/2013, they’ll have two versions: the Carbon Megawatt, and the Megawatt. The Carbon version keeps the same shape and rocker profile as previous years (147/120/126 for a 178) , with a layer of carbon fiber making it lighter and a bit stiffer. The standard Megawatt will be a completely different ski with a different shape, less rocker, and a metal layer. They probably should have used totally different names for less shopper confusion, but whatever.
I’m happy they didn’t alter the shape or the rocker for the Carbon Megawatt. The reduced weight and added stiffness are welcome changes. Carbon Megawatts weigh 9 pounds 5 ounces a pair (188 cm), about a pound lighter (for pair) than the original Megawatts. I had Dynaduke plates on my original Megas but installed inserts into the new sticks, saving a few more ounces.
As a side note, inserts are awesome! I have them in almost all my skis. The installation on the Carbon Megawatts was a little tricky since the skis were already drilled for Dynafits and my size boot. I attempted to use the same holes. Unfortunately the holes were slightly off, something that doesn’t matter for normal binding screws but is problematic for inserts. I tried and sure enough, a few of the inserts didn’t line up. Bummer! I filled the holes with JB weld and super fine steel wool, and then attempted to re-drill. I only needed to move the holes over less than a mm, so I used the milling machine in the engineering lab on campus to get them ultra precise. Surprisingly, I was able to drill them slightly off-center, and it worked. Using that mill to drill skis was like using a Ferrari to run errands, but it worked.
Oddly enough, one of the awesome features of the Megawatt is the graphics. I’m not much of a fan the graphics themselves (Why do all BD skis have to look the same? It’s so confusing!). However, the fact that they are white is worth it’s weight in gloppy PNW powder. Every time I’m skinning with the Megawatts I notice how much less snow sticks to them, particularly the white areas, compared to other people’s skis. I’ve noticed this on the white areas of other skis. I’ve even noticed it during socked-in Baker powder days, when you would think the dim sun would not effect the ski at all. When snow piles up on a big ski, it adds a ton of weight, effectively negating any sort of fancy lightweight yahoo carbon construction. Unfortunately next years Carbon Megawatts go back to a dark colored top sheet, although they also drop a significant amount of weight through the inclusion of even more carbon fiber. (It really is time for some ski painting.)
I’ve been skiing the C-Megas mostly on powder, with some crust, ice, bumps, and groomers mixed in. In pow of course they are awesome. I found the added stiffness didn’t make them less playful, while they were slightly more confident at speed. In variable conditions they perform well, although the width, softness, and slight pin tail shape make it a bit of a compromise. I’m comparing them to my old Megawatts, which are admittedly quite worn out. The reduced weight was definitely noticeable. Combine them with a light flexible boot and lightweight binding, and they are a great setup for human-powered vert.
Kudos to BD for taking a great ski and making it lighter. I’ve found myself choosing them more and more for skiing the past few weeks.
While they last, 25% off Black Diamond Carbon Megawatts here! They have the white graphics too (which will change next year along with how they’re made), so get ’em while they’re hot, I mean, cool.
Louie Dawson earned his Bachelor Degree in Industrial Design from Western Washington University in 2014. When he’s not skiing Mount Baker or somewhere equally as snowy, he’s thinking about new products to make ski mountaineering more fun and safe.