2013-2014 Fischer Watea 106

Groomed Snow Carving

On groomed snow, the Watea 106 arcs well, as expected. It felt locked down when carving on the groomed runs off the Vulcano lift, and I enjoyed linking arcs all the way across the hill.

The Watea 106 carved best from a more aggressive, forward stance than the Atomic Ritual.

At medium to high speeds, when I drove my knees forward and created substantial angles, I was able to bend the ski into a variety of turn shapes—from slalom to Super-G radius.

At the top of the turn, the tips hook up easily. Through the middle of the turn, the ski is very stable at high speeds on both freshly groomed snow and on more variable on-piste chop (i.e., afternoon spring mank).

The Watea 106 finishes turns very well for a ski that is 106mm wide, though it doesn’t throw you into the next turn like a more dedicated carver (e.g., the Kastle MX88). On hard, groomed snow, the Watea 106 was damp and stable, but never felt dead or rebound-deficient. Of all the skis we’ve had down in Las Leñas, including the ones I’ve skied (Atomic Ritual, Dynastar Cham 107, the Kastle XX110 and Salomon Rocker 2, 115), the Watea 106 was easily the best carver of the bunch.

Groomed Snow Sliding and Other Turn Shapes

At high speeds on trail, feathering the tail and other mid-turn adjustments on the Watea 106 have to be done deliberately, as the stiff, flat tail does not release or slide as easily as a rockered or turned-up tail would. If I stayed forward and aggressive, I could feather the tails, but if I was in the backseat, the Watea 106 wanted to stay on the original arc. It is possible to skid or slarve the Watea 106 at high speed as long as you are willing to work.

When I approached slow signs and was whistled at by the speed police, I slid some shorter-radius turns, and the Watea 106 was responsive and damp. At lower speeds, the rockered tip allowed me to steer the front of the ski easily at the top of the turn, and the flat tail slid through the turn predictably.

Mank / Corn

When the temperatures warmed up and the groomers began to corn, the Watea 106 ripped through the light mank masterfully. I did not have to adjust my technique from flat, cold groomed snow, and, if anything, the corn allowed me to make those slarvier turns on trail easier than I could when the groomed snow was flat and cold.

When the corn got to its peak and started to develop more into bumps than piles, I had to slow it down to retain the level of control I wanted with the stiff tail. I could steer the tips easily, but the tails did not absorb the bumps whatsoever. In the bumps, this ski requires effort.

Some Conclusions

As a result of the demanding nature of this ski and its very traditional mounting point, this ski felt like an off-piste GS ski. It wants to be charging at all times, and as soon as you throw in the towel, the ski will punish you. Heavier expert skiers will love this ski, and probably have less trouble than I had when I encountered variable conditions. Intermediate skiers who have tried rockered skis but prefer a more traditional style may enjoy this ski in a shorter length, but there are easier skis with similar design elements, such as the Atomic Access, that might be a better fit.

Ryan Caspar, Fischer Watea 106, Blister Gear Review
Ryan Caspar, Mercurio, Las Leñas Ski Resort.

For all skiers, I would not recommend upsizing to account for rocker, as people often do with skis these days. With the exception of full-on hard-snow carving, the Watea 106 definitely skis like a 190.

Bottom Line:

For high-speed, aggressive big-mountain skiing in steep chutes, and open aprons in pow, crud, or chalk, the Watea 106 is stable and predictable. The Watea 106 also rails groomers and spring conditions with aplomb. But this ski is not for the faint of heart. If you have a tendency to get lazy or tired, or like a ski that “skis for you,” do not buy this ski.

If, however, you are an advanced or expert skier and want a tool with a precise, traditional feel and a solid backbone, buy this ski now.

 

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9 comments on “2013-2014 Fischer Watea 106”

  1. If someone were to weight, say, another 40lbs (I’m 6′ and 185lbs in a t-shirt and shorts), do you think that person could make them play a little more, and smear through trees, while still retaining most of the stability? Obviously, it would take a strong pilot, but I’m curious what a heavier skier would think of these guys.

    • As I mentioned in the review, I was able to make the Watea 106 smear and pivot a little bit in the lighter, deeper pockets I encountered. The playful turns on this ski required a different skiing style than those I would make on something that is softer, more center mounted and tail rockered, like the Atomic Ritual.

      In deeper, soft snow when the ski is planing I think a strong skier will be able make them smear through trees, but this will not be the effortless smearing that many of us have become used to on wider ski with rockered tips and tails.

      I do not expect any loss of stability for a heavier skier, but I anticipate less effort required to make surfier slashes and pivots, however, this is not the forte of this ski. Due to the very aft mounting point, you cannot make the surf style turns from a neutral stance, a more aggressive, deliberate smearing move has to be made to drive the tails and allow the tips to feather.

      All in all I think a heavier skier will definitely enjoy this ski if they have good base skill set. I can only see this ski being easier to maneuver given the same skill set between a 150 or 200 pounder.

  2. I demo’d the Watea106 in teh 182Cm version, and I would say that it’s nothing like the review of the 190cm bigger brother. I had demo’d the Salomon 115’s ealier in the day, and THAT is a hard charging ski in the 188cm version. I found the 182 very easy to ski. I like a ski with some camber. I do have a pair of Rossignol S3’s in the 186, and didn’t feel that the Watea106 in the 182cm was much harder to ski. To me, the Watea106 felt like a slightly stiffer version of the S3 in the tip. No tip flap, and I was surprised by how it railed groomers at 106mm underfoot. No problems in the manky spring moguls. In fact it did very well. FWIW, I’m 167lbs and consider myself to be more of a finesse skier.

    It’s probably a case where the Fischer sizing on the Watea 106 is going to be either a bit too long or a tad to short. For me, the 182 was just the right length.

  3. I’m curious what mount point you used. I can’t find any info on mount point anywhere. The little triangle on the sidewall is very far back… I know it is a traditional style ski, but I’m hesitating on putting boot centre that far back! I’d be interested to hear what others have done and how they like it.

  4. Greetings,
    I know these are older ski reviews, but would you say that the Watea 106 skis like a wider Watea 96? I have the Watea 96 and think that ski rips. I pretty much agreed with your review on it and was wondering about the 106. Other skis I have liked that you reviewed and liked are the cochise and the girish. Some great deals on the 106 right now. Also which did you prefer between the 106 and the Salomon Q-Lab? These would both be the 190cm size.

    Cheers,
    Mike

    • Hi Mike, Yea, this stuff is kinda old, but the skis are still for sale out there.
      We are looking at the same skis… Did you get the 106s since you posted in June?

      I am looking at the 106’s and some Salomon’s.

    • I haven’t been on the Watea 106 in a very long time … but I think the new Ranger 107 Ti should very much be on your radar. (And I wouldn’t be concerned about the tighter sidecut radius of the new 107 Ti vs. the Watea 106.)

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