Unfortunately, properly tuned edges aren’t really an option for a skier who plans on hitting rails on a regular basis. Given the PB&J’s performance in the park, I wish that I had never kissed the ski’s edges on a single rail.
I don’t mean to imply that the PB&J is a terrible park ski, but I am saying that there is a lot to be desired when skiing park on the PB&J.
The bottom line is that the PB&J is too stiff for being such a wide park ski (101mm under foot). While this stiffness is one of the reasons the ski is such a good all mountain performer, it severely inhibits the skis playfulness. Simply put, jibbing wasn’t a whole lot of fun on the PB&J. Butters were a lot of work and were difficult to execute well at faster speeds.
On the plus side, however, this stiffness allowed me to pull off less than stomped landings. I was confident that the skis wouldn’t wash out on the jump line in Taos’ Out-To-Launch terrain park. Land a little tip or tail heavy, and the PB&J will push you back into position.
I only liked to ski fast and smooth through the park on the PB&J. The size, flex, and lack of snap in between turns makes the 188cm PB&J feel like a cruiser bike in an arena where a dirt jumper is the tool of choice. The PB&J really doesn’t have a whole lot of pop, nor is the swing weight particularly light. These characteristics are ill suited for skiers looking to do just about anything in the park besides slow, floaty spins.
Even simple 270’s out of rail were work with these skis. I didn’t find the 101 waist to be too cumbersome on rails, I also wasn’t spinning any 4’s off rails, nor was I doing many switch ups. The PB&J is a lot of ski to be throwing around like that.
I know skis with dimensions similar to the PB&J can perform decently in the park. The now dated Liberty Hazmat (94mm waist) was a much more poppy and responsive park ski. My last day at Taos, I spent an afternoon on Volkl’s take on the one-ski-quiver, the Bridge. This ski seemed better suited for park skiing despite a more traditional mount (-5cm from center). The 179cm Volkl Bridge has a more forgiving flex, is poppier, and more playful than the PB&J.
Of course, I was skiing the 188cm PB&J. Ideally, I would have been on the 182cm model, though I’m no stranger to skiing longer skis in the park. My current park ski measures out to about 184cm, and I have been on traditionally cambered, all-mountain skis as long as 186cm in the park. Those skis were not the best tools for park skiing either, but they still did a better job than the PB&J.
Yes, the 182cm model would be easier to spin and press in the park, but I highly doubt that the difference in performance in a ski that is 6 cm shorter would change my opinions about taking the PB&J into the park.
If you are a freestyle-minded skier considering the PB&J, you need to ask yourself the question “does my skiing style jive with this ski?”
If you want a ski that can throw around on rails, look elsewhere. There are all-mountain skis that are better for that purpose. I felt that with detuned edges on the PB&J, I was making too great a sacrifice in the ski’s all mountain performance.
In a freestyle context, the PB&J is for someone who primarily skis aggressively all over the mountain, likes to huck and throw tricks off natural features, and only ducks in the park from time to time to cruise through the jump line.
If your home mountain is a place like Taos or Jackson where rowdy terrain, not the terrain park, is the main attraction, then the PB&J would be an excellent choice for you.