Heading back to Utah, I had to wait only a few days before a storm system rolled in and dropped more than 14” of powder. Visibility was low, so I headed over to my favorite tree run at Alta, Wildcat Face off the Wildcat lift.
The flotation of the VJJ was incredible, though, again, it was my first run on skis with considerable tip and tail rocker. I was blown away by the sensation of surfing atop the snow. And the shape of the tails let me dig down into the snow as needed, to dump speed or generate face shots.
The VJJ also has a “bubble” shape, meaning that the ski is fatter fore and aft between the tip and tail, which lead to five measurements (126-136-115-133-123) to describe the skis dimensions rather than the traditional three. This multi-dimensional shape, along with the VJJ’s 12-meter turn radius, makes the ski exceptionally maneuverable, especially through tight trees and on harder groomed snow.
In the tight trees near the bottom of Wildcat Bowl, I marveled how nimbly the VJJs were turning. I’d never been able to navigate trees with this level of swiftness and agility on my Pandoras or my Czars.
Storms continued to unload on Alta through the last two weeks of January. On a particularly deep day over in Catherine’s Area, I was impressed how well the VJJs surfed atop the deeper powder, at both fast and slow speeds. The tapered shape and rocker in the tail kept the tips of the ski well above the snow surface. I rarely experienced problems with the tips digging in. When I did, a slight transfer of weight to the rockered tails was the only effort needed to correct the problem.
Another testament to the VJJ’s excellent powder performance came when I compared them to the 2008 Volkl Kuro. I spent three days in mid-March on 175cm Kuros, in some of the deepest snow of 2012. The flotation of the Kuros was all-time, but by the third day, my legs were exhausted from hauling such enormous boards around the mountain. (Their dimensions are 164-132-139).
After my first run of the third day, I snuck back to the car and swapped out the Kuro for the VJJs. In all honesty, the VJJ did nearly as well in powder, which surprised me, given their 115mm waist versus the Kuro’s 132mm. The VJJs were so much lighter, nearly as good in powder, and much better on groomers. It was an exciting moment for me: I had finally found an all-mountain ski that could surf pow with the best of the ultra-fat boards.
Once the snow was skied out, I found the VJJs could also handle the chop quite admirably. Positive camber underfoot and their poppy wood construction meant the VJJ provided the responsiveness required in these tougher skiing conditions. I found them to be somewhat difficult to maneuver through moguls, but that could easily be attributed to user error. The 175cm length and the fat girth coupled with my utter lack of competence in mogul fields made this a challenge for me. (Then again, this is a fatter ski, and certainly not designed for mogul shredding.)
In regards to soft snow with firm patches underneath, the VJJ performed well. The ski was forgiving yet playful in variable snow, and I found it easy to correct my stance if I got caught in the backseat or tossed around.