A lack of new snow, coupled with the 70+ mph gusts that were strong enough to close lift 2, meant that snow conditions at Taos on Thursday and Friday (February 17th and 18th) were challenging, and that you’d better be on your game. A weak storm dropped slightly more than an inch of wet snow on Friday night, and the result was an interesting mix of nasty loose crud, sticky slush, and boilerplate ice around the mountain, perfect for assessing the Bibby’s abilities on hardpack and variable snow.
I hit up Porcupine as a first run. Given their width, the Bibbys certainly need some speed and encouragement to get up on edge. Their turn radius is anything but tight, and a purely edged turn is sluggish to initiate, so don’t expect to be snapping turns like Ted Ligety. Once you’ve got the skis railing, however, the edge hold is surprisingly solid. If the snow is reasonably soft, the Bibbys slight camber makes long, fast, lumbering turns back to the lift pretty enjoyable. Considering their impressive performance in powder and chop, in my book, these skis’ ability to run on groomers is totally acceptable.
After more cruising on Totemoff and Lower Staufenberg, I put some laps down on Reforma, Pollux, Lorelei, and Spencer’s Bowl to show the Bibbys some bumps. Not surprisingly, the moguls in Spencer’s were pretty monstrous, and to say I had a smooth and effortless run would be a lie. When the troughs get deep, some work is required to maneuver the Bibby’s down your line. Yes, the tip rocker does help the ski’s ability to make a quick change in direction, but its bulk makes the execution of fluidly linked turns very difficult. Keep in mind that these are fairly steep, pretty huge bumps, where a 118mm ski doesn’t really belong in the first place. Spencer’s was a workout, but I wasn’t all that surprised or disappointed by the way the skis handled.
The Bibbys did much better in steeper terrain where the snow was slightly softer, and I was able to make longer turns through shallower troughs. After two runs down Reforma, one thing became very clear: the key to enjoying the Bibbys in the bumps is keeping them on the snow. The instant I found myself putting in extra effort to maneuver them, either with a short hop during a turn or extra forward pressure down the fall-line to pull the tails around, things got a bit sketchy. The skis’ stiffness will make you pay in the moguls if you make an overly aggressive move. The bottom line for the Bibbys in the bumps is that they’re manageable as long as turns can be kept quiet and fluid.
As for skiing on boilerplate ice, I don’t know of any rockered, 118mm wide ski that performs well, and the Bibbys were no different. The tip and tail rocker and short effective edge became very apparent. An effort to engage the edge resulted in chatter and an awkward swimming action as the tips tried to hook up. Let’s face it: if you’re considering the Bibbys, bulletproof hardpack and ice should be the last thing on your mind.
For someone looking for an excellent ski in powder, the Bibbys are a great choice. However, what really sets these skis apart in my mind from other big powder boards is their surprisingly nimble feel in tight spots and their great stability at high speeds. In all areas of big-mountain riding, the Bibbys kill it. But, incredibly enough, they are still ready to lay down tracks on the groomers, can easily play around in mellow moguls, and are happy smearing turns in steep crud. Simply put, the value of these skis is their versatility. For riding 1″ or 30” of new snow (and then the three, four, or five days after a storm), look no further than the Moment Bibby Pros.
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