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Magnum Opus, Bent Chetler 120, or Black Ops 118? Help finish out my quiver, newb skier.
I am a fairly new skiier. This will be my 3rd season. I ski around 35-40 times a year, and would consider myself a cautious advanced skier. I am 44, 5'10 190 pounds. I ski at Whitefish MT. I mostly ski the trees and some backcountry, mostly inbounds. I am not a hard charger, don't ski switch, dont do tricks, like to jump but nothing crazy. I would like to learn to butter this year. I want to ski a little bit faster this year, but I like to feel like I am in control. Last year I hit 40 mph on the GPS and that was about as fast as I felt comfortable.
I started off on Sir Francis Bacons (108 underfoot) that had been drilled out 3x and were super soft and I didn't really like anything about them. I bought Magnum Opus and skied on them all season. Definitely struggled on them when I wasn't sking in the trees or powder. They were terrible on hard pack snow, but that could have been my technique as well.
Last 2 years I was skiing with some cheap 80-90 flex dalbello boots, this year I have upgraded to the Atomix Hawx 130 xtd. I am pretty stoked about them.
I bought some 2017 special edition 180 Blizzard Brahma 88s this year for the days where I will be skiing the groomers with the wife, or when night skiing and everything is tracked out. Hopefully this will be a good ski for me when I decide to charge a little harder this year.
I also bought some 174 Line Sakanas. I am hoping that the tight turning radius, short length, and light weight will be the perfect tree ski for me. I have heard that they are fun to carve on as well, so these hopefully will be my everyday driver. I'm guessing that I will more than likely use these except in the deepest powder days.
For the days where we get deep powder, should I just keep my Mag Opus, or look at getting something new? The BC 120 and BO 118 are both at the top of my list, but I am not sure which to go with. With the major difference between them being the weight. If I don't want to go fast, should I avoid a heavy ski like the Black Ops? Would the extra weight give me more confidence at speed with the added stability? How hard are the heavier skis to turn in tight skies or when trying to jump turn in the steeps? Are the Bent Chetlers that much different from my Magnum Opus that I already have?
Sorry for all of the questions, but I am trying to avoid spending money on more skis that are not going to make a major difference in my skiing experience.
It sounds like you would like the on3p jeffery 116. if you are really feeling spendy you could get them custom and soften the fiberglass or carbon fiber to help with that butter. i personally run the jeffery 108s with softened fiberglass and the are still not nearly as flexible as something like the blends.
I absolutely loved my Bent Chetlers (2015 so way heavier than the new ones). 5’9”, 145 and I could easily butter the noses and tails. The 178’s I had were a little short but perfect for screwing around on. The only problem I had with them was the weight. They ripped everything if you ski’d them hard but at the end of the day your felt it in your legs.
Is there a shop around that will let you demo a set of skis you are shopping for? Go ride every pair of skis you can get your hands on until you get the perma grin while riding them. Sounds like you got some great new boots to use and that alone could get you the control you have been missing on the skis you are riding.
I am similar to your size and age, I'm 5'8" 180 lbs, I ride the ON3P Kartel(Jeffery 2019-20) 98's, 176 here in the PNW(Mt. Hood). We dont get the snow like you get up there but I can tell you, I have ridden my Kartels at Big Sky, Jackson, Targhee, and many resorts in Utah and I went from packing 2-3 pairs of skis with me to just taking the ON3P's. They have combined everything I wanted into 1 ski, I charge hard when it is time, groomers, crud, bumps, park, powder, you name it, these things rip and hold up to any beating.They are reasonably priced if you are looking at new skis and are American made here in Portland. Kind of sounds like a sales pitch for them but I can honestly say they are a good ski and company.
My advice, go ride as many skis as you can, borrow them from friends or rent them from a shop. Or, just buy as many as you can afford and go from there.
Good advice above, and in addition to trying to demo more skis, I think my recommendation would be to just see how you like the Magnum Opus as your dedicated pow ski, since you now have two skis you can use when it's firm. If your main complaint about it was how it did in non-powder conditions, then I don't see a need to immediately replace it, now that you can avoid skiing it on super firm days due to your other skis.
As for the skis you're considering, I wouldn't recommend the BC 120 if you want a ski that's more versatile on hard snow than the Magnum Opus. The BC 120 is even lighter, and while it's a really good ski for how light it is, it definitely feels best in soft snow.
The Black Ops 118 is about as far as you can get from the BC 120. The BO 118 is extremely heavy for what it is, and it's an absolute monster truck of a ski. For skiing super fast and hard, it's phenomenal, and arguably one of, if not the best option on the market. But if what you're after is an easy, non-fatiguing, versatile pow ski, there are loads of better options.
If you end up wanting to replace the Magnum Opus with a more versatile ski without going with something super heavy like the BO 118, the Moment Wildcat is pretty dang ideal. Not heavy, but still strong and is totally fine on hardpack for how wide it is. And then there are several other skis that could work well, but I think trying the Magnum Opus as a dedicated pow ski is worth a try to start.
I've skied all 3 of those and own a pair of black ops. You can't go wrong with any of them, but here's what I think the main difference of the 3 are:
The blackops feel the most confidence inspiring. Their sidecut makes them feel good on groomers and they have good dampening so I think they feel better on groomers than your average powder ski. They're the heaviest, but you feel nice and safe in the air. Oddly, one of my favorite parts about them is the noise they make when they clack together. It's this soft subtle noise that just feels so good.
Opuses are probably the most playful. I remember them being really fun to ollie around in and butter. I don't like them as much as an all around ski as the other two. I think they're the weakest of the 3. If you already have a pair, I wouldn't get another because they're newer. Skis don't change a ton from year to year.
The bentchetlers are in between the blackops and the opuses in terms of playfullness. They carve surprisingly well with how wide they are. They feel like the lightest. Very versatile.
I've also skied the Kartel 116's and they're pretty sweet, but I don't think they're as hyped up to be as every other newschooler will tell you. In terms of construction, yes they are. They have a ton of shape to them.
I would choose the blackops, but honestly you might want to hold off. New boots will make a bigger difference than new skis and your current opuses might feel really good with a new boot. You can always buy later. Also if your friends are the same size boot as you, try trading skis with them, no matter what the ski.
**This post was edited on Nov 22nd 2019 at 12:22:02am
**This post was edited on Nov 22nd 2019 at 12:27:28am
Wanted to update.
We got 3 feet of snow here in the last week and I skied the Sakanas 100% of the time and absolutely love them! I never once wished that I had a wider ski. I have skied on the Brahma 2x this year and they were definitely fun to charge on. But unless I wanted to go fast, they were not much fun. Looking at replacing them next year with either the enforcer or the narrower BO.
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