Being an East-coast skier, I don't get much of a chance to use these skis where they're meant to be. I tried to ski them in icy parks for a while, but they really were the worst skis ever for that.
However, the MOMENT you get them in some deep snow, they instantly become the best skis I've ever been on. These skis have one purpose: Deep snow. Not much of a sidecut, so don't be expecting any carving on groomers. Laying the mad'en out in a huge turn in deep snow is unreal though.
As well, if you're going to try to go switch in the pow, this is the ski. Mounting them centre gives you enough tail to do your best to navigate the snow switch.
The soft flex makes them more manoverable that you would think from a fat ski like this.
The skis respond more rapidly than I had expected. I find when you're riding a super-stiff powder ski, you're locked into your turn. Its hard to make quick adjustments when in the trees, or jump quickly into a new turn. The Mad'en has a very soft flex, allowing you to quickly load the tails and spring in a different direction. This made me enjoy them more than other pow skis when riding in the trees. I expected them to feel a little out of control at high speeds, but they held up. It was not like a stiff beefy ski where it locks you into the track you're in and doesn't budge when you hit chop... rather the Mad'en bounces around and you maintain stability in the face of all the chop and bouncing. I've found that some of the stiffer skis when they hit a chunk or something unexpected can buck you forwards if they don't plow through. The soft flex of the Mad'en will bounce the tip over the offending chunk and you'll be able to recover. The extreme fatness ensures that you're floating ontop of absolutely everything, even with a centre mount.
Now I had this silly idea that riding fat skis in the east was the cool thing to do, so for about a month I only skied the Mad'ens even on icy Quebec terrain parks. This is a terrible idea, as the ski does not hold an edge, and is WAY too heavy to spin on and off rails. This ski isn't a jack of all trades, it's a powder ski and thats it. You can take it in the park, but the extremely high swing weight will slow down your spins to a frustrating level.
If you're in mammoth and you want to hit the 80' jumps, and only do butters and a few rails but your focus is more big mountain, this is a dynamite ski.
If you're an East-coaster who occasionally goes West, you'll probably want something a little less fat. Unless you're just going to keep this one in the closet until you have those epic pow days...
The graphics are sweet. K2 has done a great job making skis that look wicked, and you're really proud to ride.
The product feels well built, and definitley has taken a decent beating and not shown any damage out of the norm.
These skis have a very soft, springy flex. It is actually one of the softer skis I have ever ridden, but definitely have spring to them.
As I said in my other descriptions, the soft springy flex allows you to load the tails a zing out of problem situations such as a tree directly in front of you.
The skis seemed pretty durable. After doing a huge number of rails the edges began to separate, but I didn't break any out. Pretty normal rail damage I would say. No problems with de-lam or any other issues like that. Held up good. There was some base damage from hitting a massive rock, but thats pretty normal.