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  • Osprey - my review

    I'm late to trying these and a lot has been written about them by others, but I'm excited about them so I'll share my thoughts.

    Conditions in Utah were spring skiing, ranging from week old groomed snow through well over a foot of new powder off-piste. I skied Alta and Snowbird so far in a great mix of conditions: groomed runs (green, blue, black), the wide open glades, trees and, bumps.

    Given that I have very limited off-piste experience (1 day last year at Solitude on the 151cm Ethan Too in 14" of fresh powder, where I felt they were limiting me), I was not sure what to expect from the even shorter Ospreys. But the Ospreys really delivered - I'm really glad I got them for this trip. They allowed me to confidently explore the entire mountain. They proved by far the bet board that I have for all-mountain skiing. Out of the 4 days in Utah so far, I spent the last three of them almost entirely off-piste on the Ospreys (first day was on Sticky Icky Icky boards on groomed runs as there has not been new snow for a week and off-piste did not seem appealing). I also had at my disposal the Ethan Too 141 and 151cm, Head Supershape i.Titan 156cm, Head 94 skiboards, and the SII skiboards with risers and Attack 13 bindings (all other boards are with the Tyrolia PR system). The PR system is great - we had 5 pairs of skis with it and only 3 sets of binding for the three of us and we switched skis for the conditions. On the firm days my daughter loves the Head 94, on softer days she goes with the E2s -same bindings (I had installed PR rail on the Heads myself, creating a much lighter and more versatile setup than the original system that they came with).

    I am 6'4", 200lb before gear, so the Ospreys were probably carrying close to 230lb on the snow. On groomers, they are faster than the E2s in 141 cm - when I was on the Ospreys and my daughter on the E2s I would pass her gliding down some green runs ant full speed. When she tried the Ospreys, and I took the E2s, she was passing me. Could be the magic wax that Macro used on them, but I think it is the added width and shorter running length that worked well in the packed powder.

    For the entire first day at Alta, skiing a week-old groomed packed powder, the SIIs felt good. On Tuesday I went to Snowbird and started the day on the Head Titan to take advantage of the hard/frozen groomers early in the day. By noon things softened-up and I switched to the Ospreys. I ventured off-piste to explore some steep runs where bumps had formed in the soft heavy snow. Spent the rest of the day on the Ospreys exploring mostly the "groomed" runs, which weren't really groomed any more, with deep ruts and large piles of crud.

    Wednesday a good amount of new snow fell and I was back at Alta with the Ospreys. I've never before skied in the trees, but decided to give it a try. Found out that I've been missing out . With about a 8" of new snow there were a lot of places to explore. I pretty much did not set foot on the groomers on Wednesday. It took me a few runs to figure out how to handle the powder, which is new to me, being a Mid-Atlantic skier used to the small Pennsylvania and Virginia resorts that are pretty much 100% frozen or mushy man-made snow groomers only. The Ospreys were great for learning powder skiing techniques, as their short length compensated for my somewhat lacking skills in the powder. Their width was enough to float me and I had enough fore-aft stability. The rocker was behaving quite nicely, not letting the tips dive excessively and also helping with truning.

    Thursday came with another 8" of new snow, so now we had well over a foot of fresh powder, albeit somewhat heavy (not the light fluffy stuff Utah is famous for, but not totally wet either). Many of then open areas were tracked on Wednesday, froze overnight in nasty bumps that got covered with new snow for Thursday. With continuous heavy snow and some fog I could not really see what I was about to ski over until it was too late to avoid, so I had to pretty much be ready to ski over/through anything. Not great, and in these conditions I found I wished for more length than the Ospreys have. The reason is that by the time the tips of the Ospreys hit a hidden bump there is really very little time to adjust. With long powder skis, the tips are a couple of feet more forward and are softer, they act like cat's whiskers warning you before you hit the obstacle when you can't really see it otherwise. Also, longer skis smooth-out such conditions a bit better. Still, I was glad I was on the Ospreys and not on something even shorter. I don't think something like the Blunt XLs would be able to give me the same confidence to go at speed through deep powder and tackle anything.

    Having determined that skiing frozen ruts covered in new powder in low-visibility was not very enjoyable, I moved to explore some of the more challenging tree areas where fewer people go and I could find either untracked powder or deep tracked powder without big frozen ruts under it. The Ospreys were excellent there. On one particularly challenging steep and narrow trail I thought that something shorter, like Blunt XL, might have been advantageous. There I was going very slow, creating small avalanches with each turn, and trying to avoid some tree stumps and rocks with no bypass to an easier route. But that was the exception. In pretty much all other places I was happy to have the length.

    Alta is great in that one can ski down pretty much any everywhere that's not closed. And that's what I did for two days of powder on the Ospreys. I tried the SIIs and E2s briefly just to compare, and found out the Ospreys float better and are much more confidence-inspiring in deep and difficult conditions, while being pure fun to rip down fast big turns on the powder on open slopes or zig-zag between large trees.

    What pleasantly surprised me is how good of a carver the Ospreys are on packed powder groomed runs. With the short slalom ski-like turn radius, I worked on hard-carving short and medium turns. The short length of the Ospreys (compared to skis) and their forgiving nature gave me confidence to really toss my body down the fall line and let the skis go wide outside. The Ospreys held a solid edge, not feeling like I would over-power them easily. They could also carve big radius turns just fine - much like with the Stickies, the Ospreys manage from very short turns (side-cut radius) to medium to long turns easily and without any fuss. They engage and disengage the edge smoothly.

    On icy areas the Ospreys did well enough too. Edge hold for carving was OK when the edge was pressured, and they could also slide predictably. They have a very short running length, so on icy areas their edge hold is not as strong as on my Head Supershape Titan skis, and while they would not be my first choice there, they were fine. The tips and tails flap and make noises on hard and frozen hard-pack, even with some edging. On normal packed powder, they are quiet even when flat, and there one can really lay them down on edge aggressively to engage the full length if desired.

    I felt the Ospreys could be even better with a slight rear offset in the powder, but with my huge boots I have 0 adjustment on the PR rail as I mas out its 380mm length. I had to lean back just slightly in powder for best results. Not enough to cause me to tire excessively, but with a slight offset I think it would have been better. Most people would not have this problem, since the PR rail has plenty of length for offset with normal sized boots. My wife and daughter with a Mondo 26 boot could get something like 6cm offset back from center if desired.

    I also felt that if the tip shape would be slightly different, the powder handling might have been even better - I thought a slightly longer running length with softer tips and early rise rocker might work better than the relatively stiff and short upturned tips with long rocker. I felt some resistance from the tips on occasion that I theorize would be less with tips like on the Armada Triple for example or most of the modern powder skis. But I realize it might be a challenge to incorporate such tip flex and geometry while keeping the overall length down.

    Also, I wonder if a little easily compressed camber under foot might improve these even more? Maybe Wookie was on the right track dreaming of a long-board version of the Stickies as an all-mountain board...

    Regardless, if I had to choose one board to take with me on this trip to Utah, it would have been the Osprey. The main reason I took the Stickes and the Head Supershape this year was that I did not know what to expect from the Ospreys - I had only ridden them for one short run with Macro at Elk Mountain on perfect groomed snow, so they were a relative unknown to me. I took the Ospreys with intention to ski them in powder, reverting to the SIIs or Heads for groomers. But the Ospreys were very competent in all conditions. While I did enjoy the Stickies and the Titan on the groomers and just to the side off-piste, the Stickes could not really handle the deep powder or give me the confidence to explore the entire mountain. And the Titan is designed as a groomer ski and can't handle off-piste deep conditions, plus it is not nearly as enjoyable as the Dtickie or the Ospreys when the groomers soften and the deep snow piles form or if it gets wet and heavy.

  • #2
    These Ospreys are great! Without them I would be missing on the best parts of skiing in Utah - powder and trees - where my groomer skis and other skiboards won't do. They let me just pick any direction, any slope, any condition and explore. That got me in some difficult expert tree and cliff runs on Alta that I did not intend to go through, but there was no backing out , and the Ospreys got me thru fine. The double-black diamond ungroomed run at Brighton, on the other hand was a conscious decision and was fun. As were the groomed runs where the Ospreys offered an effortless ride, somewhere between skis and skiboards, combining the best of both.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Kocho View Post
      These Ospreys are great! Without them I would be missing on the best parts of skiing in Utah - powder and trees - where my groomer skis and other skiboards won't do. They let me just pick any direction, any slope, any condition and explore. That got me in some difficult expert tree and cliff runs on Alta that I did not intend to go through, but there was no backing out , and the Ospreys got me thru fine. The double-black diamond ungroomed run at Brighton, on the other hand was a conscious decision and was fun. As were the groomed runs where the Ospreys offered an effortless ride, somewhere between skis and skiboards, combining the best of both.
      Great feedback on my favorite board!
      Now: 08 Sherpa's (2), Atomic 120's, 2013 125 Protos, 125 LEs, 2014 Sherpas, Osprey protos, 2015 Blunt XL's, 2016 Ospreys, Ethan Too twintip skis,2017 Shredfest One of kind Spliffs, 2018 Crossbows
      Bindings: Spruce Risers and Tyrolia LD12's
      Boots: Full Tilt Booters, Tecnica Agent 110
      History: Atomic shorty's, Sporten, Groove Taxis, Head 94's, ALPs, Spruce 120 Blue boards, Custom Lacroixs, Rocker Condors, 08 Summit 110's, Hagan offlimits 133's, Rossi 130's, 2011 Summit Marauders

      Comment


      • #4
        Regretfully, my Utah trip is over and we are flying back to Maryland tomorrow. It was snowing a lot today and I decided to take an off-trail workshop:

        http://www.alta.com/the-mountain/ski...rail-workshops

        I don't know if they placed me in the advanced or expert category, but it was quite a workout. The new powder was at least knee deep in places and in many sections it was covering old tracked bumps and often some icy areas, so it was a challenge. The Ospreys did pretty well there and I did not feel too disadvantaged compared to the other couple of people and the two instructors who had long powder skis. I wished for more float at times, and more length would have been an advantage too. I did face-plant only once (categorized under testing the release bindings, which did release on my right foot as needed), but so did the other student on the very first run, very spectacularly, I might add, so I didn't feel so bad.

        The instructor was impressed that the Ospreys handled the conditions well and noticed that I was perfectly centered on them - that he attributed (and I think rightfully so) to their short length in the rear - just can't ride them too much in the back seat. The other student could afford to be in the back seat, but that was interfering with his turns and the instructor kept correcting him and giving me as an example...

        As for wishing for more float, the dilemma was that it is advantageous to keep my legs at shoulder width for more balance on the steeps, but it was also good to have them close together for more float. A longer/fatter ski with more float would allow more space between the legs. And I am on the heavy side, probably over to 220lb today with wet clothes and a backpack with some food and drink in it...

        Anyhow, I'm happy with the O's as they let me venture into uncharted (for me) deep powder territory, while they seem to work extremely well on the groomers too. My experience with the Ospreys in the deepest powder prompted me, however, to order a pair of fat powder skis. I feel I can do better on them in the deepest areas next year. In my defense, despite the 190cm length, I think these new powder skis are just big skiboards, the big brother of the SIIs: symmetrical twin tips, slight camber, soft flex We shall see next Winter, as I doubt I'll see any more powder this season. And the price was right - Level 9 extended me their in-store discounted price, which makes these particular skis only 1/2 the price of the Stickies. And if we go by length, they are a tremendous value, at only $89c per cm (in comparison, the SIIs are a whooping $2.97/cm)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Kocho View Post
          Regretfully, my Utah trip is over and we are flying back to Maryland tomorrow. It was snowing a lot today and I decided to take an off-trail workshop:

          http://www.alta.com/the-mountain/ski...rail-workshops

          I don't know if they placed me in the advanced or expert category, but it was quite a workout. The new powder was at least knee deep in places and in many sections it was covering old tracked bumps and often some icy areas, so it was a challenge. The Ospreys did pretty well there and I did not feel too disadvantaged compared to the other couple of people and the two instructors who had long powder skis. I wished for more float at times, and more length would have been an advantage too. I did face-plant only once (categorized under testing the release bindings, which did release on my right foot as needed), but so did the other student on the very first run, very spectacularly, I might add, so I didn't feel so bad.

          The instructor was impressed that the Ospreys handled the conditions well and noticed that I was perfectly centered on them - that he attributed (and I think rightfully so) to their short length in the rear - just can't ride them too much in the back seat. The other student could afford to be in the back seat, but that was interfering with his turns and the instructor kept correcting him and giving me as an example...

          As for wishing for more float, the dilemma was that it is advantageous to keep my legs at shoulder width for more balance on the steeps, but it was also good to have them close together for more float. A longer/fatter ski with more float would allow more space between the legs. And I am on the heavy side, probably over to 220lb today with wet clothes and a backpack with some food and drink in it...

          Anyhow, I'm happy with the O's as they let me venture into uncharted (for me) deep powder territory, while they seem to work extremely well on the groomers too. My experience with the Ospreys in the deepest powder prompted me, however, to order a pair of fat powder skis. I feel I can do better on them in the deepest areas next year. In my defense, despite the 190cm length, I think these new powder skis are just big skiboards, the big brother of the SIIs: symmetrical twin tips, slight camber, soft flex We shall see next Winter, as I doubt I'll see any more powder this season. And the price was right - Level 9 extended me their in-store discounted price, which makes these particular skis only 1/2 the price of the Stickies. And if we go by length, they are a tremendous value, at only $89c per cm (in comparison, the SIIs are a whooping $2.97/cm)
          Kocho,

          You need to try the Ospreys set back on the rear inserts with a riser. They ski bigger rear mounted and generate even more float. Good luck with the powder ski. I think that you may find it tough in the trees because it will go way too fast to control in narrow steep trees. It will depend on your younger reflexes.
          Now: 08 Sherpa's (2), Atomic 120's, 2013 125 Protos, 125 LEs, 2014 Sherpas, Osprey protos, 2015 Blunt XL's, 2016 Ospreys, Ethan Too twintip skis,2017 Shredfest One of kind Spliffs, 2018 Crossbows
          Bindings: Spruce Risers and Tyrolia LD12's
          Boots: Full Tilt Booters, Tecnica Agent 110
          History: Atomic shorty's, Sporten, Groove Taxis, Head 94's, ALPs, Spruce 120 Blue boards, Custom Lacroixs, Rocker Condors, 08 Summit 110's, Hagan offlimits 133's, Rossi 130's, 2011 Summit Marauders

          Comment


          • #6
            Kocho,
            I hope you absolutely love your new powder skis. And I'd like to get first in line to buy the Ospreys w/rails, once you find you no longer need them. :-)
            171cm/190lbs
            Current Favorites:
            RVL8 Yin/Yang Blunts, Spruce Sherpas (x2) & Ospreys, Coda custom Yetis v1 140
            Spruce Pro Primes w/Attack 13's (x 4), Bomber Elite 1
            Other boards I'm trying:
            Summit Custom Carbon 110, Dynastar Twin 85, Coda custom Yetis v2 145

            Comment


            • #7
              Osprey vs Raptor

              On a serious note, can you make comparisons of the Ospreys and Raptors?
              171cm/190lbs
              Current Favorites:
              RVL8 Yin/Yang Blunts, Spruce Sherpas (x2) & Ospreys, Coda custom Yetis v1 140
              Spruce Pro Primes w/Attack 13's (x 4), Bomber Elite 1
              Other boards I'm trying:
              Summit Custom Carbon 110, Dynastar Twin 85, Coda custom Yetis v2 145

              Comment


              • #8
                It's been a while since I rode the Raptors. They are more flexible/less stable fore-aft, narrower, lighter, nimble, and more edgy (mine were slightly convex at the bases). Also, I think a rougher ride. I never had the Raptors in deep snow, so can't compare float.

                Comment


                • #9
                  He, he, I doubt I'll be selling the Ospreys soon. I've never been on a true powder ski, so I'm not exactly sure what to expect. Will tell you next season, most likely ...

                  Originally posted by Fedfan View Post
                  Kocho,
                  I hope you absolutely love your new powder skis. And I'd like to get first in line to buy the Ospreys w/rails, once you find you no longer need them. :-)
                  As for trying the Ospreys setback, I think I would have liked them that way in the powder, but unfortunately that means removing the rail and using a riser, so was not really an option this time around. I thought they were fine centered, except in the deepest/fluffier powder areas.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here are a couple of videos featuring me on the Ospreys. My wife and daughter are on the 141cm and 151cm Head Ethan Too skis in the longer video. Also featuring a 2 seconds look at the Head 94 skiboards on a chairlift next to the Ospreys and E2s.

                    Unfortunately, we took very few videos and the ones skiing the Ospreys were not great, so you won't actually see too much Osprey action, but you'll see some snow at least

                    Osprey Carving
                    https://youtu.be/tWuikOWT7ng

                    Some more footage
                    https://youtu.be/58kl6EcVL8Q

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Glad you and your family got to experience and enjoy some powder!

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