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Rossignol Black Ops Gamer 118, the best powder/crud ski being made? (at least for lighter and some medium sized skiers)

GregK

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Saw talk of a Sender Free 102 maybe coming out online which would be interesting if it’s similar weight, flex and turn radius to the 110. Would be a decent alternative to those wanting a better carving, more stable Enforcer 104.
 

SpeedyKevin

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Saw talk of a Sender Free 102 maybe coming out online which would be interesting if it’s similar weight, flex and turn radius to the 110. Would be a decent alternative to those wanting a better carving, more stable Enforcer 104.
Sold.
 

GregK

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Blisters reviewers picking their choices of their 5 favourite skis for their own personal quiver and the Blackops 118 showed up in Dylan's and Luke's choices. Bet there will be more reviewers picking them too!

Dylan also choosing the new Sender Free 110 as the soft snow daily driver too.


Ski #3: Rossignol Sender Free 110, 191 cm + alpine binding
BLISTER 2023-2024 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
2023-2024 Rossignol Sender Free 110
Yep, the hype is real. I’d be using this ski on basically any day when the snow is somewhat soft, up to about 8-12 inches of new powder (deeper than that, and I’d get on ski #4). I loved the 191 cm Sender Free 110 for its stability and damping, all while retaining a playful feel. It’s also an excellent carver for its class, which isn’t a huge priority, but definitely a big bonus. The Sender Free 110 was probably my favorite ski of last season, and likely in my all-time top 5. Mounting on the line here.

Ski #4: Rossignol Blackops 118, 186 cm + alpine binding
BLISTER 2023-2024 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
2023-2024 Rossignol Blackops 118
Another favorite of mine, the Blackops 118 is just a hoot on pow days. What makes it unique, though, is how it remains enjoyable when that pow turns to chop, or even crud. It’s different enough from the Sender Free 110 to justify owning both, though there would definitely be some overlap in terms of their ideal conditions. I’d probably mount this one 2 cm behind the recommended line just to get some more ski in front of me in deeper snow.

Luke's pick

Ski #3: Rossignol Blackops 118, 186 cm + alpine binding
BLISTER 2023-2024 Reviewer Ski Quiver Selections
2023-2024 Rossignol Blackops 118
I believe this is the longest-running repeat in my quiver selections, and until Rossignol goes against my wishes and decides to change it, I think the Blackops 118 will always have a spot here. As I’ve discussed time and time again, this is one of my all-time favorite skis. This is mostly because it makes skiing resort chop just about as fun as skiing untracked pow, and chop is what you realistically ski most of the time on a resort “pow day.” It’s absurdly calm and composed when blasting through chop, yet it’s not a very directional or technically demanding ski, so I can still quickly change direction, feel balanced in the air, and pretend I’m any good at throwing tricks when the landings are soft and forgiving.
 
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ski otter 2

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Thanks, @GregK. (I'd read that info in Blister mag, but nice to have it pulled together and posted here.)

The Sender Free 110/191 is on the map for sure, but for that slot the ski that got there first, for me, was the Salomon Blank 112/194, which is just such a great ski also - really incredible, and seems to have major overlap with the the Sender Free 110.

Also, I have so many good skis in roughly that same slot - a real sweet spot in terms of what sells and what folks look for, for whom owning only one or two skis makes the most sense.

(Ones I still have and use: V-Werks Katana 112/190 and 184; old K2 Pinnacle 105/186; old Rossi Sickle 111/184 [S6]; Peak 104/184 and 110/188; and old ON3P Jeffrey 110. These skis are all wonderful, different, and for me, each does at least something better than the others - so I keep them.)


Part of why I keep so many is because I know how to tune skis/bases so that they still perform like new, whatever their age. And some of them have gotten better with age.
 

GregK

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Thanks, @GregK. (I'd read that info in Blister mag, but nice to have it pulled together and posted here.)

The Sender Free 110/191 is on the map for sure, but for that slot the ski that got there first, for me, was the Salomon Blank 112/194, which is just such a great ski also - really incredible, and seems to have major overlap with the the Sender Free 110.

Also, I have so many good skis in roughly that same slot - a real sweet spot in terms of what sells and what folks look for, for whom owning only one or two skis makes the most sense.

(Ones I still have and use: V-Werks Katana 112/190 and 184; old K2 Pinnacle 105/186; old Rossi Sickle 111/184 [S6]; Peak 104/184 and 110/188; and old ON3P Jeffrey 110. These skis are all wonderful, different, and for me, each does at least something better than the others - so I keep them.)


Part of why I keep so many is because I know how to tune skis/bases so that they still perform like new, whatever their age. And some of them have gotten better with age.
The Sender Free 110 will be much more stable and precise than the Blank so not much overlap there really. The Jeffrey 110 would have more overlap with the Blank I think.
It would be much more similar to the 21 CT 3.0 as their specs are almost identical but with slightly softer tips/tails and the addition of the rubber damping on the tips/tails like the narrower 21 CT or the BO have. Less tamper, stiffer flex and more weight than than the Peak skis, much less taper than the Jeffrey and more playful and less traditional vs the Katana.
The Sender Free 110 is the exact same core, rocker and taper profile as the Blackops 118, just narrower and the addition of the Airtip. Think anyone who likes one will like the other.
So it's definitely a combo of all your skis in that width that I'm sure you'd like!
I just thinned my Quiver a bit this week(184cm CT 3.0 and 190 Moment Wildcats gone) due to the Sender Free 110 and Blackops 118 love. Can't wait to ski my Senders which I know I'm going to love!
 
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ski otter 2

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Man, as usual, lots of great info there, mostly amazingly on the money, I'd guess.
I know I'll be repeating myself some now. Apologies....

That 110 Free, for me, is now right up there with the longer/longest ON3P Billy Goat and Super Billy Goat,
and the old Rossi 112 Sender Squad as skis I'd like to try and/or own.

From this, seems like the 110 retains many of the great qualities of the 112 Sender Squad 19x, except more user friendly
for most of us. Hope I can demo it, at some point.

But.... the old (OG) Jeffrey 110 has the least overlap with the Blank of any of the 98+ to 112 skis I own.
Can't think of another ski like it, at least if I want to avoid a long explanation. (I think this mistake is
because the Jeffrey(s) has changed so totally over the years, and even from year to year - hard to keep track
of them all. Mine is the one an ON3P manager still favors, after more than half a dozen years.)

Second, the longest Blank only, is different - precise carving, and as good at carving re-freeze groomers slow or at speed
(in the Rockies) as almost any of the other skis I mentioned, including the Katana 184. It's a surprise that way.
It carves as well as or better than the '21 CT 3.0s. (But it's more stable carving than the '21 CT 3.0 18x, and more dialed in
with its turns than the CT 3.0 19x, at least for my profile.

I too got rid of my Moment Bibby Pro 190s and my '21 CT 3.0s (both), mostly because of the 118/186 Black Ops, the 112/194 Blanks -
and the 118/190 Pettitors.
(Also, partially, because of the 117 Head Kore 190, the Atomic Automatic 186, and the Moment Bibby Pro 184.) :)

Have a great ski year!

(Day 4 coming up for me, how about you?)
 

GregK

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Was just online and saw Sportchek.ca has the 23 Blackops 118 on for $403 CAN with free shipping right now!!!! Don’t think they ship to the States but thinking I’m going to order a few pairs at this price for backups/anyone I can pass the deal onto if they pay for shipping from Ontario Canada.

Let me know if anyone is interested in me ordering some for you.
 

AEV4EV

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That’s ridiculous. I’d buy a pair at that price, but you know my financial circumstances
 

GregK

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Second, the longest Blank only, is different - precise carving, and as good at carving re-freeze groomers slow or at speed
(in the Rockies) as almost any of the other skis I mentioned, including the Katana 184. It's a surprise that way.
It carves as well as or better than the '21 CT 3.0s. (But it's more stable carving than the '21 CT 3.0 18x, and more dialed in
with its turns than the CT 3.0 19x, at least for my profile.
Know the 194cm Blank sounds like the 182cm vs 192cm MFree 108 in that the longest length is a much more serious ski. That being said, even the 184cm CT 3.0/Sender Free 110 or 186cm BO 118 have about 15cm more effective edge than the 194cm Blank and the 190/191cm even longer.
The CT 3.0(or Sender Free 110) should out grip or carve the Blank with higher stability especially in the 190/191cm lengths.

Remember you not thinking your 184cm CT 3.0 was very stable but going back to back multiple times with the Blackops 118, my sets are incredibly similar in stability as their actual turning radius are almost identical. The BO 118 is of course much more damp with its mass with the lighter, narrower CT 3.0 more lively and faster edge to edge.
The 190cm CT 3.0/191cm Sender Free 110 is a step up in stability over the BO 118 but still not as good suspension.

The softer tips/tails vs the CT 3.0 and added rubber on the Sender Free 110 should definitely improve things but they still won’t be as plush as the 194cm Blank or BO 118 even in the 191cm.

I haven’t started skiing yet as it’s still way above freezing here with no snow but hopefully I’ll be skiing in November!

Interested in hearing what you think of the CT 2.0 as they should be a slight improvement over the CT 1.0 in damping and crud performance. If they feel way different, you know something is up with them as they are the EXACT same builds, just 10mm wider.
 
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ski otter 2

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But dang, sorry, hard to connect with that last post, for me, to line it up with my own experience, and that of others here in Colorado.

You are often incredible at the analytics, but they also seem to lead to misunderstandings/misdirection, and get in the way at times.
"Effective edge" is not the determining variable with these particular fat skis - lots of variables instead.
It's about how they ski, the experience.

Dunno, maybe back East on the hardpan the Blank 194 would ski fundamentally differently.

But out here, wish I could just put you around some Salomon reps with experience on those 194 Blanks,
to realize it ain't just me: that ski is a standout ski that behaves differently than you surmise, at least for a lot of folks,
for reasons you have not touched on, mostly. Just ski the things, maybe. Sorry.


.
 
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GregK

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@ski otter 2
The whole reason why even smaller skiers are drawn to and can happily ski the longest length of ski is the deep rocker and taper making it "ski shorter" vs a less tapered, less rockered one. Yet you get the increased float and mass of the longer ski which is ideal in soft snow/powder. A ski with shorter effective edge(of course longer in the longer ski) will definitely rear it's head MUCH faster on firmer snow, so I definitely would find less days to enjoy a ski like the Blank in the East vs a West Coast only skier.

I know you love the 194cm Blank and I'm definitely not putting it down at all as I'm sure I would too in the appropriate conditions so don't take it as I slight. Usually line up with all your ski assessments too so whenever it doesn't I wonder what's going on there.

In many cases where i ski in the East and even out West in Lake Louise lately there will be firm, frozen over mornings or skied off groomers mid morning where I know I could still happily ski a Sender Squad/Sender Free 110/BO 118/21 CT knowing I'm giving up a bit of maneuverability and ease in softer conditions. My Wildcats, Bibbys and even PB&Js were lots of fun when things were soft but didn't have the bite needed when things were firmer.

I unfortunately need to just move out West eventually so I can have more skis like the Blank in the quiver! :golfclap:
 

GregK

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Forgot to mention if you get added to the Sportchek.ca mailing list, you get another 10% off! So I'm getting them for $410 CAN/$300 US including free shipping. Unreal price!
 
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ski otter 2

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Skied Keystone today, 1-2" on crust, on the 194 Blanks. They carve longer than their supposed effective edge.
Laying them over, the rocker sections engage in the carve, very stable, fast or slow; and yet they are easily turny
when going slow. They are a great charge it crud ski - and dust on crust ski - in part because they experientially have
a more substantial edge carve than, say, the Black Ops 118 - they are 194 instead of 186, after all. You can really drive them
in a groove, and yet you can turn from the ankles and arches short turning, accelerating, on edge.

Yesterday was a melt, so it was re-frozen groomers under dust at first here today. No problem. (But just in the Rockies, not back East.)

(Still like the Black Ops 118s and Pettitors 118 even more, though, in more soft snow. So many great skis.)
 
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ski otter 2

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We had a brand demo day here, at Loveland, with the regional and some of the national brand reps in attendance.

The first three skis I wanted to get on, the reps did not bring, including #1 the Rossi Sender Free 110/191.
(They had four sizes, longest 184.)

Talking to those reps, three of them use the Rossi Sender Free 110/191 as their daily driver - favorite ski.
(But they don't think that length will sell, so they don't bring it with them to demos around the country, they said. Dang.)

What they did say was that the 110 had the "exact same construction as the Sender 106 ti, but skied totally differently from that ski;"
and that the 110 is the future direction for Rossi fat skis in general.

They said it was an improvement on the 118 Black Ops (for larger skiers), with better edging (what you figured out),
and better for bigger skiers: big guys tend to go over the handlebars - poor fore-aft stability with
the Black Ops 118/186 - for just those bigger guys, the main rep told me (as I'd figured out myself).
(He's 6'1", 220 lbs., he told me. Stocky.)

But at least three of the Rossi reps love best the B.O. 118. And they are all smaller than I - more like the size
of the small-ish Blistergear reviewers.

Also, the head Rossi rep there said that they had wanted an improvement on the Sender Squad 112 with the 110:
for even the top rep, the 112 gets heavy and ponderous in tight spaces, he told me.
He saves that Squad ski for fast skiing in open spaces, whereas the 110 is more versatile,
and with a wider range of skiers it's right for. It's his "go to" ski, daily driver, he said.

He told me I'd probably love it - in that 110/191 size.
I've been interacting with him annually at these demos, and at SIA and industry only demos, for maybe a decade.
He let me know he remembers what skis I've liked and how I ski.

Much of what he said was what you'd figured out and reported.
Hats off to you, @GregK, for spotting what a significant ski the 110 Sender might be.

Oh, and also, that top rep confirmed to me that Rossi has been making already an ~194 Black Ops 118 ski -
but it has only been available for the Rossi pros; not even their reps can get a crack at it.
And Rossi does not plan to release it for sale to the public. They are going in a different direction, they said.

So the top Rossi rep has more than contented himself with the Sender 110 Free 191, the future of Rossi fat skis.

@GregK, you had already reported this direction, as I recall. Thanks.

While I couldn't get to demo the Sender 110 Free 191, I'm now likely to take a flyer and buy it at a good price.
I have a long-standing credit with my favorite ski shop, that I can use now, finally.
They have a pair of 191s in stock. :crossfingers:
 
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GregK

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We had a brand demo day here, at Loveland, with the regional and some of the national brand reps in attendance.

The first three skis I wanted to get on, the reps did not bring, including #1 the Rossi Sender Free 110/191.
(They had four sizes, longest 184.)

Talking to those reps, three of them use the Rossi Sender Free 110/191 as their daily driver - favorite ski.
(But they don't think that length will sell, so they don't bring it with them to demos around the country, they said. Dang.)

What they did say was that the 110 had the "exact same construction as the Sender 106 ti, but skied totally differently from that ski;"
and that the 110 is the future direction for Rossi fat skis in general.

They said it was an improvement on the 118 Black Ops (for larger skiers), with better edging (what you figured out),
and better for bigger skiers: big guys tend to go over the handlebars - poor fore-aft stability with
the Black Ops 118/186 - for just those bigger guys, the main rep told me (as I'd figured out myself).
(He's 6'1", 220 lbs., he told me. Stocky.)

But at least three of the Rossi reps love best the B.O. 118. And they are all smaller than I - more like the size
of the small-ish Blistergear reviewers.

Also, the head Rossi rep there said that they had wanted an improvement on the Sender Squad 112 with the 110:
for even the top rep, the 112 gets heavy and ponderous in tight spaces, he told me.
He saves that Squad ski for fast skiing in open spaces, whereas the 110 is more versatile,
and with a wider range of skiers it's right for. It's his "go to" ski, daily driver, he said.

He told me I'd probably love it - in that 110/191 size.
I've been interacting with him annually at these demos, and at SIA and industry only demos, for maybe a decade.
He let me know he remembers what skis I've liked and how I ski.

Much of what he said was what you'd figured out and reported.
Hats off to you, @GregK, for spotting what a significant ski the 110 Sender might be.

Oh, and also, that top rep confirmed to me that Rossi has been making already an ~194 Black Ops 118 ski -
but it has only been available for the Rossi pros; not even their reps can get a crack at it.
And Rossi does not plan to release it for sale to the public. They are going in a different direction, they said.

So the top Rossi rep has more than contented himself with the Sender 110 Free 191, the future of Rossi fat skis.

@GregK, you had already reported this direction, as I recall. Thanks.

While I couldn't get to demo the Sender 110 Free 191, I'm now likely to take a flyer and buy it at a good price.
I have a long-standing credit with my favorite ski shop, that I can use now, finally.
They have a pair of 191s in stock. :crossfingers:
Was waiting to hear you got on a set of the Sender Free 110(before I got on mine!!!), loved them and were going to rub it in! Lol

I knew when I saw the construction of them(except the Air Tip initially but think it will make the way easier to whip around) and such a similar shape to the Blackops 118 I knew it would be a winner!

Very exciting about the longer BO 118 too!!! Very long overdue and should be an absolutely insane ski too.

Very excited to try my Sender Free 110 out and your reports from the reps and skiers on it have me even more hyped! Thanks
 
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ski otter 2

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Was waiting to hear you got on a set of the Sender Free 110(before I got on mine!!!), loved them and were going to rub it in! Lol

I knew when I saw the construction of them(except the Air Tip initially but think it will make the way easier to whip around) and such a similar shape to the Blackops 118 I knew it would be a winner!

Very exciting about the longer BO 118 too!!! Very long overdue and should be an absolutely insane ski too.

Very excited to try my Sender Free 110 out and your reports from the reps and skiers on it have me even more hyped! Thanks
Looks like you will get on yours first, if I even succeed in getting a pair, dunno.

Today, Monday, I skied 3"+ at Loveland Basin, on Volkl Katana 112/190s, a really great ski for powder/crud, and for soft groomers.
Just wonderful.

It was only on Saturday I had conversations with the Rossi reps, and at the same demo show found no other new or newer
fatter all mountain skis to demo (other than the longest Blank). My head is still spinning a bit, just as my body is tired
from demoing so many skis (mostly narrow near race skis, or all mountain under 99).

Also, maybe a misunderstanding: Rossi doesn't plan to ever release a longer 118 Black Ops to the public, according to the top rep.
Not even to the Rossi reps - just to their pros. Nuts! They are putting all their chips behind the Sender 110 Free construction for now,
they said, and - as you posted earlier - they plan to move in that direction with future skis in years to come, rather than follow through
with updates of the Black Ops skis, 118 or 112.



One confusion I still have is that Blister places the Rossi Sender 110/191 Free in the category of "All-Mountain Freestyle" skis,
whereas the Volkl V-Werks Katana 112/190 is in "All-Mountain Chargers," and the Salomon Blank 112/194 is in "Powder Skis - More Playful,"
along with the Rossignol Blackops 118/186. Seems like the first three of these could be in the same category, directly comparable.
Of those three, the best in powder may well be the 190 V-Werks Katana 112 - dunno again.

To me, Freestyle includes park, tricks, switch and hucks. Is that going to go with the Sender 110 Free? More than these others?

And maybe only the Black Ops 118 should be in a full on powder category, with the others in a category for something like
shallower resort soft snow, crud and fat all mountain versatility. A head scratcher. :D
 
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GregK

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Oh, that sucks about the “pro only” long Blackops 118 as I thought they have had that situation for about 2-3 years already. Would have thought they would have noticed the huge demand for it online the last few years especially. :huh:

Find that more center mounted and twin tipped skis are usually in the “more playful” or “Freestyle” sections even if they are playful chargers.
The traditional mount, stiffer flex and flat tail gets the Katana into the chargers even with its lighter weight and the more forgiving tip/tail flex and a bit more progressive mount puts the Blank in the “more playful” group. So I think those make sense but like you said, too bad it’s not easier to compare.

Bet the Wildcat 108 would be in the same Category as the Sender Free 110 and the Blackops 118 and the wider Wildcat also together in the “more playful powder” ski.

Like the Blackops 118, the Sender Free 110 will appeal more to the freestyle crowd at recommended(or close it) and then more to traditional skiers back near their “directional” mount lines where you can drive them more.
 

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Looks like you will get on yours first, if I even succeed in getting a pair, dunno.

Today, Monday, I skied 3"+ at Loveland Basin, on Volkl Katana 112/190s, a really great ski for powder/crud, and for soft groomers.
Just wonderful.

It was only on Saturday I had conversations with the Rossi reps, and at the same demo show found no other new or newer
fatter all mountain skis to demo (other than the longest Blank). My head is still spinning a bit, just as my body is tired
from demoing so many skis (mostly narrow near race skis, or all mountain under 99).

Also, maybe a misunderstanding: Rossi doesn't plan to ever release a longer 118 Black Ops to the public, according to the top rep.
Not even to the Rossi reps - just to their pros. Nuts! They are putting all their chips behind the Sender 110 Free construction for now,
they said, and - as you posted earlier - they plan to move in that direction with future skis in years to come, rather than follow through
with updates of the Black Ops skis, 118 or 112.



One confusion I still have is that Blister places the Rossi Sender 110/191 Free in the category of "All-Mountain Freestyle" skis,
whereas the Volkl V-Werks Katana 112/190 is in "All-Mountain Chargers," and the Salomon Blank 112/194 is in "Powder Skis - More Playful,"
along with the Rossignol Blackops 118/186. Seems like the first three of these could be in the same category, directly comparable.
Of those three, the best in powder may well be the 190 V-Werks Katana 112 - dunno again.

To me, Freestyle includes park, tricks, switch and hucks. Is that going to go with the Sender 110 Free? More than these others?

And maybe only the Black Ops 118 should be in a full on powder category, with the others in a category for something like
shallower resort soft snow, crud and fat all mountain versatility. A head scratcher. :D
Along with the b118 & 110, I’ve been v.Werks Katana curios this year. Do I want 184 or 190?
5’10” 180lbs.
 
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Along with the b118 & 110, I’ve been v.Werks Katana curios this year. Do I want 184 or 190?
5’10” 180lbs.
190. Simple.

Details you can skip:

(Me 5'10"/150 lbs.)
The 184 is casually fun, good on days with mild snow, maybe up to 6" (or more, if snow is light, terrain more mild).
I had the 184 first, and loved it. Until I was skiing rougher partial mogul fields, with thick snow, mounded and crudded up,
with steeper terrain. Then that 184 could get tossed, relatively speaking.

The 190 solves all that: that same partial mogul field becomes no problem at any depth snow, or crud condition.
The ski can be faster, more stable, no sweat. Top notch.

There was at first a slight disappointment, in that the 190 does not become overall quite as burly in deep powder as I'd first expected,
nor float quite as well as a wider but similarly light powder/crud ski, say, the Kore 117/191 or Dynastar Proto M Free 118/19X. But, still,
the 190 does float some, and drifts well, really fun - masters crud, is great in powder. For some years my "go to" soft snow ski.
AND it can carve almost like a GS ski, if that's welcome, when there is a bottom below the powder, or when the crud gets scraped off
here and there. When the slope gets empty from rough crud difficulty, the V Werks Katana 190 rocks, easy.
 

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