F-15 fighter jets, that’s what the Black Diamond Gigawatts feel like when they are strapped to my feet. Maching through the powder, making huge turns, these are the best skis I had the pleasure to ride all season. Seriously, when I look back at the moments that were the best, most of the time these skis were on my feet. Maybe it’s because you only take these 163 / 135 / 141 shaped skis out on the fattest days, but I’ve got other powder boards that are as ridiculously fat that I don’t like as much. These skis truly rip and make me want to try the rest of BD’s line.
Mounted with a Marker Jester binding, the Gigawatts are perfect for the Jackson Hole sidecountry. When I took a first look at them, I thought that they’d have too much rocker. But with so many different shaped skis now, with so many different flex patterns, lengths and degrees of rocker, it’s almost impossible to judge boards based on shape — you just gotta get out and ride them yourself. Or take the advice of a ski blogger.
I was pleasantly surprised by these ultra-fatties. I like a ski you can really stand on in a turn and feel secure — these skis offer that. In powder, when you make a huge turn, the slash-spray rivals a snowboarder. And in-bounds, you can still carve, although, sure, it takes a little more effort than, say, a GS race ski. I just mean to say the same old adage that, you can rip the sidecountry and still ski back to the resort without any trouble.
It’s hard to find the right ski. I feel like so many companies have gone over-board with rocker — every freaking ski seems to have rocker. It’s a selling point, I guess. But on certain skis it works, and others it just falls flat. In my opinion, the Gigawatts succeed at giving you good float and maneuverability while having a mellow enough sidecut to arch huge turns. It makes for a fairly versatile ski, even with its super-fat waist.
Although I rock the 185, props to BD for making a 195 length. More companies should be making their rockered skis in the 195 cm realm, not only because rockered skis often ski short, but to accommodate skiers over six-feet tall. I'm 5'10" and to BD's credit, the 185 works fine for me, although I'd be stoked to try a 195.
The Gigawatts are sick. ’Nuff said. Don’t feel like you have to mount a backcountry binding to them, either. Slap some resort binders on ’em and charge the sidecountry back to the resort — that's what these skis are built for.