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Fat Ski Is ‘Invincible, Unstoppable’ On Steep, Deep Terrain

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The author plays hooky from work to “test” the Big Stix; photo by Sarah Poinski

Some things were put on this Earth with no obvious purpose other than to enable mischief — water balloon launchers, Ducati Monsters, and 122mm, turbo-charged fat skis that just beg to go fast, faster, fastest!… these all come to mind.

These kinds of implements should come with a label warning: “Use of this product may result in poor judgment. Enjoy!”

This is why we love them.

I am generally a cautious person, but after a couple runs on the Fischer Big Stix 122 ($900, including bindings), all sense of discretion went out the window. Charging powdery bumps at Arapahoe Basin I felt like a monster truck, launching over a row of parked cars. Ripping nighttime groomers at Keystone I was an astronaut on a rocket ride. On dozens of runs and all kinds of conditions, the skis made me feel like a much better, less responsible version of myself.

When Fischer asked if I’d like to test the Big Stix, they neglected to warn me of the impending inflation of self-assessment, but I took the bait. They just looked so fun.

The looks, it turns out, were not deceptive.

Fischer Big Stix at Arapahoe Basin proving grounds

With a proven fat-ski design (slight camber underfoot with tip and tail rocker and new-for-2013 20-meter radius) that shines in deep powder, these wide planks surprisingly take to hard-packed groomers like an Audi to the Autobahn.

This kind of fat ski was made for a confident skier. Drop into a modestly pitched intermediate run and she lets you coast to speed. Then crouch a bit and pick up speed. There she is, egging you on. Open up the throttle please! No need to turn. When it gets steep, they just get better.

Alpine skiing at its best is a very long controlled fall along the arc of impossibility. There are some who huck their bodies off cliffs each day and live to tell about it. They are few and far between and most have the scars and x-rays to prove it.

I am not one of them. Old enough to know better, I have already been bucked off that bronco and tend to tread lightly on the slopes, avoiding big cliffs, keeping my speed down and enjoying the view.

That is, unless I’m stomping on the Big Stix 122, which are ridiculously fun in a high speed, high consequence sort of way. The faster they carve, the better they feel. They seem to pound over manky snow and even modest moguls like a full suspension mountain bike.

The Big Stix can barely wait to get off the lift. Or wait, that’s me

This is when they strike fear into my heart. These are a ski that gives little sense of speed, nor the sheer madness of rocketing through the deserted night air at Keystone at 40 miles per hour, until the fun-numbed brain kicks into gear and sees the cataclysmic potential of traveling so fast.

I pushed these skis hard, but to really turn the screws on these bad boys you must be willing to ride with your balls in your throat muffling a soundless wail as you plummet at the brink of disaster.

I am not willing to do this. Call me a wuss, but I tend to drop the throttle before the consequences of a snagged edge or blown binding would be unthinkable.

Having ridden this $900, high-octane breed of skis in snow ranging from 18-inch powder to hard-packed groomer for about 15 days this winter, I am thoroughly hooked. Locked and loaded with Fischer branded Tyrolia AAAtack 13 bindings cranked to a much higher DIN than my light body requires, I have done much more on these skis than I thought possible, at least for my own mediocre skills.

I am no professional big mountain skier, but the Big Stix make me feel like one. This is dangerous, as they probably instill more confidence than I deserve. I can only dream of what they can do strapped to the right pair of feet at the top of the right mountain.

Make no mistake; these are not nimble skis. The pair I tested measure 185 cm in length, and have a snow smashing profile of 145-122-136 with a 20-meter radius.

They are slow edge to edge and generally prefer to go straight, as quickly as possible. In tight trees they are cumbersome. In big bumps, you better be ready to hang on like riding a pissed off bull.

But when the ground drops away over smooth or even moderately bumpy terrain, be ready to gas the accelerator and grit your teeth into a grimacing, powder-smashing smile.

The brand calls the Big Stix the “fattest that Fischer has; a tool for true freeriders attacking big lines and fresh pow.” They have a full wood core, sandwich sidewall construction and slightly odd graphics.

But with these, it really doesn’t matter what they look like from above, because most likely, anyone watching will be looking at you from behind.

Fischer has made one scary good pair of skis with the 122 Big Stix. If they coaxed the big mountain macho out of me, just imagine: What will they do to you?

You have been warned. Read more about the skis here and get the rest of the specs if you’re intrigued. Enjoy!

—Sean McCoy

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