Oddball Skis: Reverse-sidecut, Swallowtails and the Frufru


I was poking around and found a handful of skis that I thought were pretty darn stupid if you asked me. Now I know that there exists a market for super-specialized skis for super-specialized skiers and terrain, but come on… these skis take the cake as far as lack of real-world functionality.

I suppose it can be looked at like fashion shows where they show off the most outrageous stuff that has clues of what will be coming to the marketplace. These skis, however, ARE in the marketplace already. And, people are supposed to consider buying them for real. Seems pretty silly if you ask me. So here they are.

Fischer Duke 207 Powder Skis

Fischer Duke 207 - Fat, Straight Powder Skis

Yeah, you read that right… these babies are 207 cm’s of fat, straight and pow-lovin’ goodness. Their dimensions are 150 / 121 / 130 mm, so they are pretty much as straight as they come. Though I’m moderately interested in seeing these in person, I can’t for the life of me figure out what Fischer is thinking. Even Mr. Powder himself, Mike Wiegele, wouldn’t even think about skiing these boards. A triple swallowtail and a skeg? Holy smokes… these skis aren’t going to be flying out of any retailer’s doors this winter. If, by some reason, you feel the need to buy and ride these skis, they are available for less than the $1175 MSRP.

BUY NOW: Buy the Fischer Duke 207 Fat Powder Ski from Backcountry.com

K2 Pontoon Powder Skis

K2 Pontoon Super Fat Skis

So, we all love Shane McConkie, but come on… reverse-sidecut skis (think waterskis)? Did he go nuts on his last BASE-jumping trip or something. Shane has been pushing the limits of skiing and, now ski design, so you’ve got to give him some credit. But, reverse camber seems like a BAD idea unless you only ski in the bottomless stuff, and you don’t ever care to carve a turn. Skids galore, but floating on top is the flavor of the day. I still think it’s a bad idea unless someone wants to send me to AK with a pair for a day. For the rest of the world, a $1000 deep powder and deep powder only tool is ludicrous. At least the K2 Pontoon’s are available in realistic lengths: 169 cm, 179 cm and 189 cm. But, the dimensions will still make you wonder at 160 / 130 / 122 mm. Again, if you want to buy a pair, Backcountry.com has them in stock, and for a bit less than MSRP.

BUY NOW: Buy the K2 Pontoon Powder Skis from Backcountry.com

Armada ARG Limited Skis

Armada ARG Limited Skis

So, Tanner Hall can ski the park like the champ he is, but he’s also schlepping the reverse-sidecut Armada ARG Limited. Just like McConkey’s K2 Pontoon, they are reverse sidecut with a slight sidecut underfoot giving them more dimensions than your new house at 125 / 135 / 133 / 134 / 120 mm. Though some of the reviews seem positive, the ski still seems odd. However, seeing as this one actually does have some sidecut underfoot, maybe it does still ski OK in more conditions than untracked pow.

BUY NOW: Buy the Armada ARG Limited Powder Skis from Backcountry.com

Zai 182 Tschadila

Zai Tschadila Skis

A friend of mine, pointed me to Zai skis. Holy smokes… I understand custom, handmade skis, but for $3500! Yeah, put them next to my H2, the fur coat and 10 carat diamond necklace. I see they are for sale at the finest shops in Vail, Aspen, Avon and Keystone, so you had better have an AmEx Black if you’re hoping to get a pair of these skis. I’m sure they are some of the finest handmade skis on the market and I’m sure these guys are building some awesome stuff, but unless you’re a celebrity, don’t even think about it. According to their site, they are great to”try your skill on switchbacks”. So, if you’re into charging switchbacks (and who isn’t), these are your skis.

BUY NOW: Buy the Zai 182 Tschadila from Gorsuch

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


  1. I agree that these skis are very specialized…but if you do have access to a heli and/or the resources to have a whole quiver of niche skis then perhaps you would find a day where they’d be fun.

  2. Yeah… I can see how they could be fun for one day or so out of the whole year. I’d still find it hard to justify it (these skis aren’t cheap) with so many cheaper, more versatile skis on the market. It’s cool that they are playing around with funky designs, but they just seem completely unreasonable when you could get a pair of Scott P4’s for $575 or a pair of Bluehouse District’s for $525!

    I’d like to see how they ski and would definitely take them out for some turns if I had the chance, but actually plunking down a grand for them is completely out of the question. I’ll gladly take something more versatile for half the price.

  3. “….actually plunking down a grand for them is completely out of the question.” I hear you. I’ve been skiing a quiver of one for the last few years and find it hard to spend that much on a new set up even if it was the one for everyday.

  4. why the hell are you bashing the pontoon.. it just so happens to be the future of powder skiing, reverse camber and sidecut are the best things to ever happen to powder skiing.. idiot

  5. I’m glad that even a year later, I’m raising some eyebrows. Thanks for your constructive comments too… much appreciated. πŸ˜‰

    So, EDOC, all I’m saying is that these are specialized skis. There’s no question that the Pontoon’s kick tail in powder, but how do they ski elsewhere? And, are they a reasonable “do-it-all” type of ski given the fact that most people can’t afford a quiver–especially this season where many resorts will be lucky to get the visits they’ve had over the past couple of seasons. I can rip pow pretty darn well on my 100-110 mm waisted traditional-sidecut skis, but would definitely like to try some Pontoons in the pow. But, I’m guessing I’d still much rather have a traditional sidecut ski for the frontside of the mountain.

    I assume you’ve got some Pontoons… do you ski them on groomers and like it? It’s obvious that they will excel in powder, but as a one-ski quiver, would you be stoked to ride them on the backside and frontside all day long? Since I haven’t skied them, I don’t know. Hopefully I can spin some laps on them and then I’ll just be an educated “idiot”. πŸ™‚

  6. Hey watch it… Obama wouldn’t approve of your use of “gay”. Look… the Pontoons are specialized POWDER skis. I can see their value, but to most people, they are not an option as a single-ski quiver. And, they aren’t an option for ski touring should you wish to earn your turns in the powder.

    Maybe you only ski powder inbounds, but I guess old men like me like to skin up thousands of feet of untracked to ski powder top-to-bottom. If that makes me a gay old man, so be it.

    And… your IP address shows you’re in Florida. Got any powder in Florida? Definitely not the kind the Pontoons are made for.

  7. george hayduke on

    i bought a pair of reverse-reverse skis this year and they are the most fun that i have ever had skiing. and i am 60.
    they do require at least soft snow to get enough edge on the ground or they are squirrelly 3ft shorties, but otherwise they are my ski of choice.
    they are also very forgiving

  8. I have a pair of the Fischer Duke 07’s I’m looking to sell. They have only been drilled once and ridden a half dozen times. The bases are in great condition. It was a real fun ski, but after the latest knee surgery looking to drop back down below 200cm.

  9. You are a total douche! They are specialized skis, specialize skiers need them to ski on! If your not and want to ski on the piste the buy some all mountain skis and stop slagging off ski’s that are made just for powder it’s totally irrelevant!

    • RO… thanks for your sorta-constructive feedback. I don’t know if you noticed that the post is now over 3 years old. Times have changed and ski technology has evolved considerably. We now have rockered skis that crush it everywhere.

      I still stand by the criticism of the Fischer Duke and some of the other designs for their limited-use functionality. While there are some people who can pay thousands of dollars for a quiver of skis, perhaps the ski industry could start making better skis at more affordable price points.

      That’s why I’m a HUGE fan of some of the independent ski companies out there, like http://www.SurfaceSkis.com and http://www.BluehouseSkis.com. You get a great price on a great ski and maybe you can now afford to have a quiver.

      As it stands, spending north of $800 on just a pair of skis is ridiculous, IMO. I hit one rock and that $800-$1500 is now completely wasted.

  10. “β€œqueues” of what will be coming to the marketplace” – think it should be clues, but I Polish know?:-))

    • Thanks for catching that, Jacek, or should I call you the grammar police? πŸ™‚

      I spend too much time in technology, so queue makes sense, but not really. Thanks man!

      I can’t believe people are reading this article still… This is one of my least-proud moments as I’ve now eaten serious crow on the K2 Pontoon and the Armada ARG. I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT!!! (and I feel dumb) It makes for a good laugh now. **shakes head***

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