Saturday, March 27, 2010

Crystal Mountain Demo Day 3-27

Crystal Mountain had its demo day today, and so I went out and tried lots of skis. Previously I'd only been on 5 different skis my whole life, and none with rocker, so I came to try lots of different ski types, and to determine what is best for me as a daily driver.

My Stats
I ski fast, aggressive, will be doing freeride competitions in the future, and stick to off-piste terrain.
I am currently on the 2008 168cm Volkl Gotama, which is far too short for me.

4'' in the last 24
Between Sunny and Partially Cloudy all day, with Mostly Sunny being the majority of the day.

The Test
I got two runs per ski to determine if it could be a excellent daily driver so I did the following:

Came up REX, went skiers right dropping skiers left of Upper Ferks, then straightlining onto it. From there I skied fast and boosted all of the little rolls, unto dropping the 5 foot cornice onto Middle Ferks. From there it was just skiing fast, partially to the right, on back to Rex. There conditions here went from hard to soft to slushy.

For run number 2, I skied between Breakover and Memorial, which started off mostly untracked higher up, with crud lower down, which became the norm by the end of the day. Conditions ranged from sticky to nice powder to cut up to nice packed powder. In other words the perfect testing grounds.
From there I finished on Lower Ferk which had lots of little airs and an fun spine to play with. Conditions greatly improved, but the moguls grew, later in the day. The straightline out was the best.

The Skis (All 2011 models in order of testing)

Atomic Coax
Well today I started off with my least favorite ski. This was the only ski without rocker, it was 183cm, and the conditions weren't the best early in the morning, but I still didn't like the Coax. It was horrible at short turns if they were possible, not stable, very unforgiving and inspired a lack of confidence. I didn't want to push it on this ski. They did ok in larger turns. Also the ski doesn't float very well. For this ski, I skied my test runs in opposite order. Two thumbs down.

Atomic Bent Chetler
I understand now why this ski sold out in December: it's that good. This was the most playful ski, along with being the lightest. Coming from a 105mm ski, I was impressed on how it doesn't feel like a really fat ski on groomers. On my groomed run, it performed well, with some slight tip flap when I was going fast, but still felt stable. I was able to do any turn I wanted, its especially excellent in shorter turns. In the powder and crud the Bent Chetler held up extremely well, and was lots of fun to be on. High speed straighlines were the Bent Chetler's worst skiing, and it did ok. This ski is a playful skiers daily driver.

Line Prophet 115
I had never felt an ski HOLD onto the edge and stay there. That's what the Prophet 115 did, everywhere. That level of control was awesome. The minimal tip rocker in this ski allows any type of turn possible, at whatever speed. I was very impressed with this ski's stability in all conditions. Straightlining is redonkulusly easy. This is a heavy ski, but that went along with the stable feel. My only gripe is this ski drives so much that it's impossible to shut down in a hurry. The Prophet 115 just wants to keep going and going.

Dynastar Pro Rider 115
Don't buy this ski. I was very disappointed after my two runs. It's got very little sidecut, moderate flex, and a fair amount of rocker. This amounts to garbage. The flex isn't stiff enough for the rocker, and it doesn't have a stable feel off-piste. The rocker is excessive and simply flops around. My legs were very tired after skiing a little powder and lots of crud, because this ski is so ineffective. On the plus side you can make pretty much any type of turn at most speeds. Unfortunately, this ski is only good in pure powder.

Blizzard The Answer
I have never skied so fast not noticing it. That's what The Answer does, in a stable way. I was able to make all turn shapes, even at speed. It's easy to scrub speed in a hurry. I found The Answer could slarve turns, but preferred normal arcs. This wasn't very forgiving, and definitely required a strong, forward stance, but was very fun. It's pretty much an excellent big mountain ski. One of my favorites of the test.

Atomic Blog
Yes this is the 2010 topsheet, but the ski remains unchanged next year. I felt the Blog did exactly what I wanted to, but the softer, more forgiving flex along with rocker did cause some instability. However, some of that was due to the length. I demoed it later in a 183 and liked it much more. This ski is ridiculously poppy, and skis like a more versatile Bent Chetler. Overall I was quite impressed.

Rossignol S7
After going to the Rossignol booth about five times to try to get this ski, I was disappointed with what I found. The S7 is the Indiana Jones 4 of skis: very overrated and disappointing. The rocker and soft flex create a very forgiving ski, but not much else. I didn't feel stable on this ski at all, and had a very hard time skiing anything not powder. The S7 is awful in crud, with lots and lots of tail flap. Also the rocker makes it extremely easy to become skiing in the backseat in if you're not careful, and I almost had the crash of my lifetime because of it. Maybe I should've tried the Super 7, but the 188 was one of the worst skis of the day.

K2 Obsethed
I came to the demo wanting to try a variety of skis, with differing rocker and flex patterns, so I came to the Obsethed for the super soft ski. Honestly going in I had low expectations, and was blown away. First of all this ski is scary soft, especially in the tip, and almost the entire ski is rockered. However, it's stable and fun. The rocker did chatter on groomers, but in off-piste snow it was pretty good, as long as I stayed out of the backseat. All turn types were possible, and the Obsethed was excellent in softer snow. This is too soft for a daily driver, but it was a good ski, including the graphics (sorry my picture is bad). I think this is what the S7 intended to be.

Volkl Katana
This monster is full rockered, and I gave it a whirl to try that type of ski. The Katana is incredible! I found it was very stable, did any type of turn I wanted, and was great in all terrain. Quite a fun ski. Also the Katana promotes slarving over carving. One of my favorite skis of the test.

Atomic Blog
The 183 is much better than the 177 Blog. I found the longer length had all of the pop of the shorter ski (a ton), but felt much more stable. This is much more versatile, and fun. It's not really a big mountain ski, but a strong contender for my favorite ski of the test.

Atomic Atlas
I was able to get one long run on these at the end of the day, and they were ok. The Atlas has a moderate flex with some tip rocker. I felt these ended up skiing like a much improved Dynastar 115, but they were still had somewhat floppy tips. However they were pretty stable, and lots of fun in long turns.


  1. William...enjoyed your review. Need your opinion about the Line Prophet 115. I'm very interested in buying this ski this season. Need your opinion on the length. I'm 5'8" and 167 lbs. I ski aggressive/expert level. Would you go with the 186 or the 179? I'm leaning towards the 186, but with the extra width I'm wondering if I need to go that long? Thanks, Chas Revis

  2. Chris,

    Sorry, just saw your comment.
    Uh I think you would be fine on either ski, just depends on what kinds of turns you want to make. Go with the 186 for bigger turns, and 179 if you want some more maneuverability.