The Augment 77 is superb. I could end the review right here, but I would feel remiss. So, let me ramble on a bit. Everyone once in a while a ski comes along that stands out above the rest and we all rave about its new shape and space-age materials. Well, the Augment doesn’t really have any of that. It doesn’t have new technology, a new shape, or even new materials -- in fact, it goes back to the basics, meaning sandwich construction, vertical sidewalls, no rocker, and plenty of camber. It has subtle graphics, a traditional shape, supreme build quality, attention to every detail. And yet, this ski is so refined -- beyond smooth, stable, and balanced -- that it simply outperforms anything else on the market. It’s basically a race ski with an all-mountain shape.

Augment Skis is based in Austria; you might recall its former name, Croc. The Pugski test team discovered the brand at SIA in 2019 and was duly impressed. You won’t find the skis at many shops yet, but it is worth the effort to track them down.

Ron1.jpg At first look and feel, these hand-made Austrian skis exude quality. In hand, the ski has a midweight feel, neither lightweight nor heavy. The top sheet has a durable textured, matte finish with a dark red and blue design, very classy and understated. Augment also includes tip guards and a rubber tail bumper. Nice touch! According to Augment, “Racing surfaces glide better and are more durable than non-original racing surfaces .... All high-quality graphite racing bases have one thing in common, that they consist of ultra-high molecular polyethylene and have a high proportion of high-quality carbon (15-25%) .... UHMWPE polymers are also known as high-modulus polyethylene (HMPE) and have extremely long chains. The result is a very tough material with the highest impact strength of any currently manufactured thermoplastic.” Augment also uses race metal edges, phenol sidewalls, and up to three species of wood in the core: ash, paulownia, and poplar.

My skis came right from Pugski.com’s workshop untouched other than having been mounted with demo Warden MNC 13s on the suggested line. The factory tune is unrivaled, with razor sharp edges and a gorgeous base structure. I have never seen such a perfect tune right out of the wrapper. I don’t know what base and edge angles Augment uses, but I’m guessing somewhere about 1:3. I encourage you to read up on more of the materials (bases, edges, sidewalls, and wood) used in all Augment skis here. I have eight to 10 days on them, in conditions ranging from firm morning groomers to a foot of cut-up leftovers, all in Steamboat.

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One unique aspect of Augment’s skis is that you can buy them by relative stiffness. Each ski has a suggested stiffness range; the 77’s is 8-10 (mine is rated at an 8). I say "stiffness" because Augment doesn’t sell a soft ski. Originally, it offered the skis on a scale of 1-10, along with descriptions ranging from "1 = cement" to "10 = flimsy." I kid you not! I can tell you that 10 is far from flimsy, more like a Blizzard Brahma. If you don’t know what that feels like, it’s a medium-stiff flex, but since it’s an Austrian company ... you get my drift .... According to recent posts from Augment on Pugski, it is changing that range to three flexes: stiff, moderate, and soft. But don’t have any misconceptions that the soft flex is truly soft. The ski’s flex pattern is very consistent, even with a slightly softer tip at the extreme end that increases in stiffness quickly to stout shovels, stiff underfoot, and stout-stiff tails. It is extremely torsionally rigid, as a good race ski should be.

On the snow, the first thing I noticed is just how refined and smooth this ski is: think Stöckli or Kästle and then take it up a couple of notches. Yeah, it’s really that good. The next thing you will notice is just how fast this ski is. Undoubtedly, the graphite base material and factory tune are accountable for this. I haven’t used the word "damp," because although this ski negates so much vibration and chatter, it has tremendous snow feedback. It is calm and quiet but still retains a lively (but not nervous or jittery) feel. It also feels light underfoot and is rather easy to flick around. It can be playful, but don't confuse it as being a playful ski. Go ahead and load it up on turns, it has ample energy and pop. I found the ski to be happy at just about any speed. It certainly likes speed, and you will ski fast on it (demo it and you’ll see), but it was easy to do falling leaf drills and happy to make very slow, deliberate turns along the edges. I think the base material allows the ski to flow and be amenable.

Despite its “all-mountain” labeling, let's face it: most of you reading this haven’t skied anything this narrow off piste in quite some time. At 77 underfoot, this ski thrives on piste and getting it on edge is a thrill! The ski is compliant despite its relative stiffness, and once you adjust to a flat, nonrockered ski, you remember just how good it feels to be on a ski with such a shape and construction. The ski responds immediately to input, but it isn't an “on-off” ski. You can coax it onto edge and drift it very evenly (tip to tail) or lay it over for fighter-pilot G-forces. Go ahead and drive the tips, they take all you can give; they engage so predictably and smoothly. You will feel the torsional stiffness of this ski as it comes through the turn. I also enjoyed its flat but angled tail. The turn finish is strong and positive and takes skier input. However, getting into the backseat is verboten. It’s not a forgiving ski, and it will surely tell you if you are not worthy. It’s a great feeling to be using all of its 175 cm. I would not call it a carver as it lacks the thrill and agility of a 13m ski, but it’s pretty close and I feel like I can get it inside the 16.5m turn radius. Go ahead and open this one up; it is unshakable at my mortal speeds.

The AM77 is adept at any turn shape and happily changes radii at any speed, but because of its quickness and balance, I most enjoy short- to medium-radius turns. They are just a lot of fun! It’s just as good making GS and long-radius turns, too, it's just a ton-o-fun on shorter-radius turns.

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Off-piste is where I had my doubts. Frankly, was I up for a taking a nonrockered, 77mm-wide ski into 10 to 15 in. of broken powder on Three O’Clock (a bumped, black-rated trail)? I knew I could ski it, but did I want to? The 77 once again showed its Austrian heritage. The ski's solid, quiet characteristics along with its torsionally stiff frame calmly trucked through the snow, flattening everything in its path. Incredibly stable, the 77 provided a solid platform to turn on. The shape of the all-mountain tail was also effective, although I could feel it catching in the deep snow on the first couple of turns. After I adjusted turn shape and edge angle, I had no issues. The 77 mm underfoot flowed through the snow beautifully. Do I want to use the 77 for a foot of fresh all the time? Not for all-day skiing, as I would miss the floaty feeling of a wider ski, but for days when I am skiing a mix of terrain, absolutely. I also skied it on a day with 4 to 5 in. of powder and loved it. It sliced through push piles and danced around the groomed with aplomb. It was a lot of fun, and I never wished I had more underfoot. In fact, I prefer a ski like this on a day with just few inches.

As for moguls, I only have skied the 77 in soft Western bumps so I can’t speak to how they do in hard Eastern bumps. I can say they perform very well on our bumps. The narrow waist excels in bumps, and it is very quick edge to edge. You could easily retract and lift the tails on the turn transitions. The ski feels really balanced, and the tips aren’t so stiff that they punish you. I imagine you have to pay more attention in hard bumps, though.

The 175 is a great length for anyone who typically skis a 175-180 frontside ski. It skis its full length, and on piste, I prefer the slightly shorter length. Off piste, I could use a couple more centimeters, but we’re splitting hairs. The ski is so stable and smooth, you aren’t giving up stability, just a little fore-aft balance; you will adjust.

In summary, this is a skier’s ski. Refined and supremely calm, it passes the “all mountain” test for most, but not everyone. You must bring some skills to the game or it will frustrate you. If you are any kind of tail skier, this is not your ski. Some lightweights may also find even the “soft” (or 10) flex to be too much. For those who do enjoy a technical ski, one that rewards you with a superb ride quality, exacting performance, and unquestionable build quality, you may end up like me and sell off some skis (and even a pair of boots) in order to buy a pair. Even though its MSRP sits at $1,390, I think it is a good value compared to similar skis on the market.
  • Who is it for? Racers, technical skiers, coaches, etc. Those who can appreciate a superbly crafted ski.
  • Who is it not for? I don’t think any anyone below a Level 7 would enjoy it. Lightweights may find even the soft flex to be too stout. Tail gunners need not apply. This ski demands skills and is not a relaxed, rockered ski. Oh, and those who aren’t willing to part with the cash.
  • Insider tip: If the 77 is too narrow, Augment makes an 88 and 98.