Individual Review 17-18 4FRNT MSP (181cm)

Crudmaster

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I only got two runs on them, but there’s plenty to say about the newly redesigned “MSP” by 4FRNT as an amazing 50-50 one ski quiver.

The first run on Downhill Course at Crystal Mountain showed how terrifically well they carve on a groomer. They feel like a widened (99mm under foot) and softened GS or SL racing ski. When laid over they hold a really strong edge. In the turn it feels like the whole length of the ski’s edge (at least the portion that is engaging the snow) follows PERFECTLY in the little groove cut by the tip. They carve as well as any ski I’ve been on that’s wider than 75mm, including Head Monsters (when you allow that they ski shorter and softer than Monsters).

That is not to say that the effective edge is equal to the whole length of the ski. These are 181’s but on the groomed they ski like a 165cm GS/SL. In other words, like so many skis these days, the tip and tail have some combination of softer flex and/or rocker, so they don’t engage the snow much on piste, like a 5-point design. These aren’t really a 5-point design— there is very little tail rocker, and no noticeable tip or tail taper.

They also have just a little camber and not much rebound. And they’re nicely damped.

After they succeeded in getting my full attention on groomers, I was especially curious how I’d like them in powder and crud. Crystal’s famously steep Chair 6 was right there, offering many off-piste opportunities, but we didn’t get much snow in December and the whole upper mountain is festooned with rocks. So I decided to poach the untouched K2 Face, which is steep and full of barely covered knobs and obstacles.

Like you’d expect from a ski with a stiffer central portion and tip and tail relief, they are really quick to turn in 3-D snow. More than once on that gnarly face, when the skis were traversing the pitch but my upper body had gotten too far down the slope ahead of my skis, I was able to tip them radically and they came around in time to catch me before falling. As I said, they’re really quick and maneuverable off-piste.

I’m 62 years old and only 155 lbs, but I think I’d like a longer version of the MSP’s. On piste the longer ones should feel more like planks glued to the snow (that’s what I prefer on piste). And I figure that they should still be quick-turning in crud.

So I’m eager to try the 187’s. I might even like them better than the Nordica Enforcer 100s and the (older) Fischer Motive 95’s, which are my current favorite one-ski-quivers.
 

Tom K.

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So I’m eager to try the 187’s. I might even like them better than the Nordica Enforcer 100s and the (older) Fischer Motive 95’s, which are my current favorite one-ski-quivers.
Will be eagerly awaiting that comparison, as I currently also own the Enf 100s and Motive 95s. Thanks!
 

Tom K.

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You own both of my favorites? I'd love to A/B compare them.

Can you digress and compare the two?
I wish! I have yet to get the Enforcers on snow. We had a lousy December on Mt. Hood, and when it turned the corner, my cheapo, midweek pass was blacked out.

Stay tuned. I'll be A/B ing them in early January, conditions willing!
 

Tom K.

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So, no true A/B yet due to crap snow year, so take this with a grain of salt:

The Enforcers have more pure performance than any ski I've ever been on that is so darn EASY to ski. More forgiving in crud than the Fischers. But....they don't have quite the zing on groomers that the Motives have.

I'm in Sun Valley right now, and skied the Enforcers yesterday during a massive powder day -- that's two inches here. They were a blast, but honestly, I would have had even more fun on the Motive 95s.

Again, limited data for a firm conclusion, but I'd say that in less than 4 inches, I'd grab the Motive 95s and over that, probably the Enforcers. They REALLY smooth out the crud.
 
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Crudmaster

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I'd REALLY like to A/B/C the three: Motive 95's, Enforcer 100's and MSP's. What a fun day it'd be!
 

Paul Quirin

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I have had the 187's for the last month, and waited until I had some significant time on them in varying conditions to give my impressions. I am a very aggressive skier, 5'11, about 205, 65 years old, and ski a variety of skis from different manufacturers, including 177 Head Rally's, 184 Head Monster 88's, 182 Stockli Stormrider 100's, 176 Armada AR7's, and 175 Atomic Redster 3.0 XT. Due to the incredible March snow and conditions in the Northeast, I have been able to assess these on and in everything from refrozen corn to 18" of heavy and 5" of fluffy dry powder. For me, this ski just nails it, and I'm seriously thinking of drastically thinning the quiver. It has the almost perfect combination of dampness/suspension, sidecut, and playfulness. I have yet to find a condition that the MSP's can't handle. For a 99 waisted ski, they are incredible carvers, turn on a dime, and just seem to make everything fun. The other day, I arrived at my home mountain and the conditions were ideal for the Rally's or the XT's, yet I found myself reaching for the 4FRNT's, and had an absolute blast on them. While I am an absolute believer in demoing skis, and that no ski is perfect for every skier or condition, I will say that these have a huge sweet spot, and as an all-mountain ski should be on the short list for a lot of skiers. They are definitely my new travel companions.
 
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