2019 Atomic

Discussion in '2019 Reviews by Brand' started by Pugski Test Team, Feb 17, 2018.

  1. Pugski Test Team

    Pugski Test Team Testing skis so you don't have to. Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
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    Posts:
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    Atomic_Logo_red_cmyk_1617-319x319.png
    19 Redster S9.png
    Atomic Redster S9
    Dimensions: 119.5-68-97.5
    Radius: [email protected], [email protected]
    Sizes: 153, 159, 165, 171
    Size tested: 171
    Design: Carryover

    Drahtguy Kevin: (from last year) Click in and hang on. This ski exudes power and speed. At 68mm underfoot and a 13.3m radius, the ride is quick but stable. And sublime. I found the ski to flex superbly; turn initiation was a snap. I could lean on the S9 durning the turn and feel the energy build -- absolutely exhilarating. Lighter skiers may get overpowered. This ski is on my “buy it” radar.
    • Who is it for? Strong skiers who can bend a ski.
    • Who is it not for? Light or tentative riders.
    • Insider tip: Pay attention as the S9 will push back.

    FairToMiddlin: (from last year) This was probably the strongest ski I tested. With a 68mm waist and a 13.3m radius, and that much power, it has one trick: laying trenches, early and often. It might have the most even flex of any ~13m ski I have been on. Super smooth, regardless of the turn size you dial in. It doesn’t bite at you, or throw you off as you tighten the turn; it just obeys your command and holds. And holds. The S9 dares you to lay it over, inviting you to see how long your legs can handle putting maximum effort into each turn. What an exciting ski!

    This personality is a blast, even as it wears you down. While not in the same category, two other skis I have been on that encourage you to shorten your day by giving it your all are the Völkl RTM 86 UVO and the original Kästle MX98. It isn’t a bad thing, but it’s good to know before you plop down the money for it. @Drahtguy Kevin is a bigger fellow, and he didn’t have to put quite so many calories into bending it.
    • Who is it for? Fit and enthusiastic frontside skiers.
    • Who is it not for? Lightweight couch potatoes; this ski rewards skill, or strength, or (preferably) both.
    • Insider tip: Start your wall sits now.

    Philpug: (from last year) I love it when a plan comes together. Atomic’s new consumer race skis, starting with the S9, are simply stellar. The S9 on hard snow is just a scalpel, a precise instrument that makes a magnificent tight turn when put up on edge. Sure, you can say that about almost every ski in this class, but the Atomic just feels different, more attached to the snow, yet it can be released into a brushed carve when asked to.
    • Who is it for? Type A personalities who like to turn, and with authority.
    • Who is it not for? Again, technically weak skiers.
    • Insider tip: Please, please, please keep a proper .5°/3° tune on these, they deserve it.

    Ron: (from last year) Superb ski, winner of my “Favorite Ski of the Test” award. The S9 is a carve machine, supremely stable, quiet, smooth, precise, energetic, and (fill in the blank with any other term befitting this Ferrari of skis). But here’s the catch: although it is 68 underfoot, it didn’t want to just turn. You could vary the turn shape and even ski it slowly (although you won’t want to). Yes, it's powerful; yes, it's demanding; yes, it's got a tail that will spank you if it finds out you aren’t worthy (I got caught behind going over a roller and had to scramble to recover).

    I want this ski.
    • Who is it for? Racers, or skiers who want to feel like they are. Can still be skied by mere mortals, though.
    • Who is it not for? Might be a handful for many.
    • Insider tip: If it's too much ski, try the X7.

    UGASkiDawg: (from last year) The S9 is one of two Atomic frontside skis that were in my Top 5 of this test. I haven’t owned a pure frontside-oriented ski in over 12 years unless you count the MX83 (which I did until now). I usually traverse groomers with a grin-and-bear-it attitude, but the S9 made them a flipping hoot! Granted, it was an exhilarating, I’m-out-of-breath kind of hoot, but for a few hours of ripping groomers instead of vainly searching for soft snow on my FX95s, I think I might have to get a pair of these.
    • Who is it for? People who like to turn ... a lot.
    • Who is it not for? People who don’t like to turn?
    • Insider tip: Try the Redster X7 if you find this ski a bit too much.

    19 Redster G9 TC.png
    Atomic Redster G9
    Dimensions: 110-68-95.5
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 165, 171, 177, 183
    Size tested: 177
    Design: Carryover

    Philpug: (from last year) Pantone 186C, that's the color Atomic uses on its race skis for this season and that's the color that drapes the all-new G9. Atomic’s ServoTec rod is integrated into the topskin for this long-turning, hard-snow-biased ski. I am looking forward to getting @ScotsSkier on these so he can really put them through their paces in a race course.
    • Who is it for? Type A personalities who like to go fast and and make really big turns...at high rates of speed.
    • Who is it not for? Technically weak skiers.
    • Insider tip: The G stands for "grinning," which is what you will be doing when you open these up.

    Drahtguy Kevin: Fast. Stable. Calm. Fun. The ServoTec band makes this groomer-centric rocket ship awe-inspiring. The firm tip responds effortlessly. Edge hold is superior, and the tail is solid. This ski loves speed and rewards those willing to feed it.
    • Who is it for? Speed demons with wide open groomers to let ‘em run.
    • Who is it not for? The timid. The G9 will eat your lunch and puke down your throat.
    • Insider tip: Crowded runs are not advised. Give these guys space.

    19 Atomic X7.png
    Atomic Redster X7
    Dimensions: 115.5-70-102.5
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 156, 163, 168, 175
    Size tested: 175
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Andy Mink: Much like the Dynastar Speed Zone 12, the Redster X7 is a ski that wants to live, literally, on the edge. It wants to turn. It was made to turn. The more it's laid over, the more it turns -- and not in the nervous, twitchy way, but the dug-in-and-holding-on way.

    The X7 is a great choice for the advanced intermediate looking to take thier newly found love of laying trenches to the next level by several degrees.
    • Who is it for? This would be a great ski for the advancing intermediate to dip their toes in beer league racing.
    • Who is it not for? The skier looking for one ski that does everything equally adequately.
    • Intermediate tip: If you like tearing up the night crew's hard work, this may be the ski for you.

    Ron: (from last year) I tested this ski just before the S9 and thought, Damn, this ski is fun. It was very approachable but still exacting, energetic, poppy, and in the end much more forgiving than the S9. For many, this is a much better choice if you want to ski all day (since the S9 will most likely tire you out in 2 or 3 hours, max). The X7 still has a wood core and Titanal layup but a less demanding flex. It has great tip engagement, moderate stiffness, and a very friendly tail that can be locked or released. It will even drift, making it much more versatile than the S9. I wanted to take it into some bumps and loose snow; I didn’t get the chance but imagine it would be decent -- meaning Atomic has another winner.
    • Who is it for? The X7 is a really fun and higher-performing carver that will work for a wide range of skiers.
    • Who is it not for? Those who can’t tip and rip; probably should be kept on the groomers.
    • Insider tip: It's the mortal version of the S9.

    UGASkiDawg: (from last year) See the S9 above. Unlike some others, I did not feel like this ski was much of a step down from the S9. It has a longer turn radius, so I spent more time riding it rather than turning it, but it was still a blast to ski with no speed limit on groomers. Just tip it and rip it! This is another possibility for my quiver that would give me some hope of keeping up with my girls when they deign to ski with me on the front side.
    • Who is it for? People who like to turn ... a lot, but a little less than the S9.
    • Who is it not for? People who don’t like to ride the groomed.
    • Insider tip: I was a little worried I would need to step down a size, but the 175 was fine for my frame (5'10.5" 172 lb).

    19 Redster X9.png
    Atomic Redster X9
    Dimensions: 114-65.5-99.5
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 169, 175, 181
    Size tested: 175
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Philpug: (from last year) Yes, the S9 and G9 are the ServoTec flagships, but the X9 is the ski to get if you aren't sure whether you want to commit to a short or long turn -- because it will make both. It is stable and quick and will do whatever you ask it to do, no matter how hard the conditions are.
    • Who is it for? A strong skier who wants a hard-snow ski to make every turn.
    • Who is it not for? Like the S9 and G9, a technically weak skier.
    • Insider tip: tell your shop owner now to order it.

    Drahtguy Kevin: The X9 has a definite race ski feel with the expected secure edge grip through the turn and a tummy-tingling pop at the finish. The X9 is quick from edge to edge and likes to have input from the pilot. A dandy ride for those looking to rip groomers or firm conditions.
    • Who is it for? Skiers with skills. High edge angles are rewarded exponentially.
    • Who is it not for? Backseat skiers will spend lots of time picking up the pieces.
    • Insider tip? This ski likes to be driven and rewards those with skill.

    19 Vantage 80CTi.png
    Atomic Vantage X 80 CTi
    Dimensions: 127-80-111.5
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 159, 166, 173, 180
    Size tested: 180
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    UGASkiDawg: (from last year) This was my favorite frontside all-mountain ski from this test. It was a pure joy on the groomers, albeit without the power and high speed limit of the Redsters. In return for that lack of power, you get a lot more approachability and ease of use off piste. Just point and go in the bumps, and this guy is all in. The Vantage X 80 Cti did everything I could throw it at it pretty well; I can’t see a downside unless you are hard-charging heavyweight.
    • Who is it for? Anyone looking for ski that won’t punish the lazy but rewards proper technique with a fun ride.
    • Who is it not for? The hard charger looking for a top-end sports car.
    • Insider tip: If you aren’t going off piste, do yourself a favor and get on the Redster.

    Philpug: (from last year) Atomic has brought the immediately successful Vantage shape and construction down to the highly contested frontside-biased all-mountain category; IMHO it wasn’t a moment too soon. Every manufacturer is trying to get a foothold here, and Atomic is no different. Everything in the design is indeed all new for them in the application…even the binding system. The power of Warden-derived binding was felt immediately when the Vantages were put up onto edge. The two words that came to mind when I skied both of these skis were "confidence" and "predictability," and I cannot think of two better attributes that a ski can convey than that.
    • Who is it for? "Set it and forget it" skiers, those who click in and go and don't worry about how the ski will react. Teutonic solid.
    • Who is it not for? People who think too much.
    • Insider tip: Sizing is perfect; you can ski either of two sizes, depending if you want a short turn or long turn. Ski will neither wimp out if sized down or beat you silly if sized up.

    19 Vantage X 83 TC.png
    Atomic Vantage X 83 CTi
    Dimensions: 125-82-111
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 161, 168, 175, 182
    Size tested: 175
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Philpug: (from last year) The big brother to last year’s Steals & Deals winner Vantage X 80 CTi returns with a slightly beefier core, which is evident in the way it skis. The value is still here, but you get a lot more for just a little money over the narrower version. Atomic smartly kept one of the best binding offerings: the Warden system, which the only binding in this class that is multinorm certified (MNC), accommodating DIN, WTR, and GripWalk ... making this ski one of the most versatile offerings at any price.
    • Who is it for? Those who need a carving ski with an MNC binding.
    • Who is it not for? 11/10th skiers can overpower it.
    • Insider tip: You will get one of the best bindings on a great ski for a killer price.

    19 Vantage X 86TI TC.png
    Atomic Vantage X 86 Ti
    Dimensions: 123-86-106.5*
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 165, 173, 181
    Size tested: 181
    Design: All New
    *scaled sizing

    Philpug: The Vantage 86 Ti is a bit of a throwback, back to the days of original Nomad Crimson Ti and Völkl AC50, a burly mid-80mm-waisted charger but now with a modern flair. Just looking at the black-on-black graphics of the 86 Ti, you can tell it means business. It wants to charge and take no prisoners, let alone names. Where most system skis in this class use $200-ish retail bindings, the Vantage 86 Ti uses the $279 Warden 13, one of the few MNC (multinorm certified) bindings in this segment.
    • Who is it for? Bigger, stronger skiers unite.
    • Who is it not for? Finesse skiers; the ski will take you for a ride (but see our insider tip).
    • Insider tip: Lighter or finesse skiers, look at the Vantage X 83 CTi.

    Drahtguy Kevin: The 86 Ti is light with great grip on edge. The turn radius feels much tighter than the 18.9 m advertised. The tip initiates easily and the tail follows suit with a taste of pop. Intermediate skiers and above will find this a viable frontside-biased all-mountain ski.
    • Who is it for? Skiers wanting to spend time both on and off piste.
    • Who is it not for? Pure carvers. This ski likes to play.
    • Insider tip: Don’t be afraid to test your skills; the Vantage 86 Ti is willing to work with you.
    19 VANTAGE_86C.png
    Atomic Vantage 86 C
    Dimensions: 123-86-106.5*
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 157, 165, 173, 181
    Size tested:
    Design: All New
    *scaled sizing

    Ron: Maybe it was the conditions (harder snow early in the morning), but I just didn't get along with this ski. On the firm groomers, it felt tinny and a little skittish. I had some difficulty getting it to engage and stay engaged. Prior iterations were good solid skis, so I would like to get this off piste to see how it performs.
    • Who is it for? Not sure.
    • Who is it not for? Those who like precise, damp skis.
    • Insider tip: This is a $399 price point ski; with that said, there is a ton of value.

    UGASkiDawg:This is a great one-ski quiver candidate that turns really well when you want to but leaves you alone if you don’t. It has a nice shape and flex pattern for fun in the bumps.​
    • Who is it for? Skiers looking for a lighter one-ski quiver on the narrower side of the Western all-mountain spectrum.​
    • Who is it not for? Skiers looking for that nth degree of high-speed performance.​
    • Insider tip: This very rewarding ski will allow you to push your performance envelope without intimidating you.​

    19 VANTAGE_90TI.png
    Atomic Vantage 90 Ti
    Dimensions: 127.5-90-114*
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 161, 169, 176, 185
    Size tested: 176
    Design: All New
    *scaled sizing

    Philpug: These new Vantages are indeed all new, from their clean, understated graphics to the mesh construction with perimeter weighting. I really like the smooth solid feel that these give, light yet with responsive power … a connected "pop" off the snow. I know there are some contradictions in those thoughts, but that's how they feel: they have a solid pop, and they are playfully stable. The new Vantages are the happily married jumbo shrimp of skis.
    • Who is it for? You are looking for a powerful 90ish ski with an off-piste bias.
    • Who is it not for? The finesse skier; but no worries, Atomic offers the same 90mm mold without the metal for a bit lighter ski.
    • Insider tip: Don’t overthink the ski, just enjoy the ride.

    Ron: I tested this ski at the end of the second day so I have to factor in that the ski may have needed a tune. I thought this Ti version was overly stiff and a beast. On the hard pack, I had difficulty getting the tips to engage and the ski felt vague and planky. The tail is equally stiff and lacked subtlety. I found some loose snow along the edges, and on short-radius turns in the piles, it seemed more at home, but it still took a lot of coaxing to get it to respond to input. I spoke to another reviewer who skied it in one of the back bowls and felt it was much happier in chunder and crud than on piste.
    • Who is it for? This may be a great off-piste and crud ski for Clydesdales.
    • Who is it not for? Frontside skiers looking for a ski that is responsive or fun.
    • Insider tip: Eat your Wheaties.

    Drahtguy Kevin: A new design of a personal favorite, the 2019 is much lighter and a bit stiffer than previous offerings. Some snow feel was lost in the new build, but the ski is much stronger during the turn. The 90 Ti is a nice one-ski quiver on the narrower end.
    • Who is it for? Those looking for a strong yet lightweight ski.
    • Who is it not for? Lighter skiers may find this ski difficult to work.
    • Insider tip: Mount an AT binder and experience the backcountry.

    UGASkiDawg: See everything I said about the 86 C but add a layer of metal and 4 mm of of width. If I had to pick between the 86 C and the 90 Ti, I’d go with the 86 as the more forgiving and versatile ski for my style. I didn’t notice the extra 4 mm but I definitely noticed the metal.
    • Who is it for? Bigger skiers with a strong technical background looking for stiffer high-speed machine.
    • Who is it not for? Lighter skiers and skiers who want an easier ride.
    • Insider tip: This ski has the chops to rip if you’ve got the thighs.


    19 Vantage 97 TC.png
    Atomic Vantage 97 Ti
    Dimensions: 131.5-97-120.5
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 172, 180, 188
    Size tested: 180
    Design: All New

    Philpug: I was excited to get on this ski because the previous generation never wowed me. It was a nice ski but just kind of ... there. I was able to get on this ski very early with [name drop] Daron Rahlves [/name drop] and was impressed with how solid it felt. We are seeing some newer mesh technology from Atomic, which has pulled it off nicely. The 97 Ti holds well on the snow with a connection I haven’t felt from the Austrian company in recent memory.

    Usually light means nervous in a ski, but skiing the 97 Ti on firmer early-season snow (a loose term), I felt no nervousness at all, just a solid attachment to the ground. The gradual tip shape works well for initiation, and I like that Atomic narrowed it to 97mm from the 100mm of the previous generation.

    • Who is it for? Gentle giants; those who want to charge but maybe not all the time.
    • Who is it not for? Backseat skiers: the tip wants to be engaged.
    • Insider tip: Step up to the Ti for a bit more dampness.
    Drahtguy Kevin: A fun, lightweight, off-piste-oriented ski that is exhilarating in the wind buff, bumps, and crud, the 97 Ti still serves up a quick, poppy ride on the groomed. Superior flex and snow feel complement a tip that makes entering turns easy. The solid tail releases on command. This IS the one-ski quiver for skiers in the West. My favorite of the Copper Mountain test.
    • Who is it for? Skiers with imagination. The 97 Ti willingly goes wherever you want and performs admirably.
    • Who is it not for? Groomer-only skiers. This ski wants to take you places.
    • Insider tip: Don’t let the weight fool you, it is strong enough for the Clydesdales among us.

    19 VANTAGE_107TI.png
    Atomic Vantage 107 Ti
    Dimensions: 137-107-124
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 175, 181, 189
    Size tested:
    Design: All New

    Philpug: I had a chance to ski the Vantage 107 back in December 2017 when Atomic was teasing the Shift binding. I skied it on firm groomers rather than off piste, so my review is not really complete. But what I can pass along is that the Vantage 107 is a wider “scaled” version of the Vantage 97 Ti, a ski that I really liked. Atomic scaled the ski for off piste with much more taper in the tip and tail, both in shape and profile, than its narrower and stiffer on-piste counterparts in the Vantage collection. The tapered tip and tail allowed me to feather into turns and release the tail at will on firm conditions, and I could tell that in three-dimensional snow, this guy will be a charger's delight.
    • Who is it for? Chargers who don’t want to work every turn; think power-assisted steering vs full power steering
    • Who is it not for? Backcountry tourers, no worries: Atomic makes the Backland 107 for you.
    • Insider tip: It skis short, so don’t fear sizing up ... especially if you are skiing big mountains.

    19 Backlands 107 TC.png
    Atomic Backland 107
    Dimensions: 137-107-124
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 175, 182, 189
    Size tested:
    Design: All New

    Philpug: Why did Atomic make a Vantage 107 and a Backland 107? Because it has skiers like Daron Rahlves who spend a lot of time hiking and want a lighter-weight ski that doesn’t fold like a cheap card table on the way down. There isn't much I have to say about the ski, but I can say that Daron likes it, which is good enough for me.
    • Who is it for? Those who are not willing to give up downhill performance after they hiked up.
    • Who is it not for? Inbound chargers; you can get the Vantage 107.
    • Insider tip: Yes, mount a Shift binding on it.

    19 BENTCHETLER_100.png
    Atomic Bent Chetler 100
    Dimensions: 129.5-100-120
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 164, 172, 180, 188
    Size tested: 180
    Design: All New

    Philpug: The marketing guys (and gals) at Atomic are no dummies. They know that when they have something good, they need to build on it. So, goodbye to the Backland 102 and hello to the Bent Chetler 100. Atomic is capitalizing on the momentum of the Bent Chetler name; it understands how it rings with the younger generation, so it replaced the 102 with the more youth-oriented BC 100.

    With the sizzle out of the way, how is the steak -- or in this case, sirloin? Atomic is pricing the Bent Chetler 100 aggressively at $499, a great value in today's market, and the BC 100 skis well above that price point. It is playful and poppy and a great option for the budget-minded.
    • Who is it for? The budget-minded or lightweight skier.
    • Who is it not for? Chargers can overpower it.
    • Insider tip: Looking to save a few more bucks? Pair the BC 100 with the all-new (and now beefier) Atomic Warden 11

    dean_spirito: Chris Benchetler has undoubtedly earned a reputation as one of the greatest big-mountain skiers on the planet. Over the last 10 years, his 120mm-underfoot pro model has achieved an almost cult-like following, so it comes as no surprise that Atomic would want to expand upon this success by introducing a narrower option that appeals to a larger audience. The Bent Chetler 100 is a versatile ski that can do a little bit of everything, whether you are carving on groomed terrain or venturing off into deeper snow. Its wood core makes it extremely light and playful. That said, there was nothing that particularly excited me about this ski. Is it a good ski? Yes. Is it a game changer? No.
    • Who is it for? Any intermediate to advanced skier looking to add an economically priced 100mm ski to their quiver.
    • Who is it not for? Advanced and expert skiers looking for an energetic all-mountain ski.
    • Insider tip: At $499, the Bent Chetler 100 is an incredible value.


    Women
    19 Cloud 12 TC.png
    Atomic Cloud 12
    Dimensions: 112-70-97
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 147, 154, 161, 168
    Size tested: 161
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Tricia: (from last year) This is Atomic’s answer to the women when they asked, “Where’s my Redster?” A winning combination of light woodcore and Servotec make the Cloud 12 an amazing frontside ski. I had the chance to ski it on two occasions, including a day of scraped-off snow at Copper and later on early-morning refrozen groomers at Snowbasin (which were enhanced by those precious ice marbles that we’ve all experienced from time to time). The Cloud 12 not only handled it, but excelled in those conditions with confidence. Who needs a Redster when you can ride on a Cloud?
    • Who is it for? Those who crave a precision groomer ski.
    • Who is it not for? Intermediates.
    • Insider tip: The Cloud 12 allows a variety of turn shapes.
    19 VANTAGE_X80_CTIW_FT11GW.png
    Atomic Vantage X 80 CTi W
    Dimensions: 123-80-105
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 154, 161, 167, 175
    Size tested: 167
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    SkiNurse: Very fun! You can drive this ski or put it on autopilot. The Vantage 80 did just as well in the bumps as it did on the groomers. It would be a great daily driver for any intermediate to advanced skier.
    • Who is it for? Skiers looking for an 80-something daily driver.
    • Who is it not for? Lodge moms.
    Tricia: (from last year) The Vantage line moves onto the front side with a light woodcore, titanium backbone, and carbon tank mesh. Easy turn initiation and smooth transitions make this a great choice for women searching for some of the same fun they’ve had on the wider Vantage skis.
    • Who is it for? A woman looking for a smooth frontside ski that is wide enough to inspire some adventure.
    • Who is it not for? Someone looking for more off-piste skiing.
    • Insider tip: Don’t overthink it.

    19 Vantage 97CW.png
    Atomic Vantage 97 C W
    Dimensions: 128.5-97-117.5
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 156, 164, 172
    Size tested: 164
    Design: All New

    Tricia: This is a new ski for Atomic this year. It shouldn’t turn as quickly as it does and still have the off-piste power that it does. I took it into some moguls off the top of the gondola and was inspired to pop a little air off a roller or two. Atomic delivers a really nice sweet spot when coming out of a turn.
    • Who is it for? Someone looking for a good daily driver with an off-piste bias.
    • Who is it not for? Someone who wants to spend their day on groomers.
    • Insider tip: For a bit more ski, look at the Ti version.
     

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