Featured Individual Review Augment FIS WC 188/30 GS ski and Augment FIS WC 165 slalom ski

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews and Comparisons' started by ScotsSkier, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. ScotsSkier

    ScotsSkier USSA Coach Industry Insider Pugski Ski Tester

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    Following my tests of the Augment Masters GS and Non-FIS slalom skis – https://www.pugski.com/threads/augment-masters-skis-gs-world-cup-pro-and-sl-world-cup-pro.14952/ - my appetite was well and truly whetted to try the Augment FIS race skis. Based on the quality and performance of the Non-FIS skis I had high expectations!

    So, the day I was leaving for mammoth for the US Masters Nationals I picked up a pair of 165 FIS World Cup slaloms, Flex 2 and a pair of 188/30 FIS W World Cup GS, Flex 5. Both pairs had seen use as long term demos so they also came with a fresh grind, courtesy of @smoothrides, to my spec of 0.5/3, with a “Techwave" pattern. As with the non-FIS skis both these pairs exhibited the same top-class build quality that is the hall-mark of Augment skis –think Stockli/Blossom levels of build plus some – despite having not insignificant miles on them. They were both mounted with the Look R22 plate and Look PX18 rockerflex bindings. So after a few quick passes with a fine steel brush on the new grind and a quick cost of wax they went in the truck (along with the other 10 pairs ogsmile. BUT, with some major races coming up was this really the time to break them out without any test time???

    Tester Stats; 64 y/o, 165#, 5’8”, L200 coach and experienced Masters racer.
    Boot: Tecnica WC, Mold #13

    Augment GS World Cup FIS W 188/30
    98/65/83, r30/188, weight 4000g/pr (ski only), Flex 5 (medium plus), Look R22 plate, Look PX18 Rockerflex bindings.
    fullsizeoutput_3fa6.jpeg

    First examination of the ski showed, apart from the build quality, that these have an unusual design element. The tail of the ski has a distinct taper for ~6 inches from the widest part of the tail. Also, the tail has a little bit of rise on the last 3-4 inches. While all the 188/30 FIS skis have a relatively narrow tail, this is definitely distinctively different from the competition. Hand flexing, they felt like the medium plus as marked.
    fullsizeoutput_3f9c.jpeg fullsizeoutput_3fa1.jpeg

    (A quick aside: for the last several years I have been successfully racing on Blizzard WC for GS, initially 182/25 than 188/30. At the start of this season, based on my very positive experience with the Rossignol FIS SL ski, I switched to the Rossignol 188/30 FIS ski. Unfortunately this year I have found myself struggling to get used to the Rossi and my GS results have been deteriorating badly. Whether it was the skis or the pilot is debatable but my confidence in GS – previously my best event – was seriously damaged and I even pulled out my old Blizzard GS race ski in an attempt to get back to form)

    After a morning of DH training I had the chance to take a few free-ski runs on them on (what this season in the West passed for) a decent surface. First impressions: wow, this feels good! Hooks up easily and turns in really well – IMHO even better than the 185/25 Augment Masters ski. Unlike the Atomic G9, which also hooks up really quickly but feels twitchy/nervous in the process the Augment displays a smooth consistent feel through transition into full edge engagement. Lay it over like it is meant to be skied and it holds on like the proverbial excrement on a shovel and accelerates through the turn. Nice! It has that solid (Austrian?) feel I like, like the Blizzard/Nordica GS, and is just planted on the snow, regardless of surface.

    So, another couple of runs highlights some other characteristics of the ski. The transition/switch as you exit the old turn into the new one is super smooth and quick. I am pretty sure this is the impact of the tail design, as highlighted earlier, which also supports the ease of the turn-in and engagement of the tip as you roll onto the new edge. Because the tail design supports easy release, the old edge/transition/new edge process becomes a smooth single action rather than being three distinctive elements. Distinctively different from all the competitors and, IMHO, results in the ability to move quickly and seamlessly from turn to turn and apply strong pressure very early at the top of the turn.

    This is very positive so far, definitely the best I have felt all year on a GS ski! But one more test in gates required before I can feel confident enough to race on it. On to the GS training course, which is getting well chewed up and see what happens. Feels really good, the easy release, early tip engagement aligns well with my preferred approach of a very quick strong transition to the new turn. In a 26m course, I am able to get early pressure and run a high line without issue. However the – now getting rough – course also highlights something else about the ski, which I have found to be a major characteristic of the brand. The ride and dampening of this ski is superb! I am not getting bounced about nearly as much as I expected. Much more importantly, this dampening is NOT achieved simply through a heavy, less responsive ski. It remains quick and performance driven while also having excellent ride quality and controlled damping. Think Porsche GT3 combination of suspension/performance. OK, more than good enough for me! Six runs total on the ski and I am going to use it for the Masters Nationals GS.

    Now, here is where I wish I could provide conclusive proof of the quality of the ski by saying I had an awesome race result! ROFL! Unfortunately as a result of weather delays we ended up running GS on the same day as the SG, and on the same length course. Which gave us a 1’20” GS course from Air Jump to the bottom of Terrys. The ski was great! The pilot….not so much! . I had a reasonable first run but aggravated a hernia injury I have had. So the second run became an endurance test with a few mistakes that moved me down the order in a highly competitive class. But absolutely no complaints about the ski. It continued to perform as before, definitely a top class ski!
    Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 9.52.39 PM.png

    I had another opportunity to race on the same ski at our FWM season finals. This time we had a soft surface that bumped up very quickly. But the Augment cut through this without issue, again giving a much smoother ride than could reasonable be expected which, in gates translated into being able to get the pressure – and power – onto the ski much more quickly than would be expected when you are being bumped around. And this time the pilot was able to stay with it successfully!

    I have since been able to get several of my Masters athletes on the ski to test it. Most of them are currently on the Atomic G9 either in 188/30 or the very popular 183/25 G9 RS Masters ski. Some immediate feedback –“I hate you coach” (after 3 turns form someone who had just bought 2 pairs of G9s J). “No, you can’t have them back”; “the 188/30 Augment skis waaay better and easier than my Masters ski…”. The overwhelming feedback and impressions highlighted the great mix of damping/smooth ride/accessible performance. I mentioned earlier that the automotive equivalent of this GS ski was the Porsche GT3. In comparison, my athletes felt that the Atomic G9 – one of the benchmark skis in the class – felt more like a Mustang GT. Still lots of performance but required a lot more hard work to be able to access it.

    There have been several questions raised about the selection of flexes on Augment race skis given that they are available in a range of 1 (super stiff) to 10. This particular ski is a 5, defined as medium +, and for me it provided an optimal blend of flex/stiffness. For most Masters races this would be a very good choice of flex.


    So, conclusions. This is an AWESOME ski. I have skied on all the top brands of FIS 188/30 GS skis and this stands head and shoulders above the rest. The combination of accessible performance and superbly controlled ride it offers is not matched by any other competitor I have skied. With the choice of flex, plate etc, This is probably the nearest thing to a Factory WC/EC/NorAm level race ski that most of us are ever going to be able to purchase. (And having owned several skis with that type of provenance I can attest to that) Premium pricing, yes, but in this case you definitely get what you are paying for. Open your checkbooks, sell your first born or whatever but if you are serious about racing GS you need to get on this ski!

    Augment SL World Cup FIS 165
    coming!
     
    Dave Petersen, Mendieta, Ron and 11 others like this.
  2. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Great review! Sounds pretty damn nice.
    This was a 5, medium +, flex. Your 165lbs.
    How would you recommend people decide on flex in general? I suppose in racing it's more difficult, as what feels good may not be fast. Any general rules for flex determination?
     
  3. Thread Starter
    TS
    ScotsSkier

    ScotsSkier USSA Coach Industry Insider Pugski Ski Tester

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    Unless you have FIS points in the (very) low double digits or weigh 250# you are unlikely to require more than a 5 or perhaps 4 flex. Remember, a stiff ski is pointless if you can not bend it.

    Plus, the damping on these is so good, you do not need extra stiffness to try to absorb the chop...
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  4. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    So if almost no one on this site, should be on a max of 5 really, than most should be on a 7? Where does weight come in?
    (10 is softest for other's reference)
     
  5. Thread Starter
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    ScotsSkier

    ScotsSkier USSA Coach Industry Insider Pugski Ski Tester

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    Um, where i referenced it as underlined above??? :rolleyes:

    More seriously, weight is going to be one of the determining elements on selecting flex for sure, but it is arguably one of the lesser factors. Consider that a lot of women on the WC probably weigh quite a bit less than me, but their superior skill sets and fitness may well mean they select a stiffer ski and are able to bend it effectively.
    Unfortunately there is not a simplistic weight=flex number equation. For the athletes I coach I would advise them based on my knowledge of their skills, skiing style, physical conditioning and, maybe, weight. .

    I am probably relatively hard-charging compared to a lot of members here and, for me the 5 provided a good set-up and balance on this ski which worked really well in the course . This is always is the true test of a race-ski. In free-skiing we all tend to run bigger radius turns and turn where we select rather than being forced into a particular turn-shape. This can give a completely different impression of a ski which is why I like as far as possible to test an FIS race ski in gates before I form a final judgement. Could I go to a 4 flex on the FIS ski? Very possibly, but I doubt if it would provide me any performance improvement. Perhaps on injected surfaces? I dont know at this stage.

    But the non-FIS Masters GS I tested had a 4 flex and none of my athletes that tested it (ages from 40 to 75+) found it to be too stiff. Same with the FIS GS ski actually.
    I also would not necessarily agree with your assumption that most here should be on a 7 flex, I suspect that those who would actually race on this ski would have some coaches input as well but, absent this, 5-6 would be a pretty safe choice for most.

    So, long answer to a short question! ogwink Of course this is for the race skis. When it comes to all-mountain there are different parameters to consider including choice of length and what sort of terrain you are going to ski. Remember also that the 1-10 range is for a specific model. Flex 5 on the Carbon 77 is not the same stiffness as flex 5 on the FIS GS ski. Fortunately Augment does offer advice on their site on selecting flex, based on some of their algorithms.!
     


  6. oldschoolskier

    oldschoolskier Out on the slopes Skier

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    Love your reviews and insight. Anyone else doing reviews should use your format as template (provided that that they can match it with your experience and knowledge)

    BTW your form in the photo looks better than the one I commented years ago on Epic. Proves age does make you better! There’s hope for me (and others) yet.
     
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  7. hbear

    hbear Out on the slopes Skier

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    Heard great things about the brand (Croc before they changed their name) and apparently you can really get the layup dialed for you if you know what you need.
    Outside of the great build quality, their sponsorship is certainly interesting. Last I heard pay was directly related to performance through the year vs. based on what your start the season with (or ended last season).
     
    Augment Skis and ScotsSkier like this.
  8. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Thanks for the lengthy response!
    More what I was looking for. Your referenced weight for flex change was 250 lbs. That's 85 lbs more than you. What of the skier who's 35 years younger and 30 lbs heavier? There's quite a range of flexes. Thus the question. I mean who's to ski the softest at 10?
    The college racers I know who raced say 5 yrs ago were always looking for stiffer. That may have been misguided.

    I get your point though. Basically 5-6.
    Good luck with the 2 flex slalom ski! One down from stiffest.
    Some people like stiff slaloms even for free skiing. Bob Barnes is one and he's pretty light. Plus he skis moguls a lot. Always surprised me. I prefer softer.
     
  9. DocGKR

    DocGKR Booting up Skier

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    ScotsSkier--Thanks for the great reviews.

    Now that you have tried both the 185/25m non-FIS and the 188/30m FIS, which would you recommend for typical Beer League, Nastar, Masters racers for GS?
     
  10. Thread Starter
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    ScotsSkier

    ScotsSkier USSA Coach Industry Insider Pugski Ski Tester

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    Hi Doc. That is actually a tough question! ( that I was hoping no one would ask! ). To some extent it depends on what your personal mix of focus is and level of ability. If you were primarily racing beer league/nastar the Masters ski would probably be a better bet (remember it is also available in shorter lengths too) while still being more than capable of delivering top class performance ina masters course ( which is normally a real GS course) . If your focus is Maste4s then it comes down more to your ability and your comfort level on the bigger radius ski ( a lot of people still have phobias about the 30 m ski although IMHO it is a better ski in most Masters courses). I love the 30 m ski but I have also been racing on a 30 m for 4-5 years (and a lot of masters who were skeptical have also gone in this direction). Interestingly, several of my athletes who are on the Atomoc masters ski actually preferred the Augment FIS ski. But in reality it is hard to go wrong with either. I could happily race on both of them!
     
  11. dave g

    dave g Booting up Skier

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    Thoughts on The Augment FIS SL? How would you compare it to The Rossignol HERO FIS SL(R22). Thanks!




    9 Thanks for the insights!
     
    ski otter 2 likes this.
  12. Tony S

    Tony S aka qcanoe Skier

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    ooooh
     
  13. DocGKR

    DocGKR Booting up Skier

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    After a multi-decade pause in competition, I want to thank ScotsSkier for motivating me to consider getting back into ski racing. We had an impromptu opportunity to ski together this weekend at Mt Rose--his coaching acumen, infectious enthusiasm, and generosity in sharing knowledge was most impressive! I look forward to learning how to race again using modern equipment and techniques; towards that goal, I'll definitely be ordering some Augment skis for next season.
     
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  14. Swede

    Swede Out on the slopes Skier

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    Augment have showed up on the feet on some of the youths in past seasons in our club. Haven't tried, but interesting concept where normal club racers gets a little "closer" to race room products. Or at least you get the feeling of it ogsmile Legit.
    Choosing the right flex is a combination of ability (technique/strength) and course set, not so much your size (length or weight) unless you're on one of the very extreme sides of the scale. For free skiing ... how fast can you go and again, how good are you (technique/strength)? These skis are designed to go voll gas for athletes that are very good. Only having heard stories, I wonder ... can you ski them properly in public in e.g. Aspen or Vail w/o getting in trouble with the patrol?
     
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  15. Ron

    Ron rebuilding myself one part at a time Pugski Ski Tester

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    after demoing the 88 in a 4 flex, I am enamored....
     
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  16. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

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    Full disclosure: I am not a racer. Just a short fat old dude that likes to ski. I own several pairs of Atomic FIS SL. Including the new S9 FIS SL. They are my DD when I am in the NE. They are also among my favorite skis for spring skiing.

    I demoed the FIS SL 165 cm at Mount Rose. The ski is legit. The dampness and smoothness are a level beyond the Atomics. Very easy to ski. Good rebound at the end of the turn. Slick transition. No drama going back onto the snow at the top of the turn. A very slick and controllable ski. Great for free skiing.

    Also demoed the 88. Nice ski but became chopped liver after running the FIS SL. Didn’t demo the FIS GS. So can’t say much. But then running any decent GS with an open throttle will get you pass pull most places.
     
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  17. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Wasn't the Fis Sl flex 2? The second stiffest?
     
  18. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

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    Don't recall. It was a sweet pair of skis regardless of the flex number.
     
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  19. Swede

    Swede Out on the slopes Skier

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    My thought was re a GS ski. Haven’t mentioned resorts, have only heard people hetting their pass pulled pretty easily.
     
  20. DocGKR

    DocGKR Booting up Skier

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    When we skied together this weekend at Rose, ScotsSkier was on an Augment SL and I was riding Rossi 165cm FIS SL's--both skis seemed to offer similar radius turns and handle the conditions in a concordant manner. Several other folks skiing with ScotsSkier appeared to be on Atomic and Rossi GS skis.....no one got their passes pulled, but I could see how running a full GS ski at some more uptight resorts might be problematic, especially on crowded weekends.
     

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