Featured Individual Review Long-Term Review: 2019 Salomon S/Max Blast

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews and Comparisons' started by Philpug, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Salomon knows how to make hard-snow skis; we just wish it would offer them on a more consistent basis. Since wishing is not a good business plan, we are going to light a fire under the consumer's ass and create some awareness of the all-new S/Max collection from Salomon, specifically its halo model, the S/Max Blast.

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    The S/Max 12 and Blast share the same platform (121-72-106 with a 17m radius), but they differ in how they attach to a boot. The Blast integrates the Atomic Neox-derived X12 TL binding, which is one of the more efficient 4-12 DIN interfaces. IMHO, its only shortcoming is that it is not GripWalk-compatible, but Salomon does offer GW users both the S/Max 12 with the Z12 Walk and the S/Max 10 with the Z11 Walk.
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    Where most of the full-sidewall skis on the market now are about 15mm thick underfoot, the S/Max’s Edge Amplifier sidewall is just over 20mm. That 25% difference makes for an extremely responsive ski with tenacious grip. The Edge Amplifier sidewall gets power to the snow with authority. The out-of-the-box base grind on these skis is also of race-room quality with its thumbnail grind.

    On the snow, the Blast is akin to taking a 400HP sports sedan and letting it rip. Yeah, there's always the risk of losing your pass, but it is your choice: you will be capable of skiing at irresponsible speeds, but this ski is fun at mortal speeds, too. Don’t be fooled by the 17m radius (at 175); this ski can make some serious short turns. IMHO, the 17m is a red herring, and by no means are you limited to that; I would even be comfortable saying that the radius actually skis shorter than what is published.
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    We plan on getting some more time on these as the season goes along, and I am hoping to surprise @ScotsSkier again with another ski that he never would have considered. Stay tuned, and in the meantime read what the Pugski testers and I said about this scalpel this past spring HERE.​
    • Who is it for? Chargers; this ski likes to run.
    • Who is it not for? Mortals, don't worry: Salomon has the S/Max 12 for us.
    • Insider tip: GripWalk wearers need not apply.
     
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  2. Thread Starter
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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I took the S/Max blast out again this AM, the first chance I had to run it top to bottom at Mt. Rose, the initial review was from when all we had to ski was the Wizard lift at Rose. Running it from the top of Rose I was able to let the Blast stretch it's legs a little, I would have preferred a little less traffic but there were moments where the Blast could shine. This ski is indeed a "get your pass pulled" type of ski, it will happily ski at whatever speed you are capable of. The Edge Amplifier Sidewall isn't just marketing jargon it is definitely beefed up under the foot..how much beefier? Well with the X12 TL binding on the race derived plate, each ski weighs in at almost 3.5Kg...where most of the other skis in this segment weigh closer around 3.0Kg. This S/Max is not heavy for the sake of being heavy, they are all muscle and feel that way on snow. I do plan on bringing these up to @smoothrides to up the tune to either a .5/3 or at least a 1/3...I want to see what she's got...and my gut is, these have more on the top end than I can give..so I might let @ScotsSkier play with them for a day for Masters perspective and see if he can find their limit.
     
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  3. TimF

    TimF Putting on skis Skier

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    I'll have the opportunity to try the Dyn Speedzone 12 at my local hill this year. Hopefully I can then compare it to the Sal S/Max 12 via the Cage Match and extrapolate to the Blast to see if I would like a more damp vs lively ski as the reviews indicate. Replacing my Blizzard Power 800S and going to move up from 167cm to 174cm for longer turn shape and more stability
     
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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I spent the day on these at Mammoth today and I while their groomer performance was to be expected, a solid attached to the snow feel, I was amazed how well they did on the rest of the mountain. Mammoth was in it's usual wind buffed glory from the top of the gondie to the base. I took the S/Max all over and where they really surprised me was how well tehy did on Dave's Run and also on some nice chalky bumps. You would expect a race like constructed 17M ski would be cumbersome in the bumps, not in the case of these, they rocked.
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    I mentioned in the initial post that the X12 TL was an efficient binding, well about 1:00 in the afternoon I happened to look at the bindings and I noticed that they were only set at 6. And for my stats, that is about equivilent to a Type 1 (49 and 72 months old) or type 0 if I was actuslly 49. So, I skied the S/Max 12's all over Mammoth, Dave's Run, bump runs and at high speed GS like speeds and I never felt the bindings moving at all or even close to releasing. I am not sure that this was because I was skiing uber smooth or this is an extremely efficient interface but whatever the reason, it is was damn impressive.

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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I have had a few more days on the S/Max Blast and with it's stability and connection to the snow, it has yet to not impress. While the Blast might not have the 12M turn radius of a true slalom ski, short turns can be had when laying over the ski with authority. we did have a chance to get @DoryBreaux on them, looking forward to him sharing his impressions :popcorn:.

    Watching the Semmering slalom it is clear that Salomon is not riding the coat tails of it's sister company and is out there with their own designs and the S/Max is a obvious result of that race commitment.
     


  6. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    True FS WC skis are straighter than 12m, at least the 2 pairs I have in my house are 14.5 and 15 meter.
     
  7. Swede

    Swede Out on the slopes Skier

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    I have a pair of Salomon LAB FIS SL:s 2017 vintage, they’re marked r12.5. Afaik all brands are 12-13metres for the standard 165 cm race models. Not sure how much is allowed to deviate from that? EDIT: no radius rule for SL according to FIS.
     
  8. DoryBreaux

    DoryBreaux Friend for Hire on Powder Days Industry Insider Pugski Ski Tester

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    I'll hold my tongue until I can get on it somewhere with more room than we had at SV with the exception of saying that for a SLish based trench digger it skis chop and high quality crud really well.
     
  9. Thread Starter
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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Is this you way of asking if you can take it out again? ;)
     
  10. Andy Mink

    Andy Mink I am a half fast skier. Moderator

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    I know I fell into some of the trenches on groomers.
     
  11. DoryBreaux

    DoryBreaux Friend for Hire on Powder Days Industry Insider Pugski Ski Tester

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    No idea what you're talking about :rolleyes:
     
  12. Mendieta

    Mendieta Master of Snowplow Moderator

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    I'm not a tester. Or a skier :roflmao:. But I got on those yesterday and really liked them. I thought I would share my impressions from the perspective of someone with less skills than most here, but who loves this type of technical ski.

    Phil was testing the tune on a bunch of skis and took these to Rose since we were going to meet and I was hoping to try them. It was the worst conditions I have skied this season (over 10 days that is) so far, a combination of high (really-cold) wind, low visibility, and mostly firm snow mixed with some harder (even frozen bits) and some wind-blown accumulation here or there, plus all the man made they were blowing (the place was frozen, inhospitable and virtually empty - they were shooting all snow-guns).

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    I was surprised how stable they were on places where my rallies would have rattled a bit. Damp but also energetic, if that makes any sense. In comparison with my rallies, the first thing that comes to mind is longer turn radius. Super clear as we unloaded the NW chair and took that beautiful run-out (upper NW). That was probably the place with the most soft snow, We were also using lower Lakeview, which was a little more protected from the winds than others. The other thing (related to the previous point) is how fast these are. I found myself speed-checking more than with the rallies, but I'll rather have a speed check than a crash :)

    The tune was beautiful, a 1/2 by @smoothrides according to the sticker on the skis. Firm to carve but really easy to release. That's where I can make a connection with the rallies again, I believe. The rallies are more "hooky" by nature because of their more pronounced shape (AKA as "supershape" in that line). It is easier for me to get a given edge angle on the rallies, because you tip a bit and the shovels engage. But they are also a little harder to release IMHO. The current tune on the rallies is 1/3 though, so it's not apples to apples. But I skied them 25 days on a 1/2 last year, so I know how it feels.

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    If I had to summarize, I would say that the Blasts are a really stable speed machine.

    And yeah, I would love to see @ScotsSkier on these.
    :wag:
     

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