Individual Review Speed Dating some New 2020 Skis on Vermont Hardpack....

Eric Edelstein

ExoticSkis
Industry Insider
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Posts
171
Location
Vermont and France
I just got off a day of trying a handful of some interesting hard-snow skis at the industry on-snow demo at Pico, Vermont....so I thought I would share some observations and start the annual ritual of getting people all excited over gear they can spend money on next season! Overall, the trend seems to be that the big-brands are adding metal (Titanal typically) to many all-mountain models, creating some interesting skis with more carving prowess and less rocker-y tip and tail behaviors.

Conditions were ideal New England hardpack...dry, firm and grippy, but not boilerplate. Skis would leave little tiny cuts in the snow.....no spray....so ideal carving conditions. Sorry...no powder testing....oh well...

I'm curious to hear what people think of these skis as they demo them at the new events coming up in the next few months....

Liberty Evolv 84 VMT
197cm
126-84-110 r=17.5m


First turns stunned me with the grip the ski delivered, which quickly turned to an understanding that the brand-new ski was a little grabby and needed a detune. Nevertheless, the Evolv felt like the signature VMT 82 with its carving prowess and ability to take heavy-duty power intake and deliver an unyielding authority on hardpack. The difference was a bit of looser feel during tip engagement and a bit more flexibility in tail release than the VMT 82 which can lay down trenches when asked to do so. The Evolv handled high speeds really quietly and always delivered confident behaviors and a friendly feel. Quicker than you might imagine for an 84mm waist, the Evolv skis narrower than it measures. Flex was smooth and well balanced. I wanted to spend more time on this one. The new Evolv with VMT construction may be a sweet lineup for Liberty. Dan Chalfant and his developers at Liberty are producing a nice set of skis right now, and the Evolv 84 VMT is a great example.

Stockli WRT ST
172cm
100-66-118 r=14.8m


This is an addicting specialty item from the producers of some of the most respected carving skis on the planet. Stockli describes it as a short-radius GS ski, and they are half-right. The WRT is also a longer, large-radius SL ski....You wil be hard pressed to find a 66mm underfoot non-race ski these days, and the WRT is a hot-rod Ginsu knife with a take-no-prisoners attitude. Racer-types will immediately love this ski and its reaction to race-turn input by the pilot. It delivers a hard-hitting turn with authority and confidence and begs for another...and another...and another until the skier makes a mistake or gives up. The WRT is a hard-surface etching tool with intense G-force capabilities. This ski is not for the faint-of-heart and does not forgive errors in application of its chassis to the the snow, but gives you such a ride that you might want to get back into racing. Super handsome and impeccably built and finished. Carving aficionados will want to save their money to have a pair of these in the quiver for those squeeky-tight hardpack days when skis only leave a slight cut mark into the snow and leave no spray. A ripping street fighter of a ski with top-of-the-line refinement for technical skiers who have good physical conditioning and alert reflexes. You can have it in any length as long as its a 172cm.

Elan Wingman 82 CTI
178cm
129-82-112 r=15.5


I got on these right after the Stockli WRT ST, and I immediately felt like the shovel and tail were drifty and not connected to the snow. The difference between a race-bred specialty race-carving ski and an all-mountain design with a bit of tip and tail rocker is astounding and I recommend everyone try it to remember what differences in ski design have done to skis in the modern era. Once I forgave the slightly flittery feel of the tip and tail and pressed the Amphibio-geometry Wingmans into an arc with a good edge angle and pressure, I understood the hype over the Wingmans. The ski can deliver a really well balanced carving arc at a really respectable pressure level with great composure, and release and repeat in the other direction easily..making it a crowd pleaser. The Wingman felt like an all-mountain design refined by interviewing a wide variety of skiers of advanced intermediate-to-expert and finding a design that made everyone pretty darn happy. Great example of a modern all-mountain frontside ski with easy, agile handling traits and secure grip underfoot when required without burning up the skier's energy after half a day. Nice feel and performance level until you get to warp 9 speeds when it feels a little loose, but under control. At a retail price of $399, this is the bargain of the century.

Fischer RC One GT 78
171cm
123-78-110
r=16 (triple-radius claimed)


This race-carver from Fischer immediately knew what to do when tipped on-edge and pressured. It changed direction immediately and wanted to hold a line across the hill until tipped in the other direction, then wanted to do it faster and faster with more and more pressure..over and over. This is a slot-car ski with top-level carving prowess in a fairly narrow chassis without feeling like a race ski. The auto-engagement into the turn is addicting, but its the flexible release pattern options at the end of the turn which make it friendly. You don't feel locked-in unless you want to be. Damp feel with an agile personality made it a standout. Too bad the color scheme and graphic design is really kinda ugly. A ski with these chops should look like a sports car. I miss the old Fischer black and yellow motif....they looked like they meant business. Impressive little street fighter. This narrow version has the 0.5mm thick double Titanal shell feature on the core and incorporates their sail-cloth-inspired BAFATEX fabric in the tip and tail to make them more compliant for turn initiation and finish.

Fischer RC One GT 82
173cm
126-82-112
r=16 (triple-radius claimed)


This ski and I immediately loved each other. The 82 is a charging-type ski that begs to be driven and has a more business-like GS quality to it than its more dart-like 78mm sibling. The 82 begs to be pressured and held in an ever-intensifying G-force session throughout each turn. Super-solid feel and quiet mannerisms at speed without feeling burly or demanding...but still dead-serious about its mission to lay down arcs of any intensity at speed. The ski is a bit balky until you get it up to a bit of speed and lay it over, then it craves more speed and more intense input pressures, responding with ever-increasing bite and G-forces. The RC One GT 82 delivers big grins for ex-racers and technical carving types. If you have pristine carving surface conditions, grab this ski and expect to drive it hard all day and come home really happy and tired. This ski wants to be driven like a race ski, but doesn't demand it. This is what a detuned race ski can feel like in an 82mm underfoot chassis. This is a ski that shows what the right applicaton of Titanal can do in a race-carver design. Nice work.

Fischer RC One GT 86
175cm
130-86-115
r=17 (triple-radius claimed)


This ski is a completely different animal from its 82mm sibling. The GT 86 uses a .85mm thick Titanal sheet (same as the dedicated race skis), has a different sidecut geometry and feels like a more burly, race-like charger craving a hard-driving pilot to get it to come alive. This ski feels stiffer, stronger and has a heavier, more planted personality than the GT 82. One of my buddies saw me get on this ski after trying the GT 82 and said it looked like the GT 86 wanted to kick my butt and make me work for my turns. While Ski Magazine gave it the 2020 Gear-of-The-Year award, and said it was forgiving...I disagree. The GT 86 is a serious heavy-metal cruiser that wants to be driven, not ridden. It is damp, stable as can be and takes any pressure you can give it and holds the line as long as you can keep the hammer down. Ex racers will love this ride, and while we didn't have the conditions needed, I will bet the GT 86 is a totally serious crud-buster at speed with zero deflection and locked-in tracking ability. Try this ski first thing in the morning after a few warm up runs. Fischer can make some serious skis for hard-core skiers, and the GT 86 is a great example.

DPS Pagoda Piste 90
184cm

This is a new design for 2020 and is supposed to incorporate some hardwood features with carbon elements. I did not have time to get the details on the new ski. The Pagoda Piste 90 has similar shaping to the previous Cassiar 106 (which I loved), which means fairly conservative sidecut and taper angles. My first run on the Pagoda Piste was unsettling since the ski felt loose and a bit wandery for a "Piste" model. It was extremely light underfoot, and lacked a "planted' feel, but it's light and surfy feel did not lend confidence on hardpack. It felt out of its element, although it could lay down a very respectable carving arc into the surface when rolled up on edge and pressured. Releasing the ski from its flexed state resulted in the familiar loose, slightly wandery feel. The ski was tuned well, so it felt like it must the the camber and flex profile creating this loose feel. The ski was super-easy to maneuver, and was more agile than its 90mm waist would lead you to believe. I never got comfortable on the Pagoda Piste 90 on the New England carving surfaces, and it seemed to prefer slower speed turns to cruising speeds, showing a speed limit by giving a unsettled feel underfoot.

Salomon Stance 90
176cm
126-90-108


This new ski from Salomon made in Austria had a very handsome and business-like grey-black graphic. The men's version has a poplar core and the women's version has a combo of karuba and poplar woods. Both men's and women's versions use Titanal "Twin Frames" and "full sandwich" sidewalls. This is an all-new design from Salomon intended for all-mountain usage. The Stance 90 was immediately impressive with it's quiet and solidly confident edgehold and turn initiation. Turn completion and release was smooth and controllable with the ability to vary the radius of the turn mid-arc without any protest. The ski's quiet manner and grippy personality induced immediately higher speeds then many other skis I tested, but never felt like it unless I thought about it. The only thing lacking was a bit of "pop" at the end of the turn, which I was hoping for after such a secure and confidence-inspring arc. The hard surface manners of the Stance 90 were really impressive with zero vibration and excellent grip thoughout the ski's body. It really liked GS-radius turns as its favorite sweet-spot arc shape. This is a new feel for Salomon frontside skis and I think they nailed it (at least on hardpack).

Salomon Stance 96
132-96-114 r=20m


This 96mm-waisted Stance feels nearly identical to the Stance 90...only wider and with a longer radius sweet-spot. It feels almost as quick and has the same dead-quiet, controlled feel of authority as the Stance 90. I think these are going to be winners for Salomon in the frontside category. The ski does not need a ton of input from the pilot, but rewards the more effort you put into it...and does not have a speed limit or pressure limit. It "feels Austrian"...if some people buy into that idea.....Nice work.
 

Chef23

Getting on the lift
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Joined
Dec 17, 2017
Posts
375
Nice write up that is a lot of skis to get on in a day. I would love to try a pair of the Stocklis.
 

Kyle

Getting on the lift
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Jan 28, 2016
Posts
232
Location
Utah
Great write ups that really gave me a feel for the skis—thanks!
 

Tony S

thread drift a specialty
Skier
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Posts
4,182
Location
Maine
Nice feel and performance level until you get to warp 9 speeds when it feels a little loose, but under control. At a retail price of $399, this is the bargain of the century.
Just making sure you were on the Wingman CTi as stated and not the Ti. The Ti is $399; the CTi is $599.

Edit: If you were on the Ti, you need to try the other one! In any case, your experience jibes with mine, when allowing for the conditions and bookending skis. There are a lot of Pugs on demanding skis because, well, that's what we do here sometimes, who would probably have more actual chuckles on a ski like this.
 
Last edited:

Tony S

thread drift a specialty
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Posts
4,182
Location
Maine
These are great reviews, as usual, @Eric Edelstein . Really makes me want to try the narrower Fischer GTs, which I think have been given short shrift here.
 

GB_Ski

Putting on skis
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Joined
Jan 29, 2019
Posts
91
So there is Evolv84 and VMT82, they are constructed and ski about the same, why?
 
Thread Starter
TS
Eric Edelstein

Eric Edelstein

ExoticSkis
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Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Posts
171
Location
Vermont and France
So there is Evolv84 and VMT82, they are constructed and ski about the same, why?
The VMT 82 is more of a carving-oriented ski....more directional than the Evolv which has a wider range of terrain it works well in....think of the VMT as a 70% piste, 30% off-piste ski...while the Evolv is a bit looser in its feel and is more 50-60% piste ski...if that helps. I would presonally pick the VMT 82 for eastern daily driver and the Evolv 84 for western daily driver.... The addition of the VMT construction gives the Evolv a great hard-snow response and quiet gripping ability, while the rocker profile and sidecut provide the all-terrain attractiveness... in my opinion...
 
Thread Starter
TS
Eric Edelstein

Eric Edelstein

ExoticSkis
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Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Posts
171
Location
Vermont and France
Just making sure you were on the Wingman CTi as stated and not the Ti. The Ti is $399; the CTi is $599.

Edit: If you were on the Ti, you need to try the other one! In any case, your experience jibes with mine, when allowing for the conditions and bookending skis. There are a lot of Pugs on demanding skis because, well, that's what we do here sometimes, who would probably have more actual chuckles on a ski like this.
Oops..again...I skied the CTi....at an MSRP of $599 usd....still a good deal....
 

Erik Timmerman

Skiing the powder
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Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,128
Fischer doesn't even bring them to the shop demos here in Colorado. Ridiculous. They live in a fantasy world where all we get are powder days, when the reality is that 90% of most skiers' turns are on groomers or hardpack.
Not so sure about that. I think that Fischer lives in a reality where the shops live in the fantasy land that you describe. If the shops don't carry the skinny skis, there is NO reason for the rep to carry them at a demo.
 

Coolhand

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Jan 7, 2016
Posts
60
Sad reality is that the avg ski consumer doesn't even look at a ski unless it's over 90mm at the waist. Yes, most folks would be better off on skis like the OP tested, but good luck getting them to buy that type of ski. I really like the Fischer RC One GT skis, and ski on them myself, but can't get a customer to even sniff them. But, this is a subject for a different thread. Thanks for the great reviews!
 

James

So much better than a pro
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Joined
Dec 2, 2015
Posts
10,845
Yeah the big difference in Europe is you have a plethora of skinny skis to rent. Including multiple types of slalom skis. I even had a shop guy in Chamonix try to talk me out of an 88mm ski for the Vallée Blanche. It was a crap snow week, but it’s still all off piste and like a mile of runout.
 

cantunamunch

Meh
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Nov 17, 2015
Posts
9,111
Sad reality is that the avg ski consumer doesn't even look at a ski unless it's over 90mm at the waist. Yes, most folks would be better off on skis like the OP tested, but good luck getting them to buy that type of ski. I really like the Fischer RC One GT skis, and ski on them myself, but can't get a customer to even sniff them. But, this is a subject for a different thread. Thanks for the great reviews!
I'm told VR jacked the insurance requirements for shop demos - immediate effect: goodbye consumer demo days.

(I suppose this post can go into the other thread too).
 

USCnCT

At the base lodge
Skier
Joined
Feb 11, 2017
Posts
4
I just got off a day of trying a handful of some interesting hard-snow skis at the industry on-snow demo at Pico, Vermont....so I thought I would share some observations and start the annual ritual of getting people all excited over gear they can spend money on next season! Overall, the trend seems to be that the big-brands are adding metal (Titanal typically) to many all-mountain models, creating some interesting skis with more carving prowess and less rocker-y tip and tail behaviors.

Conditions were ideal New England hardpack...dry, firm and grippy, but not boilerplate. Skis would leave little tiny cuts in the snow.....no spray....so ideal carving conditions. Sorry...no powder testing....oh well...

I'm curious to hear what people think of these skis as they demo them at the new events coming up in the next few months....

Liberty Evolv 84 VMT
197cm
126-84-110 r=17.5m


First turns stunned me with the grip the ski delivered, which quickly turned to an understanding that the brand-new ski was a little grabby and needed a detune. Nevertheless, the Evolv felt like the signature VMT 82 with its carving prowess and ability to take heavy-duty power intake and deliver an unyielding authority on hardpack. The difference was a bit of looser feel during tip engagement and a bit more flexibility in tail release than the VMT 82 which can lay down trenches when asked to do so. The Evolv handled high speeds really quietly and always delivered confident behaviors and a friendly feel. Quicker than you might imagine for an 84mm waist, the Evolv skis narrower than it measures. Flex was smooth and well balanced. I wanted to spend more time on this one. The new Evolv with VMT construction may be a sweet lineup for Liberty. Dan Chalfant and his developers at Liberty are producing a nice set of skis right now, and the Evolv 84 VMT is a great example.

Stockli WRT ST
172cm
100-66-118 r=14.8m


This is an addicting specialty item from the producers of some of the most respected carving skis on the planet. Stockli describes it as a short-radius GS ski, and they are half-right. The WRT is also a longer, large-radius SL ski....You wil be hard pressed to find a 66mm underfoot non-race ski these days, and the WRT is a hot-rod Ginsu knife with a take-no-prisoners attitude. Racer-types will immediately love this ski and its reaction to race-turn input by the pilot. It delivers a hard-hitting turn with authority and confidence and begs for another...and another...and another until the skier makes a mistake or gives up. The WRT is a hard-surface etching tool with intense G-force capabilities. This ski is not for the faint-of-heart and does not forgive errors in application of its chassis to the the snow, but gives you such a ride that you might want to get back into racing. Super handsome and impeccably built and finished. Carving aficionados will want to save their money to have a pair of these in the quiver for those squeeky-tight hardpack days when skis only leave a slight cut mark into the snow and leave no spray. A ripping street fighter of a ski with top-of-the-line refinement for technical skiers who have good physical conditioning and alert reflexes. You can have it in any length as long as its a 172cm.

Elan Wingman 82 CTI
178cm
129-82-112 r=15.5


I got on these right after the Stockli WRT ST, and I immediately felt like the shovel and tail were drifty and not connected to the snow. The difference between a race-bred specialty race-carving ski and an all-mountain design with a bit of tip and tail rocker is astounding and I recommend everyone try it to remember what differences in ski design have done to skis in the modern era. Once I forgave the slightly flittery feel of the tip and tail and pressed the Amphibio-geometry Wingmans into an arc with a good edge angle and pressure, I understood the hype over the Wingmans. The ski can deliver a really well balanced carving arc at a really respectable pressure level with great composure, and release and repeat in the other direction easily..making it a crowd pleaser. The Wingman felt like an all-mountain design refined by interviewing a wide variety of skiers of advanced intermediate-to-expert and finding a design that made everyone pretty darn happy. Great example of a modern all-mountain frontside ski with easy, agile handling traits and secure grip underfoot when required without burning up the skier's energy after half a day. Nice feel and performance level until you get to warp 9 speeds when it feels a little loose, but under control. At a retail price of $399, this is the bargain of the century.

Fischer RC One GT 78
171cm
123-78-110
r=16 (triple-radius claimed)


This race-carver from Fischer immediately knew what to do when tipped on-edge and pressured. It changed direction immediately and wanted to hold a line across the hill until tipped in the other direction, then wanted to do it faster and faster with more and more pressure..over and over. This is a slot-car ski with top-level carving prowess in a fairly narrow chassis without feeling like a race ski. The auto-engagement into the turn is addicting, but its the flexible release pattern options at the end of the turn which make it friendly. You don't feel locked-in unless you want to be. Damp feel with an agile personality made it a standout. Too bad the color scheme and graphic design is really kinda ugly. A ski with these chops should look like a sports car. I miss the old Fischer black and yellow motif....they looked like they meant business. Impressive little street fighter. This narrow version has the 0.5mm thick double Titanal shell feature on the core and incorporates their sail-cloth-inspired BAFATEX fabric in the tip and tail to make them more compliant for turn initiation and finish.

Fischer RC One GT 82
173cm
126-82-112
r=16 (triple-radius claimed)


This ski and I immediately loved each other. The 82 is a charging-type ski that begs to be driven and has a more business-like GS quality to it than its more dart-like 78mm sibling. The 82 begs to be pressured and held in an ever-intensifying G-force session throughout each turn. Super-solid feel and quiet mannerisms at speed without feeling burly or demanding...but still dead-serious about its mission to lay down arcs of any intensity at speed. The ski is a bit balky until you get it up to a bit of speed and lay it over, then it craves more speed and more intense input pressures, responding with ever-increasing bite and G-forces. The RC One GT 82 delivers big grins for ex-racers and technical carving types. If you have pristine carving surface conditions, grab this ski and expect to drive it hard all day and come home really happy and tired. This ski wants to be driven like a race ski, but doesn't demand it. This is what a detuned race ski can feel like in an 82mm underfoot chassis. This is a ski that shows what the right applicaton of Titanal can do in a race-carver design. Nice work.

Fischer RC One GT 86
175cm
130-86-115
r=17 (triple-radius claimed)


This ski is a completely different animal from its 82mm sibling. The GT 86 uses a .85mm thick Titanal sheet (same as the dedicated race skis), has a different sidecut geometry and feels like a more burly, race-like charger craving a hard-driving pilot to get it to come alive. This ski feels stiffer, stronger and has a heavier, more planted personality than the GT 82. One of my buddies saw me get on this ski after trying the GT 82 and said it looked like the GT 86 wanted to kick my butt and make me work for my turns. While Ski Magazine gave it the 2020 Gear-of-The-Year award, and said it was forgiving...I disagree. The GT 86 is a serious heavy-metal cruiser that wants to be driven, not ridden. It is damp, stable as can be and takes any pressure you can give it and holds the line as long as you can keep the hammer down. Ex racers will love this ride, and while we didn't have the conditions needed, I will bet the GT 86 is a totally serious crud-buster at speed with zero deflection and locked-in tracking ability. Try this ski first thing in the morning after a few warm up runs. Fischer can make some serious skis for hard-core skiers, and the GT 86 is a great example.

DPS Pagoda Piste 90
184cm

This is a new design for 2020 and is supposed to incorporate some hardwood features with carbon elements. I did not have time to get the details on the new ski. The Pagoda Piste 90 has similar shaping to the previous Cassiar 106 (which I loved), which means fairly conservative sidecut and taper angles. My first run on the Pagoda Piste was unsettling since the ski felt loose and a bit wandery for a "Piste" model. It was extremely light underfoot, and lacked a "planted' feel, but it's light and surfy feel did not lend confidence on hardpack. It felt out of its element, although it could lay down a very respectable carving arc into the surface when rolled up on edge and pressured. Releasing the ski from its flexed state resulted in the familiar loose, slightly wandery feel. The ski was tuned well, so it felt like it must the the camber and flex profile creating this loose feel. The ski was super-easy to maneuver, and was more agile than its 90mm waist would lead you to believe. I never got comfortable on the Pagoda Piste 90 on the New England carving surfaces, and it seemed to prefer slower speed turns to cruising speeds, showing a speed limit by giving a unsettled feel underfoot.

Salomon Stance 90
176cm
126-90-108


This new ski from Salomon made in Austria had a very handsome and business-like grey-black graphic. The men's version has a poplar core and the women's version has a combo of karuba and poplar woods. Both men's and women's versions use Titanal "Twin Frames" and "full sandwich" sidewalls. This is an all-new design from Salomon intended for all-mountain usage. The Stance 90 was immediately impressive with it's quiet and solidly confident edgehold and turn initiation. Turn completion and release was smooth and controllable with the ability to vary the radius of the turn mid-arc without any protest. The ski's quiet manner and grippy personality induced immediately higher speeds then many other skis I tested, but never felt like it unless I thought about it. The only thing lacking was a bit of "pop" at the end of the turn, which I was hoping for after such a secure and confidence-inspring arc. The hard surface manners of the Stance 90 were really impressive with zero vibration and excellent grip thoughout the ski's body. It really liked GS-radius turns as its favorite sweet-spot arc shape. This is a new feel for Salomon frontside skis and I think they nailed it (at least on hardpack).

Salomon Stance 96
132-96-114 r=20m


This 96mm-waisted Stance feels nearly identical to the Stance 90...only wider and with a longer radius sweet-spot. It feels almost as quick and has the same dead-quiet, controlled feel of authority as the Stance 90. I think these are going to be winners for Salomon in the frontside category. The ski does not need a ton of input from the pilot, but rewards the more effort you put into it...and does not have a speed limit or pressure limit. It "feels Austrian"...if some people buy into that idea.....Nice work.
Thank you for insight on Elan Wingman 82 CTI's! Have you been on the 86's yet? Looking for a good on snow comparison of each. Always Have Fun!
 

Coach13

Out on the slopes
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Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Posts
1,554
Location
No. VA
Not so sure about that. I think that Fischer lives in a reality where the shops live in the fantasy land that you describe. If the shops don't carry the skinny skis, there is NO reason for the rep to carry them at a demo.
It’s funny. I had just that conversation in the opposite manner. At the local shop I buy from I was gripping because at a local demo I wasn’t able to try the Ranger series skis I’m interested in and the shop owner explained that exact point. He pointed out that they aren’t bringing wide skis to demo in an area where no shops carry them.

I actually felt pretty stupid for not figuring that out on my own.
 

GregK

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Mar 21, 2017
Posts
1,039
Location
Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the great reviews!
Very interested in trying out the Stance 96 as I hear it’s very quiet and solid like a slightly less traditional “Mantra”.
Did you try the 176cm version or the 182cm on the 96? Wished they made a mid 180’s length but I bet the 188cm should charge pretty well
 
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