Comparison Review The Dean's List: 2019 Reviews

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews and Comparisons' started by dean_spirito, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. dean_spirito

    dean_spirito Freestyle Ski Coach Pugski Ski Tester Instructor

    Nov 10, 2015
    Breckenridge, CO
    Armada Edollo
    Dimensions: 133-98-123
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 164, 172, 180
    Size tested: 180
    Design: All New

    The 2019 Henrik Harlaut pro model isn’t exactly all new, but a few changes are worth mentioning. The Edollo is still the same 98mm twin tip that we all know and love, but it has been beefed up to tolerate even more abuse! Armada has widened the edges from 2.2 to 2.5 mm, so whether you are sliding rails in the park or hucking cliffs in the backcountry, you know the product strapped to your feet is designed to withstand hard impacts. Armada is also incorporating new sidewall construction that adds ABS from rocker point to rocker point, while maintaining cap construction in the tip and tail. This creates a ski that is extremely stable underfoot at speed, yet soft and playful in the tip and tail for effortless ollies, nollies, and butters.
    • Who is it for? Any advanced or expert skier with a buttery style; park rats looking for something slightly wider and more versatile than a traditional park ski.
    • Who is it not for? People who prefer to keep their skis on the snow.
    • Insider tip: Henrik Harlaut designed this ski with his unique approach to skiing in mind, so if you’re trying to adopt a style like Edollo, this is probably the ski for you.

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

    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.

    Blizzard Rustler 9
    Dimensions: 127.5-94-117*
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 164, 172, 180, 188
    Size tested: 180
    Design: All New
    *scaled sizing

    New to the Rustler lineup for 2019 is the slightly narrower Rustler 9. Blizzard gave it a progressive waist width, which means the waist of the ski will vary depending upon the length; this ensures that the feel of the ski remains consistent, no matter what size you happen to be on. The Rustler 9 is light and nimble yet extremely stable at speed. As compared to its big brother the Rustler 10, the Rustler 9 is 8 mm narrower and has considerably less rocker in the tip and tail. It skis slightly longer and feels more oriented toward firm snow conditions. It has a distinct Blizzard feel and really comes to life at speed. One of the highlights of the day was skiing through chalky bumps in one of Copper’s upper bowls.
    • Who is it for? Advanced to expert skiers looking for a versatile all-mountain ski with a lot of backbone.
    • Who is it not for? Those looking for a jibby all-mountain ski. Some have described this ski as playful, but I would argue that “playful” is a relative term.
    • Insider tip: If you like the feel of a stiff frontside ski but are looking to widen your quiver, take a close look at the Rustler 9.

    Faction Candide 2.0
    Dimensions: 135-102-135
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 158, 166, 172, 178, 184, 188
    Size tested: 178
    Design: Carryover

    The Candide 2.0 is more than just a symmetrical park ski: it is an all-mountain ripper that can handle anything in your path! Camber underfoot and rocker in the tip and tail work together to create a versatile ski that holds solidly in firm snow yet floats effortlessly through pow. To create a stable platform for landing huge airs, the Candide 2.0 incorporates a carbon stomp pad into the poplar/beech core. This helps to absorb impact and dampen vibrations without making the ski feel too heavy or too stiff. Whether you are lapping the park or sending cliffs in the backcountry, the Candide 2.0 is right for all occasions!
    • Who is it for? Advanced to expert skiers looking for a playful ski that won’t fold under pressure; park rats looking for something to take to the big mountain.
    • Who is it not for? Those not looking to catch air or ski switch; it is most definitely a freestyle-oriented ski.
    • Insider tip: Candide Thovex is arguably the greatest skier on the planet, and there is a good reason why you see so many of his skis out on the hill.

    Faction Prodigy 1.0
    Dimensions: 120-90-112
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 152, 158, 164, 170, 176, 181, 187
    Size tested: 181
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Faction designed the Prodigy series with intermediate skiers in mind. If you think that the Candide lineup is too aggressive for your taste but you want a similar flavor, take a closer look at the Prodigy. At 90 mm underfoot, the Prodigy 1.0 could be a great one-ski quiver. Rocker in the tip and tail contributes to smooth turn initiation and effortless float in deeper snow. Camber underfoot allows the ski to hold firmly on hard pack and explode from one turn to the next. Finally, a poplar core makes it light, playful, and easy to bend.
    • Who is it for? Intermediate skiers looking for a one-ski quiver; aspiring park rats.
    • Who is it not for? Advanced to expert skiers who like to go fast; heavier skiers.
    • Insider tip: This versatile ski will appeal to a lot of different intermediate skiers.

    Faction Prodigy 2.0
    Dimensions: 122-96-112
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 154, 158, 164, 174, 178, 184
    Size tested: 178
    Design: New Construction

    Just because a ski is designed for intermediates doesn’t mean that it should make you ski like one. Unfortunately, Faction missed the mark on the Prodigy 2.0. I found it to be downright scary on piste. Although it performed slightly better in variable chop, that did not make up for the lack of performance elsewhere on the mountain.
    • Who is it for? People who like to torture themselves.
    • Who is it not for? Most people.
    • Insider tip: Don’t let this lackluster review discourage you from looking more closely at the Prodigy 1.0.

    Head Kore 99
    Dimensions: 134-99-120
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 162, 171, 180, 189
    Size tested: 180
    Design: All New

    Head decided to expand the Kore lineup for 2019 by adding a 99mm option. Although it feels very similar to the Kore 93 while skiing on piste, the additional width of the Kore 99 makes it a lot friendlier when venturing into deeper snow. I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth this ski was, regardless of where I took it. It initiates turns easily and holds an incredible edge while carving, despite its relatively wide shape. With 3 mm of camber underfoot and stiff construction, the Kore 99 is comfortable at any speed. Definitely one of the highlights of the show!
    • Who is it for? Advanced to expert skiers looking for a stiff all-mountain ski with a distinct Head feel.
    • Who is it not for? Intermediates and those looking for a jibby all-mountain ski; the Kore 99 is stiff and demanding.
    • Insider tip: This ski could go head to head (no pun intended) with the Kastle MX99. I found them to have a very similar feel.

    Icelantic Nomad 105
    Dimensions: 140-105-130
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 161,171,181,191
    Size tested: 181
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    While the Nomad 95 has recently stepped up as Icelantic’s park ski, the Nomad 105 gives riders a more versatile all-mountain ski with a distinct park feel. It maintains the same playful, surfy feel of the 95, but has been stiffened up to handle hard charging outside the park. Three layers of 20mm rubber foil are incorporated into the poplar core in order to dampen vibrations without compromising weight. If you’re the type of skier who wants a twin tip that is equally at home in the park as it is in the big mountain, the Nomad 105 might be for you.
    • Who is it for? Park rats looking for a powder ski; upper intermediate to advanced skiers looking for a playful, all-mountain/powder ski.
    • Who is it not for? Those who keep their skis on the snow -- this is a jibby ski.
    • Insider tip: These could make for a great touring setup.

    Kästle MX99
    Dimensions: 135-99-120
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 160, 168, 176, 184
    Size tested: 176
    Design: All New

    The all-new MX99 was certainly one of the highlights of the show. I never skied the MX98, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I clicked in. My only previous experience with Kästle had been with much narrower skis (ie, MX74 and MX83). It didn’t take long to realize that the MX99 offers that same Kästle feel, just in a slightly larger package. I was blown away with how smooth these skis felt. They provided an incredibly stable platform at any speed. If you are a hard-charging skier who can afford to pay a premium for that extra degree of refinement and performance, take a very close look at the MX99.
    • Who is it for? Advanced to expert skiers looking for a premium all-mountain ski.
    • Who is it not for? Those on a budget.
    • Insider tip: If you have champagne tastes on a beer drinker’s budget, take a look at the Kore 99.

    K2 Super Charger
    Dimensions: 127-76-107
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 168, 175, 181
    Size tested: 175
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    If you are a high-level recreational skier who wants a taste of what it feels like to race, pay close attention to the Super Charger. As the name suggests, these skis have been supercharged to get you up to speeds you never thought imaginable! They aren’t poppy; they are explosive. And although they aren’t a true race ski, they certainly aren’t for the faint of heart. These skis are very stiff and unforgiving: once you get them to speed, you better hold on tight or they will take you for a ride.
    • Who is it for? Expert skiers looking for a frontside carver with a race feel.
    • Who is it not for? Those looking for a forgiving ski; these are designed to go fast and hold a serious edge.
    • Insider tip: I never knew keeping your skis on the snow could be so much fun!

    Liberty Helix 98
    Dimensions: 133-98-121
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 165, 172, 179, 186
    Size tested: 179
    Design: All New

    When you think of a brand like Liberty, it can be easy to overlook the fact that it has been refining its craft for more than 15 years. In that time, it has become one of the ski industry’s largest independent ski manufacturers, and for good reason. The Helix 98 is undoubtedly the best $500 ski I’ve ever been on. It is fast, playful, and a ton of fun all over the mountain. The thing that impresses me most is its flex pattern. Bamboo makes for a fantastic core; it is easy to bend but always comes back. This is what makes the ski feel so stable at speed, despite being relatively soft with generous rise in the tip and tail. The Helix 98 is extremely versatile and would make for a great one-ski quiver.
    • Who is it for? Any intermediate to expert skier looking for a playful one-ski quiver.
    • Who is it not for? Heavier skiers and those who demand a stiff ski.
    • Insider tip: At $500, the Helix 98 might be one of the best deals on the market.
    Hawk45, blackke17, socalgal and 9 others like this.

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