Tony S

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It appears that all the insider Pugs have been given the green light by the Powers That Be to let loose with their reviews of 2020 model year skis, so I figured I'd pile on with some quick notes on skis Phil and Tricia were nice enough to lay out in Colorado a few weeks ago.

Conditions: I would call them very early spring conditions. Mostly winter snow but definitely some freeze-thaw effects on certain exposures. Nothing rock hard but true corn was a little scarce. No fresh snow, but everything open with a good base.

Me: 56, 5'7" 140lbs. east coaster, beer leaguer, "finesse skier." (Or so people keep telling me, to the point that it's almost tiresome. Maybe I should start putting some black grease paint under my eyes and wearing Patriots jerseys.) Been around the block. Yes, I have video.

Renoun Z-90 "Soft" (experimental unit)
Fun to try. Interesting to see how the vetting process works. This one needs some tweaks but I like the concept. Nuff said.


2019-20 Liberty V76 W (women's) 165cm
Don't have the dimensions on this in hand, but it is a carver with lots of sidecut and an an untapered tip. Unsurprisingly, the shovel hooks up quickly and makes arc-to-arc turns a gimme. The tail is easy to modulate. Brushed turns are a breeze. Speaking strictly personally, I prefer a bit more grip and pop in a ski that's so clearly groomer-oriented. Nonetheless, this is very well-executed.
  • Who is it for? Western groomer cruiser who wants the option to rip a few honest slalom turns once that much-needed lunchtime veggie burger finally kicks in.
  • Who is it not for? Ex-racer types, folks who spend a lot of time on the ungroomed.
  • Insider tip: Overheard several appreciative chairlift comments about the graphics on this ski, over the course of the weekend.

2019-20 Liberty Evolv 90 172cm
This is the new "in-between" model that Liberty is positioning between the frontside V series and the backside-oriented Origin line. I skied it for a whole afternoon, including some really nice corn-y runs chasing @Lady_Salina and crew in the new Beavers sector at A-Basin. This is one of those skis that just feels natural from the get-go. Snow feel is superb - they've done something with this construction that just makes the base feel like it's hugging the terrain. Mountain bikers will recognize this feeling from when they finally get the pressure on their tubeless tires low enough that they're actually working as designed. Flex is very progressive - not too stiff for bumps, but totally solid at speed in a carved turn. Rebound is ample but controlled. There is not much early rise and that is FINE, since the well-judged tip flex compensates. I could easily be happy with this ski as a daily driver, east or west. As I remarked elsewhere, when on this ski I kept thinking of Sierra Jim and his comments about the many virtues of "medium." Good looks are a bonus, with the subtle colors and textured topsheet. Liberty, if you are listening, the tip does tend to catch a bit in moguls. More taper in the shovel would turn this thing into a bump-eating machine, putting it more squarely between the V series and the Origin.
  • Who is it for? Skiers who know how to create a variety of turns for the conditions - this ski will obediently do any of them on demand.
  • Who is it not for? Skiers who want to buy a turn. The Evolv has no agenda, so you need to have one.
  • Insider tip: Sizing and mount point are spot on. Don't mess.
  • Insider tip #2: I heard a rumor that @Drahtguy Kevin also liked this ski. He's like twice my size, swears a lot, and ... well, we are very different. When the two of us like the same ski, that is something to ponder.


2018-19 Fischer Ranger 98ti 172cm (demo from A Racer's Edge)
Has a lot of the typical "bright" Fischer snow feel. Will carve a really nice turn on hardpack once you get it WAY over. (Of course it was precisely as I was learning this - all too slowly - that I happened to be skiing directly in front of the best skiers in the group. Humility is a virtue. Sigh.) Lightweight and easy to pivot. Good bump ski. Skied this at Loveland on a day when we had a lot of shallow windpack and highly variable conditions depending on altitude and exposure. Honestly I was not a big fan of it there. The tip has a lot of rise and is quite stiff. The result is that as you build your turn in 3D snow you wait and wait for something to happen, and then - wham - you're yanked across the fall line when the tip finally engages. In inconsistent snow I really want a consistent ski to help me impose some order on the chaos. This wasn't it for me. YMMV.
  • Who is it for? You want a lightweight ski that has a built-in turn.
  • Who is it not for? Skiers who liked the Evolv 90 (see above)
  • Insider tip: I'm very opinionated; don't let that stop you from giving this ski a whirl!


Augment
This is SO not going to win me friends here. Oh well, here goes. I tried the 155cm SL ("non World Cup") Flex == 6 and the 172cm 77mm All Mountain ski - Tricia's ski without the carbon, also Flex == 6. For someone of my size and habits, the All Mountain was a dreamy-smooth GS ski with no speed limit and loads of grip. I would happily take this into a race course. (Maybe that's why @ScotsSkier likes these skis so much!) "Unperturable" is a word @Noodler was using that weekend. Good one for this ski. Trouble is, for me, big high speed turns were ALL I could do with it. Brushed turns - meh. Bumps, meh. Short-radius arcs - meh. Anything at slow speed - double meh. Basically, I couldn't bend it unless I was going 40mph.

The SL ski - okay so this made SL turns for me. Of course it did. That's what it does. But again, just too stiff. It was like a car I couldn't make go without duct-taping a cinder block to my right foot. I know it was a 6! I stand by my experience: Too stiff. I own a Blossom FIS SL in the same length that is like my own personal coach. Maybe it knows I'm Italian and cuts me some slack. Anyway, the Augment didn't do it for me. :huh:


2018-19 DPS Cassiar 79 Alchemist "The Trainer" 167cm
Second time on this ski. Loved it the first time. Loved it the second time. Look, can you really ski arc to arc? Really? Like serious continuous railroad tracks the whole way down? Be honest here. Can you? Most of you can't. Sorry, but it's true. I've been watching. Maybe you don't want to. That's fine. But if you do, this is your ski. Easy to bend but grippy as hell. So so so so fun. Yes, people were calling it binary, with a bit of a scowl. Well, yeah. You're either doing it or you're not. It's a trainer. Thumbs up, thumbs down. Spend time on this and nearby thumbs will go up. Your own thumb will go up. Okay, better stop there.
  • Who is it for? You want to improve your skiing and you mean it.
  • Who is it not for? You want to improve your skiing but you're kidding yourself.
  • Insider tip: For a slalom-esque ski, this skis short. I ski a 155 real SL but a 167 in this ski. Buy long. There is now a 174cm model. Most guys should be on that one. Only really small people belong on the 160.


And now we get to swoon time. Yes, I totally fell for a ski. No it wasn't the Evolv, much as I admired and enjoyed that ski and what it stands for. Or the DPS, ditto. So what is this magic ski?

2019-20 Elan Wingman 82 CTI 178cm
I just have never been on a ski anything like this. Home cooks: This is like moving from a Wusthof or a Henkels knife to a Japanese model. Half the weight with twice the slice. It bends easily but still grips like a bulldog. (I know that sounds like my account of the DPS above but the skis are totally different. The DPS really is binary. It's supposed to be. I had a French teacher like that in high school. You say something and she'd say it back properly. You knew what that meant, even if you didn't like it.)

The Elan doesn't correct you; it's just kind of invisible, like the jet pack on your back in that awesome dream. They should have called it the Wingsuit instead of the Wingman. It does its ski duty perfectly and lets you concentrate on skiing. Look left, go left. Astounding that a ski that can be so locked into a carved turn can also do brushy instructor turns so well. The conundrum of the Wingman is that it's very precise and yet very forgiving. Yes, there is a lot of resistance to the whole Amphibio thing. I get it. But, but, but ... I DO think that inside ski tracking was noticably better on this ski. :eek:

I see this taking over from my MX 84. I can feel the foundations of PugSki shaking. "You are trading the signature Kastle model for an Elan?" Are you nuts?" I'm not nuts. The Wingman is not a better ski, necessarily, just especially well suited to me. Finding that ski is the whole point of doing demos, right? Let the bidding on the cast-offs begin.
  • Who is it for? A skier who is happy to let high tech take over some of the load. Maybe you are aging a bit, like me, and are totally glad to shed some of the weight without losing precision. @WadeHoliday , you might have to sell the Trainer.
  • Who is it not for? Hidebound big guys
  • Insider tip: Don't be like me. Don't blow past Elan for any of the reasons people do that.
  • Insider tip #2: Pick your length and it will work for you. The one I was on was "too long" and it was still killer, with all that elbow room.
 
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Tony S

Tony S

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Thanks for the reviews.
Now I know who is my polar opposite when it comes to ski selection.
Not exactly a news flash.

PS: We can switch avatars anytime. Just let me know.
 
Thread Starter
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Tony S

Tony S

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Hey! @Philpug! Just had a great idea for a series: "Grump, Counter Grump". You know, kind of like the old Firing Line on PBS.

Anyway, Grump, where are YOUR reviews? Bring 'em on.
 

James

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2019-20 Elan Wingman 82 CTI 178cm
178! Would you get it that long? That's possibly concerning for those who weigh 175+. Or not. Thoughts?
How about, did you always have them on the proper foot, or try them the wrong way?
Did the Wingman do something for tou in long sweeping turns?
 

SBrown

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Pro tip: "It says Völkl on the top" is not really all that helpful.
:roflmao:

Although it isn't just Völkl because he doesn't like the 100Eight -- we need a truth test with the Mantra 102. Guessing it won't pass the Grump test because I loved it.:popcorn::wave::Pogwink
 

Tricia

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Augment
This is SO not going to win me friends here. Oh well, here goes. I tried the 155cm SL ("non World Cup") Flex == 6 and the 172cm 77mm All Mountain ski - Tricia's ski without the carbon, also Flex == 6. For someone of my size and habits, the All Mountain was a dreamy-smooth GS ski with no speed limit and loads of grip. I would happily take this into a race course. (Maybe that's why @ScotsSkier likes these skis so much!) "Unperturable" is a word @Noodler was using that weekend. Good one for this ski. Trouble is, for me, big high speed turns were ALL I could do with it. Brushed turns - meh. Bumps, meh. Short-radius arcs - meh. Anything at slow speed - double meh. Basically, I couldn't bend it unless I was going 40mph.

The SL ski - okay so this made SL turns for me. Of course it did. That's what it does. But again, just too stiff. It was like a car I couldn't make go without duct-taping a cinder block to my right foot. I know it was a 6! I stand by my experience: Too stiff. I own a Blossom FIS SL in the same length that is like my own personal coach. Maybe it knows I'm Italian and cuts me some slack. Anyway, the Augment didn't do it for me. :huh:
Its funny you should say that because I liked the AM77 for the first run or two but then felt like it wore me out. The Augment guy talked to me about it and thinks I should try the 8 flex. I think he's right. Its a good ski but at that flex, its a lot of ski for me.
 

KingGrump

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Gee, guys. I go out for a few runs and come back to a lynch mob chanting for my head. Must be the off season. Why don’t you guys go out and find an open ski hill and work off some of that aggression. :duck::D

Tony, honestly, my remark was not meant to be negative. Just a factual statement that expressed our differing preference in skis. @Philpug and I almost always diverged in our preference for skis. I have no issues with that.

What bought forth my comment is your reaction to the Augment SL. It is totally opposite my experience. I demo the Augment FIS SL 165 flex=2 at Mount Rose. I had to check to make sure I wasn’t wearing blue tight and a red cape.

I demo skis for myself rather than for others. I am a simple guy. My internal reviews usually go OK, meh, F*** and WOW, I have gotta to get me one of this. I usually end up buying the ones with the last comment. Simple system for a simple guy. The Augment FIS SL was one of those. To put things in perspective, I have six other pairs of Atomic FIS SL on my rack. They are that good.

As Sly would say, “Different strokes.” :beercheer:

 

James

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The Augment FIS SL was one of those. To put things in perspective, I have six other pairs of Atomic FIS SL on my rack. They are that good.
So what flex would you buy?
 

Ken_R

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Looks like the Evolv90 has been constant a favorite (directional all-mountain ski).
 

Tricia

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Looks like the Evolv90 has been constant a favorite (directional all-mountain ski).
I got on the 172 for the first time after we got back to Tahoe, and was impressed in big way.
Liberty did a fantastic job with those skis.
 

Tom K.

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Dang it, next year was supposed to be a "no new skis" challenge to myself (for no good reason).

But I find myself REALLY wanting a pair of the Cassiar 79 "trainers" in 174.

It sounds like they could be everything my real SL skis were not, for me.

Luckily, I can (maybe barely) pass the @Tony S selection criteria. Been laying railroad tracks since the late 70s, on K2 810 GS skis, no less.
 

SBrown

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Gee, guys. I go out for a few runs and come back to a lynch mob chanting for my head. Must be the off season. Why don’t you guys go out and find an open ski hill and work off some of that aggression. :duck::D

Tony, honestly, my remark was not meant to be negative. Just a factual statement that expressed our differing preference in skis. @Philpug and I almost always diverged in our preference for skis. I have no issues with that.

What bought forth my comment is your reaction to the Augment SL. It is totally opposite my experience. I demo the Augment FIS SL 165 flex=2 at Mount Rose. I had to check to make sure I wasn’t wearing blue tight and a red cape.

I demo skis for myself rather than for others. I am a simple guy. My internal reviews usually go OK, meh, F*** and WOW, I have gotta to get me one of this. I usually end up buying the ones with the last comment. Simple system for a simple guy. The Augment FIS SL was one of those. To put things in perspective, I have six other pairs of Atomic FIS SL on my rack. They are that good.

As Sly would say, “Different strokes.” :beercheer:

haha! There is nothing negative about it, and it was particularly funny to me when Tony said what he did, because you said the same exact thing to me when talking about skis last season. It's a noteworthy indicator. Correspondingly, Tony and I tend to like the same skis -- so apparently I need to get on that Elan.
 
Thread Starter
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Tony S

Tony S

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I demo the Augment FIS SL 165 flex=2 at Mount Rose. I had to check to make sure I wasn’t wearing blue tight and a red cape.
Interesting. I didn't try the 165. Did anyone besides Rachel and me get on the 155? I wonder if it might be one of those cases where they didn't scale down the flex with the length. E.g., a short 2x4 is harder to bend than a long one.
 
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