Individual Review Thumbnail reviews on allmountain and freeride skis (2018)

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews and Comparisons' started by Cheizz, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. Cheizz

    Cheizz Craving camber Skier

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    I just had two days of freeride and allmountain ski testing at the Kaunertaler Glacier in Austria. Conditions: patches of soft powder snow when traversing into the shade (about 30 cm of soft snow, but enough to see how the skis behave); some slush in the afternoon and freshly groomed pistes back to the lift.

    All skis were 2018 versions (some of which were unchenaged from 2017).

    About me
    Age: 35 years old
    Hight: 1.82 m
    Weight: 87 kg
    Level: 7-8

    Völkl Mantra, 177
    Has been there for ages, never skied it. But now I did. And… well. Stable? Yes, when on edge. Inspiring confidence? Yes, when on edge. That is the story of this no-camber ski, for me at least. When fully on edge: nice hold and energy, stable. But when skied lazy, side-slipped or off-focus: not so much. It just wants to carve. And it does pivot, it really does. But not in a way I want a ski to pivot. I think I’ve done 2 pirouettes on them, just to prove there really isn’t any camber (or stability, or edge hold) when not truly on edge.

    Black Crows Orb, 178
    The narrowest on the bunch, and very stable and damp on piste. It does have a freeride shaped nose, though, which inspired me to go into the fresh soft stuff. I shouldn’t have. It doesn’t have enough float to hold my weight. Just keep it on groomers and in crud and it literally is a blast.

    Nordica Enforcer 100, 193
    Wow. Simply: wow! When I tried the Enforcer 93 last November, I didn’t have high hopes for this ski. But: wow. Stable, tracks through just about anything, has enough float for not too deep powder, slays the crud and actually cruises very nicely on piste. Back to the lift is a last on corduroy, despite the 100 mm. Chapeau to Nordica for this one. If I wanted a ‘slash it all’ ~100 mm ski, this would definitely be it. I would consider the 185 length, although the 193 I took out was simply brilliant.

    Blizzard Bonafide, 187
    They say it has been changed (flex, radius) to accommodate a wider range of skiers. Well, I guess I’m still not in that range. Maybe it’s the size, but somehow, I think I can manage big skis (Enforcer 100). I just couldn’t get the Bonafide to turn. No matter how hard I tried, it just wouldn’t. Maybe I’m too small or weak (physically, technically as a skier) to bend it, steer it. It simply is an oil tanker to me. Full steam ahead, start breaking with at least 100 metres before any obstacle you want to avoid. Whatever snow, terrain or speed I tried it at (well, ‘slow’ just isn’t in its vocabulary, I think), I simply couldn’t ski it properly. All those guys that rave about it, love it… are you all 220 lbs at least? Are you all ski gods? If not, it must be me. Or the ski of course. Let’s settle for the combination of me + this ski that doesn’t work.

    Salomon QST 106, 188
    The same as last year, but I didn’t ski it then. So: new to me. And a bit light and bumpy to be honest. The flex easily, but that also means they get deflected easily in less than ideal snow (heavy crud, tracked-out powder). On anything firm, they just don’t hold. Maybe a ski for lightweights who don’t mind being bullied by the terrain. But for me they’re too light, jumpy in a weird and unpredictable way and not stable enough.

    Line Sick Day 104, 186
    I own and love the Supernatural 108. This Sick Day 104 seems to replace it – sort of. It has similar flex, energy and shape. But for me they don’t have enough float to make turning in deeper snow easy. A sometimes hooky tale is great on piste, but less so in tracked out powder or crud. A tad light, but playful enough for a lighter skier, I guess.

    Blizzard Rustler 10, 180
    This one is to ‘carbonny’ (oh wait… ‘digital’ was the word). To bumpy, not damp enough. Hang time? Sure. But to jumpy for me. In tracked-out powder and crud it launches itself on every little bump: lots of energy. But in deeper snow in more mellow terrain, It wouldn’t support my weight properly, so a bit of a sinking, having-to-jump-at-every-turn-,-not-nice-for-my-lazy-ass….

    Black Crows Atris, 184
    If I didn’t have a 108-ish freeride ski already, I would buy this one. Easy to handle in any snow, on any slope (crud, deeper pow, icy groomers even), big lines an tight ones. Effortless turns no matter what you throw at it. Great ski. Period.

    Nordica Enforcer 110, 193
    Copy & paste what I wrote about the Bonafide. Just a heavier tail and even wider, so even more difficult to get on any kind of edge.

    Right now, I'm in Obertauern, Austria, for the 2018 frontside gear. Will do some of these quick first impressions of those later on this week.
     
    steve pickard, Myles, Ken_R and 5 others like this.
  2. flbufl

    flbufl Putting on skis Skier

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    Glad to see the review of Black Crows Orb. I've got the 2017 version in 178cm, but have not yet tried it. The condition you've described is what exactly I intend to use it for.
     
  3. Philpug

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

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    I have heard nothing but good things abotu the Black Crows, we need to get on them.
     
  4. Tytlynz64

    Tytlynz64 Getting on the lift Skier

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    Late to the party, but does the Atris ski true to length? Looking at this as a soft snow companion to my Enforcer 93 193s. I'm 6'7" 270 advanced intermediate. Also looking at Wailer 106f.
     
  5. Philpug

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

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    Woah....You be a big boy.

    Paging @DoryBreaux and @Drahtguy Kevin to the XXL Courtesy Phone. The 106F won't be enough ski for you. You need to look to the Cochise, 100Eight, Invictus 108Ti. IIRC Fischer makes a 202cm ski, @Mike Thomas and @epic could answer more about that one.
     


  6. Tytlynz64

    Tytlynz64 Getting on the lift Skier

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    Thanks Phil. I demoed the Cochise at Heavenly and it was a chore in the cement prevalent that day. Haven't been on the other two.
     
  7. Thread Starter
    TS
    Cheizz

    Cheizz Craving camber Skier

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    The Atris has quite a bit of tip and tail rocker, so go long
     
  8. Philpug

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

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    when? The newer cambered version or the older one? If it was the newer one...Then the Armada over the 100Eight. You also might wait for the new Enforcer 115 or the Head Kore 117
     
  9. Tytlynz64

    Tytlynz64 Getting on the lift Skier

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    March. I think it was last years model. When I say chore, alot of that is on me. I ski the enforcers and can bully them to do what I want. At my size I can bend them well. The Cochise seemed to lack energy and needed more precision. Or I could just suk on wider skis.:doh:
     
  10. Philpug

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

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    Or the 27M TR was too much. It isn't always the Indian..sometimes it is the arrow....(Hmm..Note to self: Save that as a title)
     
  11. Tytlynz64

    Tytlynz64 Getting on the lift Skier

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    I don't know much about technology of skis. I got back into the game after a 12 year hiatus. I got fitted for boots in year one and bought skis in year 2. I like my enforcers but they were an adjustment coming from Olin markIVs. Everything is different but more fun. I was looking for a wider compliment after skiing primarily out west the last two years. So what I am looking for is similar handling but more float in off piste conditions mainly trees. Should I be looking at a shorter turn radius?
     
  12. Tytlynz64

    Tytlynz64 Getting on the lift Skier

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    Btw, your review of the E93 was very influential in my buying decision. They versatility you described sold me. Bought them without a demo.
     
  13. Scotty I.

    Scotty I. Getting on the lift Skier

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    If I were to buy the Black Crows Atris, they would be covered in Pugski stickers. It makes me dizzy to look at them. Their touring line is aesthetically much more pleasing.
     
  14. Scotty I.

    Scotty I. Getting on the lift Skier

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    The Bonafide is the reference ski in this category for many people. However, this review, and a few others that I have read, would have one believe that it just doesn't work at all for some people. No middle ground with this ski. If you (Cheizz) are into skiing to the extent that you test skis, I'm going to assume that you must be, at least, a very competent skier. To say the least, the Bonafide is a polarizing ski that, probably more than any ski that I have ever read about, needs to be demoed extensively before laying out the cash.
     
  15. Philpug

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

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    We can continue to be friends.
     
  16. ScottB

    ScottB Getting off the lift Skier

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    I can lend a big guy perspective, 6'4", 240lbs. I am not saying you want to go this wide, but if you want to float on top of powder, I ski a 142mm Ski Logik Depth Hoar, 191cm long. These will float you in powder. A 125mm ski will not float you on top of the snow. You will sink some. It sounds like you are not looking to go that wide, I would suggest a 115mm ski, such as the Moment Bibby Pro in a 190 something length. I like a medium stiff to stiff ski in 185cm + length in general. I will defer to Phil to suggest some choices. I will add that once you go wider than 100mm, the skis become tiring to get on edge on hard snow, so they become soft snow only skis. I have a Liberty Origin 96 ski that works well for me on hard or soft snow. My wider skis stay in the car unless the conditions are soft. I am a East Coast skier.
     
  17. Tytlynz64

    Tytlynz64 Getting on the lift Skier

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    Great insight, and no I am not looking for a pure powder ski but a soft snow compliment/Utah Colorado travel ski. I have never been in a truly epic dump, but like skiing trees where you can find a fairly reliable 12 to 18 inches on many days. That is the job for the tool. Now to find the tool. Lol
     
  18. bremmick

    bremmick At the base lodge Skier

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    Any thoughts on the differences between the 2017 and 2018 Atris? Which one is your snapshot based on?
     
  19. Thread Starter
    TS
    Cheizz

    Cheizz Craving camber Skier

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    Snapshot is based on the 2018 version. I'll have to check for differences with older versions..
     
  20. Eric Edelstein

    Eric Edelstein ExoticSkis Industry Insider

    Joined:
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    Vermont and France
    I got a chance to take a few runs on most of the skis in the Black Crows lineup last February, and they all had a similar "feel" to them as slightly directionally-biased, more windpack and crust-cutting tools than surfy-floaty skis, liking to be powered into terrain to work their best, delivering a solid ride with great predictability. Riding them lazy resulted in a slightly "blah", unexciting feel, but as soon as you drove them, they did their thing. Definitely feel like they were designed by the same small group of skiers looking for a more Euro-centric snow condition environment (variable density, often wind-scoured with blower and crust in spots depending on your altitude and hill aspect during a paticular time of day) rather than Cottonwood Canyon freeride surfaces or high-and-dry rocky mountain terrain.

    Sold, targeted shaping and camber in each model design to deliver a specific feel and behavior. The hard part might be choosing one model over another since they have some slight overlapping personality traits in sibling models. Some skiers might find them to be unexciting in some cases, while others I talked to are completely in love with their Black Crows. Definitely contenders worth your time to demo anytime you can find them to test. Very cool graphics. Can be found on sale sometimes at great prices.
     
    Tricia likes this.

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