Pros: Smooth, all terrain powder boards of very nice quality.
Cons: Not for hard-charging, cliff-hucking, hyperspeed antics
White Dot Freeride
(155-112-133) 21m radius @ 189cm
2009-2010 pre-production candidate
White Dot Freeride
WhiteDot Freeride, 41 Cottingley Rd, Sandy Lane, West Yorkshire, BD15 9JN, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7971 471306
All-mountain positive camber powder ski
Your Rating (with comments): (1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
A spot-on widebody ski of very nice quality that goes anywhere on the mountain with grace and confidence. Carves surprisingly solid, grippy turns on the groomers back to the lifts and handles like a dream in the soft snow. Not a super-softie or a stiffy hard-charger, but perfect for just about anyone on any surface or terrain where a wide ski is the ticket. A crowd pleaser that will probably be the "bread-and-butter" ski for White Dot Freeride since nearly everyone will like it for nearly any freeriding. Nice.
Technical Ski Data:
- SEMI TWIN -
BASE: ISO highspeed, Graphite infused die cut
RADIUS: 17, 19, 21
EFFECTIVE EDGE: 149, 158, 166
TIP/TAIL LENGTHS: 195,120
EDGE ANGLE: 1=3
CORE: Okume, Poplar Laminate
EDGES: 2mm steel, 360 degree
TOPSHEET: Screen Printed Nylon
CONSTRUCTION: Graphite infused ISO Highspeed
base/2mm edge/Okume poplar core/Carbon Fibre,
Kevlar Weave/Nylon Topsheet
Price = €555
The white dots on green background grew on me after a minute. Even better against a snowy white background. Very nicely constructed and finished powder ski with balanced flex, good torsional rigidity where it counts, and nicely dampened. I got the impression this ski would be good for nearly any terrain we could find. Excellent quality of fit-and-finish. Really attractive price of €555.
Cold, dry, powder snow 1 day old, boot-deep powder, tracked-out boot-deep powder and packed groomers. Les Grand Montets - Chamonix, France. January 2009.
I tested these skis after getting off the Icelantic Shaman and Icelantic Nomad earlier in the day in the same terrain, with the Shaman being closest in width to the Preacher (see my review of those skis in the Icelantic forum), so I will mention the differences a bit as I go along. The Preacher was instantly skiable without any learning curve. This pair, being a final pre-production model (serial 000-000-001-09 or something like that), was mounted a teeny bit forward of the final recommended mark according to Andrew Phyn of White Dot, but it really didn't feel funky at all to me. I could get right on this ski and point it at cut up crud, fluffy untouched powder, groomers and crossovers and bumps without any hesitation.
Slow turns were easy, faster turns were stable and predictable, and traversing across surface types was a breeze. The Preacher loved powder and was silky and responsive as you would ever want. You could adjust your depth in the soft stuff at will, and adjust turn radii with no effort at all, point them where you want them to go...they go. Quick turns and carving grip on the hardpack was impressive for a ski with 150mm tip and 112mm underfoot. I found the White Dot Preacher much more grippy and carvable on the hardpack than the Icelantic Shaman (which people generally think is great on the groomers for a widebody). Maybe that's because the Preacher was brand-new and the pair of Shamans had some miles on them, but the responsive control on hard surfaces was distinctively more impressive with the Preacher. Big grins from me on this category.
Andrew said their graphite-infused base is ultra durable, and after catching some Chamonix rock outcrops lurking just under the powder surface a few times on my runs (sorry Andrew...I tried to be careful), my inspection of the skis showed they held up great. No deep tears as I might have expected, just shallow "dents", which means the edges might live a little longer and avoid getting pulled out as often as they do on softer-base skis. While the Icelantic Shaman wanted to be skied "all up front" and showed a tendency to hook you quickly into directional changes (an excellent behavior in tight trees if you want that kind of turn...lots of people like the Shaman for tight trees because of this behavior), the Preacher was rounder, smoother, and somewhat stronger feeling because you feel the whole length of the ski working its turn rather than just the forebody. Compared to the Icelantic Nomad, the Preacher is stronger, more stable and more speed-freindly, while the Nomad is more playful in short-turn situations and bumpy terrain. I really liked the way the Preacher smoothly navigated the terrain and never had a mind of its own. Sometimes the Shaman wants to grab the terrain and turn for you, while the Preacher cruises on command and never deviates from what you tell it to do. No surprises, only great manners.
Since it's not a stiff, cliff-hucking, mach-schnell, hard-charging ski, you can get get the Preacher to flap a little through the cut up crud if you get ripping at hyperspeeds, but it's not meant for hard-charging (White Dot is considering making a limited edition hard-charger version if people really want one). The Preacher is the big-mountain, all terrain ride for all day long. Nice, and right-on-target for the market segment they aimed for. They have a winner. And the price is right.
Analogies: (this ski is like...)
A good bottle of young red Burgundy. Graceful enough to go with just about anything you want to do in soft snow anywhere on the mountain, robust enough to carve confidently on harder terrain when necessary, pleasing, fun and versatile with a definite sophistication and subtle undercurrent of quality. Not a bruising, muscular, big-mountain freight train requiring concentration, stamina and obliteration of all senses of precision, but something you'd reach for over and over every day on snow because it just goes with everything so well. The more you enjoy it, the less you'll want something else. (sorry, I've been living in Bourgogne, France for a while, and I'm starting to think of EVERYTHING in terms of wines now...)
Self-Description of Skiing Style, Ability, Experience, Preferences:
Expert groomed-surface carver, "old-style" race inspired, "foot steerer" with fairly sensitive edging feel who loves the feel of powder floating and banking. Loves to hold long arcs with lots of pressure on the downhill ski (you know the type), but also loves the feel of both skis on-edge leaving tiny railroad track edge tracks. Not an instructor, but 10 year coach for youth race team in New England (bulletproof is the norm).
I was lucky enough to get invited to try the White Dot Freeride skis during their photoshoot at Chamonix for next year's catalog and brochures. Their pro athlete Justin Hawxhurst was SpeedFlying (paraskiing) and I got to capture a little handicam video of him flying. Fun stuff. Andrew sent me some low-res pictures from his photoshoot you can see below (stamped with names).
(click the "view in high quality" link if it does not display in high-quality at first)