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Ramp Sports - Woodpecker / Chickadee 2011

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Title:  Review: 2011 Ramp Sports Woodpecker / Chickadee

 

Product:

All Mountain, High Performance Ski - bias toward frontside terrain

 

Length/size Tested: 

123-90-111mm r=22m@179cm

 

Environment of Conditions:


Small eastern ski area. Powder (shin deep), cut-up powder, packed powder and hardpack surfaces, very cold, dry snow. No really steep-and-deep or big-mountain terrain. Demo day.

 

Summary (inc. Strengths & Weaknesses):


Very solid and peppy all-mountain ski with a bias toward higher speeds and slightly rearward edging pressure. Capable of high-performance turns in a wide variety of terrain and surfaces, demonstrating a preference for GS-style turns on groomed surfaces. More happy in tigher and bumpier terrain than the Woodpecker . Strong ski with above-average grip and damp behavior on firm surfaces for about $573 delivered to your door.

 

Tester Info:

Age:  51

Height/Weight: 5'11" - 180 lbs

Average days on snow: 11-25 days on snow this year

Years Skiing: 15+ 

 

Aggressiveness: Aggressive

 

my review format below:

 

Ramp Sports Woodpecker 179cm


Manufacturer Info:

Ramp Sports
2750 Rasmussen Rd. Suite 103
Park City, Utah, 84098
1-888-406-0567
http://www.rampsports.com


Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):

$875 ($699 "street price" on the website)
Sales in 2011 are direct-to-consumer only, no dealers
Applying the "insider" deal code (free if you sign up at the website) applies 18.5% discount for final price of $573. Free shipping.

Usage Class:

All-Mountain High Performance - bias toward frontside terrain

Your Rating (with comments): (1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")

7+ for powder, 8+ on-piste for its width. (see test results for details)
Note: This limited test did not test the ski in "big mountain" terrain, but in Eastern trees with fresh, shin-deep powder, cut-up powder, packed powder and hardpack groomers (no crud, no crust, no windblown).

Summary:

Very solid and peppy all-mountain ski with a bias toward higher speeds and slightly rearward edging pressure. Capable of high-performance turns in a wide variety of terrain and surfaces, demonstrating a preference for GS-style turns on groomed surfaces. More happy in tigher and bumpier terrain than the Woodpecker . Strong ski with above-average grip and damp behavior on firm surfaces for about $573 delivered to your door.

Technical Ski Data:

Wood-core, fiberglass, full-wrap edge ski construction. No metal layers.  the "65-35 Camber" design has medium-minus early rise and reverse sidecut tip with 20mm rise in a strong tail.  Targeted at 65% groomers, 35% powder usage.

Technical data sheets for Woodpecker / Chickadee:

http://www.rampsports.com/store/media/specs/Ramp_Tech_Data_Woodpecker.pdf
http://www.rampsports.com/store/media/specs/Ramp_Tech_Data_Chickadee.pdf


Pre-Skiing Impression:

Very good quality construction and finish.  Nicely saturated topsheet colors.  Progressive flex and good torsional strength.  Fairly lightweight for its size. Thin vertical profile.  Good rebound response and vibration dampening.  Appears to be the same geometry and construction as the Chickadee model for women.

 

Mfr Comments:

Woodpecker Description

If you have to pick a favorite, it’s high-speed groomers, but you want to be able to do a lot more. If it snows you’re in the trees and looking for every bit of pow you can get. A day can’t go by without indulging in at least one bump run. Speed Range:  6-10

Chickadee Description

You’re a speedy chick and your favorite place to fly is on groomers, but you like to spread your wings in the trees and pow as well. Even bumps don’t ruffle your feathers. Speed Range:  6-10

Features- A 90mm waist is the best shape for versatility leaning toward groomers, but the Woodpecker can also handle soft snow and pow with ease. The 65%-35% Camber provides a catch-free tip that can hook up and carve like a race ski. The Razor Cut sidecut gives this medium-wide ski incredible edge grip on the hardest snow.


Test Conditions:

Powder (shin deep), cut-up powder, packed powder and hardpack surfaces, very cold, dry snow. No really steep-and-deep or big-mountain terrain.

Test Results:

I skied the Woodpecker immediately after skiing the larger Groundhog(131-100-119), and on the same terrain.  Ramp's "65-35 camber" design for this 90mm waist ski gives it a quicker, turnier feel than the 100mm waisted Groundhog (50-50 camber) . The Woodpecker is fast and stable and changes direction on-command with no protest. It feels like a "little brother" of the Groundhog, more nimble and quicker, but still stable at higher speeds. Like the Groundhog tested the same day, this pair was in excellent condition, recently ground, tuned and waxed, but I had the distinct feeling that when I went straight, rolled the skis up on edge and applied pressure, I ended up going straight, on edge, under pressure.  The Woodpecker did not automatically hook-up and start turning as I expected.  After speaking with Mike at Ramp Sports about this feeling, we both decided it was probably due to the state of detuning of the rockered portion of the forebody since no one had ever reported this behavior from the Woodpecker before and I felt the same issue with the slightly wider Groundhog (see that review).  The new generation of rockered-cambered skis are definitely sensitive to forebody tuning when rolled-up on edge, and I'm confident some tuning could bring the carving behavior back to the ski's potential. Like the Groundhog, the strongest grip comes from the arch of the foot to the tail.  The "Razor edge" design has a relatively straight section of sidecut from the arch of the foot area back to the rear binding tail mount section, then resumes a more curvy sidecut to finish the last portion of the ski. This appears to definitely provide a strong gripping behavior when you pressure it, more than most other brands of skis with similar dimensions. The Woodpecker could be a one-quiver ski for East-coast skiers, like the Groundhog could be a one-quiver skier for the Western skiers who want something more versatile than the 115mm waisted Peacepipe. If you buy bindings with your skis, Ramp extends the warranty to two years.  New brand for 2011.

Analogies: (this ski is like...)

Sporty touring coupe for nearly any part of the hill, prefering the tighter terrain if you can find it.

Things You Would Change About This Ski:

I would experiment with tuning to get the on-edge performance more dialed in.

Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":

Good one-quiver choice for Eastern skiers or younger skiers looking to expand out of the park and head to the rest of the resort.

Advice To People Considering This Ski:

Try a pair on your most frequented terrain to see if it handles the way you want.

Self-Description of Skiing Style, Ability, Experience, Preferences:

5' 11", 180 lbs. Expert groomed-surface carver, "old-style" race inspired, "foot steerer" with fairly sensitive edging feel. 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.  Loves powder when it's not tracked out. 10 year coach for youth race team in New England (bulletproof is the norm).

 

 

Ramp Woodpecker

From left to right on this side of the rack:
Frenzy (no graphics) - 2 pairs
Hula
Chicadee - 2 pairs
Woodecker - 2 pairs
Beaver
Groundhog
Peacepipe
post #2 of 2

I found the RAMp Woodpecker's to be very quick & agile and the more you pressure the tips, the better they carve. Definitely a frontside ski which handles hardpack and low to moderate fluff. Here's more my Woodpecker review.

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