Length Tested: 189 cm (but they stand taller than my 192 Fischers)
Dimensions/Turn Radius: Tip 150 Waist 119 Tail 138 Sharknose with widest part of ski back from the tips.
Camber with early rise tip and tail - 18 m sidecut, but less on the shorter lengths
Binding: Look Pivot
Mount point /Tune / Construction: Mounted on factory Line, and I lightly detuned all the rockered sections. Skis are handmade and overall very fine quality. My only complaint is that the inlay of the Icelantic name in the bottom makes then very uneven, so they needed to be ground immediately to flatten the bases.
I bought the 2010-11 version at the beginning of this season, but the 2011-12 are identical except for the top sheet.
60 years old, 6’5”, 220 lbs, been skiing for 50 years, former pro patrol, ski any terrain or conditions, but my cliff jumping days are long over. I tend to be a finesse/feel skier and like a ski with an even medium flex. Can still haul ass when it’s appropriate. I ski about 35 days a year and travel all over to do it.
Current Alpine Quiver: 192 cm Fischer Watea 101, 186 cm Atomic M:EX, 204 cm Stockli Storm Rider.
I started the season in 30” of cold smoke at Wolf Creek and have skied the Keepers in everything from Telluride bumps, to rain soaked snow at Jackson Hole, and sun baked sludge at Snowbasin, Utah, so I have a pretty good feel for their overall performance.
This is the first full rockered ski I have owned so I have no basis for comparison to similar skis, but I have 6 ski buddies on Rossi S7s, and based on their complaints and watching them ski I definitely believe the Keepers are a better all around ski once you get out of the powder.
Powder: These skis were a dream in deep light snow. My buddy was on his new 178 Keepers and our first day out we were literally pushing waves of powder up to our waists. There were so easy to ski he joked that his biggest fear was falling asleep while skiing. My only problem was relaxing to the point of getting sloppy and (probably because of my height) I found I could get ahead of them to the point of feeling some tip drag. I guess that’s why true high tip rocker beats early rise in light powder. On the cat tracks many of the other rocker skis I saw had their tips flapping, but the Keepers were rock solid. I would probably take them out anytime there is is at least 6” of heavy snow or 8” of light.
Crud: As good as the Keepers are in powder I found them to be even better in crud. Had a day of 18” new of high moister content snow that got cut up quick. The Keepers totally ruled in that condition. The tips are low enough in the rise and stiff enough in the front that they erase the irregularities of snow and terrain changes very nicely.
Windblown: Got to ski some windblown over ice where I wasn’t sure if the next turn would be soft or hard and found the Keepers to be very forgiving and predicable. They are wide enough that they always feel solid, but the sharknose and rather short 18 m sidecut give them an unexpected nimbleness.
Slush/Sludge: I got my name because I am found of heavy spring snow and was pleasantly surprised that the Keepers were by far better than I could have imagined. Got to GS various consistencies of slush, corn and rain soaked. Even took them in some muck that was deemed inadvisable and verging on breakable by the patrol and was able to actually relax to a point I have never experience in sludge. Solid and predicable, which is the best you can ask for when it gets weird.
Bumps: The front flex and rocker make them work way better in bumps than I expected for a ski this size. It was strange to see the huge tips come around so easily, which made me think they are nicely balanced. Obviously not what they are designed for, but they handled powder or crud bumps very well, and were adequate for getting me through big hard bumps in control if needed.
Hardpack: I really enjoyed them on groomers and was able to carve turns of various shapes without a problem. The Keepers have a poppy playful feel that my friends with the S7s all say is missing from their skis. On real had snow they are a long way to an edge, but slarved predictably.
Conclusion: I think what makes me like the Keepers so much is the overall flex of the ski is consistent, so they have the feel of a traditional ski that is forgiving and really easy to turn. Other rocker skis I have tried seemed to have much softer rocker sections than underfoot, so they felt like a different ski depending on where you weighted them. The Keepers felt very solid and predicable in every type of snow. I particularly liked the way that they worked well going fast or slow. In deep heavy snow I could go very fast, or slow them way down and they turned equally well. The two things I consistently saw in reviews before I bought mine were that they made any radius turn, and they were the most fun ski the tester had been on, and I found both to be true.
Edited by mudfoot - 3/27/12 at 2:03pm