or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Atomic Automatics

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

This is a preliminary review of the 186 Atomic Automatic.  I’m using the Atomic Tracker mounted at the factory line and my boot is the Salomon XC 130.  I’ve only used these for two days at Sunshine.  The conditions have been variable, including: steeps in the dive, soft groomers, chop, powder, soft bumps, windswept crud, and wind-effected powder with break-thru crust.  I’ve used some comparisons to the Bones and JJs to help illustrate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Automatics.  My ski shop put the 130 brake on the Tracker, which I think was a mistake.  The brakes hang out to the side and got caught on stuff (branches) and on each other.  I think that affected my skiing a bit as I was more tentative when skiing tighter areas.  I will change to the 115 brake ASAP.

 

I’m a five foot ten, 175 Pound 54 year old aggressive skier who skis 80 to 90 days per year.  My current quiver includes the Bones, JJ, MX88, Scott Mission, Rossi WC GS, Atomic SL12, and Manaslu.  My home area is the Canadian Rockies.  I prefer to ski bumps, off-piste, trees, chutes and especially big open bowls.

 

Initial impressions:  I felt confident on these skis from the first turn on, even though the first turns were on windswept bumps in limited visibility.  Once I got down to the Tee Pee/School Marm, the visibility cleared and I could open the skis up and they continued to feel solid.  The visibility during the first day on these continued to suck, so I never really had a chance to fully let the skis run.  That changed on the second day.

 

Soft Groomers:  I was pleasantly surprised at how well these skis performed on soft groomers (when I could see).  They held nicely for short-ish GS turns and I felt that I could vary the turn radius.  Some (but not a lot) speed is required to get these to carve.  They seemed to carve best with a slightly forward stance to get the tips to engage and, for a fat ski, there was reasonable quickness edge to edge.  I have to say that I did not spend much time groomers, so my observations are very preliminary.  Compared to the JJs, the Automatics ski much better in this category, but the Bones give a more solid feel.

 

Powder:  The powder was variable and somewhat wind effected – so it was not always smooth and even.  In spite of this, these skis are excellent!  I had a lot of fun playing with different turns.  Want to do tight heli-skiing style turns – no problem.  These skis also excelled at cranking out high-speed wide arcs.  Skiing powder in trees was also excellent – great control, can easily sluff off speed, can alternate between carving and slarving.  Flotation was never an issue.  Compared to the JJs, the Automatics seemed to have a higher speed limit.  The JJs are more turney, and perhaps more playful.  Choosing between the two for a powder day would be hard and probably mood dependent.  If I wanted to charge, it would be an Automatic day.  If I wanted to play in tight places, the edge might go to the JJs, but only by a hair.  The Automatics would be my choice over the Bones in powder, which is no surprise considering the width.

 

Steeps:  Excellent (other than skier error).  This was my first time in the Dive this year (this area typically opens in January) and the visibility was not good, so I was wary of rock bands.  There was also hugely variable snow, including: crusted, break-thru snow; soft crud; thin areas; and deep powder, so I tended to ski (mostly) tentatively.  In spite of that, the Automatics worked quite well and I had no issues at all.  I had too little time in the steeps, considering the conditions, to say much more about the skis.      

 

Soft Bumps:  It is a little early in the season for bumps – they are there, but not really that big.  My initial impression is that the Automatics did well in what was there.  The rocker helps in the bumps.  Not much to say here yet.    

 

Soft Chop:  These skis did quite well in the soft chop. Not much deflection, solid feeling with good control and little speed limit.  My ranking for performance in soft chop would be Bones first, very closely followed by the Automatics, then followed by the JJs.

 

Windswept hard crud:  What can one say about this type of snow, it is never as fun as anything soft and has challenges for any ski.  I never felt that the Automatics were not up to the crud, although I felt that they were bounced about a bit more than the Bones would have been.  The JJs are weakest in these conditions, relative to the Bones and Autos. 

 

Playfulness:  I bought these skis hoping to have a playful, yet hard charging ski.  The Automatics absolutely met that goal.  I had much fun in big open areas and could ski a variety of styles, ranging from big high speed turns to shorter radius turns.  The skis transitioned nicely from more of a carve to slarve and back again as I wanted.  I sought out tight areas, and felt excellent control.  Nonetheless, I would give playfulness top marks to the JJs, followed closely by the Automatics.  Having said that, I only have two-days on the Automatics and two-years on the JJs and I think that once I learn to ski these better, the playful factor will improve.  The Bones, while fun, are not as playful.    

 

Charging:  On soft groomers, steeps, soft crud and powder, the Automatics felt great.  They are an excellent ski for pushing the speed limit and providing a stable platform.  I’d give the edge to the Bones for hard charging in every condition except powder, where the Automatics win. 

 

All around ski/daily driver:  At this point, I’ll probably keep the Bones as my daily driver.  They work better in a wider variety of conditions.  Again, this is still a preliminary conclusion as I only have two days on the Automatics and have not skied them as much as the Bones.  On dump days, the Automatics will be the ski of the day, and it would also make a good ski even during dry spells if I didn’t also have the Bones.  I don’t think that the Automatics will do as well as the Bones in crusty – no-snow-for-two-weeks conditions.  I’m starting to consider selling the JJs.

post #2 of 12

Great review, thanks.

 

I'm considering the Automatics to replace a pair of S7s with a view to finding something that retains most of the playfulness and floatation of the S7s, but doesn't get knocked around as much when the powder gets chopped up.  

 

Your review sounds a lot like a few others I've read, and that maybe these are what I'm looking for.

post #3 of 12

Yep, I am torn on buying these to replace my 4 year old Lhasa Pows, as my powder day ski. The Lhasa's work great, but new skis are fun. Also, I want to go with one of the new AT bindings from Salomon, Atomic or Tyrolia for some side country access.  I guess I need a few more reviews to sell me that I really need theserolleyes.gif

CS, please update your opinion/impressions down the road. Thanks

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:

 

 

 

CS, please update your opinion/impressions down the road. Thanks

 

Love to....once we get more snow

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by canadianskier View Post

 

Love to....once we get more snow

 

 

lot of that going around lately......  biggrin.gif

 

we need snow, period. not just MM, we need blower.....  

post #6 of 12

Decided to pull the trigger and ordered the 193 with the new Salomon Gaurdian bindings. Should be a fun New Year.
 

post #7 of 12

Nice review.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by liv2 ski View Post

Decided to pull the trigger and ordered the 193 with the new Salomon Gaurdian bindings. Should be a fun New Year.
 


Have fun.   Hope they work well for you.

post #9 of 12

Pretty big thread in Tech Talk at TGnaR convinced me these were the skis, with Guardians bindings, to help me start the transition from resort to side country. Have my avy 1 course set up and have been doing a lot or reading on places to tour in the Eastern Sierra Mtns. I am stoked.  May just have to mount up the bindings today.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

This is a follow-up of my initial review.  I've now had the Automatics out five days and have a bit more to add.  My follow-up impressions are in RED .

 

This is a preliminary review of the 186 Atomic Automatic.  I’m using the Atomic Tracker mounted at the factory line and my boot is the Salomon XC 130.  I’ve only used these for two days at Sunshine.  The conditions have been variable, including: steeps in the dive, soft groomers, chop, powder, soft bumps, windswept crud, and wind-effected powder with break-thru crust.  I’ve used some comparisons to the Bones and JJs to help illustrate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Automatics.  My ski shop put the 130 brake on the Tracker, which I think was a mistake.  The brakes hang out to the side and got caught on stuff (branches) and on each other.  I think that affected my skiing a bit as I was more tentative when skiing tighter areas.  I will change to the 115 brake ASAP.  I changed the brake and it made a difference - no more concerns about the brakes.  The binding feels solid.

 

I’m a five foot ten, 175 Pound 54 year old aggressive skier who skis 80 to 90 days per year.  My current quiver includes the Bones, JJ, MX88, Scott Mission, Rossi WC GS, Atomic SL12, and Manaslu.  My home area is the Canadian Rockies.  I prefer to ski bumps, off-piste, trees, chutes and especially big open bowls.

 

Initial impressions:  I felt confident on these skis from the first turn on, even though the first turns were on windswept bumps in limited visibility.  Once I got down to the Tee Pee/School Marm, the visibility cleared and I could open the skis up and they continued to feel solid.  The visibility during the first day on these continued to suck, so I never really had a chance to fully let the skis run.  That changed on the second day.  Again, this is a very easy to ski ski and, for me, it took very little time to get used to the skis.

 

Soft Groomers:  I was pleasantly surprised at how well these skis performed on soft groomers (when I could see).  They held nicely for short-ish GS turns and I felt that I could vary the turn radius.  Some (but not a lot) speed is required to get these to carve.  They seemed to carve best with a slightly forward stance to get the tips to engage and, for a fat ski, there was reasonable quickness edge to edge.  I have to say that I did not spend much time groomers, so my observations are very preliminary.  Compared to the JJs, the Automatics ski much better in this category, but the Bones give a more solid feel.  I had a chance to ski soft groomers a bit more.  These skis turn remarkably well.  They felt very solid on the soft groomers.  No speed limit that I found.  I can see the rocker tips shake a bit, but this doesn't seem to affect how the ski feels or skis.

 

Powder:  The powder was variable and somewhat wind effected – so it was not always smooth and even.  In spite of this, these skis are excellent!  I had a lot of fun playing with different turns.  Want to do tight heli-skiing style turns – no problem.  These skis also excelled at cranking out high-speed wide arcs.  Skiing powder in trees was also excellent – great control, can easily sluff off speed, can alternate between carving and slarving.  Flotation was never an issue.  Compared to the JJs, the Automatics seemed to have a higher speed limit.  The JJs are more turney, and perhaps more playful.  Choosing between the two for a powder day would be hard and probably mood dependent.  If I wanted to charge, it would be an Automatic day.  If I wanted to play in tight places, the edge might go to the JJs, but only by a hair.  The Automatics would be my choice over the Bones in powder, which is no surprise considering the width.  The word "WOW" came out of my mouth many times across the last two days when in the powder.  We had some amazing snow in the Dive over the last few days, and the Automatics did EVERYTHING I wanted.  Excellent and powerful feel when charging down a steep powder slope.  The Automatics were sort of like an extension of my brain.  Think speed and big turns, that is what happened --- think tight turns and they occurred.  In powder, the Automatics were so easily controlled that I skied some tree runs in powder faster and more nimbly than I can recall on other skis, including my JJs.  Very highly recommended. 

 

Steeps:  Excellent (other than skier error).  This was my first time in the Dive this year (this area typically opens in January) and the visibility was not good, so I was wary of rock bands.  There was also hugely variable snow, including: crusted, break-thru snow; soft crud; thin areas; and deep powder, so I tended to ski (mostly) tentatively.  In spite of that, the Automatics worked quite well and I had no issues at all.  I had too little time in the steeps, considering the conditions, to say much more about the skis. I am hugely impressed with these skis.  In the 40 to 45 degree areas of the Dive, I felt relaxed, comfortable and confident on the Automatics.  They provided a solid base on which to turn.   What I liked was the ability of these skis to feel controlled at speed, as well as the ease with which I could sluff off speed when I wanted.     

 

Soft Bumps:  It is a little early in the season for bumps – they are there, but not really that big.  My initial impression is that the Automatics did well in what was there.  The rocker helps in the bumps.  Not much to say here yet.   Finally had a chance to ski bumps on the Automatics.  While not a bump ski, the automatics ski quite well in the soft and medium hard bumps.  The Automatics felt shorter than 186.

 

Soft Chop:  These skis did quite well in the soft chop. Not much deflection, solid feeling with good control and little speed limit.  My ranking for performance in soft chop would be Bones first, very closely followed by the Automatics, then followed by the JJs.  My impression of the Automatics remains about the same in terms of deflection, control and speed limit.  I would still give the edge to the Bones.

 

Windswept hard crud:  What can one say about this type of snow, it is never as fun as anything soft and has challenges for any ski.  I never felt that the Automatics were not up to the crud, although I felt that they were bounced about a bit more than the Bones would have been.  The JJs are weakest in these conditions, relative to the Bones and Autos. Fortunately, I didn't get to ski this type of snow too much lately.

 

Playfulness:  I bought these skis hoping to have a playful, yet hard charging ski.  The Automatics absolutely met that goal.  I had much fun in big open areas and could ski a variety of styles, ranging from big high speed turns to shorter radius turns.  The skis transitioned nicely from more of a carve to slarve and back again as I wanted.  I sought out tight areas, and felt excellent control.  Nonetheless, I would give playfulness top marks to the JJs, followed closely by the Automatics.  Having said that, I only have two-days on the Automatics and two-years on the JJs and I think that once I learn to ski these better, the playful factor will improve.  The Bones, while fun, are not as playful.    My second impressions are about the same although I now think that the Automatics are as playful as the JJs.  Tree skiing is a hoot on the Automatics.  Had fun playing on the sides of a gully, doing drops, really anywhere I wanted to "play" the skis behaved exactly as I wanted. 

 

Charging:  On soft groomers, steeps, soft crud and powder, the Automatics felt great.  They are an excellent ski for pushing the speed limit and providing a stable platform.  I’d give the edge to the Bones for hard charging in every condition except powder, where the Automatics win.  No change.  I like to charge with this ski.

 

All around ski/daily driver:  At this point, I’ll probably keep the Bones as my daily driver.  They work better in a wider variety of conditions.  Again, this is still a preliminary conclusion as I only have two days on the Automatics and have not skied them as much as the Bones.  On dump days, the Automatics will be the ski of the day, and it would also make a good ski even during dry spells if I didn’t also have the Bones.  I don’t think that the Automatics will do as well as the Bones in crusty – no-snow-for-two-weeks conditions.  I’m starting to consider selling the JJs.  No change in impression


Edited by canadianskier - 12/24/12 at 3:06pm
post #11 of 12

Just posted a review of the Automatics, then saw this thread; canadianskier uses his words better (and has more days on the Automatics to back it up) than I do, but the result is almost exactly the same, down to the last detail, except he has JJs to sell, and I have 112RPs to sell.  The Automatics are fantastic.  My only questions are A) will I like the 193 even more, and B) is there anything that even comes close?  Rocker2 115?  Squad7?

 

Excellent review, CS.

post #12 of 12

Blistergear is supposed to put up a review of the 193 soon... THe first review when they were in the 186 the one big question mark was "how about the 193?"

 

Nice review! and glad to hear that you think this is as playful as the JJ... I'm a short guy 5'5" / 150 lbs... having a hard time to find a 179 to demo mad.gif tried Atomic demo day in Sun Valley week ago and no automatic at all, local shop not a chance!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Member Gear Reviews