Me: 5' 11" tall / 170 pounds / 33 years old. Moderately aggressive skier, 25 - 35 days per season.
Size: 188cm - 139 / 115 / 131mm
Boots: Tecnica Cochise Pro 130 in 25.5
Bindings: Salomon Guardian 16, mounted -6 from center (recommended line)
Where: Alpine Meadows, Northstar, Squaw
Conditions: Powder (from a few inches to a foot deep), crud, groomers
With the Rocker2 115 I was hoping for a ski that could be a little more playful and surfy in powder than my Blizzard Cochise, without sacrificing the ability to charge through crud and handle decently on hardpack. As much as I'd like to focus on how a ski can perform in fresh untracked powder, with heavy Tahoe snow crud busting is always an attribute that can't be overlooked. Fortunately, so far this ski has exceeded my expectations on both accounts.
Basically the Rocker2 115 is a Rocker2 (122mm) with a flatter tail, slightly narrower waist and stiffer flex, which I would classify as a medium flex overall. Clearly designed as a big mountain resort powder ski.
I had my reservations at first; carrying them on my shoulder they felt quite heavy and I was concerned about how this would translate to soft snow performance and playfulness. But on my feet they're surprisingly nimble with a very light swing weight and poppy feel during transitions. It's almost hard to believe my setup weighs as much as it does. [Update: it turns out that this is not a heavy ski compared to most others in its class, so that extra weight really is just due to the Guardian bindings]
The tip rocker is substantial and I haven't encountered any tip dive whatsoever to date, which allows you to comfortably drive your skis and be aggressive with confidence. The tail is flat enough to provide tons of stability - they're relatively forgiving - but has just enough rocker to make it easy to release for smearing and slarving, even on minimal amounts of soft snow. This attribute plays a role in the other big way the Rocker2 115's surprised me: at 188cm long I was concerned they might struggle with tight turns, but instead found they could turn very quickly in the trees and would respond well to minimal input and go anywhere I wanted at a moment's notice.
When it comes to chopped up powder / crud, that's where the flex and weight distribution of this ski truly impresses. While the flex is soft enough to be surfy and fun in powder, the shovels are substantially weighted and that doesn't allow them to be easily deflected. I'm fairly picky when it comes to skiing crud, which is why I'm such a big fan of the Cochise, and while the Rocker2 115 isn't quite as good at busting through chop as that ski, it came a heck of a lot closer than I was ever expecting.
The edge hold on hardpack isn't going to win any awards, but for a ski that's 115mm underfoot it performs admirably and I never felt unstable or squirrely heading back to the lifts - something I can't say for some of the pure powder skis I've been on, including Salomon's original Rocker2. It does well enough here that I could see a Western resort skier using this as a one-ski-quiver, so long as picking your way around on boilerplate days isn't one of your passions.
For reference, here's some footage of me skiing the Rocker2 115 at Alpine Meadows a few weeks ago...
And again, later in the season, at Squaw and Northstar...
Edited by JayT - 3/21/13 at 1:22pm