Quick review of my new all-mountain skis. No one hardly talks about these on the forum, and they weren't on my radar too much either until I demoed them last year.
5ft9, 165 lbs, 43 yrs old.
Advanced skier, ski all terrain at Tahoe, with annual trip to Alta.
I demoed several of the skis in this range, 84-88mm, and there are a lot of great skis. I got the Crimson Ti (88mm) to be a versatile hard snow ski, to replace my old Monster 78s which had worn out. Seriously worn out, just couldn't hold an edge any more. I demoed the Salomon Enduro 850, Rossi e88, Bushwacker, Kastle 83 and 88, Head Rev85, Fischer 88, Volkl Kendo SkiLogik Rave,. Didn't manage to get on the Nordicas or the Blizzard 8.5ti. I'd say I liked most of these skis except for the Fischer (blah) and Kendo (too planky).
I like a ski that has great edge hold and carving prowess, yet isn't too stiff, so I can bend it and work it in tight places. This width ski for me should provide great carving fun on hard groomers, be able to handle all types of bumps, and be ready for the surprise crud field. I found the mid 80's width to be an excellent compromise: still fun on the groomers, yet able to handle everything else. I have a bigger ski for powder days.
I wanted a ski in the 178 length that had all of these characteristics. I really loved the Salomon Enduro in the 170, but the 177 is too stiff. I also really enjoyed the Head 85 in a 170 on hard pack. I didn't get a chance to try the 177, but I think it would have felt long, and I was just not in the mood to get another set of Heads. The Kastle 88 was a bit too much ski in the 178 for my weight, and didn't produce a magical feeling for me when I tried it. I did get a pair for my wife though.
I was demoing the Bushwacker in a 180 and having a blast: fun on groomers, just great in the bumps on the hard, chalky snow that day. At the same time, this width ski should be a powerful carver that hooks up along the entire length of the ski and I was hesitant about the Bushwacker's unique feel. What else did the they have in a 85mm or so ski? Enter the Atomic. I had no expectations with this ski. First turns were on groomers: holy smokes, fantastic power and edge hold, with great rebound. This is fun. Ok, let's take them up to Headwall chair and hit Hogsback to try some bumps. Hmm, I'm flying along just as quickly as on the Bushwackers, interesting. Better go to go to the Attic on Granite and confirm they can handle really tight spaces. Again, no problem. So what do we have here? A ski that is as powerful a carver as I've tried, yet is nimble and quick.
So I decided to get the Crimsons, and I haven't been disappointed so far this season. They strike a nice balance. The "adaptive rocker" they employ seems to work well, and they have a fairly soft flex, with a lot of power underfoot. I felt they were more locked in on groomers than the Rossi e88 and Fisher 88's and right up there with the Heads and Salomon, yet again still have a nice nimbleness to them.
In fact, I like them a lot more than the other pair of skis I got for this season, the Blizzard Cochises. Comparing the two has helped me hone in on what I like in skis and how I want them to flex. While the blizzard performs great and isn't difficult to ski, it's too stiff for my tastes. I'm thinking of getting rid of them and finding a ski that flexes more like the Crimsons, or my old Gotamas, which I loved. It's about finding the balance between edge hold, stability, and a sensual flex that adapts to the terrain and provides that great feedback from the snow.
One note: I got my skis flat, but that's pretty much impossible to do as they now all come with the Salomon smarttrack binding. Flat, they have a light, almost airy feel. With the smarttrack, they feel heavier, and have more rebound energy in the tail. It's too bad you can't get it flat and put the binding of your choice on it. At least the Salomons are great bindings.
So if you're in the market for a ski in this range, I recommend giving the Crimsons a try, you might like them.