Originally Posted by FairToMiddlin
Finn, where do you put the Ritual next to your Soul Riders? Between you and Dawg, the beta on the SRs is growing, serves as a baseline for the non-burly 98s and pre-big mountain 1-oh-somethings. It seems you have found a nice OSQ for folks that are being realistic with themselves...
Phil's experience with the Vagabond and Dawg's take on the '14 Vicik (gotta keep in mind Dawg is 35# lighter than me) are interesting, too; something ~100mm with camber, sane rocker, not a noodle, not turned up to 11, either.
Hi Fair. You didn't necessarily solicit my opinion on this, but I've skied both the Ritual and the Soul Riders. Net/net, I don't really think that they are in the same category of skis. Although I agree with Finn's note that the Ritual feels "light" I don't think that it is really a comparable for a S3 (or a SR) for that matter. The Ritual does feel noticeably light at the tips and tails, but it is a fairly stiff ski, probably as a result of the metal spine. I think that the better comparable is with the Bonafide or the Influence 105. It felt to me like a more quick edge-to-edge, but less damp version of the Influence. Where the Influence wants to ride out a long turn radius, the Ritual wants to snap back, but not in the uber-playful way that the Soul Rider does. But, hooked up, the Ritual is way more solid at high speed than the SR (and the S3 isn't even close in that dept). So I think that "lightness" is only part of the story here. My take away on the Ritual was "light swing weight, stiff, not burly."
The Atomic that is way closer to the S3 and Soul Rider in spirit and purpose is the Access (wood core, tip and tail rocker) super fun in soft snow (they ride like baby Chetlers) but surprisingly decent on firmer snow (some degree of bounce in the tips at speed, but not unlike the SR, not a problem if you keep under a reasonable speed limit and don't look down). Not sure how the Alibi fits into the mix at 98 as I haven't ridden it (a buddy does and likes it - and he likes quick but solid skis). The Theory (similar concept at 95 w/out metal) is probably closest of the series to the Soul Rider, but again I haven't skied it so I don't know for sure.
The reason I am chiming in here is I wouldn't want someone to find this thread and shop the Ritual v. the S3 (and its peers), because the Ritual is a reasonably stiff and demanding ski and in my view a totally different category. While skis like the S3, Access, SR are all really forgiving and compliant (but shockingly stable enough), the Ritual is more demanding and because of the stiffness more punishing (I'd describe it as shockingly quick). So I'd hate to see an intermediate pick up the Ritual based on a descriptor of "light" or a comparable to the S3 which I don't think is on-point, because the Ritual is a fair amount of ski and not super forgiving. Not a Mantra or E98 (or even the Bone), but that isn't my point. The Ritual is a stiff ski with a metal spine that will rock an unprepared driver, especially in bumps and tight spaces. A lighter weight turn on big mountain, as opposed to a firmer "fun ski."
It doesn't much matter what I personally think, but I wanted to love the Ritual (I usually love Atomics) and demo'd it twice. But ultimately, I favored the more damp, longer running ride of both the Bone and the Influence 105 (and the Cochise for that matter). But another buddy went coocoo for cocoa puffs for the Ritual and nearly risked his marriage by picking up a pair on post-demo.
If you are looking for a more fun, bouncy ~100, something S3-like, I'd look at both the Access and the Soul Rider. I loved both - skied the SRs a couple of weeks ago at Crystal and was shocked at how solid they were and delighted was with the fun factor. If you like high energy skis, if bumps are a regular part of your ski routine, or if you are at a smaller to mid-sized mountain, I think that either of those would be consistently more fun on softer days than the Ritual.