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Review: 2012-2013 ARTificial. Nature 185

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 



Product: 2012-2013 ARTificial. Nature

Length Tested: 185cm

Dimensions/Turn Radius:  156-126-152 @ 185cm radius unlisted

Camber: Tip rocker, traditional camber underfoot, rockered tail

Binding: Demo

Mount point: Suggested (-1cm from true center)


Environment & Conditions:

Location of Test: Vermont and New Hampshire

Number of Runs: Dozens

Snow Conditions: Eastern corduroy, packed powder groomers, ungroomed packed powder with small bumps, shin-deep powder conditions, both smooth and bumpy.  Windpack, crust, chalky wind buff, dry powder, weeds and brush (sorry Tyler).

Demo or Own: Demo


Tester Info:

Username: ExoticSkis

Age: 53

Height/Weight: 5'11" 180lbs

Ski Days/Season: Never enough

Years Skiing: 51

Aggressiveness: Aggressive, driver

Current Quiver: Edelwiser Speed, IDOne TTR and TTM, Anton UFOria XA and Carbon EX, Palmer P02, Romp 100, Praxis Concept, SkiLogik Frontside Burner, Occam Razor, Rockstar, DPS Wailer 112RP..etc.

Home Area: Vermont

Preferred Terrain:  groomers, off-piste, trees


2012-2013 ARTificial. Nature

156-126-152 @ 185cm



Manufacturer Info:

ARTificial. Ski Company
58311 N Sunset Rd
Benton City, WA 99320
Phone: (509) 392 1394


Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):

$749 usd

Usage Class:

Big Mountain Powder/Freeride Ski

Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")



Ski Designer:


Tyler Williams is the designer...."Founded in the back yard of a once-upon-a-time teenager, the idea behind ARTificial. was not bred out of a desire for money.  An injury that ended a career merged with the craftsmanship of a high-schooler in need of a senior project.  Three years later, demand followed success and ARTificial. Ski Company was officially established.  A unique philosophy based on friendship and life continues to fuel the collaboration between two college students, who together serve as the builders, riders, and owners, carrying ARTificial. into its second production season." - Website January 2013

ARTificial. built 33 pairs of skis for the 2012-2013 season. 15 pairs in the debut season of 2011-2012




The ARTificial. Nature is described on the company website as:

"On the days when you have to body slam your front door open because there’s two feet of snow piled against it, you’ll be glad you have the Natures under your feet.  Built on the fine line between a 3-and-5-dimension ski, the Nature blends soft camber and rocker progression with a forgiving full-length bamboo core in order to provide maximum radial contact when you’re surfing pillow lines or edging back to the lift.  Whether you’re blasting crud, packing booters, or stacking powder lines, the best days in nature start with the Nature." 

I totally agree with the part about being glad to have this ski when you have to body-slam your front door open because there's two fee of snow piled up against it....(although in ski country, doors should open "in".).  The Nature model is not just a pair of skis, it is a confidence-inspiring platform for all kinds of wild snow conditions....crud, crust, windpack, chalk, packed powder, corduroy.  These are large skis with lots of surface area, but they handle super easy, super predictable and very reliably, with a surprising degree of confidence-inspiring handling in such a large package.  The Natures have a bias toward damp and quiet ride quality rather than surf-and-pop personality, and once rolled up on-edge, have a surprisingly secure grip on hardpack and corduroy.  ARTificial. has created a really fun, stable, versatile big ski for multiple snow conditions.  We want a pair.


Technical Ski Data:

Nylon topsheet, Direct print w/UV-resistant coating. (Softer than most topsheets and cuts rather than chips)

19 oz. glass, 1 layers above core and 1 below. The lighter-ounce glass is reported by Tyler to be typically higher quality than the 22 ounce standard and allows more durability on the top of the core where it's needed most)

Full-length 2 inch carbon fiber weave

Vertically laminated bamboo

Bonding intermediates between every layer of glass/metal/sidewall.

CNC die-cut base graphics

Full edge wrap

Rockered tip and tail, camber underfoot

Blend of 3-to-5 point geometry


Bindings and Boots Used:


Marker Griffon Demo bindings mounted by ARTificial. (-1cm from true center)
Salomon S-Max 120 boots.

Pre-Skiing Impression:

Our test skis were Tyler Williams's personal demo pair with plenty of hours on them. We gave them a quick touch-up on the Wintersteiger to re-true the bases with minimal bevel to give us a good baseline for the review.  These are fairly big skis (156-126-152) with plenty of rocker front and rear, and some significant camber underfoot (see pics below).  Flex is what I would call "moderately soft", but not floppy, nor "stiff".  Shovels and tails are fairly broad, with some moderate sidecut underfoot, but nothing radical.  Damp feel, moderate torsional strength.  Good fit and finish and apparently pretty durable considering the usage evident in this used pair of demo skis.

Test Conditions:

Eastern corduroy, packed powder groomers, ungroomed packed powder with small bumps, shin-deep powder conditions, both smooth and bumpy.  Windpack, crust, chalky wind buff, dry powder, weeds and brush (sorry Tyler).


Test Results:


One of the most interesting things was the day we unboxed the Natures, two different people (one being a ten year old with a high sense of modern fashion) exclaimed "cool graphics!...I love these!"  Not every ski gets that reaction around here.




We trued-up the bases first with a grind to free them of old wax and irregularities and to give us a consistent platform for testing. The Nature's were semi-tuned with about a 1-1.5 degree base bevel and 1-2 degree side bevel, but not "sharpened" or edge-polished.  They basically were like a ski with a good week's worth of skiing on them...not sharp, but not dull.  In short, they were not in a "race tuned" or totally whipped, but in a realistic state of everyday tune for most skis in this category. The Natures do not have any tendency to wash-out, wander, do the splits or fade their grip on hardpack.  You have to roll their wide shovels, waists and tails up on edge to get the grip to take hold, but once you roll them up and set the edge along the length of the contact area, they set predictably, smoothly and carry your arc until you roll them down again.  I was impressed how well this wide, rockered ski held on the hardpack and corduroy.  The bit of camber really helped make these skis friendly on hardpack. It was not a snappy, zippy ski on hard surfaces, but was damp, controlled and predictable, and has a high speed limit due to its quiet dampening of vibrations.  There was no hint of being "planky" or "dead" like some big skis, but they were always responsive and secure, without any hint of squirrely behavior or runaway freight train personality.  I was surprised how well they did on hardpack without being tuned for such conditions.


Mixed Conditions:


Mixed snow types and surface consistencies essentially disappeared underfoot when skiing the ARTificial. Natures.  The sense of being "on a platform" really became apparent, and I found myself looking for the crappiest, craziest combination of manky snow conditions I could find just to see how the skis would handle.  Old chop, windpacked old bumps, chalky windslab mixed with pockets of soft, dry powder and days-old groomer plow wash just faded into "the surface" of the terrain.  It was a great sensation to feel like the type of snow covering the terrain didn't matter one bit.  Just "point-and-go", paying attention to the lines I wanted to cover instead of what kind of snow covered those lines.  The large surface area of the ski was nicely governed by the flex and geometry of the design to give a responsive, yet Cadillac-like ride with a huge confidence-building effect. Changing directions in short or large radius turns across variable surface types was easy with the Natures.  Naturally, a ski this size is not a nimble ride, but you could get it to slarve, pivot, arc, punch or smear without any trouble....just decide what you want to do and execute.  I found my average speed through wacked-out surface conditions went way up after just a few runs on these skis. Really tight Eastern tree noodling found the Natures to be stable and capable of crushing brush, logs, holes and ledges really well, just don't expect to be as lively as a jackrabbit at slow speeds since you're driving a big rig.  Once your speed picks up, the Natures get quicker.  These are excellent in mixed snow conditions, and rarely have I found a ski deliver this much confidence when the surface gets wacky.



The small bumps I was able to find during our short test were a mix of hard and moderately soft surface types, and the Natures were more absorbant of the impacts and less prone to deflection than I expected for a ski with 156mm shovels.  The torque of hitting bumps at less than dead-on angles didn't result in the ski twisting away from me or transmitting lots of pressure along the body to my feet...they just soaked it up and did not begin to buck back until about 2/3rds along the forebody...just fine with me.  I did not get them in big bumps, but I did manage to get them into some drainage and waterbar ditch bumps, and their damp behavior soaked them up and I kept on truckin' without a hitch. These are not a lively buck-and-jump ski in the bumps, so if you want a big ski with that behavior...look elsewhere.




We did not get enough powder during our test period to get any snow more than shin-deep (Vermont had a serious snow drought in January and February), so we feel like the Natures did not get a fair shake in their natural deep habitat. The lighter the snow, the more they surfed, and never showed any tip dive in any soft snow, but I did not get a chance to get them into real deep snow to see how they handled vertical depth change commands fore and aft at various speeds.


Analogies: (this ski is like...)


A Rolls Royce with some grippy tires.  Potholes...what potholes?  Washboard....what washboard? Quiet and comfy, with a hint of elegance. Nice.


Things I Would Change About This Ski:
I would not change anything in this design other than provide a bit more pop and spunk if someone wanted a more sporty feel in a big ski.

Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":

The ARTificial. Natures are a big, easy-to-ski, confidence-inspiring platform with lots of surface area and stability to surf through any conditions you might find out there.  This is the ski you might reach for when the plows are getting stuck trying to clear the roads.

Advice To People Considering This Ski:

Get ready to get rid of your 110-115mm waisted skis if you buy this ski.


Self-Description of Skiing Style, Ability, Experience, Preferences:

5' 11", 180 lbs. 53 year-old expert, "old-style" race inspired, "foot steerer" with fairly sensitive edging feel. Loves to hold long arcs with lots of pressure on the downhill ski (you know the type),  but also loves the feel of both skis on-edge leaving tiny railroad track edge tracks.  Loves powder when it's not tracked out. Trees and odd terrain angles are fun.






ARTificial. Nature Tip Rocker

ARTificial. Nature Tail Rocker

ARTificial. Nature Underfoot Camber


ARTificial. Nature Tails


ARTificial. Nature Tips


ARTificial. Natures (far right) 156-126-152 @ 185cm
Compared to WhiteDot Redeemers 138-142-128-132-128 @ 180cm


Tyler's Road-Gap Shot (courtesy ARTificial. Skis)

post #2 of 8
Nice review, as ever. Really man, I think Epicski owes you a great debt as a community for your dedication to unbiased reviews and the beauty of shed-crafted boards, it's also nice to have reviews from someone who isn't actually trying to sell the thing they're reviewing.
Anyhow, I have a question. I am looking to buy some real powder boards, as when it dumps a small ocean in snow and I am still on my Soul Riders, sure it's good fun but I'd like the variety of some different sticks to play with every now and then.
Would these make good first powder skis?
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

First off...I'm no hot shot skier or elite test guru by any means...I love to discover new skis and tell people how they handled...hopefully it spreads the word about the 300 (+-) other companies out there besides the "big 10" brands!


As far as powder skis go...there are soooo many great rides out there...it depends on:


  • What location you ski powder most often
  • What kind of skier you are
  • What kind of skis you like
  • What kind of terrain you like
  • etc...


There are so many knowledgeable people here at Epic and other sites...the advice would boggle the mind....

The big choices I find myself making are "camber or no camber" underfoot....? and "Lite and surfy, or damp and directional"?

The camber is really nice when you have to arc the groomers back to a lift, but the pure flat or rockered waist is a drifty dream in great powder...

Personally, I have not come close to skiing every powder ski out there, but for pure powder boards to make you grin on those "epic" days...my short list from the smaller brands I have tried would be:


  • DPS Wailer or Lotus (narrow tips and tails)
  • ARTificial (wide tip and tail)
  • White Dot Redeemer (moderate tip and tail width)
  • Epic Planks Crop Duster (wide tip and tail)
  • Liberty Helix or Double Helix (moderate tip and tail width)
  • Praxis


I hope lots of people chime-in on this one!

There are too many excellent powder boards out there to put in your fleet for the special days...nearly any of them does the trick really well...the decision is who you want to give your money to, and what kind of personality you want the powder ski to have besides just floating on demand...?

post #4 of 8
Thanks for your input, and I never said you were some kind of elite guru, just that having someone who goes around on boards that most of us have never heard of, then telling us how great they are, with no alterior motives is refreshing. And you do contribute a lot to these forums just by doing that.
Anyhow, I was looking for something to take to west canada and maybe NZ.
post #5 of 8
Living in the EU I rarely get an actual pow day, but I'm going to be training as an instructor soon, likely over the summer in NZ, and then I will try and find work in canada (US visa guys hate me, dunno why, it's an uphill struggle to get to disneyland ffs)
post #6 of 8

Side note: Many Western Canada resorts hire Kiwis. And Aussies (no offense).  Seems Commonwealth nations are well represented.  I saw quite a few at Lake Louise actually, be sure to apply there.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Kingswood skis in NZ are stunningly beautiful and made to perfection. I have never skied a a pair, but fondled several models in a shop.  Real artistry in ski building. They have a cult-like following as pow skis for the sometimes oddly-textured snow in NZ...you may want to check them out if you are heading there!  They will cost you and arm and most of one leg, but people love them....and they make some kicking kids' skis too...


post #8 of 8

Those look just beautiful. I'll try and demo them in the land of the green hairy thing, thanks, was not even aware they existed. Thanks for the advice, but as usual I suppose speculation on things like skis at best leads to getting the in thing over the right pair, and at worst total disaster so I will have to just demo at some point. Rules.gif

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