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Cham 107 HM vs Coombacks, any comparisons?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Background: athletic 6'2"; 180-185 lbs body weight); 55 yrs old; advanced/expert alpine with minimal experience backcountry.

Ski primarily in PNW but will also venture to CO and Utah in search of that intoxicating champagne powder - not that successful recently.


Setting up, for now, a single ski quiver for backcountry, probably with Dynafit speed radicals only or a Dynalook plate to allow some on-resort use too when snow is deep and light, ie. Utah.


Considering either:


Coombacks in a 188, more likely or a 181 cm length or

Cham 107 High Mountain (HM) in a 184 cm or 190 cm or

Something equivalent (recommendations?)


I have tried the Cham 97 (178 cm or the longer length, can't recall) in a resort area on- and off-piste in mixed conditions for a few runs but never really got the hang of them for some reason, They were either on edge or totally off edge with, what seemed to me, little ability to transition smoothly between the two. But I have read that the 107's are a different animal. For reference, I have also tried the K2 Sideshow in a 181 cm on-piste with a mix of fresh and manky cut-up snow on top of hardpack and crusty moguls. I suprisingly did not like the Sideshows, at least under those conditions. They seemed to have no dampening and kind of beat me up, maybe they were too stiff for me. On the other hand, I love the feel of Legend Pro Rider 105's, so maybe that was not it.


Anyways, since the Coombacks and the Cham 107 are both on my radar, anyone try them both side-by-side? How about in the backcountry for short-distance touring?




post #2 of 8

I have not skied the Coomback, but I have skied the Cham's.  While I'm not a big fan of the Cham, I really liked the Cham HM skis and can attest to the nimble and fun factor.  

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

In order to help me imagine what the Cham HM might be for me, maybe you Trekchick can tell me what you yourself didn't like about the regular Cham. I know we would ski different sizes, but it may be informative.


As for me, yesterday I demoed the regular Cham 107 in a 184 cm length up at Crystal Mountain for a couple of hours. It had snowed about 8-10" over the last two days, so there was still quite a lot of fairly light (for PNW snow) powder, some of which was quite a bit deeper and barely tracked in the early part of the day. Over the 2 hours or so I went from skiing a) near knee-high freshies/barely tracked stashes off-piste to b) soft snow groomers with a few inches of fresh snow to c) runs that had a mix of piles of slightly consolidated snow and soft/hard moguls interspersed with scraped down real hardpack/crust.


In the deeper snow, the skis were quite fun as long as I kept a centered stance on them and kept the slope moderate. They turn surprisingly quickly for their width and I could quickly and easily shape the turns.I was really enjoying them!!  I did notice though that if I tried to take a more aggressive forward stance on them and let them run through deeper stuff, they would plow at times and jerk me forward and back. When on steeper slopes, they didn't seem to run as smooth as I would have expected them and seemed to react a bit too much to changing density of snow - very weird.To be honest, I found that the much narrower Outland 87 (equivalent length 184 cm) that I tried later flowed much more consistently through the deeper 3D snow and seemed to be less affected by changing snow conditions.  It almost seemed like the problem with the Chams was something to do with the rocker up front and the shape and stiffness of the tail. The Outland 87 has what seems like a softer and more regularly shaped tail.


The tip on the Cham's definitely flutters alot when running on non-3D snow, but it really doesn't act that unstable - just looks kind of funny.

When running through piles of heavier snow, the tip does hold it's own and kind of knifes through things if it can't run over them and the overall stability of the ski is exceptional. Skiing soft moguls could even be considered fun as long as you approach them in a controlled manner, but when you hit the harder moguls...ouch!!..... the overall stiffness of the ski starts to hurt you. Over hardpack/crusty surfaces though, I started noticing the issue that turned me off of the Cham 97's when I tested them a while ago. It was hard, at least for me, to control the edge in such conditions, either I was totally on edge or totally off, and I had trouble feathering the edge into controlled skids, particularly around the harder moguls. The Cham 107's were not nearly as bad as the 97's in this way.   All in all, the 107's really had great stability in mixed conditions but they could really beat you up when you hit hard surfaced moguls and such. The Outlands 87 were not  as stable - they would bounce around in mixed hard/soft conditions - but they would not beat you up as much so you can ski them faster.


But, since I am looking more for a backcountry ski, the Cham 107 behavior on hard moguls and hardpack may not be that critical, so that type of ski might still be in the running. Just wondering if the Cham 107 HM version might have more amenable attributes and be a good alternate to the Coomback. I've only skied the Coomback in a 181 on resort so I never got a chance to try it in deeper snow, but I thought that size was too floppy in the tip and they skied short. On the other hand, the 188 cm is a really long ski. Could the 184 cm Cham 107 HM version  be a good compromise?



post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

One other thing I should have added. When I did ski the harder surfaces, I found that the Cham 107 had an inadequate, at least to me, amount of dampening. The Outland 87 seemed to be better dampened for those crusty conditions.

post #5 of 8
Originally Posted by BigNick View Post

One other thing I should have added. When I did ski the harder surfaces, I found that the Cham 107 had an inadequate, at least to me, amount of dampening. The Outland 87 seemed to be better dampened for those crusty conditions.

That's kind of how I felt too, plus I found it difficult to find my center on the Cham even after skiing it for a full day.  When I demo'd the HM Cham I found my balance almost immediately and ended up skiing it for several runs and took it through its paces. 


I'm hoping someone who has experience on both skis will chime in. 

post #6 of 8

I'm lighter, but had an hour or two on a shorter-than-I'd like Cham 97 HM-- and I really didn't like the feel. Mostly off-piste in up to a foot of fresh powder and crud. I think mostly because of the shape and lack of dampening. It felt like two different skis that worked at cross-purposes tip-to-tail. Tips felt too soft/floppy (and I'm not a r2 mainly, which isn't a super beefy ski!), and could get stuffed up in deeper/heavier powder. Tails sank, which I don't particularly like, because it's kinda like being in the back seat without being there.  


They were better on hardpack for me, but if I were getting a hardpack ski I'd want something without the crazy tips and tails. 


My experience is obviously with a shorter, skinnier version of the ski and may not be extendable to any other model in the line. But given what I felt, this is a ski I think anyone serious about purchasing really should demo. I imagine it's a love or hate experience for most people, unlike some skis. 

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks Justruss,


While I didn't try the HM version of the Cham 97, I had a similar experience with the regular version, and that should have been a bit more dampened. I guess some people really like the regular version of the ski. Alpin magazine which reviewed the both the HM 87 and HM 97 loved the former (tops in the narrow ski category) but didn't have the same love for the wider HM 97. They thought the latter was quick and agile on piste, but hought it was a bit unstable at higher speeds. I guess it really depends on what people are looking for.


Still hoping some someone that has experience with both the Coomback (particularly in the longer two lengths) and the Cham 107 HM  will chime in soon.



post #8 of 8

I have the Cham 97 that I skied with back east and found that they had great edge hold on groomers that were east coast firm (we had a bad season in 2015-2016).  With the side cut design turns can be variable as you need them.  I could make shorter turns just as easy as I could make longer arc turns.  I moved to Colorado in April and we got our true first powder days where I use them for that purpose.  They skied really well in 1 to 1.5 feet of snow and carved up crud with no problem.


My wife skis the Cham 87 and she liked them so much that she stopped skiing her Atomic Supreme Vantage (same underfoot).


Now we both went up in length due tot he rocker on these - I went from a 179 to a 184 and my wife went from a 158 to a 166, 


I am now looking at Rossignol Super 7 or Dynastar Cham 117 - my dilemma is going with 180 or 190ish.  My wife is also looking for a wider ski and is considering the Rossignol Saffron 7 or Savory 7 possibly the Atomic Century 102.  He length is easy at 162.

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