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'02/'03 Atomic SL 9.12

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Ski Make: Atomic
Ski Model: SL 9.12
Ski Length: 160
Snow Conditions Used In: Groomed, ice, bumps, gates, 10" fresh snow, crud.
Number of Days Used: about 12 or so.
Your Ability: Somewhat fair I guess
How Many Years Have You Been Skiing: 25 as a terminal intermediate/3 somewhat better
Avg. Days per Year Skiing: 50
Other Skis You Like: Atomic 9.16s, 9.20s, Fischer WC RCs.
Your Height/Weight: 5'11"/195 lbs
After skiing Atomics almost exclusively for the past couple years, I decided to make an honest effort to see what other brands had to offer. That wasn't hard given my general lack of love for Atomic bindings. After trying Fischer Slaloms and Salomon 3Vs (my only slalom demo options up here), neither of which I particularly liked for various reasons, I picked up an used pair of race stock K2 Mach SLs and used them for most of the race season. All of the slaloms I tried were in the 160cm range.

While the K2s would have been a good choice for a lighter junior skier, they probably weren't the best skis for a fatty like me. The tips tended to flop around and deflect when they weren't on edge, and even when they were on edge they really didn't inspire total confidence. However, they didn't throw me around like my Atomic 9.16s and were pretty forgiving so I could explore different movements. A good learning tool, but one I quickly grew out of.

Enter the SL 9. I had demoed 9.12s in the past and preferred the 9.16, but that could have been due to a number of factors (tune, ability, technique...). On a whim, I decided to pick up a pair of SL9s to see if they were more my speed. The first thing I noticed was that Atomic feel, which I actually prefer. It inspired a confident "you can push it that far" feeling in me that was a welcome change from the K2 tentativeness. I was pushing them so far over that first run that I was booting out on the soft groomers. "Sure," I thought, "they can handle short turns with ease, but they'll never handle GS turns". Wrong. 40 MPH GS sweepers were about as far as I dared to take them, but that was good enough for me. I was sold. The more terrain I took them on, the more I liked them. My joy was only briefly interrupted when a patroller asked me to kindly stop shinning the speed zone gates and slow signs. Just a lot of fun.

The second day out was an USSA slalom, and my times were vastly improved in relation to skiers who usually beat me by significant margins. More than a few observers said I looked more confident in the gates and more "on top" of my skis. I credit a large chunk of that to the skis- I just instinctively knew where they were, so I didn't have to worry about them.

In the 10 or so days I've put on them since then, I've found a whole lot to like about these skis. After my experience with them, I can't wait to try out the SL11s I picked up this year but never mounted because of the poor snow coverage. I can't imagine liking them more than the SL9s, but then again I said that about the 9.16s too.

I guess I'm going to have to learn to like Atomic bindings, since I certainly prefer their skis.

[ April 17, 2003, 06:23 AM: Message edited by: Alaska Mike ]
post #2 of 5
My son will also vouch for the 9.12. He raced on them as a J3, two years ago, he kept saying that would make a good GS ski. He has them in 140cm. Early this season he was free skiing with some of the J3 girls who were on there GS skis. When they got to the bottom of the hill the girls were amazed to see him already there on his short SL skis. Just last weekend another friends J2 daughter was catching and passing my son on his R11's 170cm, she was on her SL9 in 150cm.
As my son told the J3 girls, "these are not wimppy ski".
post #3 of 5
The SL:9.12 is a limp noodle compared to the SL:11.12 (which i have . Last year i demoed lots of atomic's on a demoday. I think the SL:9.12 is a really tuned down ski for the masses (who want to brag they have the raceslalomcarver from atomic). I found it more comparable to the 9.18 betaride than to the SL:11.12.
So if you like the SL:9.12 get your hands on a pair of SL:11.12 you will love them!!!!!!!
post #4 of 5
I will first say I work as a pro-rep for Fischer. The SL9 is a very good ski. I owned a pair a year ago prior to working for Fischer. I would urge you to try the Fischer WC SC and/or the RX8 in a slalom length. I think you will like both very much.

I found the WC SC to be a little more well rounded than the SL9. Better in varied conditions and pretty doggone good in bumps.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
I've found that I really don't like a stiff slalom, which was one of the reasons I didn't like the Fischer Slalom. That "pop" often causes my skis to leave the ground in transitions, which I'm trying to minimize. Also, doing drills on flatter terrain is generally easier on a slightly softer ski. I used to ski almost exclusively on my second-generation 9.16s, and thought the earlier 9.12 was too soft. Working with a coach this season has changed my skiing to the point that I've completely changed my assessment. I will probably mount up my SL11s for racing next season, but I think my primary free-skiing and training ski will be the SL9. I've decided I'd rather be on skis appropriate for my ability than have bragging rights. My body isn't race stock, so I really don't need race stock skis.

I really wanted to demo the WC SC, but it wasn't available to me. A fellow Masters racer has them and swears by them, but his boot size is way smaller than mine so I couldn't take them out for a test ride. I was pretty impressed with the World Cup RC, and I'll be making a real effort to get on a pair of WC SCs at Michel Pratte's camp this Summer. The last thing I need is another pair of shorty slaloms (5 pairs at last count- 2 9.16s, 1 SL9, 1 SL11, and the K2s), but I'm always willing to try new brands and try to hide yet another pair from the wife. It's a good thing all Atomic slaloms are yellow or she would have caught on long ago. Looks like I'll be dropping some skis on eBay and at the swaps come next fall...
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