Mammoth was two days of testing skis that I might have missed in Copper along with skis that I wanted to revisit at benchmark skis or skis that carried over from last season.
Armada Invictus (New)-This is an all new 108 ski from Armada. I will say that this will not be the defining review of this ski. 1. all that we had to try was the 188 and initially I would have preferred a length closer to a 180 but there was just this size available. I will say even in the bigger size, I was very impressed how nimble this new addition was. The early rise/extended tip profile was a bit more traditional in shape as compared to some going to a 5 point design next was some nice camber underfoot onto a bit of rise in the tail. 2. This was the downfall to no fault of the ski....the binding. The heavy Salomon demo system was a poor choice that neutered a good amount of the ski was a poorly chosen. I look forward to trying these again with a better chosen Head Attack13 Demo or even a Marker Griffon or Jester demo.
Atomic Automatic 102 (New)- This $499 freeride ski was pretty much everything I expected, light easy and nimble. The 117mm Automatic is a great platform to base a series off of and Atomic brought this shape down to not only 109mm which will be the reference width for this series and the 102 that I tried here. Did I mention this ski will be just $499? Remember that price, you will be seeing this fun ski again when I publish my Steals & Deals next season.
Atomic Atomic Radon (Carry over)- This mid 70mm ski is basically a narrow Blackeye Ti or Nomad Ti. The Radon is smooth, silky and handles the firm snow without any fan fair or resistance, not two traits I like in a ski that is supposed to be a hard snow biased ski. I will say the Radon was completely predictable, and for this reason, I used it to test the Atomic Redster 130 boot.
Atomic Redster 130 boot (Carry over) I wanted to compare the 130 with my regular benchmark boot, Tecnica Inferno 130. Fore body of the two boots were very similar but the back half up and the spine is where the two started to differ. The Atomic’s heel pocket was more contoured and narrower than the Inferno and for my skinny ankle and leg it worked quite well. The cuff actually felt a but higher, this height showed itself into lateral response being a bit quicker. Stance was different with the Redster feeling like it had a bit more ramp, from my mets forward it felt lower than the Inferno. On snow, my initial test was with an Inferno and a Redster on each foot this is where the quicker response revealed itself. Initially, skiing with one and one, I felt discomfort under my mets in the Redster but when I skied with both Redsters, that discomfort went away. I skied the Redster for a full day and I really did like the skiablility of the Redster, and for those who have a low volume foot, especially from the mid foot back, the Redster, be it in a 90 (for junior racers & women) 110 or 130, should be on your short list of boots to consider.
Blizzard Brahma (Carry over) & Latigo (New): I used the Brahma to test snow conditions because it was a ski that I own and am familiar with. On snow performance was to be expected from this reference ski in the 88-90mm category. The application of “Flipcore” and the perfect combination of tip to camber to tail rise is damn near perfect in the Brahma (and Bonafide), which brings me to narrowest sibling, the Latigo (be weary of spell checking), this is the second time I was on this ski and by golly, a 78mm flipcore works. It carves, skis bumps and with being just a narrow 78 underfoot, the edge to edge response is so rewarding. Will we see a 68mm Flipcore “Dillinger” in the future?
Blizzard Cochise (Carry over/modified): Cochise 2.0? Well maybe Cochise 1.2. This is the first change to this ski, other than graphics since the Cochise won “Ski of the Year” when it was introduced. The .2 change was the addition of a minimal 2mm amount of camber and the making the Cochise a bit more pliable (softer) and also a bit lighter. These changes do make a difference in on snow feel. Without spending any recent time on a Cochise, I took them right over to the aptly named Wipeout Chutes (just ask @Trekchick). I was on and off a few One-Oh-Something skis on this trip and surprisingly, I felt as comfortable on the Cochise as I could have hoped for in this tight chute. Yes, I am a big proponent of camber but I can honestly say, of all the skis I tested and got to ski during my 4 days of testing 2015 skis, I am not sure I would have wanted to be on any other ski in this particular situation. I will get back to a recipe on how I would like to be prepared.
Dynastar Cham97 (*Carry over)-I say “carry over” but with an asterisk, gone is the metal Cham 97 (and 107) and replaced with the HM/High Mountain versions, now referred to just as the Cham, follow so far? This lighter version is a much better application of this design than the outgoing version on on snow feel. it ski is lighter with a better on snow feel. I still think the tip profile could come down and maybe a bit of tail rise...I think the direction of the new Cham 117 is the step in the right direction.
Head Supershape iRally (Carry over)- A slight change in binding plate went unnoticed, maybe I would feel it if I skied the two back to back but that is semantics. The Rally is still THE reference ski in my frontside category...because simply it makes a multitude of turn shapes at a multitude of turn speeds, I could not ask for a better combination for a technical ski for instructors or anyone who wants a frontside ski. My long term test report from this season.
Head SuperJoy, Absolut Joy (All new series)-The new Joy series could very well be the first game changers in women’s skis since the Luv series were introduced a decade ago and the first women’s skis to have a technology that is specific to their collection...Graphene, that Head brought over from their tennis division. I will let Trekchick get more into the on snow performance of these exceptionally good new skis.
Head Rev105 (Carry over)- Of the One-Oh-Somethings, the Rev 105 in the 181 has one of the tightest turn radiuses at 16M. That tight TR makes the Head one of the more playful skis in this category. This nimbleness makes the Head one of the more endearing skis in this category. If you haven’t been on a Head ski on the past couple of years, you are truly missing out on some very serious skiing enJOYment, Viva la REVolution.
K2 Annex98 (Carry over)-Of the 98’s the Annex skis towards the longer end of the spectrum. I kinda felt like a snake would feel with long flat tail of the Annex following and slithering behind be down the crud and bumps but like that snake, it just felt it was supposed to be there. In skiing the Annex98 (and 108), I have been perplexed on who these skis were for and I finally came to it, I think the type of skier that could get the most out of it would be a tall lighter skier, while others will still enjoy it, I am talking about maximizing the efficiency of the tool.
Nordica NRGy 90 (New)-This has been one of the more polarizing skis for next season, some have enjoyed their early season experiences (like me) and others have dismissed to being vague and unresponsive. From what I am to understand is the latter concerns are from some early production skis that the tip rise was higher than intended and have been addressed in a later production which some have skied and most have not. So, if you have been on the NRGy90 and had the concerns that I mentioned, you might be correct, but you should get on a newer version before you dismiss it.
Rossi Sin7 (Carry over/Modified)-This is the one ski that I tested that scared me. This ski was light and nimble enough before, it did not need airtip, the new Sin was nervous and scary and difficult to control. I really hope it was a bad tune, sunspots or the burrito I had at breakfast...but something was seriously wrong.
I started THIS thread, 100mm is the new 98mm where I referred to a trend of a lot of 98mm skis are evolving to 100mm and that it was a scary trend. This was more referring to the all mountain/big mountain biased skis like the Mantra, Experience 100, Supernatural 100 and NRGy100, not to the youthful freeride segment skis like the Soulrider, Ritual, Sickday and the following Salomon...
Salomon Rocker2 100 (New)- When do you Quest and when do you Rocker2? An age old question..well at least a 3 year old question. Well, that is a question for another thread, “How to discern Freeride from All Mountain skis and how it affects your skiing future”. Be that as it may, this is about the new Rocker2 100. Salomon has been on a marking share onslaught by offering skis that are $50-$150 less than other skis in their segment, the Rocker2 100 is no different coming in at an all too reasonable $549 street price. I skied it in the 186 and boy was it playful. Taking the R2 100 down Mammoth’s wind blown bumps on skiers right of chair 23, the giggle factor was high all the way down and as the bumps blended into windbuffed goodness. So when looking for that finesse 100 with a freeride/powder bias...you could end your Quest here.
Salomon Quest 85 (New)- Thee ninety nine. Seriously? Sure there is a limit in speed and power but for $399..it is a great tweenager ski or lighter adult east coast ski.
Stockli StormRider88 (New)- The VXL was in the line for a couple of seasons and getting a bit long in tooth along with being one of the last Stockli’s from the previous design philosophy. What is this “previous design philosophy” I am referring too? Well, the new Stormriders are not your distant Uncle Brossard’s Stormriders nor the Stormriders that Scot Schmidt has been on, these new ones are so much more playful and easy to ski yet still have the ability to turn up the power, think about a Mercedes Benz (did you think I could get through a series of reviews without a car reference, silly rabbit) E55 with the badges removed, while it will drive like a mortal E350 but when you want to the power it is there and there is spades.
Stockli Laser AX (Carry over/formerly Laser AR)- The new Laser AX is the best K2 Recon ever built. I know that sounds like a back handed complement, but it is not, it said with heart felt admiration. Here me out. The Recon, while smooth and easy to ski was almost too smooth and too easy that some people wrongly dismissed it because of those traits. The AX is so easy and so smooth and with the addition of the refinement that Stockli makes this supple magnificent ski such a treat to ski because it skis so well and is so effortless. OK...try this....The AX is the best Lexus that Mercedes ever built, is that better?
Shotzski Gen 2: Having all too much experience in the first generation Shotzski, it was time to put the second generation to the test. We tested with a multitude of different beverages ranging from 60 to 100 proof and I all say there were no pre releases from the units or testers. Bindings mounted to 1991 Dynastar G9.