Product: Stockli Laser AX (2014/15)
Length Tested: 175
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 126-78-109/15.8
Camber: Early Rise Tip w/ camber
Binding: Flat (Look Pivot mounted)
Mount point: Suggested
Other Skis in Class:
* Many "front side" skis
Environment & Conditions:
Location of Test: Copper Mountain
Number of Runs: 40+
Snow Conditions: 2" of fresh on top of spring packed powder
Demo or Own: Own
Ski Days/Season: 30-40
Years Skiing: 42
Aggressiveness: Aggressive(Driver/PSIA Instructor)
Current Quiver: Nordica Mach 3 Power, Nordica Afterburner
Home Area: Copper
Preferred Terrain: groomers, bumps, off-piste, trees
These are one of a very few pair in the US for testing this season. I bought them flat and still in the wrappers, had them mounted with a pair of Look Pivots (that, truth be told, I had bought for a pair of Y85s that I am quite pleased I wasn't able to get). I skied them for the first time a week ago Friday and then again today. Friday was a "fun day" with my 12-year-old son Gabe and today was an OHG "work" day skiing with one of the upper-level groups.
Going in, I was a bit concerned. I had bought these sight unskied... after skiing the Y85s at the SIA on-snow and hating them, I was concerned that these might not be all I had hoped. I was looking for something comparable to the old Rotors 76s (which I loved).
On my first few runs, I was concerned, especially having read some less-than-flattering reviews of the ski and its immediate ancestor the AR (it is said the AX is simply the AR re-named/skinned). Those first few runs found me more on my heels than I have typically been, and I found myself working to find the balance point where I began to work the entire ski.
But then I found it.
When I did, my experience changed dramatically. I suddenly found a fun, dynamic, powerful ski that railed on groomers, arced smoothly on ungroomed but packed slopes, cut through chop, and provided the necessary combination of edge and slip necessary for my varying approach to bumps (from "skiing the green line" and using a lot of slip to hammering turns down the zipper line).
My one line review: These skis make me a better skier by rewarding balance and precision.
They do not dramatically penalize poor balance or weaker skills, but, there is a substantial drop-off that can be unnerving, especially for those who can't map it to a cause.
Even after two full days of skiing all of the terrain on Copper, I find that there is a wider variety of options than I expected. Arcing turns of varying radius from medium-to-long to very tight, for example. Yesterday, I even tucked it out and let them run flat for a while at up to 40mph (measured by the Flaik I was wearing yesterday). They are race-ski stable at speed. I skied them in boot-top blown-in snow, chop, bumps, powder mounds, and down the reasonably steep Cornice Chute off the top of the Storm King lift into Spaulding Bowl. I find myself leaping, powering through, arcing in unexpected places, and generally grinning like a schoolboy on holiday.
I'm glad I picked these up. They make me a better skier and they are a kick to ski. I expect they'll be my go-to ski on days that have sufficient coverage (don't want to mess up those bases!) and that aren't "deep" by Colorado standards. I still have my Afterburners, and I'll pull them out when the coverage is questionable. And I have a pair of 95mm Stormriders that I'll be picking up tomorrow that I expect to use on deeper days.
Hope you find this helpful, and I'm happy to make an effort to answer any questions you might have. I expect to ski them for the rest of my days this season, at least 4 days this week (Tu, We, Sa, Su).