Product: Stockli Stormrider 95
Length/size Tested: 183 cm
Environment of Conditions:
*Location of review: Alpine Meadows
*Runs Taken: 1 days
*Snow Conditions: pring snowstorm, lots of chunky wet snow, some fresh tracks, some bumps, mostly filled-in creamy snow by the end of the day.
*Demo or Purchase: Starthaus test fleet
Ski Days/Season: 50
Years Skiing: 35+
Aggressiveness: (select one, delete the rest): Aggressive
Current Quiver: 182 Rossi Radical FIS, 187 Bonafide, 190 DPS Wailer 112
Home Area: Squaw Valley
Preferred Terrain: off-piste
3-word capsule review: Best in class
Stormrider 95 ski is Stockli’s entry that fits squarely into the hotly contested category of a one-ski quiver. Jumping ahead to a conclusion, this Stormrider felt like it was best in class with the only major downside that I can see being the price (more on that later).
Any 95-98 ski is inevitably compared to the Blizzard Bonafide, the ski which I own and love, so there will be a fair amount of SR95 vs Bone comparison.
In the hands the ski feels substantial, but not too heavy. The flex felt medium stiff, and exceptionally even. I tend to like skis with that flex and flex pattern a lot. The tip has some rocker, but not nearly as much as the Bonafide. Stockli just does not believe in tail rocker, and SR95 has a conventional tail that is nicely rounded and slightly upturned. (see the side-by-side photo comparing it to the Bones). What Stockli does believe in is the tip taper, and the widest point of the tip is quite a bit back from the tip (it reminds me of the DPS tip profile but not nearly as pronounced), the Bone is widest pretty much right at the tip. what it translates to is that the Bone tends to turns off the center using the rocker shape quite a bit and getting progressively more edge as the angles get higher, the Stockly gets on the full edge right away and uses the taper to avoid hookiness. Both strategies work, but Stockli feels like a better carver. I have not tested it on a truly firm surface that day, but after being on SR107 I am fully convinced that there won’t be any issues on the ice. I was also surprised that the 183 length was enough and didn’t feel short after being used to a 187 daily driver.
One the snow everything fits together spectacularly well. It usually takes a few turns to feel the ski. This ski clicked with me literally on the first turn. I did a stupid thing for a ski test- I took my first run into chunky snow in the trees on the mountain that I don’t know well and ended up in a tight chute with a mixture of icy parts and sloughed off snow. After the first three turns I just let it rip, the SR95 just inspired visceral confidence. It held an edge on ice, powered through the chunkier, and was remarkably tossable when I needed to make quick turns in the trees. Nice… The major difference was that it felt quite a bit damper than the Bones, but just as quick and with a little more energy off the tail. I then took it out to a few untracked stashes in the lower High Yellow area, the skis floated and released beautifully. The tip taper was very helpful on uneven dee snow, no traces of hookiness there. Few soft bumps that I found were fun as well, again the tapered tip and rounded upturned tail help there. As the day progressed, the snow got deeper and deeper, and only in the end of the day I felt that I could have used more float. My Bonafides with wider width, and longer length would have felt a little better int hat snow. But that’s probably the only are where I could see an advantage over Stocklis, and I still got a face shot on the Stocklis coming off a short but oh-so-sweet steep powder section.
So, here we go, it looks like the Bonafide has met its match. SR 95 is damper, has better edge hold and is just as quick. The only problem is the $1200+ MSRP. Objectively, if you can afford it, this is the ski that you should buy, there is probably no better all-around ski on the market next year. If price is an issue, well... Although the Bonafide skis differently, it is 95% overall performance at 50% of the cost, so it wins big on value. But if you want to ski the best, the Stockli SR95 is best in class.
P.S. The whole Stormrider series is spectacular (as befits the premium priced products), but the SR95 is arguably the most versatile ski in the series.
P.P.S. Pictures of the tip and tail shapes and profiles. The comparison ski is my old 187 Bonafide.