Stockli WC GS 183 >30
Stockli WC GS 188 >30
Stockli Laser SX 190 >27
All mounted with Atomic race plate and Salomon (Atomic) X16 Bindings, tuned at 0.5/3
Tester stats; 59 y/o; 165#, 5'8", 50-100days/year, experienced masters racer
Test Conditions; (very) Early morning hardpack
Following up on my recent tests of the new FIS women’s GS skis,
SJ and Philpug made available a trio of Stocklis to try for comparison. By a lucky chance Mt Rose was doing a 6.30 early load for the top 20 season pass-holders so there was at least a chance of getting some hard snow to put them to the test. Was going to be interesting as I was A Stockli virgin! Incidentally all the test skis from Starthaus came with an excellent 0.5/3 tune, which checked out on my bevel meter.
Stockli WC GS 188>30
On the lift at 6.34 am with this ski first. Now I am used to early loads but normally I am toting gates or setting up rope lines for training so not too much chance to enjoy the empty mountain. In this instance though, nothing to do but enjoy an empty hill (well, not quite empty, there were just 3 of us on the hill for the first hour!). Pointing them down the hill and letting them rip, a few things immediately became apparent. These skis were beautifully damped and gave a smooth ride even over frozen groomer tracks, they hooked up and turned in easily and they stuck to the early morning hardpack/refreeze like dog crap on your shoe!. With the mountain basically to myself I was able to really open them up and feel them out. It was easy to vary the turn shape and the smoothness, combined with tenacious grip inspired huge confidence to really get them up on edge with big angles. After a couple of runs I noticed that they were turning in almost too easily and it looked like the binding mount was quite far forward on the ski, so I moved the binding form center (4) position, back one notch to 5. For me this felt even better, felt like I was more on the sweet spot and could really work the tip. It smoothed the turn entry better for my taste but still hooked up great and just let me rip the hill top to bottom. Super G turns, tight across the hill GS turns, nothing seemed to make them let go. The guy I was skiing with kept arriving at the lift a couple of minutes after me. Finally he asked, "How is it that you just seem to stay glued to the snow when I am sliding around and getting bumped everywhere???"
Later in the morning i was able to take a few runs on a shorter 30m course. the snow was getting softer but i was still able to simply power through and drive the ski into a good high line.
So, very smooth, grippy ski. Obviously demands good technique to roll the ski up onto a high edge to make it work but very rewarding and a great ride even on groomer marked refreeze. Impressive.
Stockli WC GS 183 >30
Okay, after finding no speed limit on the 188s, how would the little sister 183s perform? Opening them up, immediately apparent that they are very closely related. All the same characteristics as the 188, no immediately obvious differences. But inquiring minds (and mine!) wanted to understand whether there were any pluses/minuses to the smaller ski so after 2 Mach speed blasts without issue, time to dig a bit deeper. Tightening up into 20-25 m GS turns across the hill started to show a slightly different feel. Where on the 188 you could really work the tip of the ski into the turn, I could see that I was skiing the 183 more like the previous generation 182/23. It encouraged a slightly straighter "Z" type line down the hill rather than what I call an "inverted J" shape. The ride was a little less smooth, slightly choppier and I felt I might be on the upper end weight limit for it at 165#. BUT I must stress that we are talking small differences here. It in no way felt like I was overpowering it or that I was having to slow down to allow for it and if I focused I could still easily get it into whatever turn shape I wanted. However, looking dispassionately at the two I definitely preferred the 188. Just that bit smoother overall with no discernable downside. if I had not tried them back-to-back probably would not have noticed and I could comfortable race Masters GS and/or free ski on either of them but for me the 188 has the edge in smoothness and marginally better turn shape for me. i played with the binding position at 4 (center) then moved it back to 5 as on the 188. 5 worked better for me again.
Stockli Laser SX 190 >27
Not being totally au fait with the Stockli line-up I believe this is intended as the "supercross ski". It uses the dimensions of the previous men’s FIS ski@ 190, >27. Looking at it it is a big beefy ski, with a lot of metal in it (SJ or PP can perhaps verify but IIRC it has an extra layer in it?). I will be honest and say I was actually wondering to myself if I was big/strong enough to drive this ski???!!! but, no way out now! Fortunately snow was still hard but hill was getting busy, there must have ben at least 10 people spread over the mountain! . So onto the test route and point them down, hoping I could bend them and turn them. First surprise. They moved into the turn easily without having to make any exaggerated movements!. Second surprise: I was comfortably driving them back and fore across the hill in gig GS and SG turns! OK, lets see what happens when you point them down - now all that metal works for its living and really lets the ski ride over mini death cookies, groomer tracks etc. withy ease!. A veritable freight train but unlike a freight train, and amazingly given the beefy construction, I could still change direction easily and adjust my line as required. Almost made me feel like I would be capable of running the Rahlves Banzai if I was on these! Amazingly easy to ski as well, not at all the hard work I had thought they might be. If you want to really rip high-speed groomers, run a banzai/supercross course and are less concerned about running gates, this is the ski to aspire to. I didn’t get the chance to take it into the course but my feel was that, despite the smaller radius, I would have to work a bit harder to make the gates on this than on the other 2 skis. YMMV.
Overall, this may have been my first Stockli experience but it has whetted my appetite and hopefully will not be my last. One of my closest rivals in Far West class 7 this year was running Stocklis and I can well understand now how he pushed me so hard. Definitely on my short list for next season now. Like most people I had always thought Stocklis were super expensive and well outwith the ScotsSkier race ski budget parameters. However, looking at the inclusive price with bindings, it is actually much more competitive than I had expected. Compared to any other top class FIS GS ski with bindings the price delta is only of the order of ~$100. Hmmm. Of course given the more limited numbers of them, supported deals other than racer price will be harder to come by. I do fully expect to see some of them this season though on the feet of some of the really competitive U18/FIS kids.
So hopefully this sheds some more light on things. I will cross-link to my other 188/30m reviews and update that thread as well.