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Sandwich Tech Root 88

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
To Preface this, I owe Matt from @SandwichTech skis a review (I'm about 5 weeks late I think). Matt and Katie from Sandwich Tech (sandwichtechskis.com), were kind enough to lend me some of their skis to test out this spring before the snow melted - even going so far as to drive them half-way across the North East so I could try them. Cheers Matt & Katie! Here's your review!
beercheer.gif

I reached out to Matt to try Sandwich Tech skis for a few reasons. I like unique skis, and really appreciate small ski manufacturers, I was impressed by the shapes they were offering, and thought that in a world of start-up ski companies aimed at the terrain park and big mountain market, it was refreshing to see someone building skis that are true "all-mountain" skis with a race-like bias. Sandwich Tech is doing something different from the other boutiques out there, and they deserve to be recognized for it. They also know their skis. These things have not been slapped together by a few ski bums drinking beer in a garage. They are engineered to ski like they do.

Review:

I will start off by saying, I really like these skis. They carve long and short turns, brush turns, and don't give-up when you push them. They are more of a crud buster than a floater. They are different from anything I have ever skied, yet still have the familiarity of the qualities of a race ski. By familiar, I mean they are stiff, they have extremely strong edge hold, and traditional camber with a lot of edge on the snow. How are they different? Well, they have incredible torsional stiffness (well above average for this width), you feel every bit of the snow surface [not damp], they have a ton of snap for a ski of this size, and they ski a lot longer than they are stamped. These qualities make the skis very unique on the snow. The deep side cut makes them easy to put on edge and carve (you really don't feel the width).

The sidewalls, which are some kind of hard wood, give the ski an incredibly lively feel. These will feel like nothing you've ever skied because of the sidewall... To put it in perspective, all sidewalls are a p-tex polymer, or a ceramic like compound. Both are significantly more damp. You would think this lack of dampening would translate to lack of edge hold... If you thought that you'd be wrong. The torsional stiffness the skis have, lends them to be absolute cleavers on ice. Very few conditions outside of a course will require more edge hold on a regular basis. The ski is also longitudinally stiff... more-so than I was expecting. They bend, and have a very even race-like flex pattern, but race-like also means they are stiff as all-mountain skis go. They are stamped 16.5, but ski more like an 18-20. Take this into account when purchasing.

I only know a handful of skiers that could make use of the 186cm version of this ski. The 175cm was a good bit of ski... not humbling, but because of the stiffness (longitudinal and torsional) you should respect it. Bottom-line, if you ski fast, want a race-like do-it-all front-side ski that isn't going to be boring when you hit the groomers, give this ski a shot - you will be surprised at the capabilities. Matt and Katie have done a superb job building this... and remember, this was their first shot at building a ski... I expect some great things to come from these two.

Here's some pics and a short video from the test weekend:








Product: Root 88
Length Tested: 175cm
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 16.5m
Camber: Traditional
Binding: Tyrolia Demo
Mount point: Tested suggested mount point, -1cm, and -2cm; for my build/skiing -2cm was best, but ymmv

Other Skis in Class: Not really sure... gear whores, please chime in.

Environment & Conditions: Spring conditions; hard in the morning, soft in the afternoon; slush over ice with sun and the occasional beer
Location of Test: Holimont
Number of Runs: A lot
Demo or Own: Demo

Tester Info:

Username: Um... HeluvaSkier
Age: 31
Height/Weight: 5' 7" 140lbs
Ski Days/Season: 35 maybe?
Years Skiing: 18 maybe, not really sure
Aggressiveness: Competitor I guess

Current Quiver: Fischer race product, Blossom All-Mountain line-up, Salomon Sentinel

Home Area: Holimont

Preferred Terrain: Blue groomers wink.gif ...anything really... real snow is nice.
post #2 of 25

We too, got a brief set of days in Vermont on Matt and Katie's prototype SandwichTech (http://sandwichtechskis.com/) Root 88 skis late this season.  First off, this couple is a pair of engineering geeks who crave high performance skis, and they live and breathe composite material science and mechanical engineering.  Super dedicated and eager to make great skis in small batches.  They hail from the icy, wind-blown pitches of Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire, so they know a thing or two about carving ski behavior and properties required to make the ski perform properly in such conditions. Being based in Vermont, we naturally have an affinity for Eastern-made skis (even if they are made in New Hampshire...we can talk about that later...).  I met them and chatted about their skis and got to try a prototype of the Root 88 they are bringing to market.  See their technical Blog HERE.

 

I essentially agree with HeluvaSkier and his take on these skis...with a couple differences which may be due to the prototype nature of the skis and perhaps he had a different pair to test than we did.  Matt and Katie are still working on binding positions, flex patterns and material proportions, and we were happy to give them some feedback.  The construction materials and assembly are superbly high quality, and the ballistic glass composite is a completely new material I have never seen used in any ski before.  (You can Matt and Katie about its properties if you are feeling adventurous).  We too, found the ski came alive when the boot mount was -1 or -2 (Matt and Katie are aware of this observation and might change the mounting point in final versions).

 

The Root88 feels like a classic GS racing chassis made more compliant at turn initiation, requiring less effort than a true GS ski or GS-cheater.  Ski behavior at over 55 mph was quiet, perfectly controlled, responsive (but never darty) and authoritative, both at low edging angles and  when bent into intense carving radii.  Their construction can take enormous pressure and retain its integrity really, really well.   It behaves like a race-stock ski in that it does not eject the pilot out of turns, but provides powerful, controlled acceleration. For the athletic or technical enthusiast, perhaps a bit more "pop" would make it more "exciting" ….but then again, I am a big fan of damp, quiet skis that can rail undisturbed across hardpack (Heluva thought his pair had lots of snap).  The sidewalls are made if Ipe (a type of hardwood)

 

Two of us managed to get time on the Root 88 over several days, and the level of excitement about SandwichTech's design and performance was unanimous.  These guys are onto something special for frontside skiers who crave a torsional integrity beyond compare, mated with excellent vibration control ("vibration decay properties"...not "dampening" as Matt and Katie will describe it) and calm, secure, confidence-inspiring grip and behavior at nearly any speed.  The faster you ride it, the more if feels at home.  Carving behavior is superb, with a quiet, elegant shape initiated automatically along the ski's length.  No hinge-flex, no imbalance, just smooth, pure, clean "carve-iture" behaviors. Addicting for carving freaks and speed merchants.

 

  • Feels a bit sluggish until you get it up to speed (but it loves speed).
  • Has no real speed limit (good thing!).
  • Makes a very nice turn shape, with excellent engagement and: "feed" into the selected radius.
  • Good variety of radii, as well as mid-course radius adjustments.
  • Quiet, stable as a rail and absolutely secure.
  • Nicely balanced, with good feedback to the pilot.
  • Strong feel, reliable and confidence inspiring.
  • Can get trapped a bit in crusty old refrozen soft snow…being a fully-cambered design like a GS ski.

 

It is important to remember this model is still being finalized, so the released version this coming season might be slightly different than the one we briefly tested.  A full review will be coming soon, so stay tuned.  SandwichTech has some powerful mojo happening in this chassis and I think skiers will have some exciting options available to them this coming season.

 

In the meantime, some more pics:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by ExoticSkis - 5/24/14 at 8:00am
post #3 of 25

Heluva,

 

Are the sidewalls similar to the skilogik wood sidewalls (Black Locust), they look very similar and I think they have the same function (stiffening and dampening) on the ski logik models.?  Also, the waist is an 88 I assume? (I didn't see the full dimensions).  Are the dimensions the same in the longer length?

 

Nice looking ski and skiing. Very pointed (in a good way) review.

 

 The Blue/ Black top sheet looks slick.  I like the recent move towards more subtle top sheets on skis.

 

FWIW, most of the indy companies I run across are very serious about design and production (I don't think the stereotype of beer drinking dudes in a garage is the rule-I think there is a lot of savvy young entrepreneurialism and smart design in the Indy ski world).  I'm sure Sandwich Tech is also quite capable and serious (and being east coasters from a great little bad ass mountain they deserve an extra bump in my estimation!), but I haven't found that to be the exception with small companies…at least ones I've skied on (Liberty, Icelantic, Ski Logik, 4frnt, DPS,Hart) .

post #4 of 25

The sidewalls of Ipe (pronounced "eee-pay" (http://www.ipefurniture.com/whatisipe.asp)  or "Brazilian Walnut" are similar to Dave Mazzarella's SkiLogik sidewalls of black locust in that they are very hard, strong and have durable characteristics.  Most builders we've talked to using hardwood sidewalls (or extending a bamboo sidewall all the way over the edges) choose such materials to help transfer pressure and energy to the metal edges for maximum edge hold on hard surfaces.  Matt and Katie mentioned they love the Ipe sidewalls for the mechanical properties similar to some composites, and the handling behaviors much different than UHMW or  pTEX sidewalls.  Every ski we have tried with hardwood sidewalls from various builders displays a significantly solid edging power on boilerplate surfaces...so it appears to work as claimed.

 

The Root88 is indeed an 88mm waisted ski.

Dimensions of various lengths from SandwichTech:

Dual Radius:

166cm r = 13.1-14.5

175cm r = 14.7-16.5

184cm r = 16.5-18.5


Sidecut (same for each length)

135-88-117.5

 

Totally agree on the serious nature of most small ski builders these days....they all care passionately about how well their skis behave and the quality of their handiwork. Sure...there are plenty of people swigging brews and building skis in their garage for fun and minor profit...but the majority of ski builders selling their products to the public these days are serious about doing the best job they can...which is good for us skiers!

 

Matt and Katie have something very different and very impressive going on with SandwichTech skis.  People should keep their eyes open for these skis this coming season.

post #5 of 25

I get it that this is a great ski.
I wish Matt and Kate the best of luck.

However, this logo needs redesigning.  

 

 

post #6 of 25
Maybe there is a nearby artist whom they could hire to help. wink.gif
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post



I get it that this is a great ski.

I wish Matt and Kate the best of luck.
However, this logo needs redesigning.  

Why is that? It is easily recognizable. Crisp, clean... and by the end of two days skiing on them everyone I spoke to knew they were something unique, even if they only saw me from the lift. From a recognizable logo perspective, I'd say that is a win.

One thing we did talk about was getting a local artist to do some cool top sheets. I tend to prefer simple top sheets like they have crafted though.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post



I get it that this is a great ski.

I wish Matt and Kate the best of luck.
However, this logo needs redesigning.  

Why is that? It is easily recognizable. Crisp, clean... From a recognizable logo perspective, I'd say that is a win.

 

Heluva, I have not talked to LF off line about this, but I am GUESSING that she might feel that their logo is a little bit more evocative of the following than she is entirely comfortable with.

 

post #9 of 25

I don't see a swastika at all.  In fact I think that is a huge reach.

I see geometric shapes that are clean and simple. 

:dunno

post #10 of 25

Yes, qcanoe is seeing what I saw (independently of me).  Not everyone will see it, but some will.  

Maybe that's enough of a reason to rethink it.  My comment was simply a head's-up.
Designers need to be aware of these things.

post #11 of 25

Interesting. What if they just make it "not black"?

 

 

 

 

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
 

Interesting. What if they just make it "not black"?

 

 

seg, I didn't have a big problem with it, personally, but I think your idea is simple and effective.

post #13 of 25

Wow. I can't see that as a swastika at all no matter how hard I try. It looks like a honeycomb. I've seen too many honeycomb based logos, I guess. Kinda cool how they melded the C from composites to the S from Sandwich.

 

It is a bit scary that our morals make us so nervous about anything even mildly politically incorrect. Along with a hidden (?) swastika are they also nasty devil worshippers by almost spelling out "witch" in Sandwitch? I used to paint my skis rainbow colors (useful for coaching) and our phone number randomly assigned by ATT had a bunch of sixes - did that make me a gay Wiccan? It would be very sad if people would not buy a ski that performed well because of a campaign to put meanings into graphics that aren't really there or relevant.

 

Of course, they may have redesigned their logo already (the color mix on their word picture does this effectively) and are doing this to generate interest. Any publicity is good publicity? My interest is certainly piqued!

 

Eric

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

 

seg, I didn't have a big problem with it, personally, but I think your idea is simple and effective.

I didn't see it at all, really, but...

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by eleeski View Post
 

It is a bit scary that our morals make us so nervous about anything even mildly politically incorrect. 

The Swastika, and everything it came to symbolize, is more than "mildly politically incorrect." Don't trivialize matters apparently beyond your depth.

 

Which is a different issue than whether the logo resembles a Swastika. I can see some overlap only if I work at it. But real issue is that if it jumps out at anyone in this small a sample, no sane manufacturer would want to keep the design as is. 

post #16 of 25

FWIW, the swastika is an ancient symbol - more than 3,000 years old and has been commonly used by many cultures over the centuries.  It may have originated in ancient Hindu religion.  It has symbolized, amongst other things (perhaps ironically in the context of this discussion) good fortune. 

 

So, does the fact that the Nazis appropriated a widely used symbol to be the face of the greatest evil in human history give them ownership over the symbol?  Should we be scrubbing any pictures of it from our historical texts?

 

When we look at shapes in art or design, our minds are free to make what associations they will.  I don't see a swastika, even with the mention by others.  I do see a visually strong, vigorous, and compelling image that suggests clarity of focus - probably something an engineer would like (Thumbs Up Matt and Kate)

 

What was the intent of the graphic artist in concert with Matt and Kate?  I suspect they would be very surprised at the associations with the Nazi swastika that some people are making, and deny that this was in any way their intent.  I think that the two symbols are distinct enough in look that this should be an important point.

 

The two symbols are different enough that the question of political correctness is not appropriate.  Let it be.

post #17 of 25

 

The symbol is most likely based on the honeycomb/carbon molecule structure being that they use composite materials. Anyone with a little scientific knowledge understands that. If you see what isn't there it's your problem.

Don't like don't buy them, some manufactures have skis named after female body parts and they don't have any issues with sales, why would Sandwich Tech?

post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
@jzamp is right... the rest of you need to spend more time outside or something.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post

@jzamp is right... the rest of you need to spend more time outside or something.

 

The rest of us? I think out of 8 or 9 posters, only 1.5 saw anything untoward.

post #20 of 25

This fixes it totally. 

 

Now back to the discussion about how these skis function,

a much more pleasurable topic.....

post #21 of 25

I was following this thread.  the direction it has gone is --------  . Thanks

Hank

post #22 of 25

Personally, I think the SandwichTech design, materials and construction rip Eastern hardpack conditions.  I cannot wait to get on the 78mm version and the newest revision of the Root88.  Keep your eyes peeled for this ski in the NorthEast this winter....zoom zoom.

post #23 of 25

For that kind of price I think you need to do better than a wood sidewall.

post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by eleeski View Post
 

It looks like a honeycomb. I've seen too many honeycomb based logos, I guess. Kinda cool how they melded the C from composites to the S from Sandwich.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzamp View Post
 

The symbol is most likely based on the honeycomb/carbon molecule structure being that they use composite materials. Anyone with a little scientific knowledge understands that. If you see what isn't there it's your problem.

 

Exactly right @eleeski and @jzamp.  The original inspiration for the logo was from Hexcel's logo (once a ski company, now a very successful composites supplier).  The logo is here to stay - if a small company ditches their logo every time someone doesn't like it, critical branding would be impossible.

 

@ecimmortal, all wood sidewalls are not created equal - just like plastic sidewalls, resins, grades of fiberglass, carbon, metals, etc.  The many benefits of Ipe (and a few other ironwoods) as a sidewall material are discussed here: http://www.epicski.com/t/127274/torsional-stiffness-testing-video-and-analysis#post_1720663

 

@HeluvaSkier and @ExoticSkis, thanks for taking the time to write up such thorough reviews.  

post #25 of 25

I thought you used Ipe because it cuts so easily and NEVER dulls your tools....

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