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Romp Custom Skis

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Romp has a handful of standard shapes they customize to users' weight, ski ability and preferences and at a cost that's about the same as you'd pay for a stock production ski. Two years ago I took the leap of faith and ordered a pair of their twin tip 100s.

 

After talking to Caleb, the owner and letting him know where I skied, what I was looking for in a ski, he locked in the design and I waited a few weeks, well actually a month or so for my skis to arrive.

 

My previous skis were a very forgiving and somewhat soft pair of double rockered Rossi S3s. When I first got on my Romp 100s, my initial reaction was I hated the skis. They seemed hard to turn and I knew something must be wrong. Which it turns out there was...

 

But it wasn't the skis at all, it was that my previous skis were so forgiving that it didn't matter where my weight was. I could make them turn from the back seat, though it wasn't pretty to see. With the Romp 100s, once I actually shifted my weight forward, as any ski instructor will tell you with slight forward pressure on your shins, the skis all of a sudden took on a new life.

 

A little forward pressure and slight downhill lean of the shoulders and these skis came around like nothing I'd ever been on before. Edge to edge is amazingly quick, rock solid on firm New England snow and with a big wide tip they float nicely indeed and thanks to just the right amount of stiffness they are both snappy and cut through crude.

 

Just for fun to compare and confirm my opinion I demoed a pair of blizzards in a similar width and found them to like driving a Chevy and the Romps like a Porsche. Of course the clincher was my 29 year old son mentioned he'd noticed my skiing was a whole lot better too.

 

Over the last 2 years I've skied them in every condition imaginably and they handle them all with aplomb, though of course a little extra width for powder would be nice. Which is why I ordered a pair of the 106s with a bit more front rocker for days when it's dumping.

 

I received these last Feb. and thanks to the tons of great snow we got here in VT I put in 10-15 days on them last year. Like the 100s, yes they require proper ski technique, but with a bit of attention, they turn on a dime, have plenty of edge hold and are a perfect woods ski and even handle most bumps nicely thanks to a short functional turn length that the front rocker provides. Sure early season I'm still on my 100s, but with few inches of fresh of soft spring snow or trips out west the 106s are the sticks I'd stand by.

 

Speaking of that 29 year old son, his ski envy was obvious last winter so summer I ordered a pair of Romp's 106s for his birthday. So far he's just had a few days on them but with the custom layup he couldn't be happier.

 

I can't fault the production skis I've owned, they are designed to work for a wide range of abilities and interests but that being said they're performance and responsiveness doesn't compare to a ski designed just for you.

 

I've spent way too much time online looking at skis and ski reviews and custom builders, and many are charging $1750 or more for a pair, where Romp skis builds the at around half that.  Here's my take on the owner. His commitment is to creating custom skis matched to the way you ski. In my case they were matched to the way I should have been skiing and dramatically improved my skiing, turning up the fun factor even more.

post #2 of 2

We had a chance to spend lots of time on a pair of ROMP customs back in 2012....review below:

Caleb is VERY helpful and the skis took lots of abuse without showing any distress or loss of performance.
(The kid skis are great too!)

 

2012-2013 Romp 100 Twin custom
137-100-128 @180cm r=17m

 



Manufacturer Info:

Romp Skis
325 Belleview Ave
Crested Butte, Colorado 81224
USA
970-349-5353

Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):

$750 usd

Usage Class:

All-mountain Twin

Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")

8.5-9.5

Summary:

A really, really fun, super versatile 100mm-waisted ski with customized rocker, camber, flex, dampening and carbon materials with a dynamite-quality graphic topsheet for $750 delivered in a couple weeks.  Two year warranty. 'Nuff said.


Technical Ski Data:

model-100
length -180cm
137-100-128
17m radius
traditional camber underfoot
20cm early rise tip
no early rise tail
twin tip
poplar core, triaxial fiberglass, and carbon fiber stringer construction


Custom Ordering Experience:

We ordered our customized Romp skis directly from the website form at http://www.rompskis.com/?page_id=19.

Our initial specification was for a ski to make serious Eastern U.S. or European skiers happy on their most typical surfaces and terrain (packed surfaces, with some powder, crud and windpack).  We specified the 100mm waisted twin with 20cm tip rocker, traditional camber and no tail rocker.  Tip flex was selected as "medium", midbody flex as "stiff" and tail flex as "stiff" for maximum edgeholding power while allowing some float up front for getting up on top of crud and softer snow or whatever our typical "Nor'Easter" storms bring our way in Vermont.

Upon submittal, an email confirmation was generated back to us saying:

*************

Eric,
Thank you for your submission from the Romp ski builder!
We will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your preferred ski design. Please go to the Romp Store and purchase your skis.

Romp Custom Skis are made on a first come, first serve basis. To get your ski order into our queue please purchase them at the link below if you have not already done so.  Your card will be charged a $100 non-refundable deposit now and the balance when your skis are ready to ship.  Romp Gear ships for free when included with a ski purchase so get your stuff now!

http://www.rompskis.com/?page_id=23


Cheers,

ROMP SKIS

*************


The payment page allows you to buy hats and t-shirts, as well as pay for your customized ski for a price of $750 usd.

Caleb Weinberg (the owner of Romp Skis) called me within an hour of submitting the order via the website and interviewed me to determine the places we would be skiing, the kind of skiers we were, what terrain is our favorite, the kind of conditions we like, if we ski switch or jib in-bounds or out, and other details to focus the build of the ski to suit our needs.  The interview also helped determine the precise layup we needed for our chosen flex profiles since a layup for a 135 lb. female who wants a stiff flex in part of the ski is different than the layup for a 180 lb. male.  Based on our discussion, Caleb opted to install the optional "dampening package" ($50 extra charge) which includes strategically placed, extra VDS rubber strips throughout various parts of the ski to keep it quiet and well-behaved in hard-surface and crud-busting conditions with our chosen early-rise tip.  Based on our high-performance request, Caleb installed carbon fiber layers at optimal spots in the ski's layup to provide the power and snap we wanted for our terrain in Vermont. Caleb also discussed mounting point preferences based on our desire to ride switch or not with this twin-tip.  We chose to pick a design not intended to ride switch since it targets the widest probable audience for this ski's market.  Overall, the process was extremely fast, informative, friendly and very useful.  Not only was it fast for us, the customer, but also for Caleb, which means he is efficient in getting the process started and finished...and that translates into reasonable prices and happy skiers.


Pre-Skiing Impression:

The Romp 100s came out of the box with superb fit-and-finish all the way around.  The quality of the layup and finish work was top-notch, surpassing some big-name brand models we have seen recently in retail shops.  The custom graphic topsheet we chose off the website menu were some of the most vibrant and deep colors we have seen in a ski, and they brought "oohs and aahhs" from everyone who saw them for the first time. The early-rise tip rocker proportions were even and progressive, blending into the midbody camber and tail nicely with no abrupt variations.  Flex and rebound response were dampened, authoritative, but not "burly" in any way.  Vibrations from the fist "gong-test" without bindings were minimal and well-controlled.  The pair was matched perfectly, with each ski being identical to each other in all three dimensions.  Base and edge finishing was excellent, and ready-to-ski out of the box.  Everyone who handled the skis was very impressed, even before they got on snow.


Test Conditions:

We skied the Romp 100s in everything from Eastern boilerplate, fresh mid-winter powder conditions, corn, groomed packed powder, damp storm snow, variable spring conditions, ice, bumps, trees, brush and pretty much anything found in nearly any terrain anywhere in the U.S. except for chest-deep champagne powder.  Typical Eastern terrain ranged from wide-open resort groomers to narrow shoulder-rubbing brush and trees, to steeps, flats and intermediate slopes, with both smooth and mixed-surfaces.


Test Results:

Since the Romp 100s were made to our specs as an "Eastern Charger" with stiff flex in the midbody and tail, extra VDS dampening and carbon stringers, I expected some specific behavior from the skis in our conditions.  My first impression was the Romps were surprisingly easy and friendly to ski, without any hint of burly personality or tendency to fight-back against the pilot.  Caleb and his crew had not produced a racers-and-professionals-only ski (which we did NOT ask for), but a ski for the majority of athletic and enthusiastic skiers who want performance under pressure.  Big brownie points for Romp on this count.  I was wondering if Caleb would lay-up a ski too stiff to do anything else but rip straight lines at mach-schnell (based on our request for an "Eastern charger"), but instead they delivered a high-performance ski with a huge performance envelope.

There were two "first impressions" that really stuck with me.
One of these first impressions was the Romp 100s do not feel like a 100mm-waisted ski.  They handle like a 90mm ski underfoot, yet have the surface area and float throughout their length you only find in a 100mm set of boards.  Turn after turn, they felt much more nimble and quick than I expected, and they were remarkably light handling.  The second "first impression" that stuck with me was the Romp 100s were really, really quiet and well-behaved at high speeds, despite their rockered forebody.  No wander, no vibrations, no darty behavior, no unexpected drift or edge release.  They just stay on-target, no matter if you are riding them on-edge at speed or riding the bases flat at speed.  Crappy surfaces don't change this quiet composure at speed.  Big bonus points for the dampening package.  It's a winner.

The Romp 100s seem to be happy in nearly situation, and I use the word "happy" for a reason; They are really FUN, not just "capable" or "competent".  Plenty of skis "do just fine" in variable conditions and terrain, but Romp's 100mm twin is a ski for serious playing around the mountain.  It's nimble and quick in the tight conditions where edge changes and pivoting quickly are important.  I found I could point myself into brush-filled tree sections, and navigate anywhere I wanted without any reluctance or sluggish behavior. Just point-and-go, pivot-and-go, scub speed for a second and resume travel...anything I needed...all with 100mm underfoot.  I also found the Romp 100s had excellent pop and acceleration on-demand when I needed a boost to get up and over something, or needed a quick bit of zing to change my position on the hill rapidly.  The last thing want in a 100mm ski is a dull response when I want some rebound, and the Romps had really well-controlled rebound off the midbody or tail whenever I called on them.  The key phrase here is "well-controlled".  The combination of materials and proportions of this particular layup resulted in a ski with plenty of rebound when called-for, but no hint of unrestricted "bang" when you pull the trigger(which could send me into the weeds when I least expect it). 

The best word that comes to mind when describing the Romp 100s as we spec'd them is "balanced."  The proportion of grip, flex and rebound in the forebody, midbody and tail are all properly rationed, resulting in a really fun ride with excellent manners and performance for what we wanted in a ski.  Since they have this excellent balance of characteristics, the Romp 100s were instantly friendly from the first turns to the last turns of each day, no matter what the surface or terrain.  That's worth every penny.

Edgehold on hardpack was really, really good for a 100mm-waisted ski, and extremely predictable.  While the Romps were not quite as grippy on boilerplate as some relatively similar-sized skis (Liberty Helix and DPS Wailer 112 come to mind) in their stock tune from the factory, I have no doubt they could be made to bite at the same level of performance with a slightly more agressive edge tuning, reducing the base bevel slightly as delivered.  The nice thing about the Romps was their edging behavior throughout the length of the ski. They had a consistent, predictable level of bite and grip in various radius turns, making them excellent all-around tools.  In fact, I was hard-pressed to find any faults in these skis at all.

Powder surfaces were easy to manage, with good tip float and progressive surfacing behavior both going straight and banked-over in the fluff.  Crud and windpack were pretty much ignored, with almost no deflection or deviation from a chosen line, and no unexpected rise or dive.  Again, predictable and fun was the word that kept coming to mind when riding the Romps, even in less-than-perfect surface conditions.

Base and edge durability appears to be excellent. Since after our miserable week of 80 degree weather in March destroyed nearly every bit of meager snow from our snowless winter, we got a foot of fresh snow one night in April and we had to go back out that next morning.  The new snow was excellent, but without a base layer. Sooooo, I might have "hit bottom" a few times, making major contact with dirt and rocks, but the Romps showed nothing more than some base dents and minor burrs.  One of my buddies that morning remarked "If I hit that stuff with my Dynastars, they would have been core-shotted and pulled an edge."  The Romps were just fine.  That's why you want skis made with high-quality materials.

The final word is I love the Romp 100s and would put them into the "always bring this ski with you" category.  We got exactly the custom ski we asked for from Caleb and his crew, and it performs really, really well.  Everyone we sent out with these skis came back and was stoked, both intermediate and expert (c'mon guys, write your reviews...).  They are superbly built to our flex and camber/rocker specs, handle great, give a really fun, high-performance ride with a huge performance envelope and look really, really cool....all for less than many off-the-shelf skis.  'Nuff said.


Things I Would Change About This Ski:
 
Perhaps offer a model with a sheet (or two) of Titanal sandwiching the core for those "extra-rowdy" days.
Perhaps utilize a slightly harder-wood core (blended poplar-beech laminate or other wood species) if lifespan of the poplar core needs lengthening.


Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":

These Romps are an excellent example of getting a high-performance, high-quality customized pair of skis at a price less than many off-the-shelf skis.


Advice To People Considering This Ski:

Talk to Caleb over the phone and tell him everything about how you ski, where you ski and skis you have liked or disliked in the past, then place your order.


Self-Description of Skiing Style, Ability, Experience, Preferences:

5' 11", 180 lbs. 52 year-old expert, "old-style" race inspired, "foot steerer" with fairly sensitive edging feel. Loves to hold long arcs with lots of pressure on the downhill ski (you know the type),  but also loves the feel of both skis on-edge leaving tiny railroad track edge tracks.  Loves powder when it's not tracked out. Trees and odd terrain angles are fun.

Photos:

(click images for larger versions)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note the quality of the joint of the full-wrap edges.

 

 

 

 

 

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