We had an Epic test crew out here testing and bringing reviews back for everyone to read and come to their own decisions in which skis are best for them. There are some skis that were unanimous favorites and some that were surprises where some of the members liked and some weren't as impressed as they thought they would be going in.
Conditions: 3-5” of light fresh snow each day over the firm groomers. We skied mostly the main Copper area off of the American Eagle, American Flyer, Excelerator and Sierra lift so we could maximize the amount of skis we could test. @FairToMiddlin and @Drahtguy were “bootsole buddies” with their identical BLS’s so they didn’t have to go back to the tents after every run and were about to get more skis tested.
I will start the process with the “95’s-The new tweeter category combining the best of both the 90 and 100mm skis”. While the 98/100mm segment is getting the lions share of the attention there are a few manufactures either also offering a mid 90mm contender or by passing the popular category all together. Here are a few standouts from that Mid 90’s category:
Atomic Ritual 95 (all new):
Review upcoming from Mammoth
DPS Cassiar 95 177/184cm metal (revised):
This ski was THE shocker of the show for me. I have been on the Hybrids and Pures from DPS in the past and while they skied nice I always felt a “binary” feel on the snow, either they were on a solid edge or they were hunting for one. This new construction is much different..MUCH different. The 95 skied magnificently, smooth, strong with a feel that is worthy premium over the average 95mm ski. I first tried it in the 177 and that did feel a bit short but unlike some other skis with a similar extended early rise tip got nervous in this length and have to be skied longer, the DPS was just a bit more nimble than the perfect for me 184cm length. The Cassiar is also in the middle of the finesse / power scale.
Dynastar Cham 97 2.0 184cm (revised):
While i skied the original Cham a few times, it never warmed the cockles of my heart, it just felt unbalanced, a big tip, a stiff mid body and tail and an unforgiving 5 point sidecut. Last year Dynastar brought out Powertrack series and the first of the Cham 2.0’s with the 117. Both of these skis offered everything better than what the original Chams were and did. The new Cham 97 is much more organic in shape, less of a tip rise, a much smoother progression of shape in the new 5 point sidecut and a more balanced files with a bit if rise in the tail. Just everything better. The Cham is still on the power side of the scale and likes to be skied a size up.
Fischer Motive 95 180cm (carry over):
The Motive 95 was a surprise for me. While I was on one of the early prototypes a few years ago, it was not what this new Fischer has evolved into. Nothing bothered the Motive in the mixed conditions late in the day, it went from the soft piles of powder to the firm hard packed that got scrapped off by that point in the day with no feel of differentiation of the conditions. Fisher’s gradual tip rise is one of the best designs in the industry and makes for a very smooth ski. The Motive is on the power side of the scale
K2 Pinnacle 95 177/184cm (all new):
With K2 replacing the popular Annix 98 with the completely new Pinnacle 95, we knew there would be a big difference in on snow feel. The Pinnacle 95 is a playful new design that enters the turn with ease as long as you pressure the front of the boot. As you come though the turn the balanced flex allows the ski to hold well and the little bit of rise in the tail lets the ski be worked with ease. If the soft snow in bumps, the ski was, as Draughtguy would say, “Was a hoot”. I skied the 177cm at Copper then the 184, the next day at Vail, more extensive review HERE. The Pinnacle is on the finesse side of the scale.
Kastle FX95 HP/ FX95 181cm (all new):
This is the first significant change in the FX series since it was introduced 5 years ago. With this change the FX’s spawned two variations, one with metal (HP) and one with out. Between the two models there is two sheets to Titinal in the HP’s. That addition of Titinal creates a smoother ski and a ski that skis true to it’s advertised running length. Usually there is a negligible difference between the metal and metal less versions, not in this case, these skis ski very different, the regular FX, about 100 grams lighter, was fun and playful compared to the HP which is more serious and powerful. Not that one is better than the other, it comes down to what you want. FX95 is on the finesse side of the scale, and the HP is on the power side.
Line Supernatural 92 (carry over):
Review upcoming from Mammoth
Stockli StormRider 95 183cm(revised):
Stockli lightened up the tip & tail on one their most popular skis made it better without losing what the Stormrider was good at..making solid smooth turns all over the hill no matter what the conditions. The improved 95 now does feel quicker in the turn transition across the hill with loosing the smoothness that we have come to enjoy from Stockli. Mel Torme should have been so smooth. The SR95 carry that rare balance of finesse and power.
Conclusion: With the skis in this segment, you cannot just go to the rack and grab a "177" or whatever you are used to skiing, there are quite a few that ski short. Usually in this case, there might be real where that ski could feel cumbersome like in the bumps, I never felt that with any of these skis. So I would suggest leaving the preconceived thoughts on what size you usually are on with should be on. I am just saying have an open mind.
Edited by Philpug - 2/7/15 at 8:38am