I was finishing up a trip to Smugglers' Notch yesterday, and happened to notice a demo tent set up by ON3P. I had just finished up a lesson/tour, and decided to stop by. I have read very little here or elsewhere about ON3P, so was not sure what to expect. I explained my desire to find a nice ski in the 95-100-ish waist width range that would be a good compliment for my daily driver in the East (Hart Pulse). Looking for something to handle "better snow" days in the East, with emphasis on versatility for bumps, glades, various ungroomed conditions, etc. Where I ski, however, any ski needs to at least be respectable on groomers as well. After some additional info. exchanged about me (5' 10", 167 lbs., 52 y.o., Level 8, more on the finesse side of the power/finesse scale) they suggested I consider trying their Kartel 98 and, if that was not quick enough for me, consider trying the Filthy Rich at 88 mm underfoot.
Both of these skis are more in the category of "jib" skis, so I was not expecting to be impressed by their all-mountain performance. My experience in the past with demoing skis in the 95-106 waist range, however, has resulted in primarily 2 categories for me ... those that were really superb crud-busters, but may not have been quick-and-light feeling enough for my tastes (and my ability to flex the stouter skis), versus those that were light and lively and "fun" feeling, but may not have had the best stability on harder snow surfaces at speed. So I decided to go into this demo with an open mind.
I took 3 runs in varied terrain with the Kartel 98 in a 176 length. I ran them through bumps, glades, ungroomed crud, and groomers. I was really surprised by how much I liked these skis! For me and my style of skiing, they seemed really intuitive and easy to adjust to. They were much quicker-reacting than I expected, and were a blast in various bump fields and glades. The bamboo core and carbon stringers create a nice light and lively package, but I did not get the sense of "noodle" that often accompanies such light skis. The combination of early rise in the tip and tail, with camber underfoot is a good set-up for me. Candidly, they also handled crud really well, with a nice compromise between "plow through it" and "bounce over it". I experienced no pronounced tip-flap at any time. On groomers and scraped-off hardpack, they held their own better than I would have imagined. It did take an adjustment on my part, as it required a little more patience to wait for engagement at turn initiation. If I got impatient and "forced" them out from under my COM too quickly, they washed out a bit. If I had the patience to allow them to engage properly, they held really well once the edge was set. I pushed it a little to make sure this sensation was not a mirage, and they surprised me with how much I could trust them on edge once engaged.
So, long story short, I was really surprised how much I liked these skis as someone who is the polar opposite of a jib-oriented skier! I am wondering what impressions anyone else has had on ON3P skis if they have tried them. They had the feel of a very well-constructed ski. Would love to hear your experiences!!