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SnowJam (Swallow) Zuma "Surf" (SC-8) Twintip
110-74-98 20m radius @ 170cm
2007-2008




[click here for large picture]

[click here for large picture]

US Contact:
Snowjam/Zuma Boarding Co. | Spice Snowboards Ltd. |
9 Blossom Lane
Wayland MA 01778
(508) 358-4550
http://www.SnowJam.com

Manufacturer Info:
Swallowskico Ltd.
Iiyama headquarters
Nagano, Japan 389-2255
Hazama Shizuka wall 1382-1
tel.0269-62-3166  
IP tel 050-3540-0421(OCN)
Tel.0269-62-3166
Fax.0269-62-4150


Japanese corporation, skis manufactured at their Chinese factory.

Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):

$230
€155 (january 2008 exchange)

Bargain Alert!
Search on Ebay January 2007 shows these were selling for $138 + $16 shipping NEW (no bindings)


Usage Class:
Family-oriented, recreational beginner to intermediate twintip skier "value" market

Your Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
9 - Because they are remarkably good for a $230 ski !!
At this price, Mom and Dad can buy two pairs so the kids can trash them at will without guilt.
Not a "cheap" ski...a really fun ski built very well.


Summary:

A very nicely made wood core/triax fiberglass sandwich twintip ski with an ultra-durable textured PU topsheet that skis really well, very easily and has lots of fun pop in the bumps, quick underfoot, predictable behavior and an absolutely rock-bottom bargain price point and impressive retail margin for retailers, built by a 50 year old ski company. Drawbacks are poor factory tune (or lack thereof) and ho-hum graphics. I dare any other twintips to ski like this for $230 usd retail price! Targeted at the family market (not the high-performance enthusiast) with an irresistable price, Swallow hits a home-run with this one. (just get it base ground before letting your kids out with this ski).

Ski Designer :

SnowJam / Swallow Ski Company - Japan


Technical Ski Data :
Wood core, triax fiberglass sandwich.
Available in 140cm, 150cm, 160cm, 170cm sizes.


Pre-Skiing Impression:
Remarkably nice ski with better construction and finish than many "popular" brands. Lively flex pattern with decent dampening, nice torsional rigidity and a highly-textured plastic (PU) topsheet (stickers do not like this topsheet...hard to get them to stick). Really uninspired, ho-hum graphics and color scheme, but $230 usd MSRP takes the prize. I can't think of any new twintip family market ski for $230 other than leftovers on Ebay.

Test Conditions:
First test day: Re-groomered, reprocessed old ice storm junk ground into a few centimeters of "Frozen Granular" (loose and packed) on top of yellow hardpan with sections of some death cookies and death cookie crumbs mixed in. Some really nice dense corn in the sun, deadly pock-marked rotten snow ice fields off piste (you could bounce a bowling ball across it). Not bad, but not packed-powder either....good test for a ski's "friendly behavior" tendencies and anti-deflection prowess across different materials.

Test Results:
We typically test skis "out of the box" with the factory tune and wax. I clicked into these skis and nearly didn't make it to the lift 'cuz they were railed soooo badly. I could not turn them to save my life - and these are 170cm...a small ski for a 5' 11" guy. They were really, really edge-high from the factory. I took one scary run and immediately took them off and hand-tuned the bases to get the edges at least flush with the PTEX and beveled them a bit like a twintip should be. Then tried again.
Yippie. These little skis turned without any effort, spun 360s endlessly, loved popping in and out of bumps, doing any little jump you could find, turned quick little turns no problem, had plenty of zing if you got back on them and behaved really well. They handled surface transitions just fine, gave pretty good feedback to the feet and generally were just plain FUN. Ski them like a teenager who just got dropped off at the ski hill by the parents to rage around with his/her ratpack buddies getting yelled at by Ski Patrol.....and they're great.

They can carve across hardpack and icy conditions predictably, smear and "slarve" turns at any radius pretty well, and generally work really well. They can get nervous at high speeds, but not so much that junior or missy will yard-sale if they tuck sections of their favorite hill. The words that stick in my mind after trying these skis is "Fun" and "kid pleaser". I would buy this ski for my kids as soon as they are big enough for the 140cm model....especially for $230 ! Bargains do exist.

My reservations are the really poor tune out of the box (not a biggie, but something to watch out for), and the graphics won't get the kids all fired up...but then again...maybe it won't matter. My other reservation is the relatively narrow (these days) waist of 74mm. Many twin-tip kids want the "fat twins", not the narrow ones, but that's a matter of preference, and if your kids haunt the groomed slopes more than the trees and powder stashes, they'll work great.

I put an intermediate teenager on these skis (he owns a pair of 2007-2008 K2 Public Enemy skis) and he came back after one run and said "these are amazing!". Maybe it was just the thrill of trying a "Japanese" ski...but that's what he said...he just plain liked 'em.

I don't know how the durability will be, and there are very few dealers around, but their construction is very solid and the company is no fly-by-night operation. They've been making skis for over 50 years. They must do something right.

The SnowJam Zuma Surf (SC-8) gets my vote for "Best bargain in kid's skis".


Analogies: (this ski is like...)
A playful young colt ready to please the younger teenagers.

After Skiing These, I Want To...
Get a pair for my kids and put them away until they're big enough for them.

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

5' 11", 190 lbs. Expert groomed-surface carver, "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. Not an instructor, but 10 year coach for youth race team in New England (bulletproof is the norm).


More people will have some reviews up soon at:
http://www.exoticskis.com/forum/default.aspx?g=posts&m=67#67

(Stay tuned...we might get to try the "Swallow Professor 110" carving ski next month....if we're lucky). Interesting lineup of skis/snowboards, skiboards...etc. in their PDF catalogs (catalogs are in english, site is in Japanese, but Google translates the site pretty well):

http://www.swallow-ski.com/catalog/index.html