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Atomic Nomad Crimson and binding placement

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm not a prolific poster but I think this may be of interest.

If this is not the ideal forum for this post please forgive.
This has gotten pretty long, better go get something to munch on :

Anyway, unfortunately I have little to no opportunity to demo skis before purchase so I rely on the various ski tests published on the internet and from what I read on the forums. I find this much more reliable than to place my trust in a salesman, unless the individual has an established reputation. I also place more value on the words of those who have spent some real time on a ski, most of these ski tests consist in camouflaging the ski, take two runs and pass a verdict. O.K so maybe these guys are so good that they can tell if the ski's a winner in only two runs but what happens if it's a great ski but requires more that two runs to adapt to it? It could get a negative write up, the original Atomic Metron B5 comes to mind.

So basically I decide on what I want, do the research and write up a list, another matter is actually finding what I want in the length I want and if the price is acceptable so much the better. This is how I came accross my Dynastar Skicross 11's and they are fantastic.

On the top of my list was the Atomic Nomad Crimson. I had a trip planned to Andorra, more selection and better prices than in Madrid, so on the first day of the trip I walked into one of the large shops and there it was, the model, the size and on sale.

From the shop to the slopes I started the first run on piste and some real hard pack. Yah, this isn't where the ski was intended to excell but this shouldn't be a problem since everyone was raving about the superior edge grip and it's carving abilities.

My first impression? I was disappointed. The shovels chattered if pushed, engagement was poor and instead of getting a carve the tails would just slide. Although they didn't seem unstable as the speed came up I was afraid to ski at my usual pace (I tend to be on the fast side), I didn't feel that I had the control or the breaking power.

If I really pounced down on the shovels I could get them to carve and as the day went on I really made some advances on getting away from some of my old school habits because the ski obliged me to widen my stance and weight both edges... I needed both edges if I was to have any control. This has been a challenge for me to accomplish at anything under "get kicked off the hill" speeds or while gate bashing.

Next day I went back to my Dynastars, this taught me two things: the snow was really hard and the edge hold of the Atomics wasn't quite as bad as my first impression indicated.

When I got home and propped both pairs against the wall is when I saw it. The Atomics are 4cm longer than the Dynastars yet the bindings were closer to the floor, in other words the tails were short by comparison.

I recalled having read about this somewhere and found it, here's the link:


This explains why some manufacturers opt for the rearward placement and what effects this will have on the behavior of the ski, the symptoms were exactly what I was experiencing.

I also did further research here on the forum and decided to move the placement of the bindings forward. Fortunately Atomic's system is designed to make this easy, in fact it has two settings: center and forward.

According to the "Ball of Foot" method the binding should situate the ball of the foot over the half way point of the actual running surface of the ski. The "center" mark is 1 full inch behind this possition and the "forward" is still a half an inch shy. More accurate would be to call the positions "center" and rearward".

Two of my sons have skis of the same length, one is Atomic and the other Fischer. The bindings on the Fischers are almost an inch ahead of the Atomics... and they are on their "center" position, the forward position would advance the bindings another 1.5cm, over another half an inch.

I moved my bindings forward, beyond the "forward" setting, now they even look right. Took them out again yesterday, fortunately at the beginning of the day the snow was hard so I could make a comparison without adding additional variables.

Do you think moving the bindings only an inch would make any real difference? You'ld better believe it does, the difference was huge, it's like a completely different ski!

Now it displays all of the characteristics I had read about. No more chatter, cuts the hard pack well (maybe not like a race ski but good), carves great and are allot more agile than you would expect from such a wide ski. They're fast too, lots of surface on the snow so if you let them run they will honk.

As the day warmed up and the snow got heavy the agility was welcome, splashing through slush moguls at speed can be hazardous if you get behind but these repond.

Will they go subterrainian in powder in this position? Maybe. If that's the case a Phillip's screw driver and five minutes will solve the situation. I found a test where the two testers gave exactly opposite reviews. One said, "great floatation, poor edge hold" and the other said, "great edge hold, poor floatation", maybe the only difference was the binding position... or the weight of their butts.

Maybe I'm tail heavy and my Center of Gravity is further back than others necesitating the advanced position but one thing's for sure, binding position is sensitive and can make or destroy the behavior of a pair of skis no matter how good those skis may be, I can vouch for that. Experiment, you may find that those skis you never could quite connect with are really great.

Sorry for the length!

post #2 of 4
Thanks for the details Steve! Different skis respond to mount position in different ways, so it's good to experiment. Generally, I like being no more than 1cm or so aft of a true BOF mount, depending on the ski.
post #3 of 4
I had the same experience with a Salomon Scrambler Custom....except I had to move them way back to make them work.
post #4 of 4
Hi -
I'm having a similar experience with my new Blackeye Ti - they're handing much differently than I would have expected from the demo (I demo'd the Crimson Ti in about the same length, but opted for the Blackeye Ti for the faster edge to edge)

The above link is dead.  Can anyone point me to the website?
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