Ski tested: 2011 Dynastar Pro Rider 115, 184cm length, 115mm underfoot; ski was mounted with PX12 rental-style bindings, my boot ended up being a few mm in front of the line. This is my first rockered ski.
Me: 39y/o male, 6ft, 187lb, expert skier, ~L8 on a good day, ski at Tahoe for 10 yrs, last 6 yrs exclusively at Squaw Valley. Skis I liked/owned previously: Dynastar Legend 8000 and MR, Dynastar HugeTrouble, Salomon XScream, Head Mojo 94. Skis I didn’t like: Blower, Mantra, Watea 94. Current quiver: HT, Mojo 94, MR.
Conditions: A perfect powder day at Squaw, about 18 inches of fresh light powder (in April!!!). Of course most of the snow got chopped up by 10:30, but there were still some places where you could find fresh tracks, and the rest of the mountain stayed very soft.
Background and physical dimensions: ProRider 115 is a conventional camber ski with a conventional camber underfoot, and a very pronounced rocker tip upfront. The tip shape is gradual. I would classify the flex as medium. The ski was tuned at 1/2, which is a proper tune for that kind of a ski.
Skiing impression. As I said it is my first rockered ski, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. Those who ski at Squaw know the powder day drill- you wait in KT22 line and then you dart to the best line you can find and ski it as fast as you can before someone else takes it. So, I just had to trust the skis and go. First impression: this ski can turn, second impression: this ski is solid, by the middle part of the run I was feeling quite giddy, by the end of the run I was convinced that I would have a great day on these boards. I ended up skiing pretty fast with my friend and his teenage son (who is on the Squaw freeride team) until shortly after noon all over the lower mountain, then I did slow laps on Shirley with my 4-year old daughter, and I finished the day skiig the Hidden Bowl at Granite Chief with my 7-year-old girl, so I got a chance to do some hard and fast skiing in expert terrain, slow turns on blue runs and slow-ish precision skiing in expert terrain.
The rocker really helps the ski to initiate the turn in 3D snow, and it also makes it practically unsinkable (and believe me I tried). The turn initiation is very quick and easy and the conventional camber makes the turn finish very solid. The ski is neither a slicer, not a floater, but it likes to carve as oppose to skid. My Huge Trouble is a delightful “slarver”, the ProRider is a reluctant slarver. The stability is excellent, it is almost as stable as my Huge Trouble, but it is much quicker. It has this trademark Dynastar snow feel without being harsh or jarring like a good sports car.
Further impressions: Trees: point and shoot, really fun; I was practically flying through the trees between Red Dog and Squaw Creek chairs. Bumps: A lot more fun than a 115mm ski should be. My HugeTrouble is a very good bump ski for its width, Pro115 is even better. The rocker tip and balanced flex really help there. Steeps: There was pow all over, so I could not test it on firm snow steeps, but a ski with a sidecut that straight should not be hooky; indeed whenever I hit a scrapes up icy patch, the ski held well and felt solid. Groomers: Decent carver as long as you give it time to come around, but not quite in their element. Subjectively Huge Trouble is more fun on soft groomers because it can easily slarve. Speed; No speed limit whatsoever, you can feel the rocker going straight through chopped up snow at high speed, but it is well controlled and damped. This ski is almost as good at large high-speed turns through cut-up snow as the Huge Trouble and is better at everything else. Short turns: a ski with this dimensions has no right to turn that quickly, it feels more like a 178cm ski than a 184.
Compared to Huge Trouble: I was having so much fun on the Pro115 that I never got to take my HTs from the car.
Closing thoughts: I was really struck how well this ski balances the ability to float in deep powder with the muscle and stability necessary to handle the chopped up resort snow. It handled everything I could and felt like it could be pushed more. Really versatile with tons of stability coupled with great snow feel and uncanny quickness. This is a real winner for Dynastar this year.
Conclusion: A terrific expert soft snow ski for the real world resort conditions. Stable, quick, confident, fun. I want a pair.
Edited by alexzn - 4/7/10 at 11:41am