Apr 20 2010
In the interest of being upfront and honest I need to mention that these skis were given to me by SkiLogik as I am now skiing for them. So far I’ve skied 9 days on them and climbed 27,000 vert. I’ve had them out in powder, corn, hard slab and sastrugi. A few of my routes have been steep and a few have been mellow. At first I was a bit apprehensive when I looked at the dimensions of 140-92-125. The side cut radius of 15 meters threw me off. But I figured that this would be a great spring ski. With all the routes I had planned having a ski with less than 100cm under foot would be good for the variable conditions that I was sure to find, it’s not always corn in the spring.
At 4600 g per pair these aren’t the lightest skis out there. They are however very predictable in most conditions, more on that later. I’ve gotten myself used to touring with Rossi Squads so the weight isn’t really a big deal to me. If it is to you perhaps a set of Dynafit bindings would ease your pain. Focusing on touring, the ski has a lot of camber. This is great for bouncy turns on the way down but can make for a precarious feeling on the way up. You need to place your foot and keep it placed or you might suffer from sliding backwards as the camber pulls the skin off of it’s contact with the snow. This bothered me at first, but by yesterday it wasn’t much of an issue. We skinned straight up Gasoline Alley and I didn’t have any problems even with my 3 year old skins. One thing that would make this a better touring ski is a notch in the tail to help keep the skin holder from slipping off. I thought about grinding them but I couldn’t bring myself to do it, they’re too damn beautiful.
So lets talk about what really matters, the skiing. This ski is without a doubt the best corn ski I’ve ever been on. On London Mountain the other day I realized how these skis liked to groove. It was like being on a nice pair of GS race skis, from back in the day. I felt totally confident in what they were going to do and how they were going to do it. The same was true for yesterday on Peak 4, I was really enjoying the carving experience. One nice additional thing that was fun was the flex profile of the tip allows you to butter your carves. Not just your old fashioned race ski. One of the things that’s so fun about them is the snappiness of the camber. The skis virtually bounce from turn to turn.
The ski preformed much better than expected on hard pack. The other day on Loveland Mtn we encountered about 500′ vertical of very hard snow. Unlike my BD Kilowatts which liked to bounce down snow like this the Rave was able to hold an edge. The ski has great torsional stiffness. The ski was also detuned by me to 10cm down from the tip and 5cm up from the tail. I like to do this to ease turn initiation in variable conditions. It keeps you from getting edge grab on unexpected hard snow. On ridgeline sastrugi the ski has good dampening qualities to absorb the shock of the corrugated texture of the windblasted snow. Not my favorite place to ski these boards make it bearable. Another thing that I seem to attract with regularity is rocks. I absolutely slammed one yesterday. I hit it so hard it hurt the rod posts in my tibia. I was certain that it would core shot my skis, but it left barely a scratch. These bases are way tougher than the Rossi B-Squad bases. Me like.
Now for a little talk about powder. This ski has a bit of trouble with soft deep snow. The dimensions of the ski tend to force the ski to drive downward at the tips. This is the action of the large tail. The ski doesn’t have enough of a tip to force it back up to the surface. This forces you to have to be in a bit of a neutral back stance in soft snow. If you encounter soft conditions mixed with firmer stuff it can throw you off at the tips due to the diving action. One way I’ve found to combat this is to make sure I have the right wax on my skis, and to wax a touch higher on the tip than usual. Another reason for staying current on waxing is that the tip is so wide, if you don’t have enough wax you will have tip wash issues. I will say that once you find the right balance point this ski handles the soft fairly well, but this is not it’s ideal venue. Perhaps a little more asymmetry would do the trick and force the tip downward less. Pinning the tail just a little bit would go a long way in bringing the stance to a more neutral position.
Overall I really like this ski. I think some improvements can be made but generally speaking I really enjoy the turns I get to make on them. I was told by their rep that if there’s a line I don’t think they are right for by all means ski my Reverends or something else. So far I’ve reached for these every time I’ve gone out since I got them.
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