2018 Atomic

Discussion in '2018 Thumbnail Reviews by Brand' started by Pugski Test Team, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Pugski Test Team

    Pugski Test Team Testing skis so you don't have to. Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2017
    Posts:
    32
    Atomic Redster G9
    Dimensions: 110-68-95.5
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 165, 171, 177, 183
    Size tested: 177
    Design: All New

    Philpug: Pantone 186C, that's the color Atomic uses on its race skis for this season and that's the color that drapes the all-new G9. Atomic’s ServoTec rod is integrated into the topskin for this long-turning, hard-snow-biased ski. I am looking forward to getting @ScotsSkier on these so he can really put them through their paces in a race course.
    • Who is it for? Type A personalities who like to go fast and and make really big turns...at high rates of speed.
    • Who is it not for? Technically weak skiers.
    • Insider tip: The G stands for "grinning," which is what you will be doing when you open these up.
    18 S9 TC.png
    Atomic Redster S9
    Dimensions: 119.5-68-97.5
    Radius: [email protected], [email protected]
    Sizes: 153, 159, 165, 171
    Size tested: 171
    Design: All New

    Drahtguy Kevin: Click in and hang on. This ski exudes power and speed. At 68mm underfoot and a 13.3m radius, the ride is quick but stable. And sublime. I found the ski to flex superbly; turn initiation was a snap. I could lean on the S9 durning the turn and feel the energy build -- absolutely exhilarating. Lighter skiers may get overpowered. This ski is on my “buy it” radar.
    • Who is it for? Strong skiers who can bend a ski.
    • Who is it not for? Light or tentative riders.
    • Insider tip: Pay attention as the S9 will push back.

    FairToMiddlin: This was probably the strongest ski I tested. With a 68mm waist and a 13.3m radius, and that much power, it has one trick: laying trenches, early and often. It might have the most even flex of any ~13m ski I have been on. Super smooth, regardless of the turn size you dial in. It doesn’t bite at you, or throw you off as you tighten the turn; it just obeys your command and holds. And holds. The S9 dares you to lay it over, inviting you to see how long your legs can handle putting maximum effort into each turn. What an exciting ski!

    This personality is a blast, even as it wears you down. While not in the same category, two other skis I have been on that encourage you to shorten your day by giving it your all are the Völkl RTM 86 UVO and the original Kästle MX98. It isn’t a bad thing, but it’s good to know before you plop down the money for it. @Drahtguy Kevin is a bigger fellow, and he didn’t have to put quite so many calories into bending it.
    • Who is it for? Fit and enthusiastic frontside skiers.
    • Who is it not for? Lightweight couch potatoes; this ski rewards skill, or strength, or (preferably) both.
    • Insider tip: Start your wall sits now.

    Phipug: I love it when a plan comes together. Atomic’s new consumer race skis, starting with the S9, are simply stellar. The S9 on hard snow is just a scalpel, a precise instrument that makes a magnificent tight turn when put up on edge. Sure, you can say that about almost every ski in this class, but the Atomic just feels different, more attached to the snow, yet it can be released into a brushed carve when asked to.
    • Who is it for? Type A personalities who like to turn, and with authority.
    • Who is it not for? Again, technically weak skiers.
    • Insider tip: Please, please, please keep a proper .5°/3° tune on these, they deserve it.

    Ron: Superb ski, winner of my “Favorite Ski of the Test” award. The S9 is a carve machine, supremely stable, quiet, smooth, precise, energetic, and (fill in the blank with any other term befitting this Ferrari of skis). But here’s the catch: although it is 68 underfoot, it didn’t want to just turn. You could vary the turn shape and even ski it slowly (although you won’t want to). Yes, it's powerful; yes, it's demanding; yes, it's got a tail that will spank you if it finds out you aren’t worthy (I got caught behind going over a roller and had to scramble to recover).

    I want this ski.
    • Who is it for? Racers, or skiers who want to feel like they are. Can still be skied by mere mortals, though.
    • Who is it not for? Might be a handful for many.
    • Insider tip: If it's too much ski, try the X7.

    UGASkiDawg: The S9 is one of two Atomic frontside skis that were in my Top 5 of this test. I haven’t owned a pure frontside-oriented ski in over 12 years unless you count the MX83 (which I did until now). I usually traverse groomers with a grin-and-bear-it attitude, but the S9 made them a flipping hoot! Granted, it was an exhilarating, I’m-out-of-breath kind of hoot, but for a few hours of ripping groomers instead of vainly searching for soft snow on my FX95s, I think I might have to get a pair of these.
    • Who is it for? People who like to turn ... a lot.
    • Who is it not for? People who don’t like to turn?
    • Insider tip: Try the Redster X7 if you find this ski a bit too much.
    REDSTERX7.png
    Atomic Redster X7
    Dimensions: 115.5-70-102.5
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 156, 163, 168, 175
    Size tested: 175
    Design: All New

    Ron: I tested this ski just before the S9 and thought, Damn, this ski is fun. It was very approachable but still exacting, energetic, poppy, and in the end much more forgiving than the S9. For many, this is a much better choice if you want to ski all day (since the S9 will most likely tire you out in 2 or 3 hours, max). The X7 still has a wood core and Titanal layup but a less demanding flex. It has great tip engagement, moderate stiffness, and a very friendly tail that can be locked or released. It will even drift, making it much more versatile than the S9. I wanted to take it into some bumps and loose snow; I didn’t get the chance but imagine it would be decent -- meaning Atomic has another winner.
    • Who is it for? The X7 is a really fun and higher-performing carver that will work for a wide range of skiers.
    • Who is it not for? Those who can’t tip and rip; probably should be kept on the groomers.
    • Insider tip: It's the mortal version of the S9.

    UGASkiDawg: See the S9 above. Unlike some others, I did not feel like this ski was much of a step down from the S9. It has a longer turn radius, so I spent more time riding it rather than turning it, but it was still a blast to ski with no speed limit on groomers. Just tip it and rip it! This is another possibility for my quiver that would give me some hope of keeping up with my girls when they deign to ski with me on the front side.
    • Who is it for? People who like to turn ... a lot, but a little less than the S9.
    • Who is it not for? People who don’t like to ride the groomed.
    • Insider tip: I was a little worried I would need to step down a size, but the 175 was fine for my frame (5'10.5" 172 lb).
    18 X9 TC.png
    Atomic Redster X9
    Dimensions: 114-65.5-99.5
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 169, 175, 181
    Size tested: 175
    Design: All New

    Philpug: Yes, the S9 and G9 are the ServoTec flagships, but the X9 is the ski to get if you aren't sure whether you want to commit to a short or long turn -- because it will make both. It is stable and quick and will do whatever you ask it to do, no matter how hard the conditions are.
    • Who is it for? A strong skier who wants a hard-snow ski to make every turn.
    • Who is it not for? Like the S9 and G9, a technically weak skier.
    • Insider tip: tell your shop owner now to order it.
    VANTAGE_X_80_CTI.png
    Atomic Vantage X 80 CTi
    Dimensions: 127-80-111.5
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 159, 166, 173, 180
    Size tested: 180
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    UGASkiDawg: This was my favorite frontside all-mountain ski from this test. It was a pure joy on the groomers, albeit without the power and high speed limit of the Redsters. In return for that lack of power, you get a lot more approachability and ease of use off piste. Just point and go in the bumps, and this guy is all in. The Vantage X 80 Cti did everything I could throw it at it pretty well; I can’t see a downside unless you are hard-charging heavyweight.
    • Who is it for? Anyone looking for ski that won’t punish the lazy but rewards proper technique with a fun ride.
    • Who is it not for? The hard charger looking for a top-end sports car.
    • Insider tip: If you aren’t going off piste, do yourself a favor and get on the Redster.
    Philpug: (from last year) Atomic has brought the immediately successful Vantage shape and construction down to the highly contested frontside-biased all-mountain category; IMHO it wasn’t a moment too soon. Every manufacturer is trying to get a foothold here, and Atomic is no different. Everything in the design is indeed all new for them in the application…even the binding system. The power of Warden-derived binding was felt immediately when the Vantages were put up onto edge. The two words that came to mind when I skied both of these skis were "confidence" and "predictability," and I cannot think of two better attributes that a ski can convey than that.
    • Who is it for? "Set it and forget it" skiers, those who click in and go and don't worry about how the ski will react. Teutonic solid.
    • Who is it not for? People who think too much.
    • Insider tip: Sizing is perfect; you can ski either of two sizes, depending if you want a short turn or long turn. Ski will neither wimp out if sized down or beat you silly if sized up.
    VANTAGE_X_83_CTI_jpg.png
    Atomic Vantage X 83 CTi
    Dimensions: 125-82-111
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 161, 168, 175, 182
    Size tested: 175
    Design: New Construction

    Philpug: The big brother to last year’s Steals & Deals winner Vantage X 80 CTi returns with a slightly beefier core, which is evident in the way it skis. The value is still here, but you get a lot more for just a little money over the narrower version. Atomic smartly kept one of the best binding offerings: the Warden system, which the only binding in this class that is multinorm certified (MNC), accommodating DIN, WTR, and GripWalk ... making this ski one of the most versatile offerings at any price.
    • Who is it for? Those who need a carving ski with an MNC binding.
    • Who is it not for? 11/10th skiers can overpower it.
    • Insider tip: You will get one of the best bindings on a great ski for a killer price.
    VANTAGE90CTI.png
    Atomic Vantage 90 CTi
    Dimensions: 133.5-90-117
    Radius: 16.9 [email protected], [email protected]
    Sizes: 161, 169, 176, 184
    Design: Carryover

    Drahtguy Kevin (tested 184): Any turn shape, any speed, any terrain suits this ski. From the chalk at the top of Union to the bumps at the bottom, from picking my way through trees to ripping the groomer back to the lift, this ski left me wanting more time aboard. The radius was moldable to fit my whims and desires. I couldn’t find the top end (I tried), and I never longed for more stability or grip. The ease of the 90 CTi puts it on my “to buy” list.
    • Who is it for? All-mountain skiers who like to go, go, go.
    • Who is it not for? Those who dislike fun.
    • Insider tip: Would make an excellent one-ski quiver.

    FairToMiddlin (tested 176): This is a great choice, updated with a new construction. With Head "accessibilizing" the Monster 88, I put this at the top of the heap for a non-premium 88ish ski (the Stöckli Stormrider 88 is tops if you are going to reach deeper into your wallet). It responds to all the things a good instructor would have you do, and does so on a very broad spectrum of terrain. Turn initiation is intuitive all over the mountain; it offers a smooth, damp ride in choppy snow; and its 16.9m radius is energetic on groomers.

    While riding Sierra lift, @Drahtguy Kevin and I spotted what looked like fresh wind-loading on Union Peak. The poma wasn’t running, so we hiked up and got 6 inches of fresh for a few turns, followed by soft bumps, then a chopped-up groomer runout back to the lift. The Vantage was the perfect weapon for such an adventure, yay.
    • Who is it for? Technically proficient skiers who can make use of its talents, but it is forgiving enough for advancing skiers to grow into as well.
    • Who is it not for? Folks needing a lighter ski to maneuver. This is a fairly traditional construction with a fair amount of Titanal, so it is a little heavier than some of the other 88s.
    • Insider tip: The Vantage doesn’t ski short; the 176 felt plenty stable, a very different experience from the 175 Stormrider 95.
    BACKLANDFR109.png
    Atomic Backland FR 109
    Dimensions: 135-109-125
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 175, 182, 189
    Size tested: 189
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Drahtguy Kevin: (from last year) Atomic changed the build and name of the Automatic for the 2017 offering. The result is a surfier, more maneuverable ski that can be driven with some tongue and tip pressure when wanted. This will make a nice wider partner in a two-ski quiver.
    • Who is it for? Someone looking for a 1-0-something with all-mountain chops.
    • Who is it not for? Tail riders.
    • Insider tip: For best results, stay in the middle of your foot to a tad forward.

    Ron: (from last year) By the time we tested the Backland 109, 2 to 4 in. of fresh had been schmeared around and piled up so it was a pretty good testing run. This ski, like the Pinnacle 88, was a real surprise and a treat, a super-fun ski with the new boat-hull-shaped tip profile. We took the 109 right into soft bumps and it shined. For a 109, this ski was very responsive and quick in the bumps. It had a very balanced feel with a nice flex pattern and great blend of dampness and snow feel. Out on the groomed, again the 109 had great tip engagement and really pulled you through the turn (for a 109); it was a blast ripping down to the expo tents. I wish I could have had a foot of powder to get this into as I really think it could be a blast, especially in the trees.

    I really liked this ski!
    • Who is it for? Advanced intermediates and up looking for the wider of a two-ski quiver. This ski should be on the list. FUN!
    • Who is it not for? Don’t know. If you want something around 105-110, give it a try.
    • Insider tip: Check out the boat hull tip that reminded me of the old Fischer.

    Women's

    18 CLOUD 12 TC.png
    Atomic Cloud 12
    Dimensions: 112-70-97
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 147, 154, 161, 168
    Size tested: 161
    Design: All New

    Tricia: This is Atomic’s answer to the women when they asked, “Where’s my Redster?” A winning combination of light woodcore and Servotec make the Cloud 12 an amazing frontside ski. I had the chance to ski it on two occasions, including a day of scraped-off snow at Copper and later on early-morning refrozen groomers at Snowbasin (which were enhanced by those precious ice marbles that we’ve all experienced from time to time). The Cloud 12 not only handled it, but excelled in those conditions with confidence. Who needs a Redster when you can ride on a Cloud?
    • Who is it for? Those who crave a precision groomer ski.
    • Who is it not for? Intermediates.
    • Insider tip: The Cloud 12 allows a variety of turn shapes.
    18 VANTAGE 80 W S&D.png
    Atomic Vantage X 80 CTi W
    Dimensions: 123-80-105
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 154, 161, 167, 175
    Size tested: 167
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Tricia: (from last year) The Vantage line moves onto the front side with a light woodcore, titanium backbone, and carbon tank mesh. Easy turn initiation and smooth transitions make this a great choice for women searching for some of the same fun they’ve had on the wider Vantage skis.
    • Who is it for? A woman looking for a smooth frontside ski that is wide enough to inspire some adventure.
    • Who is it not for? Someone looking for more off-piste skiing.
    • Insider tip: Don’t overthink it.

    Atomic Vantage 90 CTi W
    Dimensions: 121-90-109
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 153, 161, 169
    Size tested: 169
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Tricia: (from last year) The Vantage 90 CTi W (and 95) is nimble in the moguls and easy to turn, but it has a speed limit and leaves a little on the table when venturing into more aggressive terrain.
    • Who is it for? Someone looking to start venturing off piste.
    • Who is it not for? Someone who skis aggressively off piste.
    • Insider tip: If you are ready to start getting off the groomers, this is a great start.
    Atomic Vantage X 95 C
    Dimensions:130-95-115
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes:
    Size tested: 154
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    SkiNurse: (from last year) The Vantage X skied well, but it was not very lively. It did ok in the bumps but did not like anything steep. It felt as if it was maybe maxed out on speed and pitch of the mountain.
    • Who is it for? The skier who doesn’t venture far off piste.
    • Who is it not for? The skier who wants to ski the steeps, trees, and deep.
    • Insider tip: Good, solid cruiser for an intermediate skier, demo first if you want to take it in interesting places.
    BACKLANDFR102W.png
    Atomic Backland FR 102 W
    Dimensions: 120-102-121
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes:156, 164, 172
    Size tested: 172
    Design: Carryover/NGT
    BACKLANDFR109W_jpg.png
    Atomic Backland FR 109 W
    Dimensions: 133-109-123
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes:159, 167, 175
    Size tested: 175
    Design: Carryover/NGT

    Tricia: (from last year) These skis were one of the surprises of the show for me. I expected them to have float in the soft snow and charge through the moguls and chop, but I had no idea how much they would hold an edge and rip when it was time to venture on the groomers back to the lift. Go for the 109 for a little more float.
    • Who is it for? Someone looking for a versatile off piste ski that will charge.
    • Who is it not for? Someone looking for a casual ride.
    • Insider tip: If you’re between sizes, don’t be afraid to go up.
     

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    gozoogle, Lorenzzo, Johnny V. and 2 others like this.
  2. Tom K.

    Tom K. HRPufnStf Skier

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2015
    Posts:
    1,003
    Schweet!

    Let the new ski drooling begin.

    Thanks to @Philpug and the whole test team!
     
  3. neonorchid

    neonorchid Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2015
    Posts:
    1,475
    Design Carryover with NGT

    Are you sure about that Insider tip? IIRC everyone said it does ski short. Even the Atomic rep at a demo told me he would not sell me the 169cm, that at 5'6.5" 138lbs I should be on the 176cm.
     
  4. FairToMiddlin

    FairToMiddlin comedy relief Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2015
    Posts:
    148
    Location:
    Front range, CO
    I'm pretty sure. It felt very traditional (the good kind of traditional). I ended up on more 174-178 skis than usual this year at SIA, due to no new snow. I didn't feel any of the skittishness I sensed in the 175 SR95, the fore-aft forgiveness off piste was fine, not in line with a ski that skis short. It is a good thing that Atomic hasn't changed it. The rep said they lightened the core in the Vantage 100CTi, but the 90 was unmolested.
     
  5. Johnny V.

    Johnny V. Getting on the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    145
    Location:
    Finger Lakes/Rochester NY
    Anticipating Scots review. I'm ready for a new beer league/NASTAR ski and the 177/18.4 is very much like my current '12-'13 Redsters. If the budget is there, I may go for the RS/Masters series for the longer Masters courses also. Glad to see Atomic finally revised their race skis-been seeing a lot of Rossi Hero Masters lately!
     

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