The "Once in a Decade" Ski

Discussion in 'Hardgoods: Skis, Bindings, Poles, and More' started by Philpug, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. Philpug

    Philpug The Ski'er Admin Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Posts:
    11,907
    Location:
    Reno, eNVy
    Every once in a while, a ski gets under my skin that is so good and so different that it separates itself from the pack. Skis that not only I think are special but so do others with discerning tastes. These are skis that have changed everything. Skis that when you put them in the rack at the lodge, you walk away, look back at them, and think "I'm not that hungry, let's take another couple of runs." Skis that I don’t have to ski, but that I want to ski. Skis that make even the most marginal conditions skiable.

    The Best Ski Part 2 72dpi.jpg
    In a previous newsletter I asked, What's the "Best Ski"? I wasn’t sure how I wanted to start the follow-up article, but I knew how I wanted to end it. We refer to the hot tub at Pugski's worldwide headquarters as “The Think Tank,” since that is where many of the ideas for the site originate. The most recent thought, lubricated by some Basil Hayden's, was going to be "What's the Best Ski Part 2: What Actually IS the Best Ski?" but I was trying to figure a way around defining a "best ski" when I have already said there is no way a ski could ever be the best. It is unfair to our readers and puts unrealistic expectations on any one ski. But there is the occasional ski that stands head and shoulders above the rest, a “once in a decade" ski.

    When Salomon came out with its first skis in the early 1990s, we saw a major change in ski building and marketing philosophy. I remember Mark Beard from Wicks Ski Shop telling me it was the first ski he had used that was actually different. Salomon has a history of challenging the status quo, and the introduction of its monocoque construction made almost every ski builder change the way it built skis for generation. The S9000s were the first ground-breaking skis that were not just a novelty. Salomon also tried to change the way skis were sized by using a Power Rating, or PR, like when they previously attempted use volume sizing with boots, but these concepts ended up like the metric system here in the states, a method that makes total sense but never was adapted by antiquated minds.

    From the 90s into the new century, there were huge changes in ski design. Every manufacturer had its own idea about what a shaped ski should and could be, from Elan's ground-breaking SCX (its Parabolic name eventually blanketed all ski designs), to Volant's pioneering Chubb and Spatula, to Atomic's Beta collection. All of these skis were great but never really got under my skin.

    The next truly, markedly different ski was the Kästle MX88. When the Kästle brand was reintroduced in the mid-2000s, it immediately raised the bar. The Kästle team’s goal was to produce the best possible ski, and the result was a ski built to a standard and not a price point. The ski industry has always had boutique brands through the years, but Kästle came out of the box as a mainstream high-end brand with a global marketing strategy that made even the most frugal skiers open up their wallets. The Kästle MX88 was a "once in a decade" ski that belied dimensions: in soft snow it felt wider, on hard snow it felt narrower. Its on-snow feel was indeed special.

    Fast forward to today and the Renoun Z-90. Written on every Renoun ski is, “Rules are meant to be broken,” and they are indeed being broken by a Millennial from Northern Vermont. If that doesn’t fit our current societal order, I don't know what does. I don’t need to revisit how Cyrus and I were introduced, just be glad that we were. Renoun’s Z-90 is truly a special ski; there is not a person that I put on the skis who would disagree. The shape is, well, perfect. The flex is, again, just perfect, but it is the HDT (Hyper Damping Technology) that separates Renoun from everything else out there and makes the ski, well, perfect.

    While I still stand behind my statement that there is no one best ski, the Z-90 is an all-time great. If someone told me I could ski only one ski the rest of my life, but it would be the Z-90, I would not be too upset. Some of the best skiers from this community would also agree….

    “These skis are the BEST skis in the mid-fat category I have ever skied.... I didn't want to like them, at all. In fact, I took them from Philpug begrudgingly.” --Jed Peters

    “Can I borrow them for the rest of the season?” --Bud Heishman

    “I didn’t want to give them back.” --James Marchand

    “The Z-90 is nimble and light ... I loved it.” --Betsy Keyes

    "Regardless of what turn shape I told the ski to make, or how rude I was about telling it, it did it without a fuss." --Dory Breaux

    "This ski was simply amazing on the groomed stuff.... You just don’t feel the ripples and bumps, and the faster you go, the smoother it gets." --Susan Brown

    It really is a risk for me writing this just weeks before the 2017 SIA trade show, where we will previewing and starting to ski the upcoming 2017-18 product, but I am a true believer that quality does not go out of style. While technology and shapes have passed by the S9000s, the decade-old Kästle MX88 is still as good as ever, and the MX89 that replaced it is a worthy evolution. What Renoun is doing with its designs and technology could be the future; the Z-90 is indeed a ski for the ages.

    Artwork: @Dave Petersen
     
    skibum4ever, KenYz, Mendieta and 11 others like this.
  2. crgildart

    crgildart Gravity Slave Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    4,039
    Location:
    The Bull City
    This seems more of a west coast softer snow version with the high 80s and low 90s. What about an east coast/midwest hardpack conditions version with skis in the 70s and perhaps low 80s? Or, are skis in the 70s or less waist not cool enough unless they are race skis? :huh: Honestly, I avoid skis in the 70s simply because they don't seem "cool". Race skis, 80s for all mountain hardpack or slush, fatter once in a blue moon when I actually see more than 8" of natural snow.
     
    Mendieta likes this.
  3. ARL67

    ARL67 Putting on skis Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Posts:
    196
    Location:
    Waterloo, ON, Canada
    Out of the Renoun line-up , are all of them special or is the Z90 the "most extra special".
    ... meaning there was some added "magic / luck" into how the engineering & ski shape came together to produce something that sets it apart from all others.

    Or maybe there is more superb competition from other manufacturers in the 77, 98, 104 ski segments ?
     
  4. skibob

    skibob Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Posts:
    1,801
    Location:
    Donner Lake
    I've got to get on these . . .
     
  5. Cheizz

    Cheizz Craving camber Skier

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2016
    Posts:
    288
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Isn't this question only possible to answer in hindsight? Waht ski will come in 2 year's time?

    So shouldn't the question be: what was THE ski of the past 10 years?
     
  6. Philpug

    Philpug The Ski'er Admin Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Posts:
    11,907
    Location:
    Reno, eNVy
    Past 10 years? Could be the MX88..would be at least for me. Like I said, it was dangerous to write that just before SIA, but Danger is my middle name.
     
    1chris5 and Mendieta like this.
  7. Jed Peters

    Jed Peters World's Most "Okayest" Skier Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2015
    Posts:
    816
    Location:
    Sacramento
    ....and please don't call me Surely.

    I think you nailed in on this. The Z90 is really THAT good. Shape, HDT, you name it. Every time I ski the ski I am amazed that it makes me a better skier. It's really that good.
     
    TahoeCharlie likes this.
  8. ARL67

    ARL67 Putting on skis Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Posts:
    196
    Location:
    Waterloo, ON, Canada
    Functionally, is the Z90's main competitor a ski of the likes of the MX88 ?
    Or does the Z90 have the qualities of the favoured 95's of the last 2-3 years, namely the FX95, SR95, Motive 95 ?
    Or is the Z90's overall attributes somewhere halfway between the performance/versatility of the MX88 and the 95's above ?

    ... damn, I gotta get me some ! -> I like being an early adopter of the next-great-thing
    ( BTW I prefer the black topsheet )
     
    skibob and Philpug like this.
  9. graham418

    graham418 Getting off the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2016
    Posts:
    480
    Location:
    Toronto
    [QUOTE="ARL67... damn, I gotta get me some ! -> I like being an early adopter of the next-great-thing
    ( BTW I prefer the black topsheet )[/QUOTE]

    You know they are going to be close to $2000 CDN by the time they get to you.......
    I think you should get some , try them once, decide they aren't really to your liking, and then blow them out to me.at a greatly reduced price!!:golfclap:
     
    Tricia likes this.
  10. fatbob

    fatbob Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,037
    I'll hit you up for a demo if I get to Tahotopia this year and you have a big boy size.
     
  11. Jed Peters

    Jed Peters World's Most "Okayest" Skier Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2015
    Posts:
    816
    Location:
    Sacramento
    Honestly, the ski takes the place of both.

    I have skied this thing on nasty hardpack, in light powder-y type conditions, and in soupy, wet mank.

    It rips in all of it, and took the place of my (and @Rich Peters) Stockli Stormrider 95's. And to be honest, I was a HUGE stockli-phile. HUGE.

    But the Z90 is really special in that sweet spot.

    I should point out, as I've said it before--I really didn't want to like this ski. When @Philpug brought it out to test the first time I was like "mmmmm. Okay, I'll try it." And I was really not even wanting to like it. To be honest I actually was dismissing it before I even got on it!

    On the first chairlift ride after the first lift, I was honestly in disbelief. Shocked at how good it is even.
     
    Mendieta and TahoeCharlie like this.
  12. Tom K.

    Tom K. HRPufnStf Skier

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2015
    Posts:
    1,078
    With apologies to David Bromberg:

    I’m a Danger Man from a dangerous city and I lead a very dangerous life.

    I got a dangerous car, it goes dangerous speeds and a very hazardous wife…
     
    Scruffy likes this.
  13. David Chaus

    David Chaus formerly known as DesiredUsername Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    888
    Location:
    Stanwood, WA
    OK, if the consensus is the Z-90 can fill the needs of two spots in a quiver of 3, then maybe it is cost effective. I mean, if it can do frontside hard pack carving duties well, as well as mid-90's variable conditions, variable terrain and bumps, then that would otherwise be two different $600 purchases. Or $800 to $1000 each depending on your boutique tastes. Factor in another $200 per set of bindings.

    That said, I will reserve judgement until I have a chance to demo. Or come up with the money ;)
     
    Mendieta likes this.
  14. Couchmaster

    Couchmaster Putting on skis Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Posts:
    68
    We should ask the Racoon about these Renoun Skis.
     
  15. Couchmaster

    Couchmaster Putting on skis Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Posts:
    68

    Asked and answered:

    [​IMG]
     
    newboots, Brian Finch and Philpug like this.
  16. Philpug

    Philpug The Ski'er Admin Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Posts:
    11,907
    Location:
    Reno, eNVy
    Actually, I reached out ro Racoon, they are not coming into the states yet.
     
  17. Philpug

    Philpug The Ski'er Admin Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Posts:
    11,907
    Location:
    Reno, eNVy
    If it can make Jed a better skier, think what it can do with a mere mortal skier!
     
    TahoeCharlie likes this.
  18. AmyPJ

    AmyPJ Let's go! Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    2,351
    Location:
    Ogden, UT
    Ahem...any coming this way next month??
     
    skibum4ever and Philpug like this.
  19. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Industry Insider Instructor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,713
    Location:
    PNW aka SEA
    So you're saying if Renoun makes a 70-80 something, you're in? You're going to spring for $1400 clams? And just now when you can finally pick up a pair of used MX88's for less than $400? Are you ok, CR? :crossfingers:
     
  20. Philpug

    Philpug The Ski'er Admin Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Posts:
    11,907
    Location:
    Reno, eNVy
    I think there might be room in the car for them....
     
    skibum4ever likes this.

Share This Page

We respect your privacy. your information is safe and will never be shared