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Atomic Proliferation?

Wed, Mar  25, 2009 - By Mark Waechter

The Atomic World Cup skis are a super addition for Nordic Ultratune. The World Cup "red cheetah" skate skis are fast and stable. The World Cup classic skis kick easily and have excellent control in and out of the tracks.

Atomic World Cup Skis

During the past season I've had a chance to work on a lot of the new Atomic skis, and have been very happy with them. The feedback I've gotten from world cup skiers on Atomic has been very good - they're happy with the new skis and excited about the new boots as well.

I’ve recently spent some time focusing on several pairs of the skate skis, and here are some notes:

Fitting the skate skis

The factory flex label on the ski will usually be less than body weight, but I don’t find that the label alone is adequate for a first-rate ski selection.  The flex bench is really needed to get a good match.  I look for a good fit on the flex bench when pressure-to-close, applied at 8cm behind balance point, is a bit over 100% of skier weight.

At half of the skier’s weight, the camber is typically open 38-42cm in front of the balance point, and the camber closes progressively as weight is applied; this makes a very smooth-feeling front end.

On the Snow

On snow, the Atomic skate ski’s front-end camber is just right for an all-around ski.  It’s not prone to “plowing” in soft conditions, and doesn’t feel vague on firm track.  A well-fitted Atomic skater will edge nicely, with excellent control on descents, and enough stiffness to stay crisp during climbing and accelerating.  Plus the Atomic skate skis are a real confidence booster on technical descents.

I’m 6’3” and 190 lbs.  Fortunately we’re not all the same size.  Atomic’s skate skis are portion controlled through the various sizes, too. On a recent Sunday, while I was working in the shop, my wife Margaret spent a couple hours testing a few pairs at the trail system below Sun Mountain Lodge. Afterwards she dropped in at the shop with a big grin.  “That was a blast!”, she said.

Margaret noted that the 178 cm skis she tested felt lively. As a small, relatively light skier, she’s found that some brands of skis feel overly-firm in the tips and tails in the shorter lengths. With the Red Cheetahs, she really could feel how light and quick the skis felt.    Perfect for transitions, turns, ups and downs.

Economic Stimulus?

In addition to being a great ski, the Atomic World Cup ski is a great value. They’re priced at $498 for the 2009-10 season. That’s about $100 less than other top-model offerings. 

Ultratune will be flex testing all our skis in order to get a great fitting skate or classic ski for you, and of course all of our new skis come with the base grind of your choice so the skis will be race-ready right away.

Weights and Measures:

While testing the Atomic World Cup skis I decided I should check the weight.

The Atomic World Cup skis are - as advertised - the lightest ski on the market! The lightest was the 178 cm "Red Cheetah" World Cup skate ski that weighed in at 438 grams. That's about a quarter pound lighter than the competitors - per ski! That is really - no sh!t - significant. All three sizes of the World Cup skater (178, 184, 190) were under the 475 gram mark. Bravo!

The other "big 3" ski brands advertise their top model as being in the range of 500 grams per ski, and much to my chagrin they ALL test heavy.

I use an Acculab digital scale with 0.1 gram resolution, and it has plenty of accuracy and precision for wax absorption tests and the occasional "weigh in" for new skis.

What's it mean? They're light. It's not everything when choosing a ski, but in a time when ski companies are doing crazy things to trim 5 grams ("hole ski", anyone?), a lightweight ski that gets it done with no caveats is to be commended.

Nordic UltraTune