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Trying the Atomic FeatherLight Skate Skis

Tue, Mar  23, 2010 - By Mark Waechter, Nordic Ultratune

Mark runs Nordic UltraTune.

Atomic calls it the World Cup Red Cheetah FeatherLight cross country ski, aka World Cup FLA couple days ago a ski box arrived at the shop. Okay, so that's not particularly momentous at Nordic Ultratune. Ski boxes arrive daily.

But this small, "one pair" box, had a pair of the 2010/2011 Atomic skate skis. Atomic has made the name a bit more complicated since Atomic calls it the World Cup Red Cheetah FeatherLight. Most people are calling it the "FeatherLight" or "World Cup FL".

The naming might be confusing but there is no confusion about the skis. Maybe you saw some of these while watching the Olympics? New graphics?

Atomic keeps the bold, bright graphics. Lots of red and white, but they've added some darker-colored accents. Eye catching on the podium.

The FeatherLight keeps the camber characteristics of the Red Cheetah skis, but reduces weight a little bit by changing some internal sidewall material. The camber design, the layup, the base, the side-cut -- all those features remain the same.

The Featherlight has been in use on the World Cup for over a year. I've worked on quite a few of them at Ultratune, but only a handful of skiers have had them. For 2010/2011 they are entering the mainstream and are available to everyone.

I know that there are some of you who can't get enough of those bright yellow suits that Slovenia wears, so here's a picture of Barbara Jezeršek. She's rocking Atomic:

Barbara Jezeršek on the World Cup Red Cheetah FeatherLight cross country ski, aka World Cup FL

The Atomic skate skis are fitted differently than other brands (each brand is fitted differently, so it's not just Atomic that's "different"), and care is needed to pick a good flex in order to get the best performance. From my experience, the error fitting Atomic skis is usually in picking them too stiff rather than picking them too soft.

As with any non-NIS ski, positioning the bindings has to be done with care. As a note, this pair of 190cm skate skis weigh in at 506 grams per ski, which is right where they're advertised (the smaller sizes weigh a bit less).

On the snow, the skis feel like the 2009/10 version. They're quick, stable, and a blast to ski on. They're super on technical descents, and very nimble climbing. I think they're really great all around skate skis, handling sugar well and firmer conditions well, too. The test pair is running on an "i5" structure from the Ultratune Mantec grinder, and they're fast. When I'm picking the Atomic skaters, I usually recommend the "cold" version as having the best camber for an all-around ski.

So, in total, the skis feel much like the current version. That's great! The graphics got an overhaul, and the skis are a little lighter. They're a winner.