Like low-cal beer and low-fat donuts, all-mountain skis that claim to shred powder generally leave you disappointed. Atomic's trying to bring full-fat flavor to a slimmed-down daily driver, and it might've just hit the sweet spot with the Vantage 90 CTI. At 90mm underfoot, it's clearly an all-mountain-first-and-powder-second board, but Atomic brought its considerable know-how to bear on blending edging power and stiffness with soft-snow playfulness, so the Vantage ends up being a ski that rails turns like the best of 'em but is surprisingly playful when things get fluffy. There's no single secret that makes the Vantage rip so hard. Instead, it's a series of innovations and technologies all working together, starting with the All-Mountain Rocker, which features a rockered tip for flotation and easy turning, and raised tail for fun slashing and shimmying, and a generous section of underfoot camber that provides plenty of edge bite and stability at speed. This profile is complemented by the Firewall sidewalls, which employ extra-thick sidewall blocks to direct energy into the edges and reduce chatter, so you can hammer perfect corduroy and choppy chunder with equal aplomb, and taper towards the tips and tails for a smooth, hook-free, and surprisingly playful feel in soft snow. Make no mistake, though: the Vantage likes to charge. Atomic beefed up the lively poplar and ash Power Woodcore with a Titanium Backbone 2. 0 laminate, a superlight and highly damp layer that gives the ski a smooth, powerful feel, and added Carbon Tank Mesh in the tips and tails, which gives the Vantage increased torsional stiffness without stacking up unnecessary ounces. The sintered base rips, and Atomic's burly steel edges bite into hardpack like a hungry security guard into a glazed cruller, so you won't wash out or feel like you're skidding turns, at least until you want to.
Best Price: 599.95 from Backcountry
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