When the 190cm Ritual first arrived at BLISTER headquarters, Jonathan Ellsworth said, “This thing looks like it has no speed limit whatsoever, like you will burst into flames before it even starts to get unstable at speed.”
Well, then. Certainly sounds as if the Ritual belongs in the same class as the hard-charging, crud busting (but rather unforgiving) Moment Belafonte—especially the 192cm edition.
I agree that the Ritual looks like it should be able to hold up to some serious speed and aggressive riding. The ski is built with a profiled titanium “backbone” set in a full wood core that hand flexes firm and snappy. And the shovels are stiff.
Combine this with just a touch of tip and tail rocker and a 103mm waist width and, sure enough, you have what looks to be a serious ski for advanced and expert skiers.
But while we’re expecting the ski to deliver excellent edge grip, a lot of rebound through carved turns, and an impressive speed limit, it seems to me that the Ritual might be more than just a big-mountain charger—that it might be more forgiving (and subsequently, a bit more versatile) than the Belafonte.
Yes, almost everything about the Ritual looks very stout; however, Atomic is talking up the ski’s “twin-progressive sidecut” (the gory/nerdy details of which we’ll save for the review) that gives the 190cm ski a rather short 20-meter side cut radius. (For reference, the 192 Belafonte’s side cut radius is listed at just under 30m.)
Plus, the Ritual’s tail is rockered, if only slightly, and has a flex that seems a little softer than its shovel. And 14mm of taper makes the thought of smooth, intuitive soft-snow performance hard to ignore. All of which is to say that the Ritual could be more playful and forgiving than one might expect.
(Full disclosure: I’m kind of hoping that the Ritual turns out to be something of a twin tipped Cochise, and I’ll say it now—if it is, I’m buying it.)
So while we don’t know whether the Ritual is more of a straight-up missile, or whether it’s a more forgiving, versatile, all-mountain quiver-of-one, we’re extremely excited to find out and to see what Atomic has brought to the table with the new Ritual.
Now all we need is some South American snow and some big lines….
A narrower version of the original Rocker 2,122, the Rocker 2 108 looks like a great backcountry jib tool and a versatile all-mountain ski (especially for the West).
The Soul Rider looks like a promising ski for those hunting for a do-it-all twin-tip. It's been around for a season, but we think it's got a shot to end up among our one-ski quiver selections.
Next up for South America: Salomon Freeski's new Rocker 2 115 - the big mountain charger offspring of last season's Rocker 2.