2012-2013 LINE Stepup

Scott Nelson reviews the Line Stepup, Blister Gear Review

12/13 Line Stepup

Ski: 2012-2013 Line Stepup, 176cm

Dimensions (mm): 113-86-113

Turn Radius: 20.6m

Actual tip to tail length – straight tape pull: 175cm

MSRP: $610

Boots / Bindings / DIN setting: Nordica Jah Love 120 / Marker Jesters / DIN (12)

Mount Location: True center

Test Location: Park City Mountain Resort, Northstar-At-Tahoe

Days Skied: 6

(Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 11/12 Stepup, which is unchanged for 12/13, except for the graphics.)

When Line released the Afterbang ski back in 2009, I was skeptical of the unique Skate Deck construction. The eccentric think tank over at Line Skis had really outdone itself this time, I figured. I wrote off the ski as a somewhat niche or gimmicky ski that probably wouldn’t perform beyond the context of a rail park.

Line’s vision and logic behind the Afterbang was simple: Skateboards are built to hold pop long after taking repeated brutal impacts on hard surfaces. They saw that the construction of a modern skateboard deck is one of the most tried and proven designs in action sports, and wanted to apply its qualities to a ski by using a similar construction. The Afterbang is built with seven stacked layers of maple veneer of successively shorter lengths to create the flex pattern.

Skiers who bought into the hype surrounding the Afterbang’s release were overjoyed with its playful, buttery nature, but common gripes included its slacking performance on larger jumps and virtually anywhere else beyond the jib park.

A year later, Line created a big-brother version of the Afterbang, the Stepup, to address some of these issues. The Stepup certainly was stiffer, but wasn’t necessarily much burlier or more responsive.

This brings us to the new Stepup, the model for 2011-2012 season. Completely redesigned to take a half step away from the legacy of the Afterbang, the new Stepup incorporates a new design concept that Line calls Deckwall construction. The ski is still laminated in layers of maple veneer, but the design incorporates a full maple core and sidewalls for a smooth, consistent, and stiff flex pattern, while still allowing for considerable amounts of pop.

Surprisingly, the design works. The Stepup actually rides like a normal, solid, park ski. For me, making the transition between a conventionally built ski and the Stepup was quick and seamless—so calm of a transition that I could rely on the ski in competition at a slopestyle event at Northstar my second and third days on the ski. I didn’t have to waste any time figuring out how the ski would act during certain tricks or how I would have to adjust throwing any tricks for a contest run.

Much of the reason I had an easy time adjusting to this new ski quickly was just how stable and vibrant of a ski the Stepup really is. Even with the unorthodox construction, the Stepup felt lively and predictable, like any successful staple park ski. The flex was consistently stiff, but, like a skateboard, allowed for plenty of pop in the tips and tails to get up on higher rails and boxes. Plus, the ski would butter with considerable ease given its stiffness.

5 Comments

  1. Jonathan January 31, 2012 Reply

    This sounds like an ideal ski for the casual terrain park fan. Is there anything else in this category to consider? I am looking for something for hard snow days with my friends where I need a break from groomers and can hit the park for a while, then meet back up with them and keep skiing without heading to the car to dip into the quiver. I have heard the Stockli Rotor 84 works well for this too; do you have any suggestions? Thanks for the great review, and the stellar vimeo of airtime…

  2. Author
    Scott February 1, 2012 Reply

    I’m relatively unfamiliar with the Rotor 84, but in my experience, there are few park skis that can match the Stepup’s ability to rail on groomers and transition right into the park. I found the Nordica Ace of Spades falls within this category with its unmatched ability to remain stable and hold an edge on steep groomers, icy half pipe walls, and big park jumps. The Stockli may excel as a hybrid park/all-mountain ski, but I bet the Stepup’s versatility would give the Rotor 84 a run for its money at half the MSRP of the Stockli.

  3. Jonathan February 3, 2012 Reply

    Mmmm, half the money…

    Thanks, have a good one.

  4. Dan September 6, 2012 Reply

    How flexy are they, because i was interested in these but I do like to do a butters and manuals and such…

  5. logan February 11, 2013 Reply

    ive been rocking these in France this season,
    not the perfect all round ski, but pretty damn good at everything,
    on hard packed piste they hold well and carve surprisingly good,
    in the park they are great, enough pop to be useful with out being to sloppy,
    in the crud and light powder (5-10cm) is where they really come into there own, super responsive and have enough float,
    in the deep powder they are still hard work, and you spend a lot of time in the back seat trying to keep the tips clear of the snow, i think if they were a bit wider under foot or had rocker tip and tail then that would have made then a perfect all mountain all condition ski

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