Ski: 2013-2014 MOMENT Belafonte, 182cm
Dimensions (mm): 135-106-124
Sidecut Radius: 25.7 meters
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 180.0cm
Blister’s Measured Weight Per Ski: 2120 grams & 2130 grams
Mount Location: Factory Recommended
Test Location: Las Leñas, Squaw, Snowbird
(Editor’s Note: Our tests were conducted on the 10/11 Belafonte, which is unchanged for 11/12, 12/13, and 13/14, except for the graphics.)
The Moment Belafonte became my go-to ski while skiing the South American Andes this past August in El Colorado, Chile, and Las Lenas, Argentina. With low snow, high winds, and extremely variable conditions, I found this to be the only ski in my quiver capable of charging though any snow type, on any terrain.
The slightly rockered tip promoted flotation through powder fields of all depths, while the 106mm underfoot maintained loft when skimming windblown dust over frozen spring crust. As the days warmed, I found myself moving from tight radius carves through winter chalk moguls, to large super-G turns on groomers that transitioned to corn. Through it all, the skis’ stiff torsion facilitated large radius turns while plowing through piles of slush and crud as if they didn’t exist.
As winter set in back in North America, I was fortunate to arrive in Squaw Valley with an early season monster rolling in off the Pacific. With five feet of fresh, followed by 24 hours of rain, and then topped with another foot of cold dry powder, Squaw became prime for the inevitable “Squallywood” that results when conditions come together like this. Since I needed a ski that could handle all terrain and uncertain conditions from the rain at low elevations, I reached again for the Belafonte.
My first turns off the KT-22 lift were rewarded with numerous face shots as I blasted through every drift in sight. My confidence immediately lifted as the stiffness of this ski continued to blow through all densities of snow, while the slightly rockered tip provided the perfect flotation to stomp my favorite cliffs and mach through the lower angle tracked out zones. For the record, MOMENT’s signature squared off tip n’ tail on the Belafonte had me questioning the design consequences, but I found it to be insignificant in the ski’s overall performance.
As I made my way to the entrance of the notoriously steep “Fingers” chutes, I encountered an invisible rain crust that required nothing short of hockey skates. As the terrain rolled over into a no fall zone, I quickly became grateful for the minimal side cut that enabled full edge contact in the steepest of zones. This was something Shane McConkey taught me to appreciate when I skied with him at Squaw a decade ago. He claimed that side cut was great for carving easy turns on groomers, but can quickly work to your disadvantage in steep, no fall zones if only your tip and tail are contacting the snow. Remembering this, I held on for two dicey slide turns before sending it off a spine and ripping full speed through the avalanche debris below.
I continued to run the Belafontes for the next two days. The skis slayed everything from the Granite Chief trees to the Light Tower Chutes, and the Belafontes swing weight was perfect for practicing inverted aerials off a side country booter we built while coaching the Squaw Valley Freestyle Team.
Sometimes in life, you get lucky. A week after Squaw, I arrived at Snowbird, UT amidst another amazing storm cycle. With two feet of new snow and cold temperatures, this was the place to be. I immediately headed up the tram and traversed out to the Cirque for some of my favorite steep lines at the Bird. Again, the modest side cut enabled secure maneuvering as I made my way along the wind crusted ridge. Dropping off Tower 3, I was quickly into deep, light snow. The Belafonte’s 106mm under foot still allowed me to sink to my thighs, and the slight rocker allowed for easy planing over the fluff. It was Heaven. As I tried to run out a bit faster on the lower angle slopes, the 182cm felt a little short for my preference (I’m 5’9”). The deep snow didn’t require a larger ski, but it would have made things a little smoother down low. But the dimensions of the ski quickly became gratifying when I reached the groomer and was able to lay down railroad track GS turns back to the base.
The Belafonte is an excellent performer in all types of terrain and snow conditions. From steeps to groomers, cliffs to kickers, this ski does it all. My favorite quality was the stiff flex and traditional race camber combined with the slightly rockered tip. The remarkably light swing-weight was also impressive, as it promoted flurries of rapid slalom turns through the spores of rocks and tourists, and hot-dog style triples off of big-mountain kickers.
I mounted Atomic FFG 14 bindings (equivalent of the Salomon STH 14) which complimented this ski with their light weight, low boot sole to ski distance, and color. This set up is light, but not so weightless that you’re ricocheting off unseen snow variations. While this setup excelled everywhere it went, I only recommend it to those who continuously drive their skis down the mountain. If you want to cruise and butter like a nonchalant, guerrilla-steeze skittle-thug, then you probably want something with more side cut and flex.
Pros: The Belafontes charge through the most diverse conditions a mountain can offer: spring corn, windblown chalk, powder, chop, and crud. The light swing weight proves beneficial for quick maneuvers in tight chutes, trees, dodging tourists, and jumping. The stiff flex makes the ski an all around charger and great for freeskiing competitions. (I took 4th place at the Argentinean Freeskiing Championships on them.)
Cons: The lack of side cut requires more effort to carve turns. It will not automatically turn unless you lean into it and apply adequate pressure. It could also be wider for powder, but the all mountain applicability would be reduced and it wouldn’t maintain the all around performer it is. One recommendation: The bases arrived dry and thirsty for wax. Like any new pair of skis, apply a significant amount of red or warm weather wax before use, then use whatever wax is most appropriate for the conditions.
See Jonathan Ellsworth’s review of the Belafonte.