On day three we woke to a little more new snow, and were able to get into some deeper untracked conditions off the Marte and Vulcano Lifts. In the three to four inches of denser, drifted snow, the Ritual still floated very well. Again, I experienced no stability issues shifting from denser to lighter patches of wind-affected snow and easy, predictable pivoting and slashing. This reminded me of how well the ski did in eight inches of heavier pow in the Jackson Hole sidecountry on The Nose of Four Pines in March. In both cases, it floated better than expected for a 103mm-waisted ski and was easy to maneuver for its 190cm length.
Later in the day on Marte, we got into some more technical terrain in the Erare Humanum Est chute. In the steeper terrain, where we found a mix of wind-blown powder and sloughed off chalk, the conditions were fairly demanding. I might have preferred a damper ski with a more traditional tail, like the Kastle FX 104, but the Ritual still held up well, remaining nice and responsive thanks to a relatively light swing weight.
Farther down the chute, the light wind crust thickened to a dense, two-inch cap in which the Ritual struggled. When I got in the backseat, I had to work to maintain control as the tails got caught up in the crust. If you need a ski to really dominate these sort of variable conditions, the Ritual may not be it.
In the lower section of the chute, we found some deeper, lighter snow where the Ritual again floated well. In the eight- or nine-inch drifts, I had a blast slashing pow up to create a few small face shots. The ski responded very precisely to those maneuvers. Nearing the bottom of Marte, I let the Ritual rip on a wide apron of 2-3” wind-drifted snow, where it was again comfortable and stable at high speed.
I like this ski. The Ritual can easily be slashed and skidded for reliable speed control and playfulness, but is still very suitable for advanced skiers looking for a substantial ski to use as an everyday all-mountain ripper for groomers to light powder. For intermediate skiers, this ski is forgiving and versatile enough to enjoy and grow into.
I have not had a chance to ski the Ritual in consistent, deep blower pow, trees, bumps, or off drops, and would like to continue to push this ski on steeper, open terrain where I can search for its speed limit. I have a feeling it will continue to do very well in these conditions.
NEXT: ROCKER PROFILE PICS
Promising good edge grip on hard snow, strong rebound through carved turns, and an impressive speed limit, the Atomic Ritual has the potential to be a big-mountain gun that might still be suitable for any given day of riding. We can't wait to find out.
In Jackson Hole, Emily Cleveland has found the Atomic Access to be lightweight, playful, and really easy to ski.
Armada didn't ditch the playful qualities of the JJ when they made the AK JJ, and you're certainly going to notice the family resemblance.