2014-2015 Dynastar Cham 107, 184cm
Dimensions (mm): 130-137-107-122-98
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 182.5 cm
Sidecut Radius: 21 meters
Boots / Bindings: Lange RX 130 / Look demo 12 (DIN at 10)
Mount Location: On the line
Test Location: Las Leñas Ski Resort
Days Skied: 4
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 Cham 107, which is unchanged for 13/14 and 14/15, except for the graphics.]
Upon first examination of the Dynastar Cham 107, I was a bit puzzled by the unique shape. The combination of a rockered tip and a flat tail, with taper in both the tip and the tail threw me off. I had no clear assumptions of how the Cham 107 would ski. Here’s why:
The rocker line of the Cham 107 extends about 36.8 centimeters from the tip. From there, the ski has positive camber all the way down through the tail. The widest point of the shovel (130mm) is about 24 cm from the top of the ski’s tip, ~13cm shy of the transition from rocker to camber.
The 21m traditional sidecut, measured from the widest point of the shovel, runs ~133cm cm until it reaches the widest point of the tail (122mm). From there the tail tapers for the last 24.7cm, to ~98mm, at which point the tail kicks up about half a centimeter for the last 1.3 centimeters of ski.
All of this adds up to a unique sidecut and camber profile, especially in the tail. I am not aware of (and certainly have not skied anything) that is both tapered and fully cambered through the tail.
The Cham 107 has a stiff flex through the midsection that softens slightly through the tail—a stiffer hand flex than the Fischer Watea 106 I had been skiing, but not as even from the rocker point though the tail. The tip is softer than the rest of the ski, but still has a moderate flex, not nearly as soft as the tips of, say, the Salomon Rocker 2 115 tip or the Nordica Patrón.
At first glance, then, it seems that Dynastar took a carving ski, made it wider, and put some rocker in the tip and taper into both the tip and tail. I was curious to see how this variation of rocker, camber and taper would feel on snow.
In our second week in Las Leñas, I finally got out on the Cham 107. Conditions had shifted to a late winter / early spring melt-freeze cycle. On my first day on the Cham, we skied firm groomers for the first few hours, and I hesitantly began carving under the Vulcano lift. When I skied fast and aggressively, the first thing I noticed was that the Cham was not nearly as stable and confidence inspiring as the longer (190cm) Watea 106. The Cham chattered quite a bit when I encountered firm variations and ripples in the snow at higher speeds, and was decidedly not damp.
After a few laps down Vulcano, we headed up the Marte lift only to find more of the same conditions, so we stayed on groomers. After a few runs of shredding down Luna and Jupiter, the skis continued to chatter at high speeds, but I realized that despite the chattering, when I stood strong on the ski, it tracked well.
In the lower-angled middle section of Luna 2, I slowed down and made more controlled carves, and the Cham held an edge well in the firm snow. In both faster and slower carves, the Cham held the desired turn radius through the middle of the turn, but didn’t provide a ton of energy coming out of the turn.
At the end of the run where it had begun to warm up and soften, I began sliding turns at low speed, and this was where the Cham started to feel really good. When pushing around the recently warmed corn, it felt like I had found the sweet spot, and the Cham was very predictable with the tail sliding through the turn and releasing easily.
Day 2: Vulcano and Mercurio
Day 2 brought similar conditions, with some warmer temps in the afternoon. Again, we started out on Vulcano, and I began to develop more confidence in the Cham’s carving ability. When the snow softened down low, I started railing the ski hard and found that it held an edge well through the soft groomers.
I did feel a subtle instability while carving, as though I could easily fall if I leaned in; I’m not sure whether this was due to the relatively short length (tip-to-tail = 182.5cm), or due to the taper and short (~133cm) traditional sidecut of the ski. (My time on the Kästle FX104, which is a totally different ski, more traditionally shaped with a sidecut that extends from the tip to the tail, but listed at the same overall length, leads me to believe it is the latter.)
In the afternoon of day 2, temperatures warmed enough for the resort to open the Marte chutes from Eduardo over, so we headed up high to check out the steeper, more technical terrain. On our first run off Marte we dropped into Mercurio. The northeast aspect of the ridge had just recently softened, and if you ventured too close to the areas of snow that had not seen sun all day, the snow was more like coral reef than corn.
I started out making slow, controlled slide-and-slarve turns through the soft section, and, as I experienced on day 1, the Cham 107 was smooth and predictable through the variable snow. The tails slid easily, they released with precision, and it was fun to make easy turns at low to medium speed in the softer corn.
Through the middle of the open gully, I made increasingly larger slarve turns, and at first the Cham was fine—no hooking—but when I picked up speed, the heavy, variable mank started to push the ski around and it became a bit more unstable. The lack of dampness was a disadvantage in this section, and the ski felt soft. I also noticed that the tips started to feel a little hooky when I applied increased edge angle in the heavier sections.