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2014-2015 Dynastar Cham 107

Ryan Caspar reviews the Dynastar Cham 107, Blister Gear Review

14/15 Dynastar Cham 107

First Look

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:

Specs

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.

Stiffness

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.

Hardpack Performance

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.

10 Comments

  1. VK October 5, 2012 Reply

    Thanks Ryan for this (and other very good reviews – this is the best review site).

    Just one question, have you skied on High Mountain version of Cham 107 and if you have how did you find that ski (in general or in comparison to regual Cham 107)?
    Many thanks in advance!
    VK

  2. Ryan October 5, 2012 Reply

    VK,

    We only had the regular Cham 107 with us in Las Lenas. The High Mountain version shares the same sidecut and rocker profiles as the regular Cham 107, but has a lighter, softer wood core for touring.

    We will be sure to let you know if we have a chance to compare the two this season.

  3. Rupert February 7, 2013 Reply

    Hey,
    Thanks for another great and honest review! Do you know what the running length for the Cham107 190 please?
    And if you were to have to choose between the Cochise 185 and the Cham107 190, what would you go for as a one ski quiver? (You’re going to tell me to grab the Bonafide and line up some super fat alongside these is my guess).
    Big thanks,
    Rup

  4. Matt Stapleton February 16, 2013 Reply

    Ryan, spot on review of the Cham 107 in the 184. I skied them last spring at Crystal Mountain in Washington. Bluebird spring day starting with firm groomers and turning into nice corn both on and off piste as it warmed up. I agree with everything you wrote. One week ago I had the opportunity to ski the 190 version-loved it – much better than the 184. Stevens Pass Washington. Soft grippy groomers, variable soft (boot deep) off piste. On groomers I felt as if I was on a GS race ski, I could turn them short, medium and long, they were stable and confidence inspiring. In the 184 I could get the tail to wash out, the 190 no way, solid and I felt no tip deflection no speed limit,I was laughing it was so much fun. In variable soft chop they were solid and just killed it-crud killer like last years Pro Rider 105. I did get them into some big soft bumps on 7th Heaven and they took some work to get through them, beat me up a bit, they are stiff. Later in the day on Tye Mill I took them into some medium size firm bumps, I was getting knocked around until I assumed a centered stance and Slarved/Pivoted them at slow to moderate speed, it became easy and fun-lesson learned. I really like this ski and am considering replacing my almost new Atomic Rituals for them but; I want to ski the 107 in some fresh pow, then ski the Cochise and lastly move my bindings to the team line on my Rituals before I decide.

  5. Joel March 20, 2013 Reply

    This review makes no sense, this ski is nothing if not damp. At your weight, I think you need to size down to 178.

  6. Blister Member
    David Helmersen February 27, 2014 Reply

    Just wondering if you have any plans of testing the cham 107 High mountain, or the new 2015 cham 117. Thanks

  7. Ian December 12, 2014 Reply

    If you’re a strong, traditional type skier (i.e., ex-racer), try moving the bindings on the 184 Cham 107 1 cm back from recommended. I noticed a huge difference in everything from high speed GS to powder. The ski just felt more balanced. I sent quite a few people out on our demos 1 cm back and people seemed to like the feel of the ski better.

  8. David Jensen December 19, 2014 Reply

    Your review for the 2014/15 ski states that you have mounted this ski on the recommended line. Is that the front line or -2cm back line? It is important to clarify this because I have the 2014 ski in a 190cm length originally mounted on the recommended line (the only line marked on that year’s ski) and eventually had it re-mounted 2 cm back from that position after contacting Dynastar and Reine Barkered . The difference is quite noticeable and in fact all of the Dynastar pro free ride guys mount at this spot. I can say that the ski is just as quick but slightly more stable when bombing through crud and crap snow conditions. If you ski with stiff race boots and are a technical skier (ex racer or instructor) and power the ski with plenty of forward pressure then this position is vastly superior to the front line. The ski is stout, stiff in the mid body and tail, and quite damp (becoming livelier at speed -but doesn’t everything!),so a softer fore body allows it to skim up and over pow and crud when your speed is up. For this ski, faster is better, and slower is heavy and quite dead in feeling. The key to finding the best ski for any skier is to demo that ski if possible (in as many conditions as possible) because most of the magazine ski reviews are bullshit and too many buyers look at what some racer or top free rider is using, and that might not be the best criteria for making an informed choice. Gear is not getting any cheaper!!

    • Colin September 11, 2015 Reply

      “Gear is not getting any cheaper!!”

      At the $199 ($206 shipped) I just picked up a pair of these for, it actually is… :-)

  9. Ryan April 11, 2016 Reply

    Just put these away after my first year on them, probably had about 20 days on them if I had to guess, in an extreme variety of snow conditions at multiple ski areas. My first impressions were not good at all, it was a hard pack day and I felt that chatter you talked about. After a few days though, 1 spent teaching a friend to ski where I really got a feel for them and a deep powder day, I realized I’d found the only real weakness of the Cham. They do chatter at high speed. The edge under your foot holds, but the ski bounces and it does make you a little nervous they’re going to give out. I found they were really quick for how big they are, I spent a few days skiing bumps constantly because there just wasn’t powder in February. The float is good, not a true powder ski, but they are still an absolute blast in deep conditions. Overall, I’m really impressed, they just feel fun to ski, and I’m not ever thinking about the skis limitations. While they may not be the ideal ski for the chute I’ve just dropped into, or the mogul field after it, or the groomer back to the lift, or the powder on the next run, they ski any snow type and terrain well. If you plan on flying groomers first, and skiing all terrain second, I’d go a little longer and stiffer. But if it’s the other way around, it’s a ski I would definitely recommend.

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