Ski: 2012-2013 Line Influence 105, 186cm
Dimensions (mm): 141-105-131
Sidecut Radius: 19.8 meters
Stated Weight Per Ski: 2261 grams
Mount Location: Factory Recommended Line
Boots / Bindings: Technica Dragon 120 / Marker Baron
Days skied: ~50
Test Locations: Alta, Snowbird, Wasatch Backcountry, Tushar Mountain Backcountry, Utah
[Editor’s Note: While we continue to roll out reviews of new skis for the upcoming season, we wanted to take a look back at a ski that recently got put out to pasture: the 12/13 Line Influence 105. It’s a very capable ski, and there are still some floating around out there. See why new Blister reviewer Brett Carroll thinks you might want to go find a pair.]
I grew up racing slalom and GS on East Coast ice before moving to Utah and making the switch to all-mountain / big-mountain skiing.
As a former racer, I would say that the Line Influence 105 feels like a GS ski that has been adapted to handle all-mountain conditions. It responds best when driving the shovels with strong, dynamic moves into and out of turns, and, like a race ski, you get out what you put in. When skied aggressively, these skis are fun and poppy. Get lazy, however, and they will feel sluggish and unresponsive.
With a short rocker line in the tip of about 28cm, and a non-rockered, partially twinned tail, most of the ski’s length is in contact with the snow, which adds to their impressive stability. While the Influence 105 is very much a directional ski, the partial twin tip shape does allow for more versatility in turn shape when skiing off-piste conditions.
Lastly, although the 186cm Influence 105 isn’t a super light ski (~2261 grams per ski), most of that weight is underfoot, giving the ski a relatively light swing weight and making the ski more nimble than I had expected.
For me and my skiing style this ski is a perfect all mountain ripper, and nearly a one-ski quiver. I keep a pair of K2 Hellbents on reserve for the deepest of days, but use these for everything else.
Soft Bumps / Crud
As I noted above, the weight of these skis worried me about their performance in tighter spaces, bumps, and crud, where I would need to be able to make some quicker turns. As luck would have it, these were the conditions at Alta on my first day riding the skis. A storm five days before had left the mountain a smorgasbord of relatively soft bumps, choppy crud, and stashes of pow. I hopped on the Wildcat lift and pointed my new boards straight for the trees under the chair.
A few turns in, I learned my first lesson: ski these in the front seat. My previous pair of skis, the 2009 K2 Obsethed, had favored more of a neutral stance, and when I tried to ski these similarly I immediately found myself in the backseat playing catch-up with my own feet.
Regrouping, I dropped into a mogul field in an aggressive stance, much more in line with my racing roots. The difference was obvious, and the skis felt quick, poppy, and responsive. My worries about the skis not making tighter turns vanished, as in the variable snow I could easily transition from quick slalom to high speed GS-turns and back.
At higher speeds through the semi-firm, shallow, choppy snow, these skis refused to be bounced around, arcing turns through the crud like I was on a groomer. I reached the bottom smiling, and hopped back on for another lap.
Jumps / Drops / Landings
On my second lap I got a little more creative, and chose a line with some natural take off jumps and small-to-medium sized cliff drops. I certainly haven’t skied everything out there, but I have never ridden a ski that provides a better platform for take off or landing than the Influence 105.
Another place where the stiffness and dampness of these skis excel is on sketchy run-ins that keep the tips and tails of the softer, super fat pow skis (frequently seen around Alta) flapping away. These ride right through the ruts and bumps of those run ins, which made me feel much more confident and stable before reaching the take off.
Landings also feel effortless. As long as I was centered over the skis, the tails provided an incredibly stable platform even in variable or choppy snow. My only complaint is that landing backseat can lead to some shin bang, as the tails would not bend enough to let me tail press out of a backseat landing.
As for actually being in the air, the Influence 105 is a little heavy. I’ve never been one to spin off jumps, so for me this wasn’t a big issue, and the added weight actually added a feeling of stability to straight airs and shifties. However, I can see why someone who likes to throw spins off airs would complain about the swing weight. Although the swing weight is relatively light relative to the weight of the ski, the 105 still feels significantly heavier than a ski designed to spin.
A few runs later I went to meet a friend on the other side of the mountain, so I had the opportunity to test these out on a top-to-bottom groomer lap. Unlike the variable snow off piste where I was able to smear, slash, and generally select my turn shape more than I had expected, the Influence 105 has a very specific turn shape that they like to make on groomers.
After chattering through a few short-radius turns, I opened it up a little and immediately felt my edges lock in. I soon learned these skis love to make turns that are in line with their 19.8 meter turn radius—essentially perfect GS turns.
Just as in the bumps and crud, these skis are designed to be driven on groomers. This was ideal for me with my racing background and style of skiing, and I arced clean, fast GS turns all the way down to the bottom. These skis felt very torsionally rigid, which, in combination with their stiffness, left me feeling confident in their edge grip.
After a season on these in Utah, I learned that I could trust them to hold an edge on groomers just as I had trusted my GS skis back in my racing days. (Caveat: I never got to ski them on true boilerplate / blue ice, and on that stuff, I doubt they’d hold like a GS ski. But their edge grip never wavered on the firmest groomers that I skied last season.)
Dust on Crust
As an East Coast native, I just call these days powder days.
But whatever you call them, the Influence 105 performs well with a bit of fresh snow on top of a firm base layer. They are wide enough with just enough tip rocker to float through the deeper sections, but stiff and damp enough that they weren’t getting bounced around when I’d hit patches of firm snow in the middle of my line.
Steep, Technical Skiing
I can’t say this enough—the combination of stiffness, dampness, and edge grip on these skis inspires confidence. And of all the lines I skied this winter, a single day in Tanners Gulch illustrates this the best.
One morning at the end of April, a friend and I started boot packing up Tanners Gulch, trying to reach the top before the sun and the predicted 50-degree temps heated up the snow too much.
As we hiked, clouds started to roll in, the temperature dropped, and it started snowing lightly. By the time we reached the top of the line we realized that the spring corn we had hoped for had been replaced by frozen avalanche debris.
The top of the line required a small cornice drop into a 40-degree chute featuring a couple inches of fresh snow on top of an uneven, frozen bed surface. Even though the cornice drop was only a couple feet, given the circumstances I appreciated these skis’ stiffness and predictability for the landing and immediate speed-scrubbing turn.
I then made a series of quick short radius turns and was impressed by how even in these extreme conditions the Influence did not get bounced around.
Lower down, the chute became clogged by large boulders of frozen avalanche debris. As I picked my way through, I appreciated both the edge grip and relatively low swing weight of these skis. I felt confident in my ability to make short hop turns around these boulders, and in the ability of these skis to hold an edge after each hop turn.
We finally reached smooth snow on the apron below, and I felt comfortable making some larger, faster turns through the shallow layer of dust on crust.