Ski: 2014-2015 Line Mr. Pollard’s Opus, 185cm
Dimensions (mm): 144-118-141
Turn Radius: 17.2 meters
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 183.4cm
Boots / Bindings: Nordica Supercharger Ignition / Marker Griffin (DIN at 11)
Mount Location: recommended line (- 2 cm from center)
Test Location: Niseko, Japan
Days Skied: 3
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 Opus, which is unchanged for 13/14 & 14/15, except for the graphics.]
In their website description of Eric Pollard’s pro model, Line states that an opus is defined as a great work of art or literature, especially the single, greatest work of an artist.
But that is actually the definition of magnum opus; an opus is commonly defined as a musical composition by a particular composer, generally catalogued in order of publication.
Maybe Line thought Mr. Pollard’s Magnum Opus was a little over the top. Personally, I think it sounds badass.
In any case, Line believes that Eric Pollard has created his masterpiece. After more than a decade of tweaking his fattest pro model, Eric settled on the current design and is bringing back the Opus unchanged for the 2013/2014 season.
I was excited to hear that Eric had mellowed out his pro model when the Opus was introduced in the 2011/2012 season. The older EP Pro was fun in untracked snow, but it was less than ideal for skiing just about anything else. By adding camber underfoot, stiffening the flex, mellowing the rocker, and narrowing the ski, the Opus looked to be a jibbing machine that could be skied on a more regular basis.
What I have found is that, while Mr. Pollard’s Opus is more versatile than some of Eric’s earlier designs, it’s still a ski that works best in conditions like those that we’ve had every day so far here in Niseko. From its shape to its beautiful oriental-inspired topsheet and bases, the Opus seems to belong here.
Over the course of the last few days, I have been able to test the Opus in a variety of soft snow conditions, from blower pow to warmer, denser snow riddled with fallen, tree pillow land mines. And at this point I can say the Opus floats better than the old EP Pro and is versatile enough to be fun from the first chair to the last.
While skis like the K2 Hellbent and the original EP, with their aggressive rocker profiles, are a blast in deep, untouched snow, they ski rather slow at times. You can really feel the snow push back against a massively rockered shovel on a ski like that. This push back is most noticeable when landing into deeper snow after an air. It’s like a slow waterski start where you plow through the water for a couple seconds before beginning to plane over the water’s surface.
Line (and other manufacturers) have addressed this issue by reducing the amount of rocker splay and smoothing out the profile on earlier, more aggressively rockered ski designs. Line likes to say that this shallower rocker on the Opus lets you plane instead of plow through the pow. And, yes, the Opus does indeed plane over fresh snow. The sensation of getting pushed back upon reentry into powder is greatly reduced, making floatation more consistent and smooth.
In addition to helping the ski plane, a stiffer flex compared to the old EPs helps to prevent the ski from folding in half when throwing it sideways at speed.
I did, however, miss that massive splay of the old EP and the K2 Hellbent when skiing switch in powder. With the Opus, I was quickly tossed onto my ass if I didn’t anticipate tracks cutting across the wide open and mostly untouched lines off the Fuiwara gate. The shallower rocker would dive under the snow if I didn’t stay balanced over my toes in these conditions. With more tail rocker, I am able to slow myself down and make turns more easily.
When I am skiing switch, I am usually skiing at moderate speeds that I control by making rather frequent turns. I certainly don’t pretend to be as good as the likes of Pollard, so a more forgiving tail would better suit my switch skiing abilities and make things easier for your average freestyle skier.
Now, if we are talking about ripping the resort, fresh snow only lasts so long. The Opus’ rocker/camber profile allows the ski to be enjoyed in a far wider range of conditions than the old EP.
I wasn’t afraid of washing out to my face when throwing 1s into chopped up landings in the Super Area off the Ace Center 4 lift. The Opus is forgiving on less-than-stomped landings in tracked conditions, both forward and backward. This is a key characteristic when hopping blindly off pillows in Niseko’s closely spaced trees. Over the course of the last few days, I have managed to pull off a number of imperfect landings in tight, skied-out trees without impaling myself.
With a short, 17.2-meter turn radius, a light swing weight, and a near-centered stance, the Opus was easy to weave though trees. I confidently negotiated the tightest trees in the Mizuno No Sawa avalanche control area and on Mirarashi off the Hirafu Gondola, and was able to place sharp turns wherever I pleased.