Ski: 2012-2013 Salomon Rocker2 108, 190cm
Dimensions (mm): 137-111-130
(Note: the 182cm, 174cm, and 166cm models are all 108mm underfoot, with narrower tip and tail dimensions in the shorter lengths)
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 188.9cm
Sidecut Radius: 19.7 meters
Boots / Bindings: Dalbello KRII Pro / Marker Jester Demo (DIN at 10)
Mount Location: “Recommended” (-3 from center)
Test Location: Las Leñas Ski Resort
Days Skied: 4
One thing is becoming very clear concerning the 2012-2013 ski season: there are a number of skis in the 100-110 class that are incredibly fun to ride, and the Salomon Rocker2 108 is most definitely among them. The real key is going to be determining which ski is best suited for you, since each of these skis has its distinctive characteristics and feel.
For the Rocker2 108, the most significant quality I have found stems from its sidecut shape. Obviously flex and construction affect the ski as well, but the shape gives the ski its defining traits.
Taking a look at the sidecut, it is easy to see the tip has quite a bit of early taper. This obviously brings the widest point of the tip significantly closer to the binding and decreases the effective edge length on firm snow. The tail reveals a much more traditional sidecut shape, with the widest point very close to the actual tail.
The 108 has a fairly long tip and tail rocker profile, with slight camber underfoot. (See rocker pics on page 3.) Combine all of the above attributes with a “modern,” forward mount location, and you get a ski with the following characteristics.
(Before going further, I need to underscore that this is an initial review. There will be much more to say about this ski once the North American winter hits, and I‘m very excited to continue to play on—um, I mean test—the 108.)
First off, the ski turns effortlessly at slow to medium speeds. Many of my warm-up runs each day were accessed from the Caris or Vulcano lifts on the front side of Las Leñas. Vulcano 1 was one of my favorite laps to start each day because it offered a moderately steep, consistent, long, and wide groomed run, with some fun little opportunities for air stashed here and there. Whether it was perfectly flat corduroy or pushed-around corn, the 108 could execute short-, medium-, and long-radius turns at slow to moderate speeds extremely easily.
Turn shape could be adjusted very simply by varying the amount the tails were allowed to slide through each turn. The 108 also felt comfortable opening up arcs and laying down railroad tracks so long as speeds were kept in check. This leads me to my first “criticism” of the ski, but first I must also add that the ski provided excellent energy rebound from turn to turn.
As I mentioned, the Rocker2 108 has a fairly significant amount of tip taper and a recommended mounting position that is only -3cm from center. This leads to a sensation that you are (1) riding a shorter ski than you actually are and (2) placed really far forward on the effective edge / sidecut.
What this translates to, on- or off-piste, is some insecurity when you start cookin’ down the mountain, especially when the snow is firm or punchy. I’m not necessarily calling these characteristics a bad thing, but maybe a trade off for the easy-to-ski nature, and smeary, soft snow characteristics. As always, it depends on what you’re looking for.
Taking the skis off-piste where they belong, I lapped the Marte lift to access Las Leñas’ mind-blowing in-bounds and side-country terrain. There are two runs that stand out in my mind that helped identify the strengths and limitations of the 108….
The new Salomon Rocker2 115 is a big-mountain gun that shows some range—surprisingly easy and fun on groomers, yet still likely to satisfy the hard-charging crowd on any pow day.
Kästle has gone in a new direction with their fully symmetrical West XX110, and Colby West and Kästle both deserve a standing ovation for this pow / jib ski that can handle big-mountain lines.
The Atomic Ritual can be easily slashed and skidded, but is still a substantial ski to use as an everyday all-mountain charger.