The first was on a very warm and sunny afternoon when the upper mountain had warmed up enough to soften up the northerly facing aspects (remember, we’re in South America).
As I worked my way down the steep upper section of Mercurio, the snow was somewhat variable with a few turns on nice corn and a few on still frozen cement. Here, everything went smoothly as I kept speed well under control with some quick, effortless short-radius turns that the 108 easily executes in nearly all conditions.
Exiting the upper section into the wide-open apron, I quickly cut skiers’ right to the south side of Nausicaa. The sun-exposed aspect of the ridge offered exceptional 1-2” deep corn, and I quickly opened things up and smeared out long radius turns through the perfect corn. Here the insecurity I mentioned above was nonexistent and I soaked in some of the best turns of the day.
I decided to experiment a little and jumped sides of the ridge to the more southern exposure and firmer snow. It only took a couple of turns with my brain being rattled like I was holding onto a jackhammer for me to bail on that idea and cut farther skiers’ right to the sun-exposed ridge of la Pentalla.
Here again I found amazing 2-3” deep corn, but this time being at a lower elevation there were also a number of ski tracks traversing across the hill. With the softer snow, I had zero reservations about letting the skis run, cutting through the many traverses, and flying to the bottom.
The take-home message from that run was that these skis are not damp. As I said before, they provide excellent energy/rebound from turn to turn. They also give a nice kick when you lay on the tips or tails for nose/tail butters or an ollie. The flex also feels smooth and progressive as you lay into them.
What they absolutely don’t feel like is a super stable, heavy, wood cored or metal laminated ski. The Rocker2 108 has more of a “fiberglassy” feel to it (this is a sensation I’ve been struggling for a while now to convey) when conditions get firm. Again, I don’t necessarily consider this a weakness but a potential trade off for lighter weight and quickness. The 108 is designed for soft snow and playful, effortless skiing; to excel in these areas, which it does, there are going to be some tradeoffs.
The next major information-gathering run came when fellow reviewer Ryan Casper and I made the 35-minute hike up Cerro Martin. We dropped into Casco, a beautiful, south facing, consequential, ~1000-vertical-foot chute that is lined with rock ridges on both sides. It has a very steep entrance that quickly mellows out slightly, then dog-legs skiers’ right for its steepest section before opening up to a perfect run-out. Conditions in the chute were exceptional the morning prior (albeit thin in spots), but winds had taken its toll on the snow.
I dropped in cautiously and found just a light wind crust on the upper sections. I easily made my way down the first two big sections with short to medium arcs and plenty of slough cascading down. I slowed down slightly before cutting a bit to the right and navigating the steeper, lower section that had been absolutely torn apart by the wind.
Here again, I noticed the feeling of a short effective edge—especially in front of my boots—and also the sensation of a slightly softer tip flex than the flex of the tails. In this steep, choppy, and exposed terrain, I had a difficult time fully trusting the skis as I moved quickly from turn to turn. This was basically the opposite of the skis I had just been skiing, the Kästle West XX110. The Rocker2 108 didn’t offer as stable and consistent of a platform, and instead was jostled around by the challenging snow. Nonetheless, I navigated the section with only a slightly elevated pulse rate, jumped over a small glide crack, and made my way out onto the run-out.
Even the run-out offered a nice blanket of test snow, as it varied on each turn from perfect, dense pow to chalky wind slab. On this mellower slope, I had no difficulty at all smearing medium- and long-radius turns over the variable snow at decent speed.
I wish I could say I was able to spend a couple of days sessioning a kicker on the Rocker2 108, but unfortunately that is going to have to wait until the snow starts flying at Alta. The few times I did find a safe natural hit, I chucked a couple unnatural 3s, and a handful of (played out) shifty’s.
Whenever I was in the air on the 108s, I felt completely comfortable. Popping off things, the skis feel very predictable and smooth, and they have a very nice swing weight given their length—which I would attribute to their honeycomb tip and tails. There will be much more to come in this department (insert smiley face).
Bottom Line (For Now):
While there is still a lot of time to be had on this ski to find out how it performs in other conditions, my initial impression of the Rocker2 108 is very favorable. The limitations are easy to identify, and it is easy to adjust your skiing accordingly when you encounter extra-firm bumpy snow conditions.
If the snow is soft at all, the 108s are super easy to ride and exceptionally fun. I’m very excited for Wildcat and Eagle’s Nest laps once Alta opens so I can play in the trees and fly through the air.
In short, the Salomon Rocker2 108 is a super playful ski with a modern feel that excels in soft conditions.
And I promise, there will be more to come….
See Will Brown’s 2nd Look at the Salomon Rocker2 108
NEXT PAGE: ROCKER PROFILE PICS
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