2015-2016 SkiLogik Powderball

Review of the SkiLogik Powderball, Blister Gear Review

14/15 SkiLogik Powderball

Ski: 2015-2016 SkiLogik Powderball, 188cm

Dimensions (mm): 144-112-133

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 186.7cm

Sidecut Radius: 14 meters

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1,937 grams & 1,870 grams

Boots / Bindings: Atomic Redster Pro 13 / Marker Jester (DIN at 10)

Mount Location: Factory Recommended Line

Test Location: Taos; Alta

Days Skied: 7

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 Powderball, which was not changed for 13/14, 14/15, or 15/16,  except for the graphics.]

Manufacturers always get points in our book when their product descriptions actually bear some resemblance to the product themselves, and don’t read like the work of some over-caffeinated PR person. So +1 to SkiLogik for their pretty accurate description of the Powderball:

“The Powderball is the ideal choice for skiers of all levels who are looking for an easy powder ski to make memories on deep snow. Soft flex and large rocker combine to provide outstanding flotation, while the short radius and pintail make for easy turning and shedding [sic]. Linking turns on fresh snow and floating through cut-up pow has never been easier. There’s nothing more special than a Powderball day.”

Note that the word “easy” appears twice in there.

It should.

The Powderball is indeed an “easy powder ski,” with soft flex, large rocker, and short sidecut radius.

Note that SkiLogik does not call this a one-ski quiver.

It’s not.

It’s a fun, easy, quick, predictable, lightweight ski. It’s not designed to rage down bumped-up, bulletproof hardpack.

I would quibble over calling it a pintail—we define a “pintail” as a ski where the widest point of the tail (in this case 133mm) is less than 10 millimeters wider than the narrowest point of its waist (in this case 112mm)—but it is certainly a shaped, tapered tail, and it is super easy to release—actually, it just never gets hung up.

This is definitely one of those skis (like the 12/13 Line Influence 115, the DPS Wailer 112RP, and the Rossignol S3) where a broad range of skiers—including beginners and intermediates—can hop on it and go have a good time.

The Powderball is dead easy in pow, incredibly quick in trees, produces no tip dive, has no quirky or unpredictable traits, and feels responsive and light on your feet.

Flex Pattern & Some Comparisons

In soft snow, the shape and feel of the Powderball (144-112-133mm) reminded me a lot of the DPS Wailer 112RP Hybrid (142-112-128mm) and the 12/13-13/14 Line Influence 115 (145-115-131). All three skis are easy and share the qualities of the Powderball I listed above.

Hand flexing these skis, the Powderball is definitely the softest of the three. There really is no firm section in the pattern at all, and this initially had me worried.

The Wailer 112RP is noticeably stiffer throughout, though again (and somewhat surprisingly), I didn’t find that the soft flex caused issues in soft now, even in steep, fairly technical terrain.

Pow

I’ve had these skis all over Taos and Alta. Alta’s Baldy Shoulder, Bad News, Jake’s, Wildcat, Catherine’s, Fred’s Trees, Eagle’s Nest, etc.; Taos’ Highline Ridge (Two Bucks, Corner Chute, etc.), West Basin (Stauffenberg, Zdarsky, Meatball, etc.), Longhorn, Reforma, Tell Trees, Walkyries….

SkiLogik Powderball, Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth, Baldy Shoulder, Alta Ski Area.

In good, soft snow, I would feel OK sending anyone from a beginner to an expert out on these, for all of the reasons I’ve mentioned above, and for these reasons below.

Taos: 3.09.13

3.09.13 was one of my Top 10 days at Taos ever (there’ve been several of those this season), and I was on the Ski Logik Powderball from bell to bell.

In deep steeps around Meatball, these skis were fantastic, and they are a phenomenal tree ski on pow days—you may have noticed that tight, 14-meter sidecut radius, as well as our measured weight per ski.

Jonathan Ellsworth, SkiLogik Powderball, Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth, North Chute, Taos Ski Valley.

These skis are quick and light, and they even handled some of Taos’ steep, bumped-up tree runs far better than I would have anticipated. I felt very comfortable at speed in soft snow on these, and if you’re someone who is happier at slow to moderate speeds, I think you’ll like this ski even more.

Plus, we were banging out ridge laps for three straight days, and I was grateful for how light these skis felt on my shoulder while hiking.

Also worth noting: the Powderball felt noticeably lighter on my feet than the 190cm Salomon Rocker2 108, and was much easier in tight trees than the Rocker2 108, which I’ve always thought of as a very easy ski to navigate through tight spaces.

 

15 Comments

  1. Blister Member
    Hannes March 26, 2013 Reply

    Have you skied the Howitzer (186) as well? From what I have heard it is on the stiffer side. Would be interesting to hear from you, if anyone from Blister spent some time on it.

    I was wondering about your comment regarding the relatively soft and thin base. According to skilogic they use “the hardest sintered base material on earth (…) extraordinarily durable against rocks”.

    • Author

      Hey, Hannes – I have spent some time on the Howitzer, and Will Brown is currently finishing up a review of it. It’s definitely on the stiffer side.

      As for the bases, I generally don’t like saying much either about how “bomber” or “soft” a particular ski’s (or company’s) bases are, because it’s just so anecdotal. I’m definitely not claiming that the bases of the Powderball are alarmingly soft or anything, but if you’re billygoating through rocks frequently, I think there are thicker, harder bases out there—usually found on much heavier skis.

  2. Blister Member
    Hannes March 27, 2013 Reply

    Thank’s for your input Jonathan. I totally see your point. However, in an ideal world – you will agree – a ski not only skis awesome, but also lasts. Skilogik is a company putting an emphasis on how well built and durable their products are and this lead me to the question. Yet, at a weight below 4kg for the pair I realize that you have to make compromises at some point.

  3. Angus February 22, 2014 Reply

    Excellent review as usual. I’m thinking this could be next season’s ski. I’m 6’0 185lbs intermediate off piste/advanced on piste looking for a ski that is as nimble as possible in tight trees on 40 degree slopes in powder. I will be going back to Gulmarg and probably Japan and Tahoe over the next couple of years. I am considering the Armada JJ 185 and the RMU North Shore 185 as well. How would you say the 188 Powderball compares to these? It would be great if the ski I bought would cope with variable snow well and didn’t dive in deep powder but agility in steep, tight trees is my priority.

    Best ski review site I’ve found btw. Thanks.

    • Author

      Thanks, Angus – as I hope my review makes clear, this is an excellent choice if you’re looking for “a ski that is as nimble as possible in tight trees on 40 degree slopes in powder.” I haven’t skied the North Shore, but I never got tip dive on this ski in the way I did on the JJ – that JJ is more forward mounted since it is designed to trick and spin; the Powderball has a more traditional, directional mount point that is farther back. So if you aren’t spinning these, I’d recommend them as a pow ski over the JJ.

  4. Rod November 16, 2014 Reply

    Just trying to calibrate my thinking.

    You are saying that these skis are good in trees because of the 14m radius..

    I ski katanas, metal, and it seems that they are pretty nimble in powder, in the trees, provided you dont get in the back seat.

    Does the turn radius make a difference in powder?

    • Author

      Hi, Rod – short answer: Yes. Longer answer: I definitely don’t wish to isolate the 14m radius as the sole reason that the Powderball is good in trees – also important are the light weight and soft flex pattern of the skis, which allow them to work well at slower speeds – much better than a ski like the Katana (or at least, the 191 Katana we reviewed and love) that requires more speed to make quick turns.

      Also, if you’re skiing pow from a very centered or backseat stance, then a smaller sidecut will matter less. But if you’re staying more forward on the skis, the rocker profile + sidecut radius will help / cause the skis to hook up faster and turn more. Not something you necessarily want for skiing open faces at speed, but a trait that many find desirable in tighter trees.

  5. Frame November 23, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan, per a comment on a prior thread about ski’s for those not at expert level, message received in this review. Ha ha. Thanks for covering a range of ski’s.

  6. billy January 16, 2015 Reply

    hey jonathan,
    first off, great site! thanks so much for creating all this. read above you’ve put some time in on the howitzers, and wanted your opinion on something.

    I’m heading out on a few trips in the next month to utah, co, and jackson, and want to invest in a new one-ski quiver. I’m 30, 5’11, 170, and grew up racing out of wilson, wy. my days are now probably 1/4 resort/backcountry, with the majority in the sierras. gonna be putting some at bindings on em and will be doing a fair amount of side/backcountry, but need a pair that can also hold speed on groomers and can handle drops and maybe some backcountry kickers. the majority of the days the skis will see will probably be with about 6-12″ of fresh, but there’ll be some hardpacked ones in between. i can get a deal at a local shop on a pair of soul 7 188s or on some ski logik howitzers in a 186. would really appreciate your recs, as it seems you guys have skied em all.

    huge thanks in advance

    • Author

      Thanks, Billy – happy to try to help, but honestly, these two skis don’t really have that much in common, and I’d hope the reviews of each would make that clear. The Howitzer is more of a directional charger, the Soul 7 is a lightweight, quick freestyle ski that isn’t at its best in tougher conditions. Think through your own style, and the conditions you will realistically use these skis in, and reread the reviews. Seems like one or the other will become the better choice for you.

  7. Matt February 19, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for the review. I only have one unanswered question… how would these do as a dedicated backcountry ski? Is the rocker too big to hold grip while skinning? Would they leave you high and dry if you found a wind or sun crust, or would you be able to get down in one piece?

  8. Andrew December 19, 2017 Reply

    i know this is a super long shot to a old article…but does anyone have any idea where i might be able to find a pair of these? even used?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Wills December 19, 2017 Reply

      Hey Andrew,
      A friend just directed me to this thread. I have a pair of 2016 SkiLogik Howitzer 188’s (also reviewed on here), unmounted and untouched. Drop me a note if you’re interested in discussing further, at fixedfilms13@gmail.com.

      Thanks,

      Wills

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