Manufacturer’s Dimensions (mm): 141-113-128
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 141-114-129
Sidecut Radius: 28.5 meters
Actual Tip to Tail Length (straight tape pull): 182.0 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight Per Ski: 2181 grams & 2187 grams
Days Skied: 5
Test Location: Taos Ski Valley
[Editor’s Note: We published a First Look of the Wrenegade back in October. Now, with a handful of days on the Wren, it’s time to see how on point or off base my speculation was. The new additions to the First Look begin with “***“.]
We published a First Look of the ON3P Wrenegade for two main reasons:
(1) We’re jerks, so we wanted to further complicate the super fun / remarkably draining process of trying to figure out your ski quiver for the upcoming season.
(2) I really want to talk about this ski. Again. I’m psyched for it, psyched for what it might be able to do, and I want it to be on your radar.
In the 3rd* Annual Blister Awards from SIA this past January, we gave the 181cm our Dying To Try It award, and I wrote:
We ski Taos a lot. And at Taos, we ski Reforma a lot. And if you love Reforma, I don’t think it’s possible to look at the 181cm Wrenegade without thinking, “this ski was born to ski Reforma.”
The top of Reforma can get bumped up pretty big, so you don’t necessarily want to drag a ton of ski through there. The Wrenegade is 181 centimeters long, but it has a flat, subtly rockered tail. And it’s stiff—but not ridiculously stiff. It looks perfect to negotiate the top of Reforma, then open it up to make medium-sized turns through the middle of the run, then rage down and straightline the bottom section through the runout. It’s the only ski I saw at SIA that made me think, “I am dying to ski this down one very specific run.”
So yes, we’re dreaming of Reforma, and the 181 Wrenegade looks to be the perfect tool.
Furthermore, the ski looks to be an excellent variable-conditions and powder charger. Not an either / or, but both.
If that previous sentence didn’t get you to sit up straight, then the Wrenegade might not be the ski for you.
[*** I’ll say more below, but over the five days I’ve skied the Wren, I kept saying to myself, “Resort Powder Charger.” There is no more accurate description I can think of for this ski.]
Here’s what ON3P has to say about the Wrenegade:
“After approaching perfection this season, the Wrenegade returns for 13 / 14 largely unchanged. Its gradual tail rocker allows for maneuverability in soft snow and trees, while its tip shape provides excellent float and stability in variable snow. This ski is for those who enjoy nothing less than bombing down the mountain as fast as possible. With its larger turning radius and stiff flex, the Wrenegade demands a strong skier who has the ability to ski them the right way.”
Having stared at, flexed, weighed, and broken out the digital calipers on this ski … we’re inclined to believe ON3P’s description.
[*** I’ve had a very fun five days on this ski, and I’ve had it in a wide variety of snow conditions, and all over Taos’ wide variety of terrain. My speculations about this ski were pretty accurate, but the biggest surprise to me—still—has been just how good of a pow ski it is.]
Important Note: Weight
On their website, ON3P lists the weight of the 181cm Wrenegade at 2350 grams per ski. That sounds like a bit of a bulldozer for a 181cm ski.
But our pair didn’t feel heavy in the hand, and when we weighed them, the skis came in at 2181 and 2187 grams, respectively.
The weight and length seem perfect for what we’re hoping for: a pretty stiff ski that will still feel fairly quick while excelling at high speed in big bumps, tight trees, variable conditions, and pow.
I contacted the president of ON3P (check out our 20 Questions with Scott Andrus) to ask him about the weight. He said it was just a mistake on their website, and that their average weight per stock Wrenegade is 2180 grams, right in line with ours.
Again, awesome. These don’t feel too light (like they’ll be twitchy), nor do they feel like huge planks. In a word, they seem quite manageable.
[*** At my height and weight, “manageable” is very much the key word. These skis are substantial, but they are not a chore. But if you like dead-easy, super quick skis, you should probably look elsewhere, unless you’re about 15-20 lbs. heavier than me and you know that you like shorter skis. In that case, the 181 Wrenegade might still fit the bill.]
Length: 181 vs. 191
We admit that we’re having a little bit of a goldilocks problem here: 191cm on a ski like this with a relatively flat tail seemed like it could be a bit of a handful for where we wanted it to shine, especially at the stated weight of 2480 grams (we’re awaiting confirmation on that number). It seemed like while it would clearly deliver all of the stability we were looking for, it might not deliver the relative quickness.
But 181cm—or the straight tape measurement of 182.0 cm—feels a touch short, like it will deliver the quickness we want, but perhaps feel slightly lacking in the stability department?
Is the ski stout enough, with enough effective edge, to permit going a little shorter than normal to keep things quick in tighter trees and deep mogul troughs, while still providing adequate stability to fly?
Given the gorgeous, fat tail of the Wrenegade, and the very subtle tail rocker, we still think this shorter ski won’t ski that short. The stiffness is there, and the rocker line + splay combination looks like it’s just enough to allow the tails to release when you want them to in deep or variable snow.
[*** The 181 Wrenegade has been fun almost everywhere at Taos, and most surprisingly, in some very deep snow off of Highline Ridge. Yes, I’ll admit that 187cm Wrenegade sounds basically perfect—at ~185 lbs., I didn’t need more float out of the 181 Wrenegades, and I was surprised how much fun I had in bumps and trees on the 181s. But for making very fast, off-piste, big, open turns through variable conditions … I think I’d really like the 191s. Ergo, a 186 or 187cm Wrenegade would feel like the perfect porridge for me.
Lighter skiers looking for a ski like this ought to love the 181s. And bigger guys will probably like the 191s just fine. I’m definitely not here saying what I said about the 192cm Belafonte, that I doubt too many people really need more than a 187 Belafonte. If I spent less time in chutes, trees, and steep bumps, I might opt for the 191s myself.
While the comparisons I made in the First Look were to the Volkl Katana and the DPS Wailer 112RPC (see below), I’d also been thinking about how the Wrenegade would stack up to the Moment Belafonte and the Blizzard Cochise—non-pow skis that are great crud & chop skis.
At my weight, I would much prefer to ski pow / deep pow on the 182 Wrenegade, than on the 182 or 187cm Belafonte, or the 185 or 193 Blizzard Cochise. The Wrenegades planed beautifully in deep snow, and felt very much at home in the deep in ways that the Belafonte and Cochise do not.]
Handflexing the Wrenegade reveals a stiff tail and a softer shovel. The very tips of the skis are quite stiff, and then things soften up so that the forebody of the ski actually isn’t all that stout. But this reminds me a bit of the 182 and 187 Moment Belafonte, which don’t handflex all that stiff, but that pretty much never feel lacking when skiing hard and fast through crud.
[*** Again, the Wrenegade is a pretty substantial ski, but I wouldn’t call it a burly ski. And those shovels that I’d described as “not all that stout” have a lot to do with why the Wrenegade feels so at home in untracked pow and soft, cut up pow. The flex pattern felt spot on for resort powder charging.
But the flip side to this is that, while the 181 Wrenegade was easily a better pow ski than the 185 Cochise, 187 Belafonte, and 191 Katana, those other skis are better at raging down lines of firm, bumped up snow. Having said that, I have little doubt that the 191 Wrenegade would close that gap a bit.
So the “184.2cm” (true length) Cochise and the “185.4cm” (true length) Moment Belafonte get the nod over the “182cm” (true length) Wrenegade in very fast, firm, bumped up conditions, but the Wrenegade beats all of them in pow.]
Crud Buster + Powder Charger Revisited, Part I: ON3P Wrenegade vs. Volkl Katana
As I said at the top, the thing about the Wrenegade is that it looks like a ski that might truly be both, and that is easier said than done. The 191 Volkl Katana is one of our favorite crud and chop skis of all time, but I don’t view it as some out-of-this-world deep pow ski. All that metal doesn’t aid flotation. (And before we go any further, if anybody at Volkl is thinking about ditching the metal of the Katana, please don’t. Leave the Katana alone. Please.)
The 184cm & 191cm Katana both come in at 143-112-132mm, and the 184 has a 25.8 meter sidecut radius, while the 191cm Katana has a 28.2 meter radius. Look at the dimensions of the Wrenegade—are we looking at a cambered Katana here? One that shines at speed in variable snow, but perhaps offers better flotation?
[*** Better flotation for sure, and it’s probably a tie in soft, cut up conditions. But the nastier / more firm the conditions get, the more the Katana has the edge.]
The tip shape of the Wrenegade seems like it could be a bit more pow-friendly than that of the Katana. But if it is a bit more pow-friendly, will the Wrenegade still destroy crud like the Katana? And will the Wrenegade’s camber make it feel a little more alive on groomers? Those are the questions.
[*** When the groomers at Taos were the least bit soft, I loved the Wrenegades. They definitely felt more alive on groomers than the Katana, and felt very much at home carving big, fast, clean turns. I’m not really into making a ton of small slalom turns at more controlled speeds, and that’s not really how the Wrenegade wanted to be skied (unlike, say, the Nordica El Capo).
On steeper, windscoured, icier groomers (Taos’ Zagava), the Wrenegades were a lot less able to bite and carve. So you won’t be breaking this ski out both to ski pow and to carve ice, but no surprise there.]