Ski: 2016-2017 Line Supernatural 100, 186cm
Available Lengths: 172, 179, 186 cm
Actual Tip-To-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 184.6cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 132-100-121
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 131-99-120
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2199 & 2189 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius: 23 meters
Core Construction: Maple/Aspen + Titanal + Fiberglass Laminate
Tip & Tail Splay: 56 / 20 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3-4 mm
Boots / Bindings: Tecnica Cochise 130 Pro / Marker Jester (DIN 11)
Test Locations: Alta Ski Area, Snowbird
Days Skied: 9[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Supernatural 100, which was not changed for 15/16 or 16/17, except for the graphics.]
If you’ve read my review of the Line Influence 105, then you know I’m quite fond of that ski. So while I was disappointed that Line discontinued the Influence series after the 2012-2013 season, I was immediately intrigued by the new Supernatural series, and very curious to see how the new Supernatural 100 compared to the Influence 105. A few weeks later, I was headed up to Alta with the Supernatural 100, and the assignment to A/B this new model against the Influence 105, as well as the new Line Supernatural 108.
(Jonathan Ellsworth has already written a first review of the Supernatural 108, and he will be doing a 2nd Look on the Supernatural 100, comparing it to a number of other ~100mm-underfoot skis in its class.)
The 186cm Supernatural 100 shares a very similar flex pattern to the 186cm Influence 105 and the 186cm Supernatural 108. All three skis gradually transition from stiff underfoot to a slightly softer tip and tail, with the tip being just a bit softer than the tail.
The Supernatural 100 is a touch softer than the Influence 105 at all points along the ski, although the 100 is still fairly stiff. And the Supernatural 108 is a touch stiffer than the Influence 105.
To reference another ski, the Supernatural 100 is about the same stiffness underfoot as the Nordica El Capo, but smoothly transitions to its softer tips and tails, where the El Capo’s transition to softer tips and tails is quite abrupt. The smooth flex patterns of the Supernatural 100, 108, and Influence 105 are superb in this respect. In my experience a smooth, consistent flex pattern that gradually moves from stiff underfoot to (slightly) softer at the extremities makes a ski predictable and stable, whereas skis with more abrupt transitions feel like they have trap doors that fold up when pressured too much.
Rocker / Camber Profile
The tip rocker of the Supernatural 100 is slightly more subtle than the Influence 105, with contact points of ~26cm and ~28cm respectively. But the main difference between the rocker profiles of these models is that the tails of the Supernatural 100 are subtly rockered, with a contact point 17cm from the tail, where the Influence 105’s tails are traditionally cambered with a twin-tip that starts a just few centimeters from the end of the ski.
In my review of the Influence 105, I was very complimentary of its ability to carve and hold an edge on groomers. And while some of the details of the Supernatural 100’s groomer performance differ from the Influence 105’s, it’s also able to arc a clean turn and hold an edge in firm conditions.
The biggest difference in groomer performance I noticed between the Supernatural 100 and the Influence 105 is that the Supernatural 100 is better able to carve a wider variety of turn shapes. The 100’s slightly softer flex made it easier to bend through the belly of shorter slalom turns than the Influence 105. The Supernatural 100’s poppiness also helps the ski feel snappy and lively transitioning from one slalom turn to the next. I didn’t notice this as much when making larger GS turns (as the ski isn’t flexed as much through a longer turn, and as a result produces less energy coming out of its apex) but the Supernatural 100 is happy to open up and carve larger, faster arcs, too.
The Supernatural 100 feels very stable at speed on groomers. While not as damp as the Influence 105, it is able to absorb deflections on roughed up groomers well. I enjoyed being able to arc clean, fast turns, even when Alta’s main runs had seen a day’s worth of abuse. However, I still think I would take the Influence 105 over the Supernatural 100 for arcing turns on roughed up groomers, as the 100’s subtle tail rocker does make them slightly more prone to washing out.
For the record, the Supernatural 108’s groomer performance is more in line with that of the Influence 105, in that the it prefers to make larger radius GS turns (where the Supernatural 100 is also happy making quick, slalom turns). But, like the Supernatural 100, the 108’s subtle tail rocker also makes it a little more prone to washing out than the Influence 105.
The quick and poppy feel of the Supernatural 100 helps them to perform well in moguls. Their subtle rocker profile mitigated any issues with the tips or tails getting caught up on bumps, and their fairly stiff flex gave the skis a stable feeling without being overly stiff (to the point where the tips and tails left the middle of the ski suspended between two big moguls). All of this is true as long as you are making quick, dynamic, precise turns at moderate speeds, rather than charging over the tops of the bumps at high speeds. At those higher speeds, the Supernatural 100’s tips start to deflect, causing the ski to feel far less stable.
Firm Chop / Crud
In firm, choppy snow down runs like Alta’s Stone Crusher and High Rustler, the Supernatural 100 again excelled at quick, snappy turns at moderate speeds. The Influence 105 is better at making stable, fast GS turns in firm chop, but the Supernatural 100 felt quicker edge to edge and provided a bit more pop when making quick, dynamic turns. The 100 truly prefers this style of skiing.
Firm, Variable Snow
The Supernatural 100 lacks the extra width and dampness that gives the Influence 105 the ability to ski quickly and smoothly over firm, variable snow. As mentioned above, the 100’s softer flex and snappy feel make them more energetic through quick and moderately sized turns, but it makes them a bit more prone to being deflected at speed in variable conditions. Often times I felt like I was using my legs as shock absorbers to keep the Supernatural 100 on the snow and tracking cleanly, where the Influence 105 would have handled more of this work on its own.
Another difference between the Supernatural 100 and the Influence 105 comes from the 100’s subtly rockered tail. I can break the tails of the Influence 105 free and smear out a turn when I need to, but this is noticeably easier on the Supernatural 100. I appreciate being able to include a delayed, smeared turn into my repertoire on the 100s, as I can draw out a longer radius turn to get around an obstacle or switch to a different line.
Soft (Shallower) Chop
For a ski that is 100mm underfoot, I was impressed by how substantial the Supernatural 100 felt in soft chop conditions.
The tips of the ski are able to ride right over the top of soft, chopped up snow. I never had an issue with the tips feeling like they were diving into the chop, even while driving the shovels and skiing with a forward, aggressive stance. When skiing fast in this softer snow, the issue I had with the tips of the Supernatural 100 deflecting in firm chop and variable conditions was no longer a problem. Here the Supernatural 100s provided a solid, stable platform for skiing at a variety of speeds and through a variety of turn shapes. I’m still inclined to say that these skis perform best making quick, snappy turns in these conditions (where they feel poppier and more energetic than the Influence 105), but they performed well at speed, too.
The Supernatural 108’s performance is more similar to the Influence 105 here, in that it feels most comfortable skiing fast and making large turns in soft chop, and is also less nimble than the Supernatural 100 when making quick turns at moderate speeds.
Deep, Heavier Chop
The Supernatural 100 didn’t fare as well in deep, heavier chop. On a warm, sunny afternoon at Alta the day after the mountain had received 18” of new snow, I had enjoyed the 100’s soft chop performance all day. Then I took a run down Thirds. The new snow had been pushed into piles a couple feet high with deep troughs between, and the sun had started to bake the snow, making the piles fairly heavy. Trying to make large, fast turns on the Supernatural 100s in these conditions proved difficult, as the tips were repeatedly getting deflected and I wished I had a wider ski to keep me floating on top of the piles and more stable running through the troughs.
Either the Supernatural 108 or the Influence 105 probably would have done well here, as the extra stiffness, width, and dampness of those skis makes them better able to blast through and ski over the top of very deep chop. On the Supernatural 100, I was again better off making the quicker, moderate-speed turns that it prefers in firmer, variable conditions.