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2016-2017 Moment Belafonte

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Moment Belafonte for Blister Gear Review

Moment Belafonte

Ski: 2016-2017 Moment Belafonte, 186cm

Available Lengths: 168, 178, 186, 194 cm

Blister’s Measured Length (straight tape pull): 184.4cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 133-106-122

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 133-106-122

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2227 & 2249 grams

Stated Sidecut Radius: 25.5 meters

Core Construction: Aspen/Ash + Carbon Stringers + Fiberglass Laminate

Boots / Bindings: Salomon X Pro 120 & K2 Pinnacle 130 / Marker Jester

Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley, Alta Ski Area, Snowbird

Days Skied: 8

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Belafonte, which was not changed for 15/16 or 16/17, except for the graphics.]

It seems that the more I like a ski, the more certain it is that the ski will get redesigned or discontinued—e.g., 190cm Moment Bibby Pro, 184cm Volkl Mantra, 191cm Volkl Katana, 185cm Blizzard Cochise, and … the 187cm Moment Belafonte.

This season, as I put more days on the 2013-2014 187cm Belafonte, I came to like it more than ever. If you (a) like to ski fast, and (b) ski a lot of days in chop, crud, and rough terrain, and (c) tend to like stiffer skis that don’t have a lot of sidecut … then the Belafonte is tough to beat. There’s a reason why we have four full reviews of the Belafonte up on the site.

In my review of the LINE Supernatural 108, I made a comment that I was pretty sure I’d get flamed for: despite the legion of fans of the old, revered, non-rockered 186cm Dynastar XXL, I would take the 187 Belafonte over it in a heartbeat. The XXL is great at fast & straight or fast & big turns. But the 187cm Belafonte is very good at fast and straight, yet I find it to be much quicker and easier to handle in tight spots, and more fun to carve.

After having said they were going to overhaul the Belafonte for the 13/14 season, Moment actually ended up leaving the Belafonte unchanged, because they felt that they needed more time to tweak the new version. So they kept tweaking, got happy, and made the new Belafonte for 2014-2015.

So What Changes Did Moment Make to the Belafonte?

(1) Length, Weight, Dimensions, Sidecut Radius

The Belafonte formerly came in lengths of 174, 182, 187, and 192cms. The 14/15 Belafonte is slated to come in lengths of 168, 178, 186, and 194cm.

Some comparative specs:

Measured Length:

14/15, 186cm Belafonte, straight tape pull: 184.4cm

13/14, 187cm Belafonte, straight tape pull: 185.4cm

Measured Weight:

14/15, 186cm Belafonte: 2227 & 2249 grams

13/14, 187cm Belafonte: 2121 & 2223 grams

Measured Dimensions:

14/15, 186cm Belafonte: 134-106-123mm (note that the shovels got 5mm wider)

13/14, 187cm Belafonte: 129-105-123mm

Stated Sidecut Radius:

14/15, 186cm Belafonte: 25.5 meters

13/14, 187cm Belafonte: 27.4 meters

(2) Camber Profile

While Moment Night-Trained the new Bibby Pro this past season, they’ve Deathwish-ed the Belafonte for next season.

Well, if you want to be all accurate about it, they’ve ‘mullet-rockered’ the Belafonte, not dirty-mustache-rockered it, so it isn’t exactly the Deathwish.

(In Moment’s vernacular, “mullet rocker” skis = don’t have tail rocker, just tip rocker; “dirty mustache” rocker skis have both tip and tail rocker.)

Like the old Belafonte, the new Belafonte does not have tail rocker, just a heavily twinned tail. Ok, and technically, the rise of that tail starts just a little bit earlier than the old Belafonte. Barely earlier.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Moment Belafonte, Blister Gear Review

“Micro-camber” sections on the Moment Belafonte

But the new Belafonte has been Deathwish-ed in the sense that it is now “micro-cambered.”

We’ve been over this micro-camber stuff in our reviews of the 184cm and 190cm Deathwish, so I’m not going to repeat it here. But this is how Moment describes the new Belafonte:

“Rocker in the tip and camber underfoot, with micro-camber sections before and behind the binding. Easy turn initiation, stability and maneuverability for variable snow, with powerful edge hold and turn exit on hardpack.”

In conversations I had with the guys at Moment, they put it this way: they’d made the Belafonte a bit more manageable at slower speeds, without sacrificing its top end. And they assured me that these changes were subtle, and that the Belafonte was still the Belafonte.

That would be an impressive feat. I also wondered whether it was really a possible feat: give a ski a better low end without affecting its top end….

Well? Having skied both the old and the new Belafonte at Taos, Alta, and Snowbird, and having spent 4 days swapping between the new 186 and the previous 187, skiing the same lines in the same conditions, I can confirm that the changes are subtle. The new rocker profile looks far more different than it actually feels on snow.

The biggest difference I found? The shovels feel a bit softer on the new Belafonte. It’s not that noticeable around most of the mountain, but became most apparent to me when skiing roughed up groomers at very high speeds. The old Belafonte smooths out the ride better.

Having said that, the shovels aren’t so much softer that I found a big difference in the way the two skis perform at slower speeds. To achieve high-edge-angle carved turns, you still need speed—despite the new Belafonte’s camber profile, and despite the fact that it has more sidecut than the old Belafonte (check the dimensions above).

At lower edge angles (where you’re running a bit more bases flat), the new Belafonte works well and doesn’t ever feel “stuck,” and really, nobody in the market for a directional charger ought to be worried about this ski’s ability to slow down a good bit and still make turns. (But having just A/B-ed the two skis, I’m inclined to say pretty much the same thing about the old 187 Belafonte, too.)

Ok, given that we’ve already written 10 million words about the Belafonte, if you want to read about the overall performance of the Belafonte, check out our three reviews of the 182cm Belafonte (mineGarrett Altmann’s, and Will Brown’s) and my review of the 187.

So I’ll run through these specific sections pretty quickly.

Groomers

As noted above, they’re similar. The edge hold of both skis is quite good. The biggest difference is that the new Belafonte’s softer shovels don’t hold up quite as well (at least at my weight) as the old Belafonte on roughed up groomers and at speeds north of 40 or 50 miles an hour.

If you prefer to keep your speed in check a bit while making lots of turns rather than fewer turns, a ski like the new LINE Supernatural 100 or the Nordica El Capo might be the better fit. But neither of those skis are as good as the Belafonte at fast & straight or fast & big turns.

Deep Chop

In deep, soft chop, I appreciated the relatively stiff shovels of the new Belafonte, but in deep, really thick Utah chop, the 190cm Moment Bibby Pro is still probably the best tool I’ve ever used for such conditions—its wider to keep you more on top of the snow, still has a pretty substantial flex so the shovels aren’t folding on you, and it has more tip and tail rocker to keep you from getting hung up / caught up in those big piles of snow. In these conditions, I didn’t notice much difference from the old Belafonte.

16 Comments

  1. Marcel May 20, 2014 Reply

    I’m really curious to understand what Moment change in the construction to make a shorter, slightly softer ski that’s actually heavier! Still pretty close but I’d expect the difference to be towards lighter not heavier.

  2. Michael May 21, 2014 Reply

    I wish you would go into more detail addressing how much easier (to the extent it is easier) it is to ski the new version. For those of us who don’t straightline chop at 40mph, and instead make a larger number of shorter turns at moderate speeds, or in trees, how much a difference is there in turn initiation, making shorter carved turns. By way of (unfair) comparison, I ski the PB&J and I can just about meet myself coming around a corner on that ski. Is the new Belafonte significantly better at making short, round turns or is it still basically for a bomb down the fall line skier?

    • Author

      Hi, Michael – I feel like I’d been pretty clear about this in the review, but No, the new Belafonte isn’t significantly different than the old Belafonte in this regard. The new Belafonte is still closer to the old Belafonte than it is to say, the PB&J. It still belongs in the class of directional chargers—skis, that are designed to excel at going fast—though I think it’s one of the more accessible skis in a rather demanding / burly category.

      Given that, I don’t think it’s the best tool if you’re primarily looking to make shorter turns at moderate speeds. I would quickly recommend the PB&J or Deathwish for that job (both are softer-flexing skis with more sidecut), or the Line Supernatural 100. None of those skis are noodles, but they don’t have the Belafonte’s top end, and are better than the Belafonte at what you’re describing.

  3. Michael May 21, 2014 Reply

    Thanks much. As an aside, are you reviewing the new Underworld and is that ski the same sort of performer as the DW and the PB&J ?

    • Author

      We aren’t currently reviewing the Underworld, but I am increasingly intrigued by that ski. The 187 length has a stated sidecut radius of 27meters, and comes in, I believe, around 2000 grams per ski. Moment lists it as having the same relative flex as the Deathwish (7 out of 10), while they give the PB&J an “8” and the Belafonte a “9”. Those are obviously very rough ratings, but in short, it seems not too far off to view the Underworld as a skinnier Deathwish with a lighter core.

  4. Ian W June 23, 2014 Reply

    can’t wait for a comparison to the new cochise.. now that i have park skis (ninthward 2011/12 HHP 172’s, too good of a price, 250$ with mounted bindings, to say no to for “new” skis and haven’t even got to try em yet), my sites are on a mid-fat directional charger and i’m a light guy, so both of these being “more accessible” is interesting to me. Can’t wait to hear will’s opinion, as i am usually quite in line with him.. why i’m still rocking 185 scimitars as my one ski quiver (midwesterner, people look at me like i’m on crazy fat and long skis out here, took one of my friends out west this year for her first time, she realized why i think they’re “barely fat” with the 3″+ of fresh we got every day). After peaking at 51-52mph high 40s sustained (which is in part due to my weight) on the scimitars it really felt like i needed a charger, especially when it got choppy. My speeds dropped about 10mph and was catching tips here and there, i just wonder how well i’ll be able to handle hunting for powder in the trees on something that isn’t gonna handle lower speeds well, which is why part of me just wants a fatter, stiffer, full rocker ski. I got plenty of time to think about it though.

  5. Doug September 25, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    Would you say that the 186 Belafonte is easier to ski and more forgiving than the 187 Dynastar XXL?

    Also, have you had a chance to compare the Belafonte to the 185 Blizzard Cochise yet?

    • Author

      Hi, Doug – as I say in the 3rd paragraph, the previous Belafonte is MUCH easier to ski than the XXLs.

      And the new Belafonte is a touch more forgiving than the previous Belafonte. So yes.

      I’ll likely wait to make very specific comparisons between the new Belafonte and the new Cochise till I can A/B them both. But as a rough generalization, the two skis are very much in the same class, and I’d say quite close in terms of ease / forgiveness.

  6. Doug September 30, 2014 Reply

    How would you describe the Belafonte’s damp/liveliness? I was told by a friend who owns the 185 Cochise and loves them but disliked the Bibby Pro because it wasn’t very damp and transmitted too much energy.

  7. jimbo October 5, 2014 Reply

    i’ve got a pair of the narrow 182 garbones that are likely to die this season. I wonder if you think the 187 belafonte is man enough to take the place of the 31m radius garbone?

  8. Slass November 1, 2014 Reply

    I’ve notice that the Belafonte has the same ski profile as Moment’s Tahoe. I was just wondering if anyone at Blister has had a chance to ride this ski and has any input on it?

  9. bob February 16, 2015 Reply

    So when can we expect the underworld review? I just demoed them at Sugar Bowl and loved them. The most playful yet stable ski I’ve ever been on. Ever. Spring conditions: corn, light crust in the morning. Slush in the afternoon. Turning crusty again as the shadows came down in the afternoon.

  10. Jake September 14, 2015 Reply

    I am looking to add a fourth ski to my closet and thinking of the Peacemaker, Moment Belafonte, or Line Super Natural 108, or even the new 2016 Bacon. I currently have the 189 Scott Punisher a ski I love but it is sometimes a bit much in the bumps. I have a pair of 186 Moment Tahoe that I am not sure how much I love them at this point even after several days on them. I also have a pair of Megawatts that I enjoy on deep days. I am looking for ski that will be easier to ski in tight places and the bumps and thinking the Blizzard Peacemaker might fit the bill. At 6’4″ and 230 pounds and a excellent skier will I over whelm the Peacemaker? Need help with finding a ski for 1 to 6 inches of powder and chop without getting bucked around and one I can ski the bumps. Something in the 102 to 106 range with shovels that are not to big.
    Thanks!!!!

  11. Matt W February 25, 2016 Reply

    I’m looking at getting either the Belafonte (178) or The Metal(180) from J Ski. They seem very similar in shape, dampness, etc.. Jason Levinthal(formerly of Line) has seemed to nail it with The Metal. I was wondering if you guys have tested these out or have heard anything good/bad about them. Any info you have would be great. I put a lot of stock in your reviews. Thanks.

    -Matt W-

  12. Wasatch Rider March 22, 2016 Reply

    Oh man, where to start. Basically, I’ll cut to the chase, the Moment Belafonte is the ski I think I’ve been hunting for over the last 4 years. Basically, I’m ready to propose after only 1 date. Jonathan and the guys here at Blister have done a great job of describing what this ski is, what it does well, and you probably know if it’s right for you or not. I was admittedly a bit nervous about pulling the trigger on these given that I think Jonathan said something like, “The Belafonte allows you to ski like you’re angry at the mountain,” or something like that. So I picked up a used pair for a killer deal. Anyway, having come off of some skis like the Norwalk and first gen Cochise I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I’m not big, I am 160 lbs. but I know how to drive a ski and as I get older I find myself being more of a directional skier getting thrills from going fast w/ good technique and hunting for technical lines vs. skiing backwards and tricking off of every feature on the mountain.Hence the hunt for a directional charger. Here’s my $.02 on the OG Cochise and Norwalk, skis I have the most time on that sort of fit in this category of directional big mountain skis.

    The Cochise – Again, just read the Blister reviews, I agree with what they say, but I found them to be awesome in chopped soft day’s old snow, I hated them on groomers, the flip-core/lack of camber under foot and early rise in the tail made them boring to ski on groomed runs. They weren’t sketchy or unpredictable, but just not inspiring or fun. The Belafonte rips groomers, and this opinion comes after skiing only 1 day on these and remember I said there were used? The edges are a far cry from factory fresh and tuned. I’ll be investing in tuned edges here shortly.

    I skied the Belafonte on soft windblown w/ variable sun crust and felt utter confidence, these just plowed and did what I told them to. I expected to feel the tails getting hung up, but never did. Found some soft patches of snow and skiing the Belafonte in 3″ of soft days old mildly tracked pow was easy and fun. Then over to steep former Olympic DH track to do some wide open full throttle chopped days old pow turning to bumps that bordered perfect corduroy depleted groomers. Basically start the run with the chopped up old snow and build speed, right about when you start hitting speeds that challenge balance in bumpy terrain (50mph), you can exit onto the predictable groomed run and compose yourself and carry on accelerating into the 60 mph zone. The Belafontes were unbelievably good at destroying crud at high speed. No nasty tails lashing out in anger if your balance got off, but predictable charging.

    Anyway, I can’t wait to put more days on these. If you’re afraid of these skis, I wouldn’t be assuming you know how to carve a turn and drive a ski. I’ve found these way easier to ski than some of the softer flexing, lighter skis out there. Nice job Moment and thanks for the reviews that led me to this ski Jonathan and Blister Crew!

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