Ski: 2015-2016 Ski Logik Front Burner, 178cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 138-84-120
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 176.2cm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 14 meters
Mount Location: Factory Recommended Line (76.2 cm from tail; -11.9cm from center)
Boots / Bindings: Fischer Ranger Pro 13 / Marker Griffon (DIN at 10)
Test Location: Taos Ski Valley
Days Skied: 2[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Front Burner, which was not changed for 15/16.]
Ski Logik has said that they haven’t been able to get “any magazines to review this ski due to its out-of-favor purpose,” but we happen to like specialized skis—whether we’re talking about super-fat, dedicated pow skis, or whether we’re talking about skinny skis that are purpose-built for smooth, clean corduroy.
Of all the skis we included in our fronside carver test at Taos Ski Valley earlier this month, the Ski Logik Front Burner has the tightest sidecut radius, and features a traditional, fully cambered profile—every other ski we tested had some amount of rocker.
Ski Logik says that the Front Burner “excels all around for area skiing on surfaces ranging from hard to soft and turning styles from slalom to GS. Handling is quick for moguls and steeps and excellent carving performance makes it ideal for groomed runs. The Front Burner is the high performance choice for skiers looking to rip everywhere on piste.”
Having put a couple days on the ski at Taos, I can say that “on-piste” is the key phrase here, as carving up groomers is certainly what the Front Burner does best.
As I’ll explain below, I think Ski Logik is being a little generous in their description with respect to the versatility in turning styles the Front Burner offers, but that’s not to say there isn’t a lot to like about the ski, depending on the kind of skier you are / how you like to get down the mountain.
The shovels of the Front Burner have a medium or perhaps medium/stiff flex, and its tails are a little stiffer. In this way, when hand flexing the ski, its flex pattern seems a lot like that of the Fischer Progressor 900.
However, on snow, the Front Burner requires a bit less speed and edge pressure than the Progressor to bend through a carve, but part of this may have to do with the Front Burner’s more aggressive sidecut and full effective edge / traditional camber.
Smooth, Soft Groomers (Carved Turns)
Ski Logik says the the Front Burner has a 14-meter sidecut radius, and compared to the Progressor’s 13-17 meter variable, “dual-radius” sidecut, that seems about right. The Progressor is no slug, but the Front Burner is even more responsive, and the softer and grippier the corduroy is, the more apparent that difference is.
The Front Burner is very easy to tip on edge, and the instant the ski is on edge, you’ll feel it begin to pull across the slope. The ski’s wide shovel and fat, flat tail, lock it into a turn from start to finish. And because of the Front Burner’s tight sidecut radius, it doesn’t take all that much speed to get it into a relatively high-angle carve; making arcs down a cat track on the way back to the lift is very do-able.
Like the Front Burner, the Progressor prefers to carve rather than smear turns, but the Front Burner felt a little more “set” on a particular turn shape / radius than the Progressor.
I was surprised by how versatile the Progressor felt with respect to how long or short I wanted a carved turn to be. I could lay into the Progressor hard to work it through its tightest radius, but the ski still inspired some confidence when making faster, bigger carves.
There was still some variability with respect to how tight or long I could carve my turns on the Front Burner, but its longest carves were still quite short. The Front Burners’ fatter tail seemed to lock it into those tighter carves much more strictly, and I was less comfortable forcing the ski through longer, sweeping carves than the Progressor—the Front Burner felt / would feel a little twitchy / grabby.
To be clear, the Progressor and Front Burner are both quite quick; there are similar skis that feel better suited for making big, sweeping arcs on groomers than either one, e.g., the Salomon X-Drive 8.0.
Smooth, Soft Groomers (Scrubbed / Skidded Turns)
The Front Burner feels a little more specialized when it comes to carving shorter turns than the Progressor, and I found that it provided more energy when making scrubbed / skidded turns at lower speeds, too. The Progressor feels a little heavier and requires a little more input to make short-swing turns, though the Front Burner still requires you to make a technically strong turn in order to arc them cleanly and smoothly. While the ski’s sidecut engages quickly, it’s flat, stout tail will hook up and run on if you’re weight gets back on your heels. When skied with good technique, the Front Burner has a very lively, precise feel that I really enjoyed.
A similar thing could be said of the Front Burner’s mogul performance. Maneuvering the skis’ shovels back and forth is easy (as Ski Logik says, it’s certainly quick), but its traditional shape and flex don’t let you get away with much if you happen to miss a turn. As long as you can stay in control over the ski, taking the Front Burner in bumps is quite manageable. And if you’re someone who likes to really use your edges and carve through bumps, I think you’ll find the Front Burner more at home in moguls than someone who likes to smear and slide a ski to control speed.
Roughed-Up Groomers & Off-Piste Conditions
As groomers got more roughed-up and bumpier after snow got pushed around and consolidated, the Progressor’s slightly heavier construction, stiffer flex, straighter shape, and lightly rockered tip made it feel a little more capable than the Front Burner. At speed, I felt more confident carving turns over firm ridges and bumpy sections on the Progressor than I did on the Front Burner.
However, I don’t think either ski feels particularly at home in anything approaching what you might call off-piste conditions. Both seemed to get kicked around by light, cruddy snow pretty easily, and unsurprisingly, didn’t provide any real float or track predictably in ~3-4” of soft chop.
If anything, the Font Burner’s 84mm waist (compared to the Progressor’s 75mm waist) might have lent it a bit more stability in soft, chopped conditions than the Progressor, but, given its dramatic sidecut and traditional camber, I still felt like I had to guide the ski through chop, being sure to make very deliberate turns, focusing on the piles of soft snow I was skiing around and through. If I hit a firm chunk of snow underneath a softer pile and I wasn’t ready for it, the Front Burner would more often get kicked off track abruptly rather than smooth out the ride.
If you are looking for a ski that provides strong on-piste performance but can also handle some choppy, off-piste, variable conditions, then you’re better off considering skis that fall into more of an “all-mountain class” than the ‘frontside class,” where the Progressor and Front Burner both reside. Take a look at Jonathan’s review of the Salomon X-Drive 8.0 FS, for example, and keep an eye out for our review of the Fischer Motive 86 TI.
If you enjoy a precise, highly responsive ski with a traditional feel, and like making lots of short, dynamic turns on relatively smooth terrain, the Ski Logik Front Burner is a ski I’d absolutely recommend. For such a skier, I’d say the Front Burner is far from “out-of-favor.”