Most of what I’ve said above about the Bent Chetler’s performance in chop applies to its feel in bumps. The ski is easy to throw sideways, so it’s very fun to ski in low, soft bumps (the kind that often form on steeper groomers in the afternoon on a big pow day), or any bumps where you can keep the skis on the snow. But in big, firm bumps with tight, steep troughs, the 120mm underfoot ski feels clunky and out of its element.
Jibbing / Freestyle Performance
For how quick the Bent Chetlers are to pivot and smear in powder, I suppose they’re not quite as light as I expected they would be in the air. However, the skis aren’t too heavy to spin and throw shifties on by any means.
They also ski switch very easily in soft snow, and feel well balanced in the air.
The Bent Chetler’s tails can loop out on you a bit if you land backseat in deep snow, but whenever I did, I was able to get the skis back under me pretty quickly. Because even though they are heavily rockered, the Bent’s tails have a medium-soft flex that gives back a nice amount of pop and rebound when loaded up, which makes tail presses and ollies a lot of fun.
While Atomic is explicit that the Bent Chetler is a specialized powder tool, I’ll throw in this section for those who are wondering how the Bent Chetler handles groomers on the way back to the chair lift.
As I’ve alluded to above, on nice, soft groomers at slow speeds, the ski is quite easy to ski and has a nice, balanced feel through smearing, skidded turns.
But when I worked up some speed and laid the skis over on edge into a clean carve, even on buttery, soft groomers, I was never that comfortable on them. On soft groomers, the Bent Chetler’s edge hold felt OK underfoot, but for some reason, the ski’s rockered shovels felt mushy and imprecise, and the ski didn’t seem to respond to any driving input. I felt the same way about the tails, which didn’t seem to help the ski finish turns much at all. (This isn’t very surprising, considering that much of those rockered tails is off of the snow.)
I’m pretty used to more center mounted, tip and tail rockered skis that require an upright, lateral move to be put on edge well in a carved turn, but for some reason I didn’t find the Bent Chetler to respond with much energy when I made that move. So ultimately, smearing and sliding around on soft groomers was a lot more fun on the ski than trying to force it into more cleanly carved turns. And to be clear, I’m not disappointed by the Bent Chetler’s groomer performance—carving up groomers is about the last thing this ski was designed for—but there are other skis of a similar width that have a lot more to offer in this department…
• 185cm Atomic Bent Chetler vs. the 2014-2015 Moment Blister Pro / 2015-2016 Bibby Pro
The 185cm Bent Chetler is heavily geared toward a (very fun) surfy, smeary style of skiing in fresh powder, and has its limitations in chopped powder as a result. The 2014-2015 Moment Blister Pro (which is returning as the Bibby Pro for 2015-2016) doesn’t have such an immediately playful feel, but does provide more stability when things get tracked up.
The Bibby can be made to slash and smear like the Bent Chetler, but it takes a little more umph and encouragement to do so just as quickly. (I don’t have them in front of me, but I suspect that the 184cm Bibby Pro has more effective edge than the Bent Chetler, and less tip and tail splay—on snow, that’s certainly how it feels, anyway.)
And when things get chopped up, you don’t have to make as many turns in order to stay composed on the Bibby to keep the ski stable and under control.
In that way, the Bent Chetlers require more of a finesse feel in choppier conditions – a lighter, more turny touch – where the Bibby will put up with a more pedal-to-the-floor approach, doing more work to smooth out the ride if you choose to cut big turns through chop. That’s true of the 184cm Bibby Pro compared to the Bent Chetler, and much more true of the 190cm Bibby Pro.
The Bibby is also much more inspiring on groomers, and inspires much more confidence in firm and variable conditions. While I’ve basically stopped trying to carve the Bent Chetlers on groomers, and have instead resorted to smearing my way around, you can make big, lumbering, surprisingly stable carves on the Bibby Pros.
• 185cm Atomic Bent Chetler vs. the 188cm Line Magnum Opus
I don’t have a weight on our pair of 185cm Bent Chetlers, but I would bet that the slightly longer, 188cm Line Magnum Opus weighs a little less. The Magnum Opus weighs almost a pound less per ski than the 192cm Bent Chetler, and felt much easier to slash and spin in the air when I skied them both in New Zealand.
The Magnum Opus has a slightly tighter 17m sidecut radius, probably has a slightly lower swing weight (I’d be very, very surprised if the Opus felt heavier or slower than the Bent Chetler in any way).
The Opus also has (a) more effective edge, (b) tip and tail rocker that is considerably less dramatic / splayed-out, and (c) a slightly stiffer flex.
The Opus’ flex and rocker profile would suggest it will be more stable / be less of a balancing act in heavy chop than the Bent Chetler — but its lighter swing weight and tighter radius could make it about equal to the Bent Chetler in this respect. I’m going to get back out again tomorrow on the Magnum Opus, so will know the answer soon and will update ASAP.
For those looking for a surfy, trickable pow ski, the 185cm Atomic Bent Chetler still very much fits the bill.
While it is a ski that calls for a centered, neutral stance, it has a pretty big (and easy) sweet spot, and its centered stance makes the ski quite quick in trees and uniform, soft bump lines.
DEEP DIVE COMPARISONS
Become a Blister member or Deep Dive subscriber to read how the Bent Chetler stacks up against a number of other playful powder skis, including the Armada ARV 116 JJ, Line Mordecai, ON3P Kartel 116, Moment Blister Pro, Atomic Bent Chetler, and K2 Catamaran.