Ski: 2016-2017 Atomic Vantage 100 CTi, 188cm
Available Lengths: 172, 180, 188 cm
Blister’s Measured Length (straight tape pull): 188.1cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 139.5-100-126.5
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 138.5-99-125.5 (188 cm)
Stated Weight per Ski: 1950 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1992 & 2000 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius: 19 meters
Core Construction: Ash/Poplar + Titanal + Carbon Fiber Mesh Laminate
Tip / Tail Splay (decambered): 56mm / 22mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: 2-3 mm
Factory Recommended Line: -7.75 from center / 86.3cm from tail
Mount Location: Factory Line
Boots: Lange RX 130 LV
Test Locations: Porters Ski Area and Crystal Valley, New Zealand
Days Tested: 5[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 15/16 Vantage, which was not changed for 16/17]
As we noted in our preview of Atomic’s redesigned Vantage series of all-mountain skis (including the Vantage 100), Atomic set out to make the line “lighter, stronger, and better. So they’re even more effortless and better to ride on-piste, without sacrificing any of their play in the powder.”
So how’d they do? Did they hit the mark they were aiming for?
And of course, there’s the question of how the Vantage 100 stacks up against its direct competitors, like the Volkl Mantra, the Blizzard Bonafide, the Nordica Enforcer, the Rossignol Experience 100, and the K2 Pinnacle 95. I’ll discuss those comparisons in the Blister Deep Dive, but for now, I’m going to focus on (1) whether the Vantage 100 does what Atomic says it does, and (2) how it stacks up to the ski it replaces: the 190cm, 103mm-underfoot Atomic Vantage Ritual.
Flex Profile of the Vantage 100
The front and back have a very similar flex profile: I’d call it medium+, maybe stiff-. It’s certainly not soft, but this isn’t a particularly burly flex pattern.
And while so many skis these days are very noticeably softer in the tip than the tail (e.g., the K2 Pinnacle 95), the Vantage 100 isn’t; its tips and tails are close. (And yes, I still happen to generally be in favor of this on an all-mountain ski because of the large sweet spot such a flex pattern tends to produce.)
Now let’s go to question #2:
190cm Atomic Ritual vs. 188cm Atomic Vantage 100
The Vantage feels much lighter—both in terms of sheer weight and swing weight—than the 190cm Ritual. By comparison, the Ritual feels like a bit of a tank.
I’ll double check the weight of the Ritual when we get back to the States, but the Vantage 100 feels significantly lighter.
Consider this: the 188cm Vantage 100 comes in just at (or below) 2000 grams. That is practically identical to the 188cm Rossignol Soul 7, a fun-shaped, lightweight ski, not a fairly burly, directional rocketship. So that ought to tell you something.
Having said that, what the 188 Vantage 100 and 190 Ritual have most in common is that they are both rocketships on groomers…
At my 180 lbs., I could definitely make the Vantage 100 work at slower speeds when making shorter, scrubbed turns. But when I set these skis on a hard edge, they were eager to go very fast. Heavier skiers will bend these skis more easily, but when I open these up, they want to run. At least on the 188cm length (and again, at my weight) the Vantage 100 felt at home making big GS turns—though I’m confident that the shorter lengths will more readily accommodate a turnier style.
But as always, lightening up a ski comes with pros and cons. So far, the Vantage 100 feels like a nimbler ski than the Ritual, but it is not as damp as the Ritual. Both are powerful skis, but the Ritual smoothed out roughed-up groomers and chopped up pow better than the Vantage 100. Get the two skis on smooth groomers or in consistent, deeper snow, and that difference in the dampness of the two skis will be diminished.
This has been very evident the past couple days on the groomers at Porters Ski Area. On well-manicured groomers, the Vantage 100 feels powerful and very fast. The skis feel stable and hold an edge very well. Rocketships.
But at the end of the day today, after Porters had picked up fresh snow overnight, those groomers had pushed-around piles of snow on them. The groomers were a bit bumped up, and I was no longer comfortable nuking down the slopes: the skis were getting bounced around quite a bit, not staying as composed as the Ritual would at high speeds on the roughed-up piste.
So if low weight + low swing weight is what you’re after: the Vantage 100 gets the nod. But if dampness and stability is your priority, then you’ll almost certainly prefer the Ritual: it is a bit more of a bulldozer, while the Vantage 100 as the snow gets chopped up or the terrain gets bumped up, works better with a more finesse-oriented style. (You can still hit high speeds, you’ll just want to use more finesse than brute strength.)
NEXT: Pow, Moguls, Etc.