Ski: 2016-2017 Moment Tahoe, 186cm
Available Lengths: 168, 178, 186 cm
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 184.6
Stated Dimensions (mm): 123-96-112
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 124-96-113
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1,983 & 1,953 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius: 25 meters
Core Construction: Aspen/Pine + Carbon Fiber Stringers + Fiberglass Laminate
Tip & Tail Splay: 58 / 35 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: 4 mm
Mount Location: Recommended Line
Factory Recommended Line: -9.1cm from center; ~83.2cm from tail
Boots / Bindings: Fischer Vacuum Ranger Pro 13 / Marker Jester (DIN at 10)
Test Location: Taos Ski Valley
Days Skied: 3
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 15/16 Tahoe, which was not changed for 16/17, apart from graphics]
Described as their “low tide go-to,” the Tahoe is the narrowest ski in Moment’s all-mountain series, and the most firm-snow oriented ski in their whole lineup.
Moment says the Tahoe is made to rip corduroy and hardpack, but remain “stable in chop and easy to initiate in tight trees.” And with as many skis as we’ve reviewed from Moment in the last couple years, we decided it was about time we checked out the Tahoe.
Jonathan Ellsworth and I just put several days on it in mostly nice, spring conditions (and some fairly brutal not-yet-thawed-out ones), and while there’s still some skiing left to do on the Tahoe, we’ve learned a lot about the ski in this time.
Three important things to know about the Tahoe:
1) The ski’s flex profile is decidedly stiff and quite uniform, with very little difference in stiffness between its shovel and tail.
2) The Tahoe has some tip rocker, but a not a huge amount. Otherwise the ski is fully cambered (three times, actually). The Tahoe’s “Triple Camber” profile involves a section of traditional camber underfoot, with “micro-camber” sections in front of and behind the binding, and a non-rockered tail.
3) The Tahoe has a stated sidecut radius of 25 meters. We’re used to seeing directional, big-mountain chargers in the 105-110mm underfoot range (skis like the Moment Belafonte and Blizzard Cochise) with sidecut radii around 25m, but that’s quite long for a 96mm-underfoot all-mountain ski. I can’t think of another ski in this sub-100mm underfoot class with such a straight shape, in fact.
The upshot? When it comes to carving turns on groomers, the 186cm Tahoe needs a LOT of speed before you can really lay it over into anything approaching a high-angle carve, and those carves are very big and fast. You can get the ski way up on edge and drop a hip close to the snow, but you’ll need a lot of space to arc the ski back and forth through full, round turns—and you’re going to be hauling.
By comparison, while the Liberty Helix is 105mm-underfoot (and so is more comparable to the Moment Belafonte in width) it also has a 25.5m sidecut radius, very similar to the Tahoe, yet it’s whole flex profile is softer than the Tahoe’s. It takes less speed and effort to start working / bending the Helix through full, complete carves, even though it has almost the same amount of sidecut as the Tahoe (a touch less, if anything). I never felt like the Tahoe’s stiff flex, on the other hand, was doing me any favors when it came to engaging its longer sidecut—it didn’t seem to come alive and arc across the hill much more readily than the Belafonte, in fact.
Though the Tahoe takes some real speed before it’s ready to make some legit carves—and again, those carves will be wide and fast—in no way is the ski lacking when it comes to edge hold. After bombing a couple groomer laps at Taos in soft spring conditions, I switched skis with Jonathan Ellsworth, who had been skiing the considerably more accessible Nordica Enforcer. After his first (irresponsibly fast) groomer lap on the Tahoe, Jonathan’s comment was: “That was intense!”
Yep, on half-decent groomers, you can pull some serious Gs on the Tahoe. In fact, if you want to feel like you’re really getting something out of the ski’s sidecut, you have no choice but to haul ass, and the Tahoe’s edge hold is downright tenacious. So when it comes to skiing groomers, I would not consider it an intermediate ski in any way. And the ski still feels very dependable on smooth, slick, windblown hardpack.
What about much slower, skidded turns on groomers? The Tahoe, as you might expect, isn’t dead easy to smear around at slow speeds. Their tails won’t slide out unless you tell them to, and that big sidecut radius, again, doesn’t do a ton of work for you, so the skis often felt pretty planky and bored at normal, moderate speeds. With a strong, forward stance and athletic, deliberate input, you can drift the Tahoes across the fall line quickly, but skis with a softer flex and more sidecut (like the Nordica Enforcer, for example) are definitely easier to noodle around.
The Tahoe also isn’t terribly wide, and the skis are pretty light, so in just a little bit of soft snow (even half an inch), they become noticeably easier to work through short, drifting turns.
Soft, Slushy Bumps
I had few complaints about the Tahoe in big slushy bumps on Taos’ lower front side, on runs like Spencer’s Bowl and Snakedance. They’re not as easy to pivot sideways between bumps as a ski with some tail rocker and/or a softer flex, but thanks to the Tahoe’s rather light swing weight and waist width, I was still able to do so quite quickly. Detuning the Tahoe’s tails a bit helped this, too—I hit the last ~6” of the ski with a medium gummy stone, and it made the tails a little easier to smear, though they still needed to be told what to do in tight bumps.
The Tahoe is a good, straightforward bump ski with what I might call a “light-yet-traditional” feel. You’ve got to stay on your game skiing big, tight bumps on the Tahoe, and that’s generally not too difficult to do. But if you do get lazy with a turn and get stuck in the back seat, you’ll know about it; the Tahoe’s stout flex simply doesn’t make it very forgiving if you do let its non-rockered tail take over.
Brutal, Refrozen Spring Snow
While there’s been some great, slushy spring skiing at Taos lately, on a few colder days the terrain on the upper mountain didn’t fully thaw out, even by mid afternoon. The bumps on one of our favorite runs, Reforma, as well as the steep chutes off the West Basin, were very firm, with a bumpy, ridged, knee-jarring texture. In those nasty variable conditions, while the Tahoe’s straighter shape and camber was lending the ski a good amount of edge grip at slow speeds, its light weight and stiff flex profile yielded quite a chattery and overly rigid feel if I tried to take a remotely aggressive line. The ski was not at all damp, especially at speed.
To be fair, these were pretty brutal conditions. But I would bet that a ski with a heavier construction, and certainly one with a metal laminate in its core construction, would have been more stable. It’s been quite a while since I’ve skied any of them, but I would think a ski like the Volkl Mantra, or the Salomon X-Drive 8.8 would have fared better than the Tahoe on Reforma, for example. (I’m not certain that either of those skis are as easy to ski well in bumps as the Tahoe, though.)