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2017-2018 Folsom Skis Primary (custom), 188 cm

2017-2018 Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the 2017-2018 Folsom Primary (custom), 189 cm for Blister Gear Review.Folsom Primary (custom), 189 cm

Folsom Primary (custom)

Ski: 2017-2018 Folsom Primary (custom), 188 cm

Available Lengths: 174, 178, 182, 188, 192 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (188 cm): 186.3 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2163 & 2164 grams

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 137.5-108.5-129 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 25 meters

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 70 mm / 46 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: 0 mm

Core: Maple / Poplar / Bamboo blend

Mount Point: -7.00 cm from center; 86.15 cm from tail

Binding: Look Pivot 14 WTR

MSRP: $1199 (Limited Time: $975 — Summer Custom Sale)

Intro

We posted on Instagram a while back a teaser about a custom skis project that I was doing with Folsom Custom Skis. And today, I’m going to finally be getting these custom skis on snow.

The Project

Folsom owner, chief of operations, and head ski builder, Mike McCabe and I first talked about skis on this podcast we did on custom skis.

Fast forward, and Mike was interested in having me go through Folsom’s custom process. So after a couple of phone calls, several emails, and one very long visit to the Folsom factory in Denver, Colorado, we settled on this custom ski that you see here.

The Shape

I’ll say more about the process soon, but the punchline here is that we decided to go with Folsom’s “Primary” shape.

Mike was clear that he wanted me to think of this as a ski that I would use as an everyday, all-mountain ski.

But it turns out that Mike and I share a lot of similar opinions on ski design, and this Primary shape — coupled with Folsom’s “SRC” — Subtle Reverse Camber — is one of Mike’s own personal favorite setups for an everyday, all-mountain ski.

So after a lot of back and forth and discussion about some of Folsom’s other shapes (we also looked at and discussed their Johnny C, Kingpin, and Trigger II options), we were zeroing in on the Primary SRC. Mike told me to take a day or two to mull it over and get back to him, and mull it over I did. And here are some of my thoughts:

Rocker Profile

I often like a bit (or a lot) of traditional camber underfoot, because I like to get some pop and rebound out of my skis. Mike and I discussed this, but he employs a construction process that he says allows reverse-camber skis to still return a bit of energy out of the turn. I’ll say more about this later, but this claim certainly made me curious.

Customizing Other Reverse-Camber Skis

Once I’d settled on a reverse camber shape, I naturally started to think of a number of the reverse-camber skis I’ve been on and reviewed. And what I found was that there were a number of skis on the market that personally could see modifying if I were to make my own custom ski. For example:

(1) 185 cm Blizzard Cochise (2014-2015) – I love this ski. But a ski like the Cochise that had a less traditional mount point would be intriguing — would it be possible to keep the Cochise’s stability in variable conditions while bumping up its playfulness?

(2) 186 cm Rossignol Sickle – For the two zillion people who are still looking for a Sickle replacement, could this Primary be an option? And given that in the last year of the Sickle the longest length Rossi offered it in was 181, could the Primary function as something like a longer Sickle?

(3) 186 cm Faction Candide 3.0 – I think the 3.0 is a really good, really interesting ski. But for bashing around at speed in bumped-up, steeper terrain, I personally would be very interested in a heavier version of the 3.0.

(4) 187 cm Moment Meridian – I love how hard the Meridian can be pushed, but I have also been curious to see how the Meridian would perform if it had mellower tip and tail rocker lines and tip and tail splay, since I don’t care too much about the deep-snow performance of my ~107mm-wide ski; instead, I want to emphasize and enhance performance at speed in firm-snow and in moguled-up terrain. Once again, it seemed like this Primary SRC could fit the bill.

(5) 184 & 194 cm 4FRNT Devastator – I like the Devastator, but I feel like I’m in a bit of a goldilocks situation with the 184 being pretty short for me (given its super deep rocker lines), but also feeling like I don’t really need the length (194 cm) or the significant weight (~2600 grams per ski) of the next size up. So both length-wise and weight-wise, the Primary SRC seemed like a potential solution.

More Design Details

With the ideas above in mind about potential tweaks to skis, Mike and I then nailed down more of the particulars of my Primary SRC:

Mount Point

When Mike asked me what I had in mind, I told him that I was thinking -6 to – 8 cm behind true center. He said that was going to suggest -7 cm for this build, so we were on the same page. Done.

Core

Given that Mike already knew that I actually like a bit of weight in my inbounds skis, he quickly suggested that we go with a core made of a blend of Poplar, Maple, and Bamboo. He said that this blend would keep the ski quieter in variable conditions (than a lighter poplar blend), would make the ski more lively (than, say, going with a straight Aspen blend), and it would be more robust — while adding 141 g per ski. I said Yes to all of this very quickly.

Tip & Tail Shape

Given that we were already starting with a very pivot-y, reverse camber platform, I told Mike that I had no interest in adding much tip or tail taper to this ski. This shape was going to be easy to turn, so we don’t need to make it even easier to turn. “Yep, exactly,” Mike said, and we quickly moved on after discussing this for about 9 seconds.

Flex Profile

Folsom offers 3-5 different flex profiles for every shape. “Profile 2,” according to Mike, “is very accurate for what I want this ski to be. It’s pretty forgiving in the tip, and supportive in the tail. It’s a balanced profile that will still feel really dynamic, while conforming to the terrain and adding soft-snow performance. Basically,” Mike said, “I want the longitudinal flex to be as soft as possible, but torsionally stiff.”

To be clear, I often tend to like stiffer shovels, but I told Mike that I’d follow his lead on this one, since I’m very curious to see how this flex pattern feels on snow.

Hand flexing the ski, here’s how I’d characterize the flex pattern:

Tips: 6-7
Shovels: 8-9
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel piece: 10-9
Tails: 8-7

Interesting. And the single biggest question I have is whether this shape + flex pattern will amount to a ski that I can drive quite hard? Or will this ski be less of a charger, but more of a really fun, playful ski?

Bottom Line (For Now)

I’ll be saying more about the Folsom custom process soon, but for now, I just want to get these on snow and see what we’ve got here. The skis arrived beautifully finished and ready to go, so it’s time to go ski. Stay tuned…

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

7 Comments

  1. Blister Member
    Vincent May 14, 2017 Reply

    Looking at the rocker profile pics I was surprised to see how much rocker, especially tail rocker there is. I didn’t get that sense from your write up.

  2. Daryl May 14, 2017 Reply

    This is pretty much my ideal ski shape and construction that doesn’t exist. More versatile than the Hoji or Chugach, less Moment-y than the meridian. I love that you could tweak the design to either be fatter or lighter or both.

    I just can’t spend $1000 on skis…especially when everyone can get a great ski for $400-500 in April / May. The issue is: skiers can have TWO pairs of skis for the price of one custom pair.

    When this ski is really good, which I’m sure it will be, set up a production run a la the Blister Pro (Bibby resurrection) and I’ll buy a Blister membership + purchase a “stock” version of this exact ski….but not with that top sheet. :)

  3. Vince May 14, 2017 Reply

    The real question is?…. What bindings you going to put on those bad boys!
    CAST?

  4. Blister Member
    Hannes May 15, 2017 Reply

    This design makes a lot of sense for a daily driver in snowier areas imo. Could also be a killer one ski quiver for a lot of bigger mountains in the alps. I had considered the romp 106 mold in a 185 with 20 cm tip rocker and slight tail rocker with a flatter tail (no twin tip) as a similar offering, but I still cannot decide whether to go with 1 – 2mm of camber or fully flat. Maybe your review does help whether such semi custom ski process makes sense at all and with which design to go…

  5. Blister Member
    Dan May 15, 2017 Reply

    Hot damn! I’ll second Daryl’s comment: I hope Blister forces Folsom’s hand and we can get these for around $600 when they make a bunch of them.

    Seems like my dream ski for a daily driver. Having skied the metal Katana, Rossi Sickle, and 4Frnt Devastator in the 183-186 cm lengths as daily drivers over the past decade, I’m sold on the subtle reverse camber with no tip/tail taper profile in a 106-112 waist width. On paper this ski improves upon the others I mentioned above because:

    1) Straight pull length of 186-187. Yes!
    2) Mount point between the Dev (-5cm) and the metal Katana (around -12 cm in the 184)
    3) Lighter build at 2150 gm but not Candice 3.0 light
    4) Not the full twin of the Sickle, which can get hung up in thick snow and creates a nasty rooster tail
    5) Potentially more energy out of a carved turn according to Folsom?

    If this thing skis damp like a Dev/Sickle/metal Katana, I’ll need to buy one! I bet JFE is one excited skier right now

  6. GuyAnderson May 16, 2017 Reply

    I 2nd or 3rd Dan and Daryl…..I am looking at Meradian and Dev….I have Sego Prospect 120 with a partial Swallow tail for deep days in PNW it has little tip taper if any at all..the Prospect 112 is more playful/quick..I have demo bindings on them both so I can adjust +1 or -2……I am surprised the Dev does not come in 187 or 88….this Folsom looks like a charger…..looks like a lot of effective edge zero camber…..and bet editor is pretty happy about now.

    So my reading on Meridian says it does well on groomers…..and -6 mount for All Mtn…..is the Meridian something one would enjoy skiing groomers all day ? Regardless of quiver…say ya went to ski area and only brought 1 ski was expecting a dump but storm missed mtn, freeze thaw inversion instead – should have brought front side 88……I am hoping and thinking the Meridian would be OK maybe not 1st Choice obviously.

    Maybe 1000 is less than 5 x 700 ? In my next life I want to grow up and be a ski analyst I know that for sure :)

  7. Blister Member
    Dan June 21, 2017 Reply

    JFE, any updates?

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