2018-2019 ON3P Wrenegade 108

Confession: Blister managing editor, Luke Koppa, and I already thought we’d published a Flash Review of the 18/19 Wrenegade 108. So while that might be evidence that we’re both losing our minds, it actually feels like I’ve been writing about the Wrenegade 108 all spring. Because in a way, we have. To recap:

So I guess this is maybe a good time to issue the reminder that, if you’re looking for information on a ski, it might be a good idea to become a Blister member to check out all of our Flash Reviews, and, even if we haven’t yet posted a Flash Review, Blister members can always email us directly to ask questions about a ski you might have your eye on.

But anyway, time now to officially weigh in on the new Wrenegade 108 — in both the 189 cm and 184 cm lengths. I’m going to be talking mostly about the 189 cm Wren 108 here, but I’ll then finish with comparisons to the 184 cm length.

Heavy, Wet, Difficult Snow

One day this past spring at Silverton, Colorado, I learned a lot about the 189 cm Wren 108. The snow was heavy, wet, and pretty grabby — not like, “I think I’m going to blow my ACLs on each turn grabby,” but this was difficult snow. Everyone in our crew was commenting on how difficult and tiring the conditions were, and they were right. But if you asked me what ski I would have rather been on than the Wrenegade 108 in this stuff, not too many skis immediately come to mind.

In such snow, the ski design qualities I’m most interested in — in this order — are:

(1) Lots of tip and tail rocker to help the ski release more easily in grabby conditions.

(2) Minimal traditional camber underfoot, or preferably, zero traditional camber underfoot, for the same reason as (1).

(3) Weight. I want a heavier ski to help plow through this stuff.

(4) Minimal sidecut. More sidecut means that the ski will feel more inclined to turn — and overturn — in such conditions.

And the 189 cm Wrenegade 108 ticks all of those boxes.

But honestly, on that particular day at Silverton, I think the 184 or 189 cm ON3P Billy Goat could have also been a good choice, since the BG’s tail taper would have made its tail easier to release than the Wrenegade 108’s (and the Wrenegade 114, for that matter).

Quasi-Tangent: One question I had that day: Would the 186 cm ON3P Kartel 108 have fared even better? Quite possibly, especially since the Kartel 108 has way more tail splay than the Wren 108 — 68 mm vs. 31 mm. And in those grabby, heavy, wet conditions, the day wasn’t about skiing really hard and fast, and I think the Kartel 108’s more centered mount point might have created a bigger sweet spot than the 189 cm Wrenegade 108 has.

To be clear, I think it is easy to be balanced on the Wren 108, but the 18/19, 189 cm Wren 108 certainly feels like it has a more serious tail on it than the 17/18, 184 cm Wrenegade 108 we skied.

To be even clearer, I would not call the tail of the 189 cm Wren 108 particularly punishing. Rather, that 17/18 184 Wren 108 was just really forgiving and easy. The 189 cm Wren 108 is a bit less so. But anybody who actually should be on a pretty big ski like the 189 cm Wren 108 ought to be able to handle its tail just fine.

Q: Would the Wrenegade 108 work well as Resort Pow Ski?

Yes. Very well.

Over the past six or seven years, we’ve reviewed enough ON3P skis that I think it’s safe to make this generalization: ON3P skis are typically going to punch above their width when it comes to their deep-snow performance.

And many ON3P skis — including the 189 cm Wrenegade 108 — have a deep tip rocker line and more tip splay than most of their direct competitors, so I am not worried about the Wren 108 submarining in deep snow.

The obvious caveats here are that if you are skiing deep snow on really low-angle terrain and / or tight trees, the 189 cm Wrenegade 108 is going to be more cumbersome than a ski like the 188 cm Rossi Soul 7 or Salomon QST 106. But duh. And the final obvious caveat is that if you really tend to stick to slower and moderate speeds, than you really shouldn’t be on the 189 cm Wrenegade 108. It will almost certainly be more ski than you want or need.

But in very deep, light pow at Telluride, I definitely did not need to be on a wider ski.

Slush / Softer Chop / Softer, Variable Snow

While the Wrenegade 108 is going to offer excellent flotation for a 108mm-wide ski, where it truly shines is in soft chop and softer, variable snow, because that’s where the backbone of this ski comes into play. And in the slushy, isothermal spring snow at A-Basin, the Wrenegade 108 felt pretty ideal mobbing down A-Basin’s more open terrain.

Soft chop, soft variable, anything soft, or anything deep. This ski feels very comfortable.

Firm / Firmer Variable Snow

I didn’t get the Wrenegade 108 out on any really difficult firm snow (e.g., refrozen coral reef), but I think the main thing I can offer is that I believe this ski will still feel okay on that stuff, but skis that have (a) a bit less tip & tail rocker might feel like they have a bigger sweet spot to stand on, and (b) some skis (though not all skis) with metal might stay a bit quieter / more composed on really awful, chunky, frozen snow.

Which provides a pretty natural segue into the next section:

Stability / Suspension

Overall, I’d say that the Wren 108 offers really nice suspension. But at very high speeds, I wouldn’t say that the Wren 108 stays as composed as some of the most inherently-stable skis in this category.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the ON3P Wrenegade 108 for Blister

Jonathan Ellsworth on the ON3P Wrenegade 108, Telluride Ski Resort, CO. (photo by Patrick Sinnott)

But this is where things get a little complex: a ski can offer excellent stability, but fairly poor suspension. And in general, if I personally had to choose, I’d prefer a ski that offers excellent suspension and (only) good or decent stability. Because such skis tend to be less punishing of mistakes, and when skiing very hard and fast, shit happens. And skis that allow you to more easily recover from mistakes rather than punish them, well those are skis that I am more willing to push hard with confidence. And that’s pretty much how I’d categorize the 189 cm Wrenegade 108. It doesn’t have the inherent stability / composure of, say, a 184 cm HEAD Monster 108. At speed and in rougher terrain, the shovels of the Wren 108 would undulate quite a bit — more than I’d expect given how stable the ski feels. In other words, the Wrenegade 108 is not a super-stiff 2×4. I could push it quite hard, and I’ve yet to really need more stability than it affords. But skis like the old 191 cm metal Katana stayed quieter through the shovels.

That said, I’d be pretty surprised if there were too many skiers out there who felt like they simply needed far more ski than the 189 cm Wrenegade 108. If you are truly nuking, then you might need to adopt a more active, dynamic style of skiing sooner than you would on a 191 metal Katana or HEAD Monster 108. But again, the positive to all of this is that the Wrenegade 108 is a pretty strong ski, but not a very punishing ski. And it also works fairly well at low speeds, and better than some of the more maximum-stability skis out there.

General Maneuverability

Still, nobody ought to be considering a 189 cm Wrenegade 108 who worries a lot about getting too tired to ski the afternoon. The 189 cm Wrenegade 108 is a pretty easy ski for how big it is, but there are a ton of skis on the market that are lighter and designed to work better at slow and mellow speeds. The Wrenegade 108 is okay-to-fine at doing “moderate,” but it’s still a pretty big gun that wasn’t really intended for noodling around.

That said, even in variable snow or in well-spaced moguls, I’ve found the 189 cm Wren 108 to be plenty maneuverable for a ski of this size. Slow down a bit, and this ski is relatively easy to pivot through moguls. Or don’t slow down, and just be prepared to work since this ski doesn’t have some really low swing weight (which, for the record, I don’t want my variable-conditions charger to have, since skis with low swing weights tend to deflect more / be more twitchy).

In tight bumps, however, I personally tend to get back on my heels and take more of a zipper-line approach. And when doing so, I certainly noticed the stronger tail of the Wren 108. The previous iteration of the ski (at least the 184 cm length we reviewed) didn’t mind if you were hanging out in the backseat. This current version is less accommodating of backseat skiing.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the ON3P Wrenegade 108 for Blister

Jonathan Ellsworth on the ON3P Wrenegade 108, Telluride Ski Resort, CO. (photo by Patrick Sinnott)

Another question that has come up is how loose or locked-in this ski feels? Well, I wouldn’t call it all that loose — the tails on both the Wren 108 and Wren 114 feel fairly flat and wide, and perhaps now more than on the previous iteration of the Wren 108, I feel like there is a more noticeable difference between the Wren 108 and the ON3P Billy Goat in terms of looseness. I.e., compared to the Billy Goat, the Wren 108 feels a good bit more locked-in. So if you really value looseness / pivotability, I think you have more reason than ever to consider the Billy Goat over the Wren 108 or Wren 114.

But I also believe you could adjust the tune of the Wren 108 — lightly, and especially at the tail, to loosen it up a bit. Personally, I’m going to leave it as is, and I haven’t messed with the factory tune at all. For a directional, big-mountain ski like this, I don’t want it to feel too locked in or too loose, and I feel like ON3P nailed this performance balance.

189 cm Wrenegade 108 vs. 184 cm Wrenegade 108

So what about the 184 Wren 108? Well some of this is probably going to sound pretty obvious, but this is what I can now verify, having spent time skiing both skis back-to-back this spring:

The 184 cm Wren 108 feels notably lighter, notably quicker, and definitely has a lower swing weight. It is also noticeably easier in moguls, and if I spent all my time skiing in tight terrain (or moguls) and didn’t have much of an opportunity to really open things up, then the less reason there might be to go for the 189. I could ski the 184 Wren 108 all day in moguls. I wouldn’t want to do that on the 189.

The other factor here is that the 184 is noticeably less stable than the 189, and I think this is going to be another big factor to consider. If you don’t tend to look for or require big-time / best-in-class stability out of your skis, then I would encourage you to consider the 184 Wren 108. Personally, when dropping down to the 184 Wren 108, I missed having a bit more ski out in front of me.

I also really like how the 189 cm Wren 108 carves, and how stable it feels on roughed-up groomers. But for those who just want something very manageable on groomers, the 184 cm Wren 108 will be just fine.

Big, strong skiers shouldn’t shy away from the 189. And if you are truly looking for a very (inherently) stable ski, I’d say that, unless you are sub-150 lbs., you need to go 189 over the 184. But again, if you ski at an area where you rarely are able to open things up, and instead spend more time in tighter moguls, tight trees, etc (or you just don’t tend to really ski flat-out) the 184 is likely the right call. (This is definitely another one of those “Know Thyself” moments.)

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the ON3P Wrenegade 108 for Blister

Jonathan Ellsworth on the ON3P Wrenegade 108, Telluride Ski Resort, CO. (photo by Patrick Sinnott)

I also suspect that those coming from lighter, less substantial skis will get along pretty well with the bump up to the 184 Wren 108. It is not hard to smear around, and it isn’t a ski that punishes mistakes.

In sum regarding length: in my First Look, I said that if you are on the fence between sizing, you should “go UP.” Having now skied both skis, I’d qualify that a bit. I’d really only go up if you know that you prefer skis with big top ends. If you aren’t sure, you’ll likely have more fun on the 184. And if you do need a considerable top end, then I think you’ll probably want to go 189. (And we’ll flesh some of this out further in our upcoming Deep Dive Comparisons article.)

Bottom Line

We said of the 184 cm Wrenegade 108 that it was the easiest ski in our all-mountain charger category. And while I would still say of the 189 cm Wrenegade 108 that it is a pretty easy ski for how heavy and big it is, the most significant difference I notice is in its more powerful tail. And re: the 184 cm Wren 108, it is definitely not now some demanding beast. But it is a bit stronger than the previous 184, and I think that, for a ski like this, adding a little bit more backbone was a good call.

Anyone looking for a directional ski that offers good stability, very good suspension, and outstanding deep-snow performance ought to consider the Wrenegade 108. It wouldn’t be the first ski we’d reach for if you are mostly going to be dealing with very firm, icy, or refrozen conditions, but in anything soft, deep chop, or very deep powder, the Wrenegade 108 is an easy ski to recommend.

Deep Dive Comparisons: 184 cm & 189 cm ON3P Wrenegade 108

Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber and check out our Deep Dive of the Wrenegade 108 to see how it stacks up against the Blizzard Cochise, Nordica Enforcer 110, Faction Dictator 3.0 & Dictator 4.0, J Skis Metal, Prior Husume, Folsom Primary, and Folsom Hammer.

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

21 Comments

  1. Blister Member
    George February 19, 2018 Reply

    Did the mount point get moved back for 18/19? For the 17/18 version you have -8.95cm as compared to -10.25cm on this pair. Or is the difference due to comparing two different lengths and the mount point goes further back as the skis increase in length?

    • Author

      Hi, George – it’s the latter; the mount point didn’t get moved back, it just scales back on longer-length models.

    • flimflamvanham July 6, 2018 Reply

      although it is curious (to me) that the 184 mount point is further forward by about 1 to 1.5cm relative to the 189.

      Based on that and wanting a more powder focused ski I went with similar mount point on my 184’s: so about -1 from the rec line.

  2. Blister Member
    Jeffrey February 19, 2018 Reply

    How consistent do you feel your stiffness measurements are?

    These new stiffness estimates are very close to the Monster 88, though a bit stiffer behind the binding. The old stiffness records as softer than nearly every non-park ski I can find a recent review for. Is the change that substantial? The old one less stiff than most other skis you’ve been on in the last couple years, the new one stiffer?

    Am I misreading something? Stiffnesses for new/monster below.

    Monster88
    Tips: 8
    Shovels: 8.5-9
    Underfoot: 10
    Behind the Heel piece: 9
    Tails: 8.5-8

    New Wren:
    Tips: 8
    Shovels: 8.5-9
    In Front of Toe Piece: 9-10
    Underfoot: 10
    Behind Heel Piece: 9.5-9
    Tails: 8.5

  3. Author

    Short answer: quite consistent. We actually verified this last Fall, when we were putting my numbers up against a very sophisticated / sensitive ski flex machine. Turned out, my numbers were very much in line with the machine’s. (The engineer was extremely surprised.)

    But then again, I would resist the temptation to stare too closely at any individual number. They are best used when taken overall, to see where the softer & stiffer sections of a ski are located.

    (And as for the previous Wren 108 … yes … it was soft. When we called it probably the easiest, most forgiving ski in its class, we weren’t kidding.)

    And finally, bigger discussion here, but there are big material differences between the Monster & the Wren, and those materials make a difference. So while I stand by those numbers, again, keep in mind that a mere “8.5” is by no means a stand-in for teasing out exactly how easy it is to get into the flex of the ski, how quickly it stiffens up, etc.

    And since nobody is sitting there trying to decide whether to fill their quiver spot EITHER with a Monster 88 OR a Wren 108 … such direct comparisons aren’t very helpful – though getting into some of those details if we were talking Monster 88 vs Blizzard Brahma could be.

    So, long and short: I think the most telling and important thing here is to look at the numbers for the previous Wren and this new Wren.

    • Blister Member
      Jeffrey February 19, 2018 Reply

      Thank you. And, yeah, I’m obviously not planning to sell my M88s (though maybe my M108s…) for a pair of Wrens, just curious about the substantial difference and points of reference.

      • Blister Member
        Andrew February 19, 2018 Reply

        Jeffrey, curious your thoughts on your monster 108. Love my monster 88s and always considering picking up one of their big brothers, but don’t like over 25M Turn radius unless open pow. Any thoughts on how hard they are to lay over compared to the 88 which is super easy?

        • Blister Member
          Jeffrey February 20, 2018 Reply

          I have only ridden the m108s a few days. This season in Tahoe I’ve been pretty much living on the 88s, since, there has been absolutely no snow. So, take this opinion with a grain of salt. Also, I’m 6’2″, 230#, and strong, ymmv. I like long turn radius skis for everything. I skied the Lhasa Pows as a DD for years, then the 2011 191 BGs whenever there was at least a dusting of soft. For me:

          They are workable at low speed, but not a lot of fun. Once you’re moving, they’re easy for their mass. They are entirely as stable as you would expect as well. I wouldn’t take a pair out to practice small radius turns or something silly, they have a purpose. That said, the few days I’ve had them out, they’ve happily done what I wanted.

          I’m still not sure I will get much use out of the 108s on a better season. If I’m going to charge chopped up hard snow, I think skinnier heavy straight skis might do as well. If it’s soft, a little bit of float could be more fun.

  4. Blister Member
    David February 20, 2018 Reply

    My selection of potential Bodacious replacements just keeps getting bigger: this, Blister Pro, Devastator, another Bodacious…

    • Blister Member
      Tom February 20, 2018 Reply

      I am going to go out on a limb here and say there is no way these would even remotely ski like a Bodacious.

      More cowbell, err rocker!

      Better have them both in the quiver…..

      • Blister Member
        David February 21, 2018 Reply

        Good point, Tom. I already have a nice pair of Atomic Atlas 192’s for fresh pow, and they’re plenty playful. I should probably be thinking Liberty Variant/Head Monster 108/Dynastar Legend Pro/Blizzard Bodacious. Most of my days are spent trying to ski chop/crust/weird snow.

  5. Blister Member
    Isaac February 20, 2018 Reply

    thank you for getting this out!!! I have been on the Wren 102s / 186 for the past few 4 years and am now looking to replace them. they no longer make the 102 OR a 186 length, so I have been struggling to figure out where to go next. am thinking the 98? but would be very interested in 2019’s version. I am not psyched at the increase in splay, and loss of sweet spot length at 186. I look forward to seeing how on3p’s 2018-2019 wren compares to the new moment commander series. seems a direct competitor. i am 6’1″ / 250lbs and have loved the silky smooth ride of the 102. at my weight i have no issue bending/carving it, and love the stability / crud crushing feel.

    • Matt February 23, 2018 Reply

      I haven’t skied it, but the W102 is commonly known as a very easy going Wren. I think it’s direct replacement is the Wren 98. At your size, I’d say the 189 is a no brainer. As for the 184 vs 186: Look at a 2cm on a ruler. Now image about half of that is taken off your tip and half the tail of the ski (for simplicity). Do you really think that’s going to make or break your ride? I believe contact length remained the same when the skis went from 186 to 184 (at least on the Billygoat it did…just 2cm off the old full twin tail). The current year W108 in a 189 might be a great replacement for your W102 if you’re ok with the extra width.

  6. Jantzen February 21, 2018 Reply

    “The 18/19 Wrenegade 108 comes in at an astonishing 450 grams-per-ski lighter than the 17/18 Wrenegade 108. Yet ON3P’s Scott Andrus says that zero stability has been compromised, despite the weight loss.”

    Gold Jerry, gold.

    I know how Scott feels (and I wholeheartedly agree) about the lightweight trend and this will be a huge selling point for ON3P (people still looking for damp and durable). …just my opinion.

  7. luke March 29, 2018 Reply

    When you review the 18/19 wren 108, can you mention how you feel this would work as a resort powder skis. I am specifically interested to know if this can be used as a narrower replacement for a more traditional wider powder ski and how much float it may have compared to wider skis with less rocker.

  8. Blister Member
    rhino July 4, 2018 Reply

    interesting. nudges the ski quite a bit to the center of the radar.

    any behavior that you think comes from the “bi-raduus” sidecut ?

    • Author

      I can’t say that I noticed anything in particular. Mostly, I tend to get nervous when I start hearing about things like “bi-radius” designs, but these skis just feel quite good. And while I didn’t think it warranted spending too much time on how the Wren 108 carves, for making bigger turns at speed, the shovels of the Wren 108 do initiate a turn nicely and naturally, without pulling you harder into a turn than I’d want from a bigger ski like this. And yet, you can actually engage the shovels in a carved turn, unlike skis like the Dynastar Legend X106, etc., where you’re really just carving from the middle of the ski.

  9. Blister Member
    George July 6, 2018 Reply

    When you do the size comparison in the last section of this article are you speaking of the 17/18 or 18/19 184? I just received my 18/19 184s and they weigh 2300/g per ski, which is more than your stated weight for the 189s. So im wondering if “notably lighter, notably quicker, and definitely has a lower swing weigh” still will hold true on mine…

    • Author

      Hi, George – when I originally wrote that First Look with the sizing recommendations, I was mostly thinking of the 17/18 184 cm Wren vs the 18/19 189 cm Wren.

      But see my updated thoughts on sizing in my full review & accompanying Deep Dive Comparisons.

      Finally, are you sure your skis weighed 2300 g per ski?? Our measured weights on the 18/19 184s were 2143 & 2194 grams each. So I suspect that something is off with the 2300 g measurement you got?

  10. Ian Wagener July 6, 2018 Reply

    Hmm.. Well it sounds like the wren 184 is right up my ally. Been looking for something to replace my scimitar 185s (i know they measure like 181~) for my western trips and when i feel like nuking midwest groomers. I’m 5’10 but i’m a really light guy, so i don’t think i need the extra stability the 189 would add. This is an excellent review. Now i just have to decide if that new ski you and folsom (talked about in recent podcast) are working on is a better choice for me since i basically re-learned to ski well on decambered skis (skied in my youth, started before shaped skis, but they caught on as i got older) didn’t ski much in my late teens and early 20s, started skiing again in mid 20s and bought some scimitars and basically learned to be a competent advanced intermediate on scimitars, and just don’t feel the stability at speed i want. I have come to really love gunning it when there isn’t fresh to play in, and the scimitar seems to feel like it loses stablity at 40-45mph, and i’d like another 10-15mph of stability, and better pow performance (basically ability to ski past 10-12″ of fresh). I’ve hit 50mph on the scimitars, would like to hit 60-70 on my next skis..

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