Ski: 2015-2016 Salomon Rocker2 108, 190cm
Dimensions (mm): 137-111-130
(Note: The 182cm, 174cm, and 166cm models are all 108mm underfoot, with narrower tip and tail dimensions in the shorter lengths)
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 188.9cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2159 & 2349 grams
Sidecut Radius: 19.7 meters
Boots / Bindings: Salomon Falcon Pro CS / Marker Jester Demo (DIN at 10)
Mount Location: “Recommended” (-3 from center)
Test Location: Taos Ski Valley; Summit County, Colorado
Days Skied: 6[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 Rocker2 108, which was not changed for 13/14, 14/15, or 15/16 except for the graphics.]
If this is your first time looking into the Salomon Rocker2 108, you should read Jason Hutchins’ First Look on the 108 before you read my thoughts, since what I have to say is related to what Jason has already outlined. The Rocker2 108 is a really interesting, seriously fun ski, and while we still need to get it in true, untracked powder, there are some aspects of its versatile performance that deserve to be underscored.
Groomers / Hardpack
Like Jason, I love how easy this ski is to work through a variety of turn shapes. Even at low speeds, short, scrubbed turns are very easy to make, and you can open the turn radius into a bit longer, skidded arc with just a little more speed. When really carrying speed, it’s a blast to release the skis’ edges through the tail and move into a long and fast surf-like turn.
Through any shape of scrubbed turn, the 108 remains well balanced from tip to tail with a nice feeling of stability underfoot that extends part way into the shovel and tail of the ski. It’s very easy to notice this shorter effective edge on groomers and firm snow, but as long as you’re not on boilerplate/hardpack ice (where the ski is likely to slip an edge), it still provides a surprisingly stable and—importantly—a super predictable feel.
I’ve found that the Rocker2 108 responds best to a balanced, light, and more centered position, which, by the way, is exactly the way Jason skis. (Seriously, the guy is the smoothest, most balanced person on skis that I know or have probably ever seen. He once spent a whole season skiing Taos only on a pair of Hellbents, with no poles. That’s not easy to do, especially if you’re driving your skis like you’re on a Super-G course.)
I, on the other hand, basically learned to ski on a race team, and don’t assume such an upright stance. Until recent seasons, I’ve generally preferred stiff skis with flat tails that I can really lean on and charge. If you try to do this on the 108, you’re pretty well guaranteed to overpower the ski and wash the tail out. Maintain a more upright, light position, and you’ll be able to use the effective edge of the ski to its fullest through stable, fun, smeared turns.
As I mentioned briefly above, on very firm, frozen groomers, the 108 won’t provide much bite underfoot—or at least not enough to inspire enough confidence to try and set a carve—but can still carve surprisingly well so long as the snow is remotely soft. (To this end I would only recommend the 108 as a one-ski quiver to someone on the West coast.)
The 108 rails arcs across the fall-line very nicely so long as I set the ski up on edge with an upright, more lateral move and don’t pressure the shovels too heavily. Even through fairly high-angle carves, the edge hold underfoot was comfortable, with a noticeable amount of pop and energy from one turn to the other. The 108 is no slalom ski, and takes a little speed to achieve this, but you can have a lot of fun making fast, aggressive carves on it. When conditions were particularly firm, I didn’t feel as comfortable laying the ski over as far in a strictly carved turn. However, resorting to a dynamic, constant mix of long-radius scrubbed turns and light carves was equally fun. I’ve found that to be a big part of what makes the 108 such an interesting, entertaining ski to play around on.