Ski: 2013-2014 Line Mr. Pollard’s Opus, 185cm
Dimensions (mm): 144-118-141
Turn Radius: 17.2 meters
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 183.4cm
Boots/Bindings: Nordica Enforcer / Marker Jester (DIN) 11
Mount Location: Recommended Line
Days Skied: 10
[Editor's Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 Opus, which is unchanged for 13/14, except for the graphics.]
Eric Pollard’s skis have always been big time players in the backcountry/powder jib scene. In my own personal experience, starting with the original SFB, Pollard’s skis helped change the way I look at every piece of terrain as I make my way down the mountain. Every little bump, roll, drift, pillow—any terrain abnormality, for that matter—becomes not only something to be turned upon, but something to be slashed, spun, blown up, flipped, hand dragged, or anything else that isn’t your standard right or left hander.
Pollard’s pro models are the definition of playful skis, and while the Opus follows this same tradition, it now offers slightly more versatility, and even a little more user friendliness.
My first day on Mr. Pollard’s Opus turned out to be one of my best days in Niseko. After five or six straight days of intense wind and snow, the clouds cleared and left us with a perfectly bluebird day. On top of that, the Mizuno No Sawa area reopened and we were left with acres and acres of perfectly consolidated powder, the kind of snow that feels like the mountain was doused with a coating of warm butter.
Of course, in these conditions pretty much any ski on the planet would be a pleasure to ride. But as I said before, the Opus is a different type of tool: it changes your perspective.
My first run, I decided to hit the open meadow that lies beneath the Niseko Village gondola—backward. Of course, given the size and rocker profile of the Opus, the ski planed up onto the surface with no problem skiing switch.
What I immediately noticed and enjoyed about this ski compared to similar skis I’ve ridden (Hellbent, EP Pro) was how predictable and stable the Opus felt, even with quite a bit of speed. It wasn’t as susceptible to folding up the tail when my weight rocked a little too far back, or when crossing a couple of ski tracks. And the sidecut of the tail wasn’t so aggressive that the ski would unexpectedly want to overturn if I got a little heavy on the tails, or happened to let the skis come across the fall line a bit too far.
Throughout the rest of the day, I sent the Opus off every roll, pillow, and drop I could find in Mizuno no Sawa. From my first run, it was apparent that the Opus was incredibly easy to ride. The predictability I just mentioned about switch performance was also there skiing forward, airing anything, and, very importantly, when landing. The Opus doesn’t have a super stiff tail to fall back on and to drive you back over your toes, but if I stayed balanced over the middle, it stomped decent-sized airs, forward or backward.
Another characteristic that came immediately to my attention was how quickly you could get the Opus from side to side in trees. As Andrew Gregovich wrote in his review of the Opus, the ski is in its element in terrain like that of Niseko, including the tree skiing, which at times can be pretty tight. The ski’s 18-meter radius, light weight, soft-but-energetic flex, and forward mount all contribute to lightning quick turns when you want them. That isn’t to say, though, that you can’t lengthen out turns by slipping out the tails and smearing—the Opus loves to do that, too.
My next days with Mr. Pollard’s Opus in Niseko’s absolutely incredible conditions were equally as fun as the first. But after three days on the Opus I needed to move on to other skis. I was having an absolute blast on the Opus and didn’t want to give them up.
Fortunately after Niseko, the Opus came back home with me to Alta. I figured this would be great for seeing how the Opus stacked up in terrain that I’m very familiar with.
Now, after spending another couple of weeks on this ski, exposing it to a couple feet of pow, crud, some heavy and wet sun exposed snow, and even some packed-out firm snow, I can say that, while the ski definitely has its limitations, clicking into these skis will make you a more playful skier.
Eric Pollard and Line have created a playful pow ski with a backbone. Freestyle-minded skiers ought to be excited.
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