Dimensions (mm): 140-123-135
Turn Radius: 27.5 meters
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 184.2cm
Weight Per Ski: 2296 grams / 5.06 lbs.
Mount Location: Factory Recommended
Boots / Bindings: Dalbello Ill Moro T’s / Marker Jester (DIN) 7
Test Location: Taos Ski Valley, Breckenridge
Days Skied: 4
(Editor’s Note: Sam’s review was conducted on the 10/11 Night Train, which is unchanged for 11/12 and 12/13.)
The Night Trains are the cornerstone of Moment’s pow/jib lineup and have remained relatively unchanged since their introduction in 2009. When a rather young company keeps a ski for multiple seasons and doesn’t give it an extreme makeover (and the Night Train won’t be overhauled for 12/13) well, that’s the kind of ski I want to get on.
Last fall, Jonathan Ellsworth put together a comparison review of the NT’s, Bibby Pros, and Jaguar Sharks, in which he discussed the cult-like following of the Night Train. He also described the Night Trains as really fun, jibby, pow ski.
Moment claims that the Night Train was built to “dominate deep days,” “surf big mountain lines,” and throw “huge booter spins,” and those descriptions are on point: if you are surfing deep snow and spinning, you definitely need to check out this ski.
But given all that, I was curious to see what else the Night Train might be able to do, and see what sort of versatility the Night Train had to offer in terms of all-mountain performance.
The initial thing I noticed about the Night Train is that the tails are extremely wide. The ski has an early taper shape, not a true 5-point shape like the Armada JJ, which means the widest point at both the tip and tail occurs well before it would on a ski with traditional sidecut. This does a few things: It adds more surface area both near the binding and underfoot, lowers swing weight, and theoretically quickens turn initiation.
The first lap I took on these skis was in blower pow on Niño’s Hero’s off the ridge at Taos, and the large surface area was evident right away. I didn’t get any tip dive or tail dive, which was very odd for me. I couldn’t control my speed how I normally do in pow, by sinking the tails. Instead, I had to throw them sideways—in 15+ inches of light snow.
Yet in such deep pow, this was not a huge detriment to the way the ski rode. It was actually rather playful, lending itself to hard, sharp turns to burn speed. These slashes are a joy because they don’t require a lot of speed to ride out of, like they do on many skis.
Outside the pow, however, the wide tails on the Night Trains had a few interesting effects on how the ski rode. Skiing the rope line to skier’s left of Nino’s Hero’s, where the snow was more tracked and consolidated, I still needed to throw the NTs sideways to burn speed. I was also crossing my tips a lot at this point—the ski was hanging up. This could be for two reasons: 1) I was not used to a ski with such wide tails, and I was still trying to ski through the front of my boots (i.e. drive the ski), or 2) The early taper shape combined with the flat camber underfoot meant there was no distinct contact point at the tip and tail. In other words, as I rode over varying terrain, the amount of edge in contact with the snow changed.
Imagine making a sharp turn on hard pack, then hitting a soft spot mid turn. As soon as you hit the soft spot, there is more active edge on the snow. As the early taper rides through this spot, the ski can easily “hang up.”
Contrast this to the “sharper,” true 5-point shape of a ski like the Armada JJ. On such skis, the widest point at the tip (and tail for that matter) tapers quickly to the end of the shovel, which forms a distinct contact point and makes it much less prone to hang up than an early taper ski like the Night Trains. Fortunately, after a significant detune (I completely rounded 7-10” of edge on the tips and tails), hang-ups became less of an issue.
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