First Turns: Groomers and Bumps—04.01.12
We were at Taos Ski Valley, and it was full-on spring: 60 degrees Fahrenheit at the base, 50 at the summit. Conditions ranged from firm to spring slush, depending on the amount of shade and the aspect being skied.
I stuck to my practice of not detuning a ski till I’ve first skied it, and this is probably why I was initially terrified: it seemed that even if the ski did some of what MOMENT claims, say, 99% of the time, there was still going to be that instance where the weird camber pattern would catch or hook an edge badly. I was seriously concerned, so I started things mellow on a couple of groomers.
The ski quickly proved to be shockingly good on groomers. I kept waiting for the instance when the two skis would split off into separate directions, or I’d catch an edge and get slammed to the ground. It never happened.
What I found in the spring slush was a ski that was a ton of fun to carve and incredibly easy to get high on edge.
In the past two seasons, there have been three fairly big skis that have stood out for me in terms of their carving ability—how easy they were to get up on edge, and how capable they were of then holding that edge: the Rossignol Experience 98, the Rossignol Scimitar (both skis 98mm underfoot), and the 11/12 Line Influence 115 (115 underfoot). In spring conditions, the Deathwish at 112mm underfoot was absolutely in this class.
I believe that a big part of this is that on soft groomers and in afternoon slush, I loved the flex pattern of the Deathwish—it was very easy to bend but stiff enough to ride the rails. I had the Deathwish mounted on the line, and given the pretty centered mount position, I felt more comfortable staying centered when up on edge rather than leaning hard over the shovels. I’m not ready to say that you can’t drive the shovels, it just felt more natural to stay in a more neutral position than when I’m skiing something like the MOMENT Belafonte, where you can drive the shovels as hard as you want.
On this same day, Will Brown was A/B-ing the 187 Belafonte and the 188 MOMENT Tahoe. On the Tahoe, Will was getting bucked around in the afternoon slush and puddles. The Belafonte was definitely better in that stuff, but Will was having some difficulty getting them up to speed in the slow snow, so turning them was tough. I was having no issues at all with the Deathwish.
After those groomer laps, we headed over to some very firm bumps on West Blitz, and I was pretty worried all over again. I still wasn’t close to being willing to place faith in these things.
Throughout the day, the skis just never got weird, and zipperlining bumps became just as fun as carving groomers.
So, are they better in bumps than the MOMENT PB&Js or Belafontes? I can’t say that they are. Are they worse? No.
The most surprising thing about the Deathwish in bumps was just how quick they were. Well, that, plus the fact that they didn’t behave incredibly weird.
If you simply clicked in to the Deathwish without knowing of the highly unusual camber profile that was beneath your feet, you wouldn’t think twice about it. But once you know what’s under your boots, it’s difficult to try to get yourself to think that this will lead to an enhanced hardpack performance with no downside. I still am amazed that, without any detuning, the skis felt so predictable on groomers and also very predictable in the bumps of West Blitz.
These skis are quick. I kept finding myself comparing the Deathwish to the MOMENT PB&J, not the MOMENT Bibby Pro, despite the fact that the PB&Js are 11cm narrower underfoot and 4cm longer. The 184 Bibbys are the same length and only 4mm wider, and have the same effective edge as the 184cm Deathwish—150 centimeters.
The Deathwish just doesn’t feel like a ton of ski. It’s a softer flex than the PB&J and Bibby Pro (MOMENT calls the PB&J and Bibby Pro an “8″ on their flex scale; the Deathwish is a “7″). If the Bibby Pro is a playful charger, then the Deathwish is a quick, playful ski that can still charge.
In the week before Taos closed for the season, yet another storm rolled in, dropping a fresh 18-24 inches, with stashes that went even deeper.
This wasn’t typical Taos snow; it was much heavier and wetter than we normally get around here, and in deeper untracked, I was getting bucked a bit and seeing some tip dive.
In heavy untracked, this was the only time I found myself really wishing that I was on the 190cm Deathwish, mounted back one centimeter behind the line. I weigh 185 pounds, and I think the extra length and an centimeter back would have done the trick.
So long and short, if this is going to be more of a pow ski for you and you are on the fence between sizes, I would go up. If you’re going to be tricking these, I wouldn’t.
I certainly need to get more pow days on the Deathwish, so this section isn’t anything close to a final word on how the Deathwish handle pow.
In this 2nd Look of the MOMENT Deathwish, reviewer Jason Hutchins praises its smooth, playful ride, but also has a few suggestions for improvements.
For those of you who worried that a 182cm Belafonte sounded too short, but a 192cm Belafonte sounded like too much, well, we've got some very good news for you.
Lots of people have asked, so here goes: the MOMENT Night Train vs. the Bibby Pro vs. the Jaguar Shark.