Ski: 2015-2016 RMU Apostle, 185cm
Dimensions (mm): 126-132-105-120-114
Sidecut Radius: 17.3 meters
Boots / Bindings: Rossignol Experience Sensor 130 / Marker Jester (DIN at 11)
Mount locations: Recommended Line
Test location: Taos Ski Valley; Crested Butte, CO
Days skied: 7
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 11/12 Apostle, which was not changed for 12/13, 13/14, 14/15, or 15/16 except for the graphics.]
In the past five years, the evolution in all-mountain ski dimensions has resulted in a vast array of ski designs, and the 2011-2012 Apostle, by Rocky Mountain Underground (RMU), is one of the more unusual.
The Apostle has a progressive five-point design in which the widest sections of the tip and tail are at the snow surface contact points. Traditional camber under foot reinforces ski-to-snow contact at these points, and a rockered profile extends beyond them to the front and rear of the ski. But what really makes the Apostle unique is the shape of the tip and tail throughout this rockered section.
Unlike similar skis with five-point dimensions, the Apostle’s linear tip and tail don’t form a round ‘bowling ball’ taper from the widest points out to the end. Instead, RMU has applied a linear design beyond the widest points. While it may seem counterintuitive to have straight and narrow end sections, the design appears natural and seamlessly incorporated.
My first impressions of the Apostle were very positive. The unique dimensions, 185cm length, and gorgeous orange and white graphics made for a ski that had me unexpectedly giddy from the start. The Apostle not only looked progressive, but felt balanced and perfectly shaped for all-mountain fun.
The Apostle also has some bomber construction qualities. The ski has an American-grown poplar wood core that is reinforced with ultra high molecular weight (UGMW) polyethylene sidewalls, and 2.2mm-thick edge. The flex of the ski was beefy throughout the cambered section and expectedly soft throughout the rocker sections. This particular demo pair had been skied more than 100 days, yet the camber underfoot felt sturdy, and the vertically laminated top sheet was in excellent shape. Fabricated in the Never Summer factory in Denver, Colorado, this ski is a superb reflection of the term “MADE in the U.S.A.”
My first run on the Apostles consisted of mixed-radius turns on the groomer “Porcupine” at Taos Ski Valley. I typically start on Porcupine because of its medium pitch, consistent fall line, and corduroy that lasts long into the day. I was instantly delighted by how easily the Apostle transferred from medium-radius GS turns to faster, short-swing slalom turns on firm snow. The ski felt remarkably nimble and super quick edge to edge. I thought to myself, “Seriously? Did this oddly shaped, rockered-tip ski just perform like an all-mountain GS ski and then a mogul ski in the same run?”
Yes, it did. And without hesitation, I opened them up into even larger super G turns back to the lift.
Large-radius carves on the Apostle were easygoing and stable, which was a direct result of the Apostle’s straight, rockered tip. As I’d push harder into turns, the skis front contact point would transfer farther into the tip, extending my ski-to-snow contact and creating a more stable ride.
This intuitive design proved to be extremely beneficial in the front half of the ski, but I began developing conflicting views for the overall length of the ski, particularly the rear. The rockered tail section didn’t retain the load I typically put in the tails to rebound into the next turn. If, however, I applied forward pressure while initiating turns, then center pressure through the completion of turns, I could ride neutrally with minimal effort. Despite this technique change, the overall length of the ski also came into question, as I couldn’t depend on the tail section when pressuring big, heavy turns.
Regardless, I still felt I had a super fun ski under me, and it was time to take the Apostle off piste.
Question: What ski is among the absolute best in its class, yet far too few skiers know about it? Answer: The Praxis Protest. It's a big ski that deserves to have a much, MUCH bigger following.
The MOMENT PB&J is a serious contender for the title of the best one-ski quiver on the planet.
John Gwynn weighs in on the Volkl Bridge, providing an older (wiser?) 2nd Look review, and finding a whole lot to like.