Ski: 2016-2017 Line Pandora 110, 172cm
Available Lengths: 152, 162, 172, 179 cm
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 168.1 cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 142-110-125
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1891 & 1842 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius: 16 meters
Core Construction: Aspen + Fiberglass Laminate
Mount Location: Recommended Line
Boots / Bindings: Black Diamond Shiva Mx and Lange RS 120 S.C. / Marker Jester (DIN at 8)
Test Locations: Alta Ski Area; Crested Butte and Monarch, Colorado; Bridger Bowl, Montana
Days Skied: 11[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Pandora, which was not changed for the 15/16, 16/17, or 17/18 season, except for the graphics.]
When I first heard that Line planned to change the Pandora for the 2013-2014 season, I was pretty devastated. Over the last several seasons, the previous version of the Pandora (115mm underfoot) has remained one of my favorite, versatile powder skis. I’ve spoken to dozens of ladies about the ski, everyone seems to agree that it rocks, and the previous Pandora is one of the most common women’s skis I see at resorts.
The redesigned Pandora doesn’t just boast a few changes in dimensions, it’s actually a completely different ski under the same name. In fact The 2013-2014 Pandora (unchanged for the 14/15 season), is the exact same ski as the men’s Line Sick Day 110, only with a different top sheet. Line calls it “by far the most fun, playful, and easiest-to-handle ski in powder, and surprisingly, everywhere else on the mountain.”
While the earlier Pandora is also fun, playful, and easy to handle in powder, as well as everywhere on the mountain, I suspected the new version’s narrower waist, more heavily tapered tail, and new core construction would yield a notably different ride.
I arrived in Crested Butte, Colorado just after the mountain received several feet of new snow over the course of a week, and the snow stayed soft for the first few days I skied the Pandora. Although I had been somewhat skeptical of the changes made to the ski, I loved the new Pandora from my first run.
I started out on a few groomer laps, which became progressively more bumped and roughed up throughout the day as a result of the new snow. As soon as I got the Pandora up to speed and leaned into a carve, I felt the ski respond with the familiar, playful bounce characteristic of the former Pandora. The light weight of the ski made it easy to throw out from under me and quickly transition from one turn to the next.
The Pandora’s new, narrower waist also contributed to a more intuitive feel while carving, and its ability to get up on edge and remain there through the completion of the turn was impressive.
The Pandora did not feel as outstanding as the Salomon Stella (104 mm underfoot) through a carve, but high angle carves were still quite easy to initiate. Even on days where the snow firmed up but was also slightly bumpy, I never experienced the Pandora’s tails washing out and felt the ski provided a good edge hold (albeit with a fresh, good tune, and I was not skiing on East Coast ice).
Given the ski’s relatively short sidecut radius and length, the Pandora preferred small-to-medium sized turns on groomers; however, I still felt comfortable at high speeds on consistent and mildly bumpy snow. The Pandora does not have the heavy, damp feel of a ski like the Blizzard Dakota to completely smooth out variable snow, but it was predictable enough that I wasn’t worried about tip deflection and excessive chatter. The Pandora wouldn’t be my first choice to take full speed down bumpy hardpack, but for the most part, it can hold its own in a range of on-piste conditions.
Interestingly, the new 172cm Pandora feels like it skis slightly longer than the previous 172cm Pandora, despite now having a bit of rocker in the tail, and not just a twinned tail. The Pandora’s effective edge felt supportive when bringing the ski up to speed, which I greatly appreciated. There were some times when the 172cm length prevented me from really opening things up and going full speed, though it’s not that the ski can overpowered too easily—I just think I’d be happier on a slightly longer length in general. In my review of the 12/13 Pandora I mentioned that I wished it came in a longer length than 172cm, and I’m pleased to report that for the 14/15 season, Line will be offering a 179cm version of the new Pandora. (Or, if you’re in the market now, you could buy the 179cm men’s Sick Day 110 from 13/14)
In the soft, deep chop that lingered for several days after the end of the storm in Crested Butte, I really appreciated the Pandora’s light weight and maneuverability. I could easily and quickly work the ski through bumps and troughs, in between consolidated piles of snow, at medium speeds without the shovels folding on me. The playful quality of the ski made these soft, tracked-up conditions quite fun.
Thicker, Heavier Chop
The Pandora’s softer tips helped the ski plane nicely on longer run-outs through deep chop, but the shovels sometimes felt too light to drive fast down the fall line in thicker, heavier snow. In this way, the Pandora probably won’t satisfy those looking for a serious hard-charging, big-mountain crud ski, but with a few added turns across the hill, it can still be skied aggressively when conditions become more demanding.
Tighter, Technical Terrain
Crested Butte’s steep, techy terrain is where I spent a majority of time on the Pandora. The ski’s light swing weight allowed me to easily navigate some of the tighter chutes and tree sections. Hop turns and precise changes in direction were easy, so as some areas got tracked out, I could make fast, dynamic turns through bigger, defined bumps.
Some of Crested Butte’s technical zones end in small mandatory airs; here I found the Pandora to be both supportive and forgiving. Even though the ski felt nimble in the air, the Pandora provided enough of a sturdy platform to stomp small to medium sized drops. At the same time, I could also quickly shut down my speed in the run out if I needed to.
The Pandora floated beautifully in a foot of light, untracked powder at a crowdless Monarch Mountain. Although the ski doesn’t seem to provide quite as surfy of a ride of the earlier Pandora, which was fatter underfoot, it was still incredibly fun to make fast, fluid turns down open and gladed runs.
The skis’ wide shovels and generous splay prevented any tip dive, while the Pandora’s gently rockered tail prevented it from having the super loose feel of a more dedicated pow ski with more pronounced tail rocker. In this way Line has compromised some of the Pandora’s float with the new design, but this slight change in powder performance is made up for by its impressive versatility elsewhere.
The Pandora’s flex pattern feels well balanced, especially in powder. I have noticed that on some skis (the Salmon Stella, in particular) that have light, rockered tips and relatively stiff, flatter tails, it often feels like there is a lot less ski in front of you compared to behind the boot. This can create a sometimes unpredictable sensation in variable and powder snow. But while I occasionally felt the tails of the Pandora catch in heavier chop, in general, the ski has a nice, consistent, progressive flex that rarely feels unbalanced.
The new Pandora is an incredibly fun, well-designed ski that will appeal to a lot of skiers. Although I am sad to see one of my favorite powder skis go (the 115mm underfoot Pandora), I believe this new iteration will work for more people across a wider range of conditions. The new Pandora offers slightly less float than the old version, but it is a more capable carver that holds its own in soft and firm conditions. The ski’s light weight would also make it a great touring option.
Advanced to expert skiers looking for a playful all-mountain ski, or even a dedicated powder ski, should seriously consider the Pandora. I applaud Line for not only making a longer, 179cm Pandora, but also for making another new ski that I love.
You can now also read Blister reviewer Sascha Anastas’ 2nd Look at the Line Pandora 110.
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