Igneous Custom Ski Experience
Written by Goose, Friday, 25 May 2007
Igneous are a custom ski manufacturer out of Jackson Hole. They have a loyal following and a strong reputation amongst the maggots of Teton Gravity.
Even skis with a strong reputation, I believe, should never be bought without prior testing. But that is obviously not possible in this case and I have always wanted a custom ski, so when my work gave me a bonus in cash - i.e. the wife wouldn’t see it on the joint account – I contacted Igneous.
Length tested = 180cm swallowtail
Shape = 145-118-125
Stiffness = 230
Skier stats = 170 cm, 70 kg. Skied since 4 plus 7 seasons. Easy rider.
Buying a bespoke ski is a great experience in itself. You feel as though you are not just buying a pair of skis but a work of art. Something created by skiers for skiers and this is not just marketing speak. Adam or Parris (Igneous’ owners) take you through all the different options without once ‘selling’ you the product. Nor do you need to be a technical nerd to know what you want, just tell them what you are looking for and how you ski and let them go to work. I wanted a pure and fast powder ski that had the ability to change down a gear when things got hairy. Ordinarily, for Europe, I would have gone with a sub 100 mm waist - I eventually opted for the Igneous FFF and I’m so stoked I did, here’s why…
The skis arrived at my friends ski shop in Courchevel and he called to say something very special had arrived and asked if he could borrow them. They are a beautiful looking ski, no branding and fat, my god are they fat – like a longboard for each foot. They ooze quality – 24 hours plus of actual labour per pair and the wood in each ski is matched exactly so the skis are exact twins and the layup is wet, making them very strong. They are basically a huge ski with a race construction and tune which should make them usable on the hardpack. Would they ski as well as they looked?
Now don’t squeal, but in the week I was in the 3 Vallees, there was no powder and I promise I will add to this review as soon as I get some. However, let’s face it, we can guess what this ski will go like in the fluffy stuff. What I wanted to know, as I’m not in the market for a helicopter, is how it would slide everywhere else.
This ski is designed on Igneous’ FL or Fall line shape and to make it work all you have to do is follow the shapes of the mountain. This does mean you will be moving pretty fast but they are brilliantly damped, very stable and, as long as you stay on top of them, they can set an edge and aren’t going to ditch you. Adam Sherman refers to them as having a super G with a ‘bottom of the wave’ style turn and although I could only test the super G part of this, in powder I can see, with salivating suspense, what he means. Granted you are not going to enjoy icy bumps on this ski and to keep switching a 118 waist onto its edge will shorten your skiing day if not your life but, if you do come screaming over a rise to be faced by a sea of pissed off moguls or someone has pulled a double left beginner turn in front of you, the ski will wash off speed quickly enough to get out of trouble. Also at the end of the week the temperatures were getting up to plus 15C and these fat boys love the slush. They just crash over it.
I dithered about getting the swallowtail but, hey, I’m old school and shallow and think it looks cool plus if it helps keep the tips up and me upright, well, so much the better.
There are many pure powder skis on the market – reverse camber/sidecut etc – but what I like about this ski is that I won’t dread the crap we sometimes have to ski between the good stuff.
All in all these are a great ski, very usable, even at their ridiculous size, on stuff they’re not even designed for and though they won’t replace my Stockli XLs for no powder days, I wouldn’t expect them to, and when it does dump, look for the insanely giggling little idiot doing mach 2.
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