Model: Atomic Metron Beta 5 / B5
Size(cm) / Radius(m): 152/? 162/11 172/?
Length Tested: (TBC)
An engaging 30 minutes with a ski tech who speaks excellent English left me in no doubt that these were the business - already selling like hot cakes, and stock diminishing rapidly. Lengths of 162, 172 and maybe just one more size for the Jolly Green Giants is determined by a circular ready-reckoner - reminiscent of my wife’s weight-watcher’s points calculator, much akin to the salomon system of aggression, power/weight characteristics. By the way, in Austria they say Salomon X-Scream skis are for old, overweight Englishmen!!!
48 hours later - because that was the earliest when the test set in my size were available, I set off up the Nassereinbahn gondola. These are definitely next year’s model - the lift operator, suffering end of season lethargy actually raised his head from page 3 of the Austrian version of The Sun to eye-up this raunchy newcomer. So too did the punters in gondola number 29 - how did this English guy secure a sneak preview on the "fat" skis.
"Fat" is exactly how they are being termed, and they’re heavy, but I was too excited to notice that, at first. Maybe the rental binding is heavier than the ‘2005’ Neox 412 - fitted as standard on new pairs.
8 cms shorter than my X-Scream 10 pilots - and no, I’m not fat, although I am getting old, was quite noticeable, and of course the wide tips meant I had to put a toilet roll’s width between my skis instead of the usual fag-paper! By far the most obvious difference was stability - and stability gives me confidence to jump into anything that crops up. A long traverse on hard piste and no flapping - a good start, I thought, but it only gets better!! Equal weight on both skis, I put in a gentle, almost negligible lean and around they went - two clean, sharp and continuous cuts in the snow. (They’ve got a ten-eighty turn-up on the heel, too.) OK, now let’s turn up the tempo - how do they flow if I take the fall-line? No problem, very responsive - maybe a little over-steer at first - due to the X-screams; stability now matched with an agile, edge to edge wegel, but weight forward and a bit of knee-drive essential, as ever. Yes, these are very comfortable and don’t sap energy.
Let’s take a red to the six-man chair from St Anton up to the Gampen. It’s early in the morning but late season, so there should be some overnight crud, ice, and of course, some nasty, frozen piste-basher tracks to negotiate! Well, where was it all? I didn’t seem to notice! Now via the Zammermoos chair onto the open, wide ‘violet’ of the Galzig where there’s always some piste-side powder. But first, let’s carve! Oh yes, it’s side cut allows a piste hugging lean - again, absolutely stable, accelerating as expected when the shoulder follows through. And into the powder. Unbelieveable - just let them take you through it! Don’t force the turns - but finish them! Salomon’s were supposed to be good in powder, but these are invincible. Equal weight on both skis and no danger of losing rhythm, these are a joy to ride! Crust? - no worries here, either.
These are a must buy, I started to ponder. But best use the three free days before you buy condition - and I did! My wife and son had a good stint on them, too, and they were equally impressed. But my wife also tried the ‘red’ version - on the advice of the technician?? She was not at all impressed, in comparison to the Beta 5. They were too soft, unstable on hard piste and not even worth considering in the powder - a real lady’s ski!
And on the third day God created an overnight fall of 30 cms up on the Valluga. So up the Schindlergrat and onto ski-route 15, the Schindler Kar - hectares of fresh powder! Over the edge and down, bouncing and bobbing like I’ve never done before - so confident, so certain of every turn - that’s what these do for you, awesome!!
Absolutely stunning skis and they do exactly as claimed. The difference between this all-rounder and the competition is that is is giving you top quality performance in every dimension of terrain, not mediocrity - as is often the case, a jack of all trades, but master of none!
Real time prices for the Atomic Metron Beta 5 / B5 2005, or similar ski products: