Atomic SL:11 / SL11 2004 Ski Review
I had the chance to demo a pair of these in the GS form last year and was pleasantly surprised. Atomic have excelled in making a lighter ski without comprising on stability or grip, with only a few exceptions.
The Atomic SL.11 is the bigger brother of the Atomic SL.9. Both look identical, but while the SL:9 is tuned and excels in 99% of areas, the SL:11 does the same with a dirty great supercharger bolted on for good measure.
Model: Atomic SL:11 (SL11)
Size(cm) / Radius(m): 150/11 157/12 164/13 171/14
Sidecut: 107-63-95 / 108-63-96 / 109-63-97 / 110-63-98
"The World Cup SL System. Top racers and aggressive carvers, opinion leaders."
Visually and in tech ‘tech speak’ terms, the SL:11 has not changed much from its previous forms. Slightly tweaked visuals, the same ‘golf ball’ influenced top sheet, and of course the carbon power channels still remain.
First thing to note, is the versatility of these skis. Normally a designated race specification slalom ski will perform in one place and one place only; on the groomed hard pack of the piste or the race course. These skis however steer the review away from an article about how they handle through the poles, to one about how this skis can be taken just about anywhere, especially if you choose a slightly longer length than the sub circa 160 cm length which now seems standard (to all but those male FIS participants of course). A very large footprint thanks largely to very wide tips and tails ensure that the thin 63mm waists do not make powder a chore.
In a growing number of modern skis the Atomic SL:11 also have invisible ‘Easy’ & ‘Hard’ settings. The SL:11 will become a monster if you work them, and will behave in a much more docile manner if you take things easy. The latter still requires skill and good technique however, although the same is not as true for the Atomic SL:9.
One minor annoyance which could make the decision between purchasing are the bindings. You have two choices: 1. Purchase the Atomic SL:11 with Atomic bindings, or 2. Do not purchase them at all.
Due to the construction of the SL:11 you must use specific Atomic bindings. Choice of binding therefore is limited, however you do get the ease of moving the bindings should you need to set them for a different boot case size. I am a big fan of Look, and therefore have no option to use my favorite pair with these skis. That said it is a minor gripe and the ‘matched’ pair typically bundled with the SL:11 and even the SL:9 are more than capable.
The SL:11 is a more than capable ski to service all your desires if you only want to carry one pair of skis around and are more prone to the piste or indeed the race course than elsewhere. A fantastically responsive pair of skis which will not break the bank and lend themselves to other disciplines very well.
If they are too stiff, plump for the SL:9 instead.
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