While up at Mission Ridge for the NW On Snow Demo I was able to get on a pair of the 2012 Atomic Bent Chetlers…finally! This is a ski that I’ve had some heavy interest in over the last year but just had yet to ride a pair myself. When you look at who’s currently on the Bent Chetlers, I think it’s natural to want to ski them. You have Chris Benchetler himself, Dana Flahr, Tim Durtschi, and Sage Cattabriga-alosa all ripping around on them at the moment, and all 4 throw down heavy. So it really is an understatement to say I was pumped to get on them. The snow conditions weren’t the greatest and it wasn’t deep pow but it was actually great demo snow. There was ice, smooth groomers, choppy/cut up pow and if you looked hard enough off piste you could find some days old fresh snow.
So right from the start I was impressed at how stable the Bent Chetler felt. Cruising get-backs and some easy going runs at low speeds they were solid, no squirreliness at all. I really liked this because too often I feel that there can be a sacrifice between a pow ski and it’s ability to hold tight while on the traverse. Not the Bent Chetler’s. When I pointed them straight and let em’ loose I was just as impressed. These things just seemed to bulldoze over whatever was in their path. Super solid in the big arching turns whether in crud or soft groomer. This was what I really thought set them apart because most the other skis I rode up there didn’t feel quite as solid. On a whole I really felt comfortable in taking the Bent Chetler wherever I wanted, the ski just performed in whatever I was riding in. On the groomers I was stoked to find that the Bent Chetler was able to get up on the rails and carve out some turns, again at high and low speeds. The turning radius might have felt a little big for true carving, but in reality that’s what I’d prefer. I mean this ski is made to rock the backcountry and hold it together in the bigger lines. I’d expect it to make big ole’ arching turns. What was equally impressive was how smooth they were going in and coming out of the turns. Where as with the Armada JJ I felt a little hang up coming out, the Icelantic Keeper didn’t want to do anything but be on edge, and the Rossignol Super 7 was super smooth but it almost felt like an “edge” or nothing ski. The Bent Chetler was smooooooth like a babies butt, easily guiding you into your turn and cranking when you wanted to crank and then gently leading you out as if to pat you and say “nice job man”. They were playful as well and seemed to like to pop off of all the little hits I could find. Which definitely makes skiing the more tame terrain a fun time. Watch Chris Benchetler in any of his segments, you can see they’re designed to be a playful ski as well as a charger. I really liked Atomic’s Pop Rocker that’s found in the skis. Traditional camber underfoot with some early rise rocker in the tip and tails made it easy to roll over the crud and bumps but didn’t give off any chatter effect. This I think is clutch because both the JJ and the Super 7′s have a little bit of chatter at high speeds when going over the chunky smut.For a wide ski, the Atomic Bent Chetler’s really perform as if they were skinnier in the waist. I think that is what blew me away the most, I kept thinking to myself “I can’t believe this ski is this wide…”. I was almost in disbelief at how agile they were for the size.
All the above is why I rated the 2012 Atomic Bent Chetler my 2nd favorite ski of the day. The Moment Bibby Pro was first and if I had to choose between the two I really don’t know which I’d choose. I think the Moment took first because I had no idea about the ski before hand, and the Bent Chetler I already expected a sic ski just because of who’s riding it. So the ranking might not be fair. Especially when you look at the fact that the Bent Chetler is sold out arond the land. Don’t believe me….Backcountry.com. But I do know that I’d be more than stoked to rock the Atomic Bent Chetler all day every day. So if you’re looking for the perfect ski for your one ski quiver, I’d have no problem recommending the Bent Chetler to anyone. The same goes as well to anyone who’s looking for a deep pow ski. Because even though I didn’t have the chance to ride them in 18″ deep blower, I’ve seen it done in many a video segment and after seeing how they rode in marginal snow there’s no question in my mind that they’d be awesome in the deep.
Here’s a sneak peek vid from rateskigear.com to go along with our review. Boom.