Advanced all-mountain skier
Craig's rating of this ski:
Considering his skiers profile:
"All-mountain skis will be my choice when conditions vary from firm to 6" of fresh snow. Better edge hold and carving capabilities should be expected compared to my powder skis. They should be competent in crud and soft bumps."
Weight:82 kg180 lbs
My favourite all-mountain skis:
1. Renoun Endurance 98
2. Liberty Variant 113
2. Rossignol Experience 88 HD
To all my reviews
Very light weight and high dampening qualities. Can it be done?
Skis with light weight construction have been popular over the last few years. Why light weight? It reduces fatigue, increases "flick ability" with reduced swing weight, and if you are a backcountry skier going uphill, can be critical. However, a common characteristic of light weight construction, is light, or poor damping qualities. Damping provides stability on inconsistent terrain, which includes, cut up skied off groomers, bumps, crud etc. If you only ski smooth surfaces, like fresh groomed runs, or untracked powder, then damping may not be as important, but if you are a resort skier, those conditions normally don't last long. Also, damping needs to increase with increased stiffness in flex.
This lack of damping has not gone unnoticed by many consumers, and some manufacturers, but is often overlooked in many reviews. I normally will not give a ski a top rating without very good or better damping, but even excellent damping does not always correspond to a good off-piste ski.
Rossignol is one company addressing this issue with the release of their "HD" series. Applying their "carbon alloy matrix" construction to their light weight Soul 7, Super 7, Experience 100 HD Ti (which I would not categorize as light weight, at 2100g for the 182cm flat), and their top rated Experience 88 HD that adds basalt to its laminate, and is 2100g for the 180 flat.
Renoun addressed the damping issue from their onset. They have produced a "very" light weight ski (1775 grams per ski) with a additive called "HDT", or Hyper Damping Technology. It is a flubber looking viscous material that hinders rapid changes in vibration. There are 8 channels of this material (occupying 15% of the structure) inlayed into a core of Aspen wood, carbon, and triaxial fiberglass.
How does Renoun stack up against some popular skis of similar width, that I have reviewed? (Note: Liberty Variant, and Bonafide based on 2015 review)
The first thing you may notice, Renoun is the lightest claimed weight in this comparison. So, those who are looking for a light weight ski, take notice! Backcountry skiers should find this ski, and the Renoun Endurance 104 in the 184cm @1875g, of particular interest, and one that I want to review as well.
So, how do I rate the Enduance 98 184cm for damping quality? I am going to put this in the "very good" category mounted with Marker demo bindings. The metal plates under toe and heel on demo bindings, do add weight and damping to a ski. Considering the weight to damping ratio of this ski, this is a impressive advance in technology. You may also recognize that every ski I list with very good or above damping, are all in the heavier weight category, and most with titanal laminate.
Renoun describes the flex pattern of the Endurance as moderate-moderate stiff. I would rate it as medium-medium soft when the ski is hand flexed. The Non-Newtonian "HDT" hardens when exposed to vibration, which may confirm their claimed moderate-stiff flex when the ski is underway, and I confirm that the stiffness does seem to increase with speed. Renoun states that some skiers may prefer a mounting position 1-2 cm behind the factory scribe mark on the side of the ski. This can give the front of the ski more stability, and damping, for larger, or high speed straight line skiers, who find the 184 (longest available length) on the short side. I will say, based on my profile, the 184cm felt size appropriate for me, mounted boot center on the scribe mark. I also tried mounting position 5mm, 1cm, and 2cm, behind the scribe Mark. The ski felt balanced at all positions, just different characteristics. Freestylers will love this ski in the forward position, and in the bumps. The farther back the mounting, the more GS turns were favored, and a great match for the 22m turn radius. Personally I found -1cm from the scribe mark a good compromise for directional skiers who make a mix of turn shapes. The Endurance can make your carving dreams come true on groomed runs with decent texture. What a versatile ski! Could I go slightly longer for this ski.....perhaps, but I don't think I would want it any shorter.
The Endurance 98 is "very" quick turning, with impressive edge grip, and durable edge material that still looks new after several weeks of early season abuse. Careful edge engagement is necessary to prevent chatter, when attempting to shorten its turn radius on skied off hardpack, which is this skis least favorite condition (and mine too). I typically make a lot of short and medium radius turns using this width ski. This ski would be very tempting with a shorter turn radius, perhaps in the 17-20m range, if Renoun were to make it. It has a large sweet spot, and is forgiving if you get caught in the back seat. It can make beautiful short and medium radius carve turns, and very good-shockingly quiet, higher speed long radius turns, if you stay close to its 22m turn radius. The ski responds well to a weight forward position, and driving the turn from the tip of the ski. It transitions in and out of skied-up snow piles with ease.
I did review this ski early in the season, and the bumps were on the small side. I would like to ski the Endurance later in the season, when the bumps become larger, and more challenging. The 98 is one of the better skis I have ridden for these smaller soft bumps, in this width! It is great at slower speed, and finesse technique. Very easy release tail. I felt well balanced in a upright "bump" body position. Foot steering is superb with its low swing weight. So light and quick, softer flex, no noticeable tip deflection, big sweet spot, and good damping......
I had two days in powder. The second day, Vail opened the top front side of the mountain for the first time of the season, un-announced, small crowd, huge amount of terrain, sun, no wind, and 8-12 inches of untracked two day old powder, that lasted till I was exhausted. I would have normally been on my 141mm underfoot powder skis, but Endurance performed excellent for this width. Float was on the plus side of the Blizzard Bonafide, which is the same 98 mm underfoot. Med-soft flex, good damping, good torsional stability, subtle multi point sidecut, and its longer turn radius give this ski above average performance for this width in pow.
Who is this ski for
- Anyone looking for a light weight ski with good damping, to take on the whole mountain -Backcountry skiers
- If you want great "flick-ability"
- Finesse skiers
- All-mountain ski, for freestylers
- Ideal mid-width ski or one ski quiver for Rocky Mountain
- Those with a few dollars in their pocket, financing is available (where do I sign)!
- 1 degree side, 1 degree bottom factory recommended edge angles
- Error toward longer length for this ski
- Consider mounting this ski with demo bindings to adjust position, directional skiers may prefer behind scribe mark.
- Ships in a impressive wooden box, that could be mounted on your wall for ski storage.
- Matt top finish with tapered top edge should resist chipping and provide good durability, if you like "brown".
- Renoun sells direct to the customer (802-778-9163, or Renoun.com)
Renoun about the Endurance 98
"On the slopes, the ENDURANCE 98 is light and playful in softer conditions, yet rock solid and sturdy when things get rough. Thanks to HDT™, the ENDURANCE 98offers a flex pattern on demand. It’s the best of both worlds and a totally new skiing experience.", says Renoun.
Considering the weight of this ski, it may compare more closely to AT (backcountry) skis, but the Endurance excels in the resort. My chart above, and their reviews on this site, can provide related ski comparisons.
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