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Rating: / 5
Waist Width: 102
Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188
The 2017 Atomic Backland FR 102, formerly the Automatic 102, is the narrowest, quickest, and most all-conditions-versatile model in the Atomic’s Backland FR series of powder skis. It’s also softer flexing and more forgiving than the fatter models. It’s a surfy soft-snow specialist, but of all the Automatics it has the most camber underfoot-comprising 70 percent of its total length-for hardpack carvability between storms.
For 2017, Atomic renames the Atomatic series of wide-waisted deep-snow freeriders and includes them in the Backland series, which includes tools for every kind of backcountry skiing, from the fat, sturdy, descent-oriented freeriders of the FR group to the skinny, ultra-light, ascent-oriented rando racers of the Ultimate group. The FR, or freeride series, includes three models of deep-snow powder specialists, formerly called Automatics, with waist widths of 117, 109, and 102 mm. All Backland FR models are built for loose, surfy performance in deep snow, with tapered tips, lightweight constructions, and turned-up tails. All are built on wood cores, and all feature Atomic’s Step-Down Sidewall construction: high sidewalls underfoot for solidity and edge grip; lower sidewalls topped by cap construction tip and tail for softer flex and more forgiving performance. Each Automatic model has its own rocker profile, with progressively less rocker and more camber in the narrower waist widths.
Atomic, founded in 1955, is based in Altenmarkt im Pongau, Austria (near Salzburg), where the majority of its skis are made. Along with sister brands Salomon and ArcTeryx, it is a division of Amer Sports of Finland, which acquired it in 1994. Its U.S. headquarters are in Ogden, Utah. -J.C.