Rating: 3.38 / 5
Waist Width: 100
Stability at speed: 3.29 / 5
Hard snow performance: 2.86 / 5
Crud performance: 3.29 / 5
Flotation: 3.60 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.24 / 5
Overall: 3.38 / 5
Shape and flex work together in a way that makes turning intuitive on the Vantage 100, which was one of the most ebullient soft-snow slashers
in the category. With a subtle blend of lightness and power, it's crisp and accurate when you feel like attacking the mountain aggressively. But it's also light on the feet, easy on the legs, and plenty happy to goof off if that's what you're in the mood for. Denny: "An ideal daily driver. Hyper- responsive, a good listener, inspires confidence."
NOTES: With its 100 waist, the Ritual is the widest and most Western-centric ski in the Vantage series, trading some of the edge-to-edge quickness of other models for powder-ready flotation. But Atomic gives it carbon and metal reinforcement and strong sidewalls for on-trail performance between powder days.
The Vantage series of all-mountain skis returns for 2016 with a simplified naming convention based on waist widths (100 CTi, 90CTi, etc.) rather than the old names (Ritual, Alibi, etc.). The men's collection includes five models ranging in width from 100 down to 85 mm. Where the Freeski series includes wide rides for deep snow and the Nomad series offers narrow waists for on-trail performance, the Vantage skis split the difference in the name of all-terrain versatility. Not as loose and drifty as the Powder skis or as tight and carvy as the Nomads, they're built to meet the day-to-day needs of a resort skier with appropriate mixes of soft-snow and hardpack performance. All are sold flat (no binding).
There are three key technology updates to the line for 2016: Most models contain a layer of Atomic's new Carbon Tank Mesh, a wall-to-wall grid of carbon fibers that adds strength while reducing weight; extra-thick Firewall sidewalls add mass over the edge, dampening vibrations and transmitting more skier energy for smooth powerful edge grip and tracking; and a less-turned-up tail supplies more powerful turn finishes.
All Vantage skis feature Atomic's All-Mountain Rocker, which combines loose, floaty rocker in the tip and tail with edgier camber underfoot (about 75 percent of the ski's length). All are built around full wood cores. The top three models-100, 90 and 85 CTi-are reinforced with metal; not full sheets, but Atomic's Backbone technology, in which strategically shaped sheets are inlaid atop the core to provide some of the dampness and high-speed calm that metal offers without adding too much weight. The two low-end models are similar constructions but with lighter, more forgiving carbon reinforcement instead of metal.