Rating: / 5
Waist Width: 85
With its moderately narrow waist and soft flex, the 85 W is the most forgiving model in the Vantage line. The absence of both metal and carbon reinforcement found in higher end models keeps the price down and makes it friendly and appropriate for lesser-skilled skiers and a lower-speed attack. The three-model Vantage series of women's all-mountain skis returns for 2016 with a simplified naming convention based on waist widths (90 CTi, 95 C, 85) rather than the old names (Elysian, Supreme, etc.). Where Atomic's Century models offer wide rides for deep snow and the Affinity models offer narrow waists for on-trail performance, the Vantage skis split the difference in the name of all-terrain/conditions versatility. 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 Vantage 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 women's model-90 CTi W-is 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.