Atomic Theory (2014)
You could pay a lot more for Alibi ($715), but it hardly seems worth it. The Alibi is only 3 mm wider than the Theory, and while it has metal, it’s not a full sheet. Both impressed testers most with their easygoing forgiveness, well-suited to intermediates and relaxed experts who expect lots of soft snow. But the aggressively priced Theory has versatility too, putting up one of the top Balance of Skills scores in the category.
The Theory returns unchanged to the Vantage collection, offering loose, easygoing performance on a 95-mm waist. While it's close in width to the Alibi, with virtually the same sidecut radius, it has a lighter, livelier construction with carbon reinforcement rather than metal and a little less rocker for enhanced hard-snow rebound.
Atomic's Vantage series includes five models ranging in waist widths from 103 mm down to 83. Where the Powder 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 Nomad system skis, they're built to split the difference and meet the day-to-day needs of a soft-snow (most likely Western) resort skier with equal parts powder and hardpack performance. All are sold flat (no binding).
|Level||Intermediate, Advanced, Expert|
|Lengths||168, 177, 186|
|Rating: Stability at Speed||3.15 / 5|
|Rating: Maneuverability||3.12 / 5|
|Rating: Hard Snow Grip||3.12 / 5|
|Rating: Crud Performance||3.22 / 5|
|Rating: Forgiveness||3.25 / 5|
|Rating: Flotation||3.02 / 5|
|Rating: Overall||3.11 / 5|