Dynastar Cham 97 (2014)
Give the Cham credit for being the most optimistic ski in the category. It expects to find powder every day and is built accordingly. Testers warned that it's an indifferent hard-snow carver - too wide for quickness, too drastically rockered for positive rebound. But throw soft snow at it, and it comes to life - No. 1 in Flotation, No. 1 in Crud Performance. The Cham is more than willing to sacrifice the edginess of Dynastars past and fully embrace the loose, smeary performance of new-school powder boards. Gleason: "The float of the forebody gives it a distinctly Western flavor."
For resort-oriented experts who expect to see as much hardpack, crud and bumps as they do powder, the Cham 97 hits what has proved to be a key waist width on the market. Aggressive rocker and tapered tips and tails give it loose, smeary flotation in powder, but it won't be unnecessarily ponderous in all-mountain conditions, as wider skis are.
Dynastar's returning Cham series of freeride/adventure skis celebrates Dynastar's big-mountain heritage - the company is located near Chamonix, France - with freeride-spirited skis in waist widths ranging from huge (127 mm) to pragmatic (87 mm). There are seven models, including three High Mountain versions built for backcountry adventure with lighter cores better suited to long ascents. All are tapered in the tip and tail for slashy, smeary powder performance, instant speed control, and enhanced maneuverability (Dynastar calls it Progressive 5-Point Sidecut, referring to the reverse sidecut that extends tip and tail beyond the widest points of the ski.). All models have aggressively rockered tip and tail, for deep-snow flotation, with pronounced sidecut underfoot for arcing on firmer snow. Full-length vertical sidewalls and variously reinforced wood-core laminate constructions are designed to deliver dependable edge grip and reliable durability.
|Level||Advanced, Expert, Hi-Expert|
|Awards||Gold Medal Gear|
|Lengths||166, 172, 178, 184|
|Rating: Stability at Speed||3.32 / 5|
|Rating: Maneuverability||2.74 / 5|
|Rating: Hard Snow Grip||3.11 / 5|
|Rating: Crud Performance||3.68 / 5|
|Rating: Forgiveness||3.08 / 5|
|Rating: Flotation||3.48 / 5|
|Rating: Overall||3.16 / 5|