Posted on February 18 2016
Atomic Ultimate 85 Review
Let me preface this review by saying that I'm a bit of an anomaly. I grew up snowboarding and took up skiing last year so that I could race and move fast in the mountains. As a result, I have skied almost exclusively on rando race skis, the Dynafit PDGs to be specific.
Weighing in at just 450 grams more than my PDGs I honestly didn't expect these to ski much better than a race ski. I was wrong. My first time out on these skis was at Crested Butte, riding the lifts with my girlfriend. It had been a few days since the last snowfall but the mountain was still in pretty good shape, the bumps weren't too big and a few areas had just been opened up the previous afternoon (yes it takes that long for CB to fully open after a storm).
The Atomics were awesome, they charged through crud, floated through the powder that I found and handled the bumps surprisingly well. They are definitely a stiff ski and this is noticeable from the get go, however, once you spend a little time on them they are actually pretty forgiving, keep in mind that I was also skiing these with a pair of incredibly lightweight La Sportiva Syborg boots, with a stiffer boot I suspect that these would ski even better. The bases seem pretty damn durable for how lightweight the ski is, CB is definitely a massive rock garden and it is nearly impossible to avoid rocks, but the skis came out of the day almost completely unscathed.
My second day on these was on Snodgrass Mountain just outside of Crested Butte. I had just raced a Nordic marathon and was pretty worked. I was with my girlfriend who was on her race setup, and to my surprise I was still able to keep up with her pretty easily, these things just charge uphill. I didn't ski down anything serious but these puppies handled the 2 feet of fresh with relative ease. Sure, they didn't float like a fat ski, but they performed much better than I had imagined. When i got to the bottom I decided to head up for another lap. And that is the best thing about these skis, sure they don't handle quite as well as some burlier options, but when you have gear this light you can just get in so many more turns as you simply don't get that fatigued and can keep going back for more. I fully intend to buy a pair of these for myself, I've typically done longer tours on my PDGs but these Atomics will definitely be replacing them, hell, I'll probably be skiing them at the resort too!