Local ski shop owner Tim Hinkle was peddling his wares outside Canyon Lodge yesterday- and was kind enough to be handing out demos of this year’s Surface skis like they were t-shirts at a wrestling match.
No license, credit card or background check required. How could I resist a free test-ride on new hardware?
“Whaddyou wanna try, man?”
Having just bought new skis I admitted I wasn’t in the market, but it seemed stupid to waste an opportunity try some different gear.
I picked out the most ridiculous offering in the lineup- a pair of 179cm powder/all-mountain planks called the “One Life” from Surfaces’ “Life Series” of skis.
Featuring a substantial 140 / 112 / 132 footprint and unheard of eight degrees of rocker; all four front ends of these beasts (twin tip, of course) pointed to the heavens while the only part of P-Tex that actually touched the snow was directly under the boot.
If you don’t understand what the hell I’m on about, check out Evo.com’s definitions of ski shape.
Designed for extremely deep snow and I’m assuming halfpipe skiing, I noticed loads of pop and an excellent wax job as I skated toward Chair Sixteen for an inaugural run.
Coming down the groomers I couldn’t help but pull flat 360s every couple meters. With such an extreme rocker angle the edges of the skis hardly had a chance to catch, and I found out quickly that the One Lifes would much rather pull spins than lay into a carved turn.
When I could break off a carve, I was rewarded with a most obnoxious plume of snow dust being flung off the tail. Imagine a never ending exit wound caused by shooting Frosty with an M1014- weirdly beautiful and decidedly awesome.
In bumps the One Lifes were a riot; weaving around obstacles so quickly and easily I thought I might trip over the tips.
The skis were so happy to turn at low speed that I could practically orbit every mogul on the hill in the same run. The bumps I couldn’t be bothered dodging were even more fun- just an easy bend of the knees and I was boosting effortlessly into the next dip.
But as you’ve probably already guessed, this level of dedication to low-speed maneuverability cost the One Lifes stability at speed. Over 35 MPH and they’re a bit squirrely. Over 50, they might as well be snow blades.
When I cleared the moguls and made it into the straights the riders I had smoked came up on me again and blew past in a white cloud of granular that stung my face almost as much as my pride.
No matter. I was coming up on the Art Park, a small gathering of features for park rats-in-training, and these oversized fruit boots would once again prove their worth.
Even the small kickers were enough to elevate these skis to some respectable hangtime. Hell, I could have caught air off a hummingbird’s wang. I’m sure a more talented park skier could have really made them shine in one of our larger terrain areas, but I had a lot of fun all the same.
Obviously these skis aren’t viable as the only weapon in your on-snow arsenal, but they’d fill out your collection nicely if you’re the kind of rider that needs a specific ski for every lift on the mountain.
Sounds like you? Head over to YeahSweetOnline.com to place an order, or try and meet up with Tim for a demo. I hear they’ll let any idiot have a go…
Details on “One Life” powder/all-mountain skis by Surface