As I posted some pictures from Chamonix few days ago, I also noticed some old notes lying around on my desk. Damn, I completely forgot that I tested a friend’s brand new pair of park skis, 179cm K2 Silencer, already in February.
Gear testing is something we like to do. I guess demoing skis is the only way you can be absolutely sure you end up buying just the right pair for you. And while demoing why not to tell your experience to the fellow skiers around the world? So, we had plans to organise quite alot of testing for this spring but we kind of ran out of time. Still, we already have some deals for the autumn – we’re surely going to test alot more skis then!
But now to our last gear review of the season 2007/2008…
- K2: Seth Pistol and Made’n AK, both in 189cm, Hippy Stinx telemark ski (all 04/05 models)
- Head: Monster Im 103 (well, this was kind of love/hate relationship – those planks are STIFF!),
- Salomon: 1080 CR Labs 181cm, Pocket Rockets 185cm (fun skis, albeit being very soft)
Head: Original Monster Cross 191cm (02/03 I guess?), some narrower Im series ski (70&75)
- Völkl: G41 198cm (well, those were just too long, probably would have been great in 188cm), Völkl Dogen 178cm (just crappy quality, otherwise ok for park stuff)
- Dynastar: Intuitive Big 188cm (white 02/03, I never got used to those after skiing them about two months!), )
- Atomic: original Big Daddys 193cm (very fun for open wide stuff but just too much for me if there wasn’t lots of space around)
- Rossignol: Bandit series in general
Usually, I tend to like a bit softer, round flexing skis as opposed to stiff and demanding, race-like boards. This is probably due to my mogul skiing background?
Ok, the Silencers then. Test conditions were typical for us. Few very small groomed runs, decent park hits but quite hard surface (so, I hesitated from the bigger hits). The test resort was our trusty old local playground (see also the video clip below!).
The author on our testing ground (with different skis though)
The skis were mounted on the “core center” mark. What I noticed immediately was that this was still a bit more back than my Salomon CR Labs at the recommended mark. The said Salomon’s recommended mounting mark is only about 2cm from the true middle point of the ski. I evaluated that the Silencer’s core center point is about 4cm from the middle. This was very noticeable – the skis carved quite neutrally and “naturally”. As my own park skis tend to have too much tail for real turns. They only work well for very short turns (that, on the other hand, are just fine on our mole hills but on bigger hills I guess would be totally annoying).
On the jumps (I only did a few small ones) the feeling was same: very neutral and balanced. For the hard core new schooler the bindings could maybe be mounted a tad more forward but for me this felt perfect: I can do the (little) switch stuff I know, and still have “normal” feeling groomer skiing. As an old schooler I hate the feeling you have when skiing on most (completely) center mounted twin tips! (Remember: As a very skinny teenager I used to ski moguls on 190-200cm straight skis that were mounted very far back if you compare to any modern design!)
When talking about the ski with the friend we joked about this: my CR’s are hard and “snappy” while having glossy black, “harder” looking top sheet, and Silencers are matte black, understated, “stealth” look and have that softer, somehow rounder and “lazier” flex. The outlook / design kind of matched with the ”soul” of the skis quite well! Silencer’s look is very nice too, you just can’t go wrong with the totally black top sheets.
Also, what made us wonder about the marketing of the skis in general: these are billed as somehow “budget” and “for the aspring skier”. Yet my friend can go pretty big and fast with them without any problems and the ski tend to last too, this far at least some 40 days of park use (see the 2nd clip from this article for example!). For us old farts this probably means that every ski today is just so much better than back in the day that it is actually pretty meaningless do you buy the top model or the “budget” version?(When talking about performance…quality is another issue though) This applies especially for park/freestyle skis – I mean, who would buy some high tech carbon stuff to be bashed on rails and (often) icy kickers?
My friend even skied his Silencers in some 20cm wind packed powder in Lapland and was very pleased with the performance. Here we go again: not so many years ago an 80mm middle ski was plenty wide! I wouldn’t recommend these to any real powder skiing though. But if you are about to ski powder just a few days a year, you can handle it with these sticks if you what you are doing…
But all in all, a very priceworthy ski, probably cabable of doing stuff most thirty-somethings won’t even try. Also, probably a fitting ski to any teenager park rat out there (unless you’re Tanner Hall, heh). Don’t they bash the edges on the rails in hours anyway?
I dug the feel of the ski. Very distinctive K2 touch also here. Some say K2 skis feel “dead”. And I agree that they’re not the most responsive planks, bouncing you wildly from turn to turn but predictable and easy-going skis that kind of even out the worse ruts from your way (think full-suspended mountain bikes for reference!). We have joked with friends that K2 must press almost the whole line with the same construction and only adjust the width and sidecut for any given model! At least the couple of years old line felt just like this: Public Enemy, Seth Pistol, Made’n AK of the past years felt very similar on your feet (this in my/our humble opinion of course!).
So, if you are a fan of K2 and dig the feel of their skis and are in the need of park skis for relatively cheap price this might be your ski. Also, if you are looking for a cheap park ski in general to fill your “quiver”, I can also recommend these.
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