Equipment Review: First Look At The Slant Ambush Skis

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I’ve always been a supporter of smaller ski companies, ever since I jumped onto my first pair of Line skis nearly 15 years ago. There were two things that were impressive about the company: they brought a ton of innovation to the market, and it was actually possible to talk to Jason Levinthal, the owner of the company. That changed my views of what to expect from a ski company forever. After Line was bought by K2, I have been hooked on supporting the smaller brands, the kind that know their customers personally. Most recently, my garage has been full of skis produced by Ski Logik and PM Gear. Both companies make awesome skis, and it’s great to see them succeed.

There’s plenty of choices out there in the world of locally produced skis. PM Gear and Moment are both creating great products in Reno, as well as Praxis out of Truckee. But you can’t get anymore local to Alpine Meadows than Slant Skis in Tahoe City. The Slant ski production facility is shared with Tahoe Snow Lab, just a few miles down the road toward Tahoe City.

When Slant’s owner, Josh Bennett, contacted us last year about becoming an Unofficial Alpine sponsor, I knew that it was time to try out some new gear. The Slant Skis team includes several local skiers that I totally respect: Skogen Sprang, Sean Field, Taariq Saffouri and Hazen Woolson – all familiar faces around Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley. Unfortunately, conditions this season didn’t scream “buy new skis”, at least until the snow started falling a little over a month ago.

Knowing that time was running short, I skipped the demo process and ordered the Slant Ambush skis, based mostly on their profile of 136-112-128. The 112mm waist has been my sweetspot for a one ski quiver for several seasons. I knew the slight pintail in the rear would allow for a bit more responsive turns, just like the popular Dynastar Cham series or my PM Gear Lhasa Pows.

The construction on the Ambush skis consists of an environmentally friendly bamboo core, which has been stiffened slightly with a carbon fiber strip and HDPE tip and tail spacers to dampen some vibration. It’s a combination that totally works. Some of the other bamboo skis I have ridden have been a bit too lively. Slant has done a nice job of controlling that in the Ambush. The bases are also sintered HDPE rather than extruded PE. That means they are both fast and tough. The edges are fully wrapped and have already survived several little rock impacts that would have killed a cap construction ski.

There’s a generous amount of surface area in the tip, along with a serious amount of rocker that keep these skis afloat. Over the last few weeks, we’ve had the opportunity to take them from corn to mank to Sierra cement and that awesome light powder of last Tuesday’s storm. The Ambush handles all of those scenarios very well. There’s an awesome blend of control, plus liveliness that puts a smile on your face. The slight pintail makes it easy to check your speed at anytime with just a slight weight transfer off the tips.

You would not expect that a wide ski for powder and corn would also do well on the groomers, but this ski manages to do that. I had a chance to make some very fast solo laps on Sherwood a few weeks ago. The Ambushes can rip big arcs and little arcs just fine. High speeds were surprisingly stable for a very light ski with a bamboo core…and yeah, I mean really high speeds. On the firmer groomers, the rockered tip and tail leaves a fairly short effective edge, which means you’re putting a lot of force into that small area, which translates into a a very firm grip when you stay centered on the skis.

We only found two conditions that were challenging for the Ambush skis. I rallied into Sun Bowl about an hour too early a couple of weeks ago and found myself bouncing across the corral reef with little control. There’s just not enough stiffness to get an edge in those firm but rough conditions. The Ambush skis were also thrown around a bit in  the rain soaked slush at the base last Saturday. As I told Josh, I’m not sure I want to ride a ski that handles those conditions, as it would not be much fun for skiing in good conditions.

So far the durability of the Slant skis has been quite impressive. I am not very easy on my equipment. Usually after a few days on the mountain, I’ll start finding a lot of top sheet chipping, core shots or tip and tail problems. With the exception of a few rock scuffs on the bases, the Ambush skis still look brand new. That’s cool because they sport a nice Tahoe photo from site sponsor Matt Bansak. Slant also believes in the quality of their product, offering a two year warranty on their skis. Incredible right? The Ambush ski is also well priced at $695, which is a bargain for a hand built ski.

So, yes, we think you should try out a pair of the Slant Ambushes soon. We can’t wait to try out the larger Cornelius too! Well done Mr. Bennett and Slant crew!

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