We’re really happy to be connected with a local ski builder. Slant Skis is just about as local as you can get to Alpine Meadows. Besides being a stones throw away from Alpine Meadows, owner Josh Bennett is turning out some great skis at very reasonable prices. Last April we reviewed the Slant Ambush ski, and after another 60 days on snow, we’re still impressed.
People that know me know that I am not easy on my equipment. I’ll ride through a scree field or barely covered lava rock in Outer Outer, drive them through a creek and ski them down Courchevel Road. At the end of the day, I throw them in the locker covered in snow. You would think that by now I would have suffered a core shot or two, a blown edge, a delamination or some other damage. But the Ambushes have none of that, just a few light base scratches and a tiny bit of edge chafe from sloppy turns. Bennett knew what he was doing when he decided to offer a two year warranty on Slant Skis.
Last season, Slant began working on a project with the US Marine Corp. The goal was to build a lightweight ski that could do it all. The design and production process kept Bennett and crew busy for several months. For this season, the Hindsight ski has been released to the public. The snow camo top sheets have been replaced with a cheeky Tank game graphic that is a reminder about the ski’s roots.
The specs of the Hindsight fit the definition of “do-it-all”. The dimensions are 132-95-120. The longest version, at 183 cm has a turning radius of 21 meters. There’s about 25 cm or early rise at the tip that make the ski a bit more forgiving in less than perfect snow conditions. As with other Slant Skis, the construction is based on a sustainable bamboo core and relies on solid design and quality construction for performance rather than bells and whistles. The lack of metal in the ski makes it super lightweight, which means easy to carry on a pack, easy to skin up a hill, and easy to throw around in tough terrain.
I had a chance to take the Hindsight out on a less than perfect day at Alpine Meadows, with most of the required test conditions: perfect corduroy, boiler plate ice, chowder, almost corn and even some old powder. The ski handled most of those conditions extremely well. The geometry proved to be super fun for ripping groomers. Although 183 cm seems a bit short for us taller people, the wider tip and tail gave plenty of stability on very high speeds on the Sherwood Run test track. The generous sidecut encouraged turns that were a bit more carvy than slarvy.
The skis also performed very well in the almost corn on South Face and Sunspot. The light weight and narrow waist made it easy to throw the skis around in moguls and trees. In general, it was easy to let the skis do the work in these sorts of conditions. It wasn’t easy, but we managed to find some powder lines off Sherwood that gave us a chance to test the Hindsights. The shorter tail length and generous tip width kept us afloat just fine. The wide tail kept our speed up in the powder too, rather than pintail shapes out there that act as powder brakes.
The light weight of the Hindsights works against you in “east coast” conditions. The skis had a tough time holding an edge on the afternoon ice patches on Dance Floor. They also were a bit unhappy in some scraped off moguls I found in Hidden Knolls. This should not come as a surprise. Those conditions really require stiffness and weight that only metal can provide. Skis that handle ice well generally ski like a 2×4 elsewhere.
Josh warned me that the last guy that demoed the Hindsights came right back and ordered a pair. So did I. There’s generally not a huge back log of skis available at Slant. The current turn around time is about two weeks. Demos of Slant Skis are available at the factory, which also serves at the Tahoe Snow Lab, on Highway 89 between River Ranch and Tahoe City. Skis can be ordered online or at the factory.