I was fortunate enough to test a pair of the new Migrate “Plunge” skis at A-Basin a couple of weeks ago, during closing weekend. It was always going to be a somewhat limited initial test, with crowded slopes and pretty slushy snow, but I felt I should at least be able to get a basic impression of the skis. These skis should be one of the lightest freeride skis out there when they are officially released this Fall and I wanted to put them through their paces. My goal was to at least get a feel for the carbon construction and how they ski. I knew that I would need to spend more time on them (hopefully I’ll get out on them in Chile in August/September and then I’ll really be able to give them a solid going over), so please take this initial review with a grain of salt.
The skis I was on were the new Migrate Plunge skis in a 190cm. The skis come with dimensions of 133-108-127 and have a 23m radius. The skis weigh in at 3.5lbs a ski, but with a Marker demo binding on them, were obviously a bit heavier (don’t know the mounted weight). They have 40cm’s of tip rise and 20cm’s in the back. The skis have a wood core and four different layers of carbon fiber laminate.
I’m happy to say that overall, I was impressed with the skis. It took me a few runs to get them up to speed and find the sweet spot (which was definitely pretty centered, I couldn’t get too far forward with the shape of the tip and the tip rocker). So, once I found that, I could start to lay them over. You have to be patient with the skis; the 23m radius and 108mm underfoot all take a while to engage. The skis are very stiff and I found the main way of getting them to bend was with controlled, progressive edging. It was hard to use a lot of leverage on the front of the ski that doesn’t engage due to its shape. Typically I like to get forward at the start of the turn and bend the front of the ski, then progressively shift back so that I am using the rear of the ski as the turn progresses. Then I get that energy from a stiffer tail at the end of the turn which helps project me into the start of the next turn (if that all makes sense!). I call that leverage but some people like to call that a series of linked recoveries down the hill. Ha ha!
What I was really happy about was that the tips didn’t flap about at high speed even though they are not actively being engaged in the turn. That’s something you feel straight away. I’ve definitely seen that on other skis with a similar shaped tip (thinking back to the early Rossi S7) and I didn’t feel that on the Plunge’s. It will be great to see what that tip can do in deeper snow; I’m sure it will make the ski plane nicely in powder and give you a bit more support. Overall, the skis do feel stiff, definitely not as forgiving as some. I will be keen to try them in some bumps in South America.
You can definitely feel the tail; they are stiff and ski long, with comparatively longer effective edge length than the tip with only 20cm’s of tail rocker, as opposed to 40cm’s of rocker up front. You definitely can feel the tail of the ski at the end of the turn, more so than the tip at the start of the turn. I think they will feel longer in deeper snow when that tip finally comes into it’s own.
The other big advantage of the skis is obviously the extremely low weight. Just putting them on your feet you can feel the difference, letting the skis dangle on the lift you can really notice a difference. The swing weight of the skis is very light therefore; they definitely want to turn if you are good at turning your legs. For someone with knee issues (like my wife!), the lighter skis will definitely help and are less weight to have to dangle off the chairlift (unless you use the footrests) and ski around with all day.
The lack of weight is an obvious benefit for touring; whack a tech-binding on these things and they will be really light. But having a light weight ski for the resort with an alpine binding can also be very advantageous. I don’t want to pigeon hole these skis and say they are just for touring, my first impression is that they will be good skis for the resort as well.
So, my overall view (which will obviously require a lot more testing before I can say my definitive view), is that they are very light skis with a powerful construction and great potential, I just need to get more miles on them in different conditions. The skis are definitely stiff and the design of the Plunge’s dictate a certain way of skiing them (ie a more centered stance through the whole turn). The next test will be to ski the skis on the harder snow, then I think I will really be able to feel the torsional rigidity, the edge hold and then the rebound. Then I will know a lot more about the skis. So, when I get to experience that, I will definitely post again!