Icelantic is celebrating ten years this season and are debuting a couple of new skis. The Icelantic Pioneer is a new all mountain ski. Like Icelantic skis of the past, the Pioneer has some really cool graphics that celebrate mountain cultures. On the Pioneer it happens to be the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. This ski is dubbed as a super versatile all-mountain ski. It’s likely that it could become a daily driver for many folks. I’ve only had a small amount of time on the Icelantic Pioneer, but I never really found it’s true personality. It seems like it has a ton of potential, but I just didn’t find it overly exciting. I’d love to spend more time on it, but for now here are some initial impressions.
2016 Icelantic Pioneer On Mountain Video Ski Review
Conditions: Soft Crud and Groomers
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Tyrolia AAAttack 13
On the Snow Feel: It took me a while to find the sweet spot on the Icelantic Pioneer. At first it felt really washy and unstable, but the more time I spent on the ski the more stable it felt. I still would like to spend a bit more time flushing out its true personality, but for now I’d say that it’s a stable ski that can be released easily for a slightly more playful feel.
Powder: There wasn’t any deep snow the day I tested the Icelantic Pioneer. It has a decent amount of tip and tail rise and a relatively powder friendly taper. It also has a moderately soft flex that will aid in floatation. At 96mm underfoot it’s not going to be your go-to powder ski, but I would suspect that it can handle deeper snow relatively well for a narrow waist all mountain ski.
Turn Initiation and Carving: A rockered tip and tail help to aid in turn initiation and maneuverability. Furthermore, the Pioneer has a good amount of friendly taper. Despite this, I didn’t find it as smooth and predictable as I had hoped. At first the ski felt somewhat washy, and the edges didn’t engage as easily as expected. Once I started to dial in the sweet spot, the Pioneer felt much easier to get on edge. It felt relatively forgiving, and I didn’t feel like I’d be thrown off course if I didn’t get on edge cleanly. The flex pattern seemed pretty consistent throughout the ski, and turns were predictable once on edge. It has a moderate turn radius, but I didn’t find the ski to be super lively or energetic. It does have a small amount of camber underfoot, but it just didn’t seem to have a lot of rebound energy when flexed. It was pretty easy to vary turn shape, and I actually felt more stable and fun when making longer radius turns. I think this ski has a lot of potential to be a good carver, but it seemed to have a pretty small sweet spot.
Speed: I found the Icelantic Pioneer to be more responsive and energetic at speed. It was much easier to initiate turns at speed, and the ski felt much more alive. It’s relatively damp, but with a pretty significant rocker profile and softer flex, I worry that it might start to chatter a bit when things get roughed up.
Uneven Terrain: The Icelantic Pioneer has a pretty significant rocker line and steep rise. I feel like it does a good job smoothing out terrain, so long as it wasn’t super deep. Larger piles of snow may be harder to blast through or float over. I didn’t experience much tip deflection, but I could see this as a potential problem at high speed or in deep chop. I didn’t spend a lot of time on really rough terrain, and would be interested to put more time on the Pioneer to figure out the personality a bit more.
Edge Hold: The Icelantic Pioneer holds an edge pretty well at speed, but I found the ski to be washy at slower speeds.
Flex: The Icelantic Pioneer has a moderate flex that feels pretty uniform throughout. It’s not super beefy, but I didn’t find it overly soft either.
Switch: The Icelantic Pioneer has a directional twin shape that would ride pretty well switch.
I’ve only spent a short amount of time on the Icelantic Pioneer, and have yet to really figure out its personality. It took me a while to find the sweet spot, but it seemed to be happier at speed. At speed it just seemed to have smooth turn initiation and better edge hold. I could see this being a pretty well rounded all-mountain ski, but my first impression wasn’t super exciting. I’ve loved plenty of Icelantic skis in the past, so I hope that more time on the ski will change my mind.