The 2016 Icelantic Shaman is back and basically unchanged from last season. The only thing that is different is the graphic. Icelantic has done some fun themes in the past, and this year is no exception. For 2016, which also happens to be Icelantic’s 10 year anniversary, the theme is mountain cultures. I love the new graphics, and although the performance hasn’t changed, I actually like the 2016 Icelantic Shaman even better than last year. I was a little skeptical when I heard that the Icelantic Shaman was a “powder carver”. How can a ski be a powder tool, and a carving machine? But that is exactly what the Shaman is. With 110mm underfoot, and a 160mm shovel nose, the Shaman floats on top of the deep snow better than many skis out there, even without rocker in the tip. At the same time, the Shaman is able to carve out turns with the precision of a frontside carver. The Icelantic Shaman is a true all-mountain ski that makes a great addition to any arsenal, or can stand on its own as your do-it-all ski. It’s not perfect in the powder, but we have never seen a powder ski that can carve like this either.
2016 Icelantic Shaman On Mountain Ski Review
Conditions: Hard Pack, Soft Snow, Groomers, Crud
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Marker Griffon
On the Snow Feel: The Icelantic Shaman looks like a big mountain powder ski, but it has all of the stability that you find in a frontside carver. The Shaman is very stable in both soft snow and hard, but if you don’t know how to ski it, the Shaman can feel quite grabby. Aggressive skiers, however, will love the responsiveness. This thing can turn on a dime, and as long as you stay on top of your game, this ski is super fun to ride. Get it on edge, and you’re locked in, even on hard pack snow.
Powder: The Icelantic Shaman has a unique shape. It has a huge (160mm) diamond shape shovel nose, 110mm underfoot, and 130mm in the tail. It has traditional camber underfoot and only a small amount of rise in the tip and tail. I haven’t had the chance to test out the Shaman in knee deep powder, but there was enough fresh snow to bury the skis. In those conditions, the ski floats very well, and yet remains very stable. Without rocker in the tip, the ski won’t feel as playful in the powder. The Shaman is way more reactive than a traditional powder ski, and wants to make shorter radius turns. If you love to float in the deep snow, but want the ability to maneuver around tight trees, this is a fantastic ski.
Turn Initiation and carving: At first glance, the Icelantic Shaman looks like a big mountain powder ski, but once you start skiing, you realize it’s a whole lot more than that. The Shaman truly is a powder carver. At 110mm underfoot it does take a bit more to get this ski on edge. It’s not all that forgiving, so you need to know what you’re doing. Despite this it feels really easy to drive this ski. It wants to turn, and will respond on a dime without a ton of input. It’s easy to dart back and forth in tight spots. It has an aggressive sidecut, and edge to edge transitions are quick and snappy, almost catching me off guard with the first few turns. This ski likes to rail, and as long as you stay aggressive you will have no problem making the ski go where you want it to.
Speed: The Shaman is pretty happy making short quick turns, so I don’t know how much you’ll actually ride the Shaman wide open. When you do, however, you’ll be glad that it has three layers of rubber in the core to keep the ski damp at higher speeds. I wouldn’t call the Shaman heavy, but it’s not as light as something like the Rossi Soul 7 (the Soul 7 also can’t rip the rest of the mountain as well as the Shaman can). This is nice when you start to pick up speed because the ski seems much more stable. It also has a sintered P-Tex core allowing for more wax to seep into the base, helping you to keep that speed once you get it there.
Uneven Terrain: The Icelantic Shaman can handle the chop very well. The large shovel nose helps to eat up the snow and push it out of your way, keeping you pretty stable in the crud. Just be aware of where your tips are, and stay aggressive. The skis are grippy, and if you catch a pile of snow, or bump wrong, it may send you in a direction you don’t want to go. The tapered tail also allows you to release from your turn easier, and scrub speed if necessary.
Edge Hold: The shaman really does perform well in the turns. It does take a bit more to get this on edge, but once there you are locked in. The aggressive sidecut puts a lot of the edge in contact with the snow, and steel edges help to keep you there. You won’t skid many turns with the Shaman, even on harder snow.
Flex: It has a flexible poplar core, but is overlaid with several layers of fiberglass, making the ski stiffer.
Switch: The Icelantic Shaman has a traditional camber underfoot with a slight rise in both the tip and tail. You can ride switch with the Shaman but its overall geometry makes this ski happier going forward.
Jumps: There is a surprising amount of pop to the shaman, and it’s fun to jump off some of the natural features in the terrain. It doesn’t have a lot of flex, nor is it as wide underfoot as some big mountain skis, so it may not be the best for big drops.
Park: The Icelantic Shaman is not a park ski. It just doesn’t have the dimensions or geometry to make it a good park ski.
Overall the Icelantic Shaman is truly an all mountain powder carver. It’s wide enough to float in the powder, but is also very stable and responsive on the groomers. The ski isn’t as playful in the powder, as an all rocker ski, and it doesn’t like to be run wide open. Instead, the Shaman is super responsive, allowing you to make quick turns no matter what terrain you’re on. If you like skiing the deep snow and the trees, then the Shaman is a great choice. It also makes for a great one quiver ski. It is one of the best carving powder skis I have ever been on. Sure you may sacrifice a little performance in the powder, but when if you like to spend any time on the groomers, you’ll be glad you have the Icelantic Shaman.
2015 Icelantic Shaman On Mountain Video Ski Review