4FRNT Raven 2016-17 Review by A Better Ski
The 4FRNT Raven is a purpose built ski for uphill travel, excelling at backcountry travel, you’d expect a ski in this class to do everything well and in a lightweight package. Classified as a backcountry adventure ski, it excels in maneuverability and confidence.
2016-17 4FRNT Raven Ski Review
Riders: Chris and Jen
Conditions: Hard Pack, Soft Groomers, Soft Chop, Powder
Boots: Salomon X-Max 120
Bindings: Tyrolia AAAttack 13
Ski Personality: Long rocker both tip and tail and relatively flat underfoot make this ski easy to release, some testers found it washy and hard to edge. Large radius turns are the name of the game when on the Raven, although you can slid and hook a smaller turn.
On the Snow Feel: On resort, this is is a bit confused, although it handles chop really well, it prefers open area of untracked snow where it’s playfulness and maneuverability really shine.
Turn Initiation and Carving: Many lift rides while testing this ski were spent on this topic, while you can carve the ski (see video), it one radius turn well and lacked any smaller turning ability which would count this ski out for most resort riders. But then again, why spend so much time talking about this when this ski was made to me FAR away from the resort.
Speed: Tip slap on hard pack and groomers once the speeds started rising, the Raven is stiff for its weight, but the rocker starts far back from the tip. Confident in larger, more powerful, full speed turns in untracked snow really makes this ski fun in open areas.
Powder: At a mid-fat 104mm underfoot, the 4FRNT Raven has enough float for deep days, but gets you in the snow rather then just surfing over the top of it. Big rocker and low swing weight make the ski fun to bounce around and more maneuverable in tight areas.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: All reviews thought that the Raven really shined here, stiff, with carbon stringers give little deflection and provide the dampness needed to ski though crud. This would be a great ski for spring skiing when avalanche debris can be found in our favorite steep couloirs.
Edge Hold: Some reviewers experienced too short of an effective edge to provide the adequate edge hold and thought that the Raven was washy at times. Other testers felt that the edge hold was strong but only at aggressive edge angles. We think this might be because of the large rocker, as you tip the ski over, the effective edge increases but its a game of trust.
Flex: Paulownia cores with carbon stringers give the 4FRNT Raven the stiffness of a heavier ski and will provide an aggressive skier the support he/she needs.
Touring: The 4FRNT Raven is a great option for an aggressive back country skier that skis big lines in the regular, lightweight and stout is a great combination. I can say that I typically like a ski with a little less rocker for skinning and the Raven’s highly rocketed profile will leave you wanting more purchase on the ski track. At a claimed 1770 g, on a 104mm underfoot ski is impressive and quite a bit lighter then the loved Salomon QST 106 at 1900g in a similar size.
Overall: Who is the Raven for? A skier that already has a resort and powder setup, someone looking to ski big lines in the backcountry, including more traditional “survival skiing” done by ski mountaineers. Due to the mixed feelings from our testers, I would put this in the “try before you buy” category.