Back for 2016, the Atomic Automatic 102 is designed as a freeride touring ski, but also makes a versatile all-mountain ski. It’s capable of taking you anywhere on the mountain. Early rise in the tip and tail help to increase flotation, while traditional camber underfoot helps to keep you stable on the hard pack. I found it to be playful at times, and yet stable when you need it to be. It’s quick, maneuverable, and lively. Its light weight also makes it an appealing backcountry option.
Conditions: Hard packed groomers, chop, sun softened snow, bumps.
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Salomon Z12
Ski Personality: Very versatile and light-weight all mountain ski with a playful and powerful side
On the Snow Feel: I found the Atomic Automatic 102 to be playful and fun, but stable when you want it to be. It has early rise in the tip and tail and a light weight construction. This makes it easy to swing these skis around. The automatic also has traditional camber and a stiff flex underfoot, helping to increase stability on the hard snow.
Powder: I haven’t had the chance to ride the Automatic 102 in deep snow yet, but if you’re planning on riding powder a lot, the automatic 102 probably won’t be your ski. It does have Atomics Powder Rocker (20% rocker in tip, 70% camber underfoot, and 10% rocker tail), making the automatic capable of riding in the powder, but at 102mm underfoot it’s just not that wide.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Atomic Automatic 102 is made with a lite wood core. The light weight, and early rise tip and tail, make this ski quite easy to turn sideways. Even at slower speeds the ski responds well. It’s also not too challenging to get the ski on edge. A softer flex in the ends make this ski more forgiving than a beefy ski like the Volkl Mantra. Although the tip and tail are a bit softer, I could still really push the ski hard. The 102 also has some really good rebound. When you get the ski on edge it flexes evenly, and I found it to be quite lively and quick edge to edge. At 160 lbs., I never felt like I was overpowering the ski, but if you are a heavy, aggressive skier, the 102 may feel a bit underpowered.
Speed: The Atomic Automatic 102 is lightweight, but felt pretty stable at high speeds. Atomic adds titanium SPBS (Sprocket Powered Booster) in front and behind the binding to increase strength, and dampness underfoot. This helps to increase edge grip, and keep the ski more stable at high speeds. The ends are softer flex than underfoot, but were still substantial enough that I didn’t find the tip and tail to chatter at higher speeds (except on really hard crud). I found the ski easy to turn sideways and scrub speed when needed, and didn’t have any issues with the softer flex when I needed to come to a stop quickly.
Uneven Terrain: For a lighter ski I was surprised with its performance in the crud. I never felt the tips deflect much, nor chatter a lot, except when I was in the frozen windblown crud (most skis in this category don’t perform great here). If I took a bit more light-weight approach I could keep the ski on top of the crud, and not get bounced around too much.
Moguls: The Atomic Automatic 102 is a nimble ski. With its light wood core, and early rise on the tip and tail I felt it really easy to turn the skis sideways. Combine that with a forgiving flex, and the Automatic can be fun in the moguls.
Edge Hold: I was impressed with the edge hold on the Atomic Automatic 102. Most of the morning I was riding on hard packed groomers, and I felt stable whether I was making short or long radius turns. It’s not a ski for the ice, and although it prefers the soft snow, it was plenty capable of riding on the harder snow.
Flex: The Automatic is stiff underfoot with a medium to medium stiff tip and tail. This makes the ski a bit more forgiving, while still retaining good stability, edge hold, and a surprising amount of rebound.
Switch: The Atomic Automatic 102 is a directional twin. It was actually pretty fun switch, but the ride won’t be the same as a true twin would be.
Jumps: I found the Automatic to be pretty fun in the air. The tails have a soft flex which I found pretty easy to load up and pop off of natural features. The traditional camber underfoot also gives the ski some decent pop. In the air, the ski feels light and easy to turn.
Park: It’s definitely not a park ski, but that’s not to say it can’t be taken there.
The Atomic Automatic 102 combines playful soft snow performance with stability on hard pack and groomers. I really enjoyed riding the Automatic on all parts of the mountain. It’s not going to float as well as the Automatic 109 or 117, but is still capable of taking laps in the powder. At slower speeds I found the Automatic to be easy to turn and forgiving. At high speeds it was still quite stable. I found the Atomic Automatic 102 to be responsive, and it rebounded well. Overall, I think this is a great all-mountain ski with a ton of versatility. It can be used as a daily driver, or a light-weight backcountry setup.
2015 Atomic Automatic 102 On Mountain Video Ski Review