The Atomic Backland 102 is essentially an updated Automatic 102. The Backland 102 has a fun new tip construction giving it a bit more float and ease in soft snow, but the ski is still a super versatile all-mountain ski that can handle a lot of different terrain and conditions. It’s light enough for backcountry use, but could still work really well for resort days. If versatility is the most important factor in your ski choice, the Backland 102 might be worth a look.
Atomic Backland 102 On-Mountain Video Ski Review
Jacket: Trew Cosmic Pants: The North Face Sickline Goggle: Smith I/O
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Atomic Warden 13
Conditions: Soft Chop, Groomed, Hard Pack
Ski Personality: The Atomic Backland 102 is extremely versatile. It’s a ski that I found to be fun and playful in the soft snow, capable at speed, and lively, energetic, and quick when carving groomers.
On the Snow Feel: The Atomic Backland 102 is semi-stable. In soft snow it was really fun and maneuverable, but it also feels quite at home on a high edge angle.
Powder: The Atomic Backland 102 is the narrowest of the new Backland line, but is still a fun ski in softer snow. The newly redesigned tip gives a touch more surface area for increased float. The design makes it easy to pivot and swing the ski in deeper snow as well, and makes for a fun and loose ride without giving up a lot of stability. Like the Automatic, the ski is also light-weight and has a nice poppy flex. I feel like this also helps to add to the maneuverability and fun in soft snow. The Backland 102 isn’t a powder ski, but does have some of the best float in the class and with a fun smeary feel, it’s one of the better skis in its class for deeper snow.
Turn Initiation and Carving: I only had a chance to demo the 188cm Backland 102, which for me was probably a touch big. Still, I didn’t find it all that difficult to get on edge, and at lower edge angles the ski is still certainly maneuverable. I’d even say that the ski would probably have felt quite playful in a smaller size. The light swing weight really makes it easy to pivot the ski, and when combined with a freeride tip shape and rocker profile the ski is easy to get on edge. The softer flex in tip also make it easy to bend the ski into a turn. Some bigger more aggressive skiers may find the ski lacks a bit of power, but for a smaller skier like me, I really liked the flex. It was very fun, poppy, and energetic, and even when riding really hard, the ski held up pretty well. If you prefer power and stability over energy and quickness, maybe it’s not your ski. But for those skiers that prefer quickness, response, energy, and liveliness the ski is certainly capable. I found that it still had enough power and stability as well, just don’t expect a Bonafide or Experience 100 type feel.
Speed: For me the 188cm felt smooth and stable, but was also a bit harder to bend and come to life. I’d probably size down to the 180cm if I owned this ski, but sizing down would reduce some of that stability. This ski is light-weight, but I was surprised at how stable in can feel. Especially given how playful this ski can be when on a lower edge angle. I would not classify this ski as a charger, but lighter skiers will probably find it stable enough at higher speeds. Still, this ski was also a lot of fun carving mid radius turns, and I probably wouldn’t find the need to really open it up all that much.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: The Atomic Backland 102 is a really capable ski in variable tracked out snow. The ski does a really good job staying above the snow, and with a moderately stiff construction underfoot it seems to smooth out the snow pretty well. This ski is definitely not a crud buster, so don’t expect to just blast through everything. Instead the ski seems more at home floating over variable tracked out snow and taking a bit more maneuver and bounce approach.
Edge Hold: On hard packed groomers the Atomic Backland 102 felt perfectly fine. It wouldn’t be my go-to for ice, but for a ski that is so much fun in soft snow, it’s surprisingly good on hard pack.
Bottom Line: The Atomic Backland 102 is a very versatile soft snow ski that is also at home on groomed terrain. It has a lot of maneuverability and a semi-playful feel that is really fun in soft snow. At the same time the ski is easy to engage, responsive, and very energetic. It’s not a big directional charger, but has enough stability to enjoy some speed. I think if the most important factor in ski selection is versatility, the Backland could be a really could option.
This review reflects the OPINION of our testers based on their personal experience with a particular product. We do not guarantee that you will havethe same experience with, or opinion of, a product as our testers did. This review
should only be used as a general guide.