The Atomic Automatic 109 has been updated and returns as the Atomic Backland 109. The Backland 109 is a really fun soft snow charger that is playful and agile, while retaining some hard snow ability. It’s a very versatile ski that could be a daily driver for back-country and resort skiers alike. If you’re idea of a good time is slashing soft snow at high speed, the Backland 109 could be a good option.
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Atomic Warden 13
Conditions: Soft Chop, Groomed, Tracked Out
Ski Personality: The Atomic Backland 109 is a really fun soft snow ski with the ability to charge on edge.
On the Snow Feel: I would definitely say semi-stable here. This ski is very fun in soft snow, but is surprisingly stable on edge. It has a playful side for sure, but it can handle groomers just fine.
Powder: The Atomic Backland 109 is the middle ski in the Backland line. The Backland 117 is certainly more soft snow oriented, but the 109 is also really fun in soft snow. It shares the same HRZN tech of the Bent Chetler and 117. HRZN Tech is a rocker across the tip of the ski, which increases the overall surface area in the tip of the ski. The idea is to increase float without adding more material (and weight) in the tip of the ski. Along with HRZN Tech the Backland 109 has a really gradual and relatively deep rocker line. This makes the ski easy to pivot and easy to swing from side to side. The tip is moderately soft and does a really good job staying afloat in deeper snow. In soft snow, the ski feels surfy and loose, certainly capable of slashing turns at higher speeds. This is a fun soft snow ski, and although it’s not the widest of the Backlands, it will offer solid float for all but the deepest snow.
Turn Initiation and Carving: I think what I like most about the Backland 109 is that it’s a pretty easy ski to ski. It just has a big sweet spot, and I didn’t find it hard to get it to respond. The spoon-like tip shape and gradual rocker really help to make turn initiation smooth and easy. I also really appreciated the softer flex in tip because as a smaller skier it allowed me to bend the ski into the turn easier than expected. I really didn’t feel like I had to work all that hard considering the size and width of this ski. On edge, the ski is pretty stable. I was really surprised that a ski that’s this fun in soft snow can rip as hard as it does on groomed terrain. Sure, it’s not going to be a great ski on hard pack, but in any type of soft snow this ski rips. There’s a fun and exciting rebound energy as well as a decent amount of power. I wouldn’t call this ski a charger, but it’s more of a charger than you might expect given the lighter weight, and given how fun this is in soft snow. Being 109, it’s not the quickest ski from edge to edge, but again I’d say that it’s pretty solid for a ski that is 109mm underfoot.
Speed: The Atomic Backland 109 has a really fun and snappy flex, so I was a bit surprised at how well the ski handled speed. There is a decent amount of torsional stiffness, so getting it on edge and letting it run was surprisingly fun. I wouldn’t call the ski super powerful, but given how fun and poppy the ski is otherwise, I’d say that its speed performance is impressive.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: Ok, this ski is not a crud buster, but it is so much fun in tracked out snow. Even in deep soft chop and variable snow this ski can rip. It has a very fun and poppy feel, and it was a lot of fun bouncing up and over bumped up terrain. The ski does a really nice job of absorbing terrain. I didn’t want to just come in a blast through, but taking a playful and loose approach was a lot of fun. It’s similar to the Soul 7 in some aspects, but what I like about the backland 109 is that it has a more substantial feel and burlier construction. It is a ton of fun in soft snow, but it is also a serious ski.
Edge Hold: The day I tested the Backland 109 it was about 50 degrees and really soft. There were a few small patches of hard pack early on, but they didn’t last really long. I’d say the Backland is definitely at home on soft snow, but if you to encounter hard packed groomers it won’t feel wildly out of place for a 109.
Bottom Line: The Atomic Backland 109 is a really fun soft snow ski that is still a lively, energetic, relatively stable carver. I was surprised at how hard I could ski the Backland 109 given how loose and slashy it could feel. I’d say this is a really good option for skiers that spend a lot of time in soft snow off piste, but want a ski that can rail pretty hard when you want it to. I would hesitate to put it in the same class as powder chargers (think Bibby Pro), because it leans a bit more towards soft snow specialist than charger. Still, there’s some power and stability here that you don’t typically find in a ski so playful. I think a lot of skiers could use this as a daily driver.
This review reflects the OPINION of our testers based on their personal experience with a particular product. We do not guarantee that you will have the same experience with, or opinion of, a product as our testers did. This review
should only be used as a general guide.