The Icelantic Pioneer 109 is probably my new favorite Icelantic ski. For me it felt like a semi-playful, semi-chargy, and super versatile all mountain daily driver type ski. It was playful and relaxed when I wanted it to be, and yet it still felt like it had a decent amount of power, energy, and dampness when I wanted to open it up and rip. It definitely has a directional feel, but is more playful than expected. I think this could be a good fit for skiers that want a mid-fat for skiing all over the mountain, and maybe those whose style borders the line between playful and hard charging. The Icelantic Pioneer 109 felts like a super versatile all mountain ski that blends power, dampness, playfulness, and energy decently well.
Icelantic Pioneer 109 On-Mountain Video Ski Review
Jacket: Trew Cosmic Pants: The North Face Sickline Goggle: Bolle Emperor
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Marker Griffon
Conditions: Soft Chop, Groomed, Hard Pack, Bumps, Trees, Variable
Ski Personality: For me the Icelantic Pioneer 109 was a super versatile all mountain mid-fat ski that blends the personality of a damp, stable, and powerful charger, with the playful, and energetic feel of an all-mountain ski. It doesn’t blow us away in any one area, but is probably one of the more versatile skis we’ve been on this season.
On the Snow Feel: The Icelantic Pioneer feels relatively locked in when on a high edge angle at speed, and playful when bases are a bit more flat.
Powder: The Pioneer 109 has a moderately large shovel (not quite as much as the old Shaman) that when combined with the tip rocker does a pretty solid job of keeping the tips pointed up in deep snow. I also really like the shape of the tail for slashing turns in powder, and it didn’t feel nearly as directional as I expected at first. Sure, maybe it’s not overly loose or surfy, but it was still plenty of fun slashing turns. I felt the ski was plenty maneuverable, and with a 109mm waist it had plenty of float for moderately deep snow.
Turn Initiation and Carving: I really enjoyed the feel of the Icelantic Pioneer 109 on groomers. It doesn’t have the same tenacious attitude as the old Shaman, but it was still quite fun and energetic when I wanted it to be. I found initiation was moderately easy for the waist width, and tipping it on edge felt smooth and stable. The ski actually has a moderately lively rebound energy, even if it isn’t overly quick from edge to edge. I think I would classify the Pioneer 109 as smooth, but energetic. It wasn’t the most powerful ski in the class, nor was it as quick as a narrow all-mountain ski, but it still felt like a capable ski on groomed terrain, and plenty energetic to have some fun carving medium radius turns. It does feel directional, but it’s not some big burly charger either. It likes to be on edge, and carving feels natural. At the same time, it was actually quite easy to unlock the tail and slash or pivot the ski at any moment.
Speed: I think what I Really like about the Icelantic Pioneer is that it feels like a smooth and energetic carver that is still capable of ripping hard and fast. Medium radius turns felt like the skis wheelhouse, but I didn’t mind opening it up and seeing how fast I could get it going. The ski feels pretty smooth and stable at high speeds. It doesn’t really feel big and burly, but it does feel damp and stable. Maybe it’s not for the biggest or hardest chargers, but for those who like that charger feel in a easier going ski, this might not be a bad option.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: Again, I really like the feel of the Icelantic Pioneer 109 in variable terrain. The shape of the ski does a really good job at keeping the tips moving over chopped up snow. Cruising over soft tracked out snow felt smooth and predictable. I never felt like I would get bucked around or thrown into a turn I didn’t want to make. Again, it didn’t feel like a big and burly charger that would blast through everything, but it felt like a ski that could smooth out the terrain really well. The tail is upturned enough to not feel hooky or catchy and maneuvering in this terrain felt easy.
Bottom Line: I really liked the feel of the Icelantic Pioneer 109, and I wouldn’t hesitate to put it into the quiver of one talks, especially for those who are going to see deeper snow. This could easily be my daily driver in the west. I found it super versatile, and really at home in a pretty big variety of terrain. It actually feels pretty similar to the new redesigned ON3P Wrenegade 108 (one of my favorite skis). I would also probably put it in the same category as the Liberty Origin 106, but the Pioneer is more smooth and stable, while the Origin is more playful and energetic. Again, it wasn’t fantastic in any one area, but it’s so well rounded that you could ski it just about anywhere on the mountain. If you like the combination of powerful charger, surfy soft snow ski, and energetic carver, the Pioneer 109 may be your ski.
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.