The Whitedot Preacher is really a unique ski in the industry. Most of today’s wider waist skis have tip and tail rocker to help the ski plane in deep snow while also creating a more surfy and maneuverable feel in the conditions you often encounter off piste. The Preacher is on the other end of the spectrum, with a full camber profile and very traditional directional shape. Why do this? Well the idea is to make an all-mountain ski that feels very traditional while still being able to handle anything off piste, including deep snow. The only other ski I have ever seen like this is the Icelantic Shaman. My biggest question before testing either of these was how well do they really handle in the powder? And does it feel more like a one-dimensional frontside carving ski, or is it truly as versatile as they might suggest?
Whitedot Preacher On-Mountain Video Ski Review
Jacket: Trew Cosmic Pants: The North Face Sickline Goggle: Bolle Emperor
Conditions: Fresh (8”), Soft Chop, Groomed, Hard Pack
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Tyrolia AAATTACK 13
Ski Personality: The Whitedot Preacher is very unique. It’s a ski that has a traditional feel (although more aggressive), and yet can handle off-piste terrain well. Like the Shaman, I’d say that the Preacher feels like a powder carver.
On the Snow Feel: No surprise here, the Preacher feels like a stable front-side carving ski, but given its wider waist it can feel a bit catchy and hooky. I’d say this would be a bigger issue for less experienced skiers in deeper snow, and as long as experienced skiers stayed on top of the ski it will become less of an issue.
Powder: Ok. My biggest question of the Preacher is how does a ski with no rocker, and a very traditional side cut handle deep snow? The answer is actually pretty decent. The Preacher has a huge 155mm shovel and wide 112mm waist. Given this, I never expected float to be an issue, and indeed it never was. But how about getting the ski to plane, and keep the tips from submarining under the snow? Well Whitedot seemed to address this issue by giving the large shovel a softer flex, enabling it to flex upward keeping it above the snow. No, it doesn’t plane as quickly, or smoothly as the Ragnarok with almost a full reverse camber profile (1mm camber). Still, I was quite surprised at well the ski floats given the full camber profile. That being said, this ski is definitely not as maneuverable as a ski with rocker in tip and tail, and it definitely doesn’t have as loose or surfy a feel as those skis. Still, I found that as long as I stayed aggressive and drove the tips, I never had any issues with the ski catching in deeper snow. So, did Whitedot create a traditional ski that can handle soft snow? Definitely! It just doesn’t feel as surfy as other powder skis.
Turn Initiation and Carving: My other big question with the Whitedot Preacher was will a ski that is 112mm underfoot carve like a narrower 100mm all-mountain ski given its traditional side-cut and full camber profile? The simple answer is no, this doesn’t feel like a narrower all mountain ski. But that doesn’t mean that this ski isn’t fun on piste. The large shovel and wide waist do take a bit of work to drive into a turn, but the medium flex tip does help the ski bend into a turn easier than expected. Once on edge the ski is quite responsive. Now of course, you can’t expect it to respond as quickly as a narrow on-piste ski, and I did find just a touch of lag when trying to transition from edge to edge. Still, edge to edge transitions were surprisingly quick, exciting, and relatively powerful. However, you do notice the skis width, and although quick from edge to edge, it doesn’t necessarily feel automatic. I felt like I had to work to bring the ski around, but as long as I stayed on top of my game, the ski would respond with a lot of life. The tips really want to be driven, and this ski is going to cater to a more aggressive ex-racer type skier that can work the ski. Bottom line, if you’re looking for a super quick on-piste ski, this probably isn’t going to be exactly the feel you want. However, if you want an over-sized all mountain ski (for better performance off piste) that still retains that frontside carver attitude, the Preacher certainly fills that niche.
Speed: The Whitedot Preacher has a pretty traditional sidecut with a narrow 16.5m turn radius (179cm). However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t open things up and let the skis run. The wide platform gives you a really stable base, and when you include a very torsionally stiff construction, the ski feels quite stable at speed. I did worry a bit that the ski would feel twitchy, wanting to turn you quicker than you intend, but I was surprised at how well I could keep the skis tracking straight. Still, I probably wouldn’t necessarily want to straight line these off the steepest section of the mountain.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: On edge the Whitedot Preacher has enough torsional rigidity to feel damp and stable, but on edge is when the Preacher is the most “turny”. If you’re planning on carving through chopped up variable terrain you need to be on top of your game and plan out each turn. Hitting something wrong can make the ski feel extra catchy. The ski is stiff enough to cut through most roughed up terrain, but the small lack in responsiveness (when compared to a frontside carver) gets amplified in variable terrain. I felt more comfortable taking a bit more bases flat approach. When doing so I had no issues with my tip or tail catching, and I still found enough dampness underfoot to really blast up and over any variable terrain.
Edge Hold: For a ski that can handle powder as well as it does, I was very happy with the edge hold on hard snow. It’s definitely no surprise given that the Preacher has so much traditional camber underfoot and a nice torsional stiffness.
Bumps: The Preacher could be a fun bump ski on the legs of the right skier. IT has a decent amount of torsional stiffness (and thus not overly forgiving), but it has a pretty tight turn radius, and decent quickness. I think a good enough skier could easily zipperline bumps with the preacher, or even take a bit more of a jump and bash type approach.
Bottom Line: The Whitedot Preacher is a very unique ski. If you’re mostly a piste skier looking to go off-piste without sacrificing that traditional feeling, maybe a narrower all-mountain ski would be a better fit. However, if you’re a skier that’s looking to spend a lot more time off piste, but still want a more traditional shape and feel, the Preacher is definitely your ski. The wide shovel really helps to increase float in deep snow. The wide base also helps to smooth variable terrain and a stiff torsional flex gives the ski stability at speed. It’s a surprisingly versatile ski that has been able to handle any type of terrain I have skied it on. I think the biggest thing to note is that although it can handle just about any terrain, the lack of rocker in tip and tail make it a bit more demanding to ski off piste. So, the Preacher is a ski that will cater to more aggressive skiers that know how to drive the ski. As long as you stay on top of your game, the Preacher will be able to take you on and off piste without any trouble. I think the best way to describe the Preacher is as an all-mountain powder carver. So bottom line, if you’re an aggressive skier that wants a more traditional ski to take off piste, the preacher could be exactly what you’re looking for.