REVIEWS AND TESTS
Ski Tests & Reviews
Swallow "Professor 106" (SC-12) Carving Ski 2007-2008 (Japan/China)
Swallow "Professor 106" (SC-12)
106-65-95 17m radius@170cm
[click image for LARGER version]
Nagano, Japan 389-2255
Hazama Shizuka wall 1382-1
IP tel 050-3540-0421(OCN)
Japanese corporation, skis manufactured at their Chinese factory.
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
Your Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
8-9 for snappy hard snow carving and race-like antics.
7 for all-mountain usage due to narrowness and stiffness
Surprisingly quick, lightweight, responsive and sporty ski that really likes to be skied athletically to get the most out of it. Just shy of a racing ski, but with a wider range of turn shapes available. You can chop it into slalom turns just fine, and it grips ice great. We tested the longest version of this ski at 170cm . You can let it run and it still hangs a nice arc like a GS ski (surprising for its length) without the freight-train handling. Remarkably versatile, but not meant for the bumps due to its relative stiffness. You can get serious acceleration out of this ski. Very quick edge to edge. Likes a narrow stance. It has a kick that will keep you on your toes if you get "in the backseat" too much. This could be an excellent choice for Eastern US skiers or those who love carving the hardpack with a ski that will respond with lots of rebound if you want it to. This ski has nearly the same dimensions (+- millimeter here and there) as the very popular Volkl P60 SL, Maxel Hurricane HF-2 and Quechua SRX 800 S and Atomic SuperCross SX:10, so that should give you an idea of the shape of this ski from Swallow in Japan.
Ski Designer :
Swallow Ski Company - Japan
Technical Ski Data :
Wood core, triax fiberglass sandwich with upper and lower Titanal layers.
Available in 156cm, 163cm, 170cm sizes.
Very lightweight, very snappy hand flex, stiff and responsive. Possibly nervous due to light dampening action. The topsheet is a honeycomb-like lattice of raised-texture ant-scuff material that is quite durable, but distorts the lettering and linework of the graphics slightly. Probably very practical and would protect your edges if you cross your skis during crashes or in transit. Kinda cool, nearly retro graphic that grows on you the more you see it next to other skis. Nicely finished. Definitely eye-catching compared to today's crop of ski graphics.
First test day: Dry, packed powder and frozen granular surfaces. Typical "Eastern U.S." hardpack carving surface. Very nice for testing this kind of ski.
More test days to come later...
Swallow Japan sent us the Swallow Professor 106 (SC-12), which is has the narrower shovel and tail than the Professor 110 (SC-10) model and has the longest radius (17m vs. 15 @170cm) of their lineup. First impression is "hmmm...kinda retro, but with real grip underfoot...let's keep going..." The ski does not immediately "Feed itself into turns" like some carvers we have tried, and takes a little initiative to get it hooked up into its sweet spot. Ski it with some agressive initiation, and it immediately hooks up, changes direction and accelerates quickly. Sometimes really quickly. Once you get a pattern of these kinds of turns going, it really gives you a reason to wonder why so many people like really dampened, heavy-feeling hard snow carvers that just lay there on the snow taking commands, when you could put a little "zing" into it. This is the kind of ski that doesn't really reward a quiet style, unless you like to sink an edge into a hard surface and hold it for a few dozen yards right and left. It likes to be snapped in and out of its turns.
The Professor 106 has a spot in between its turn initiation and its sweet pressure zone where you might feel its "not exciting". Wallow in this zone and you can drift the ski just fine, but it really wants to be "engaged" (that means pressured underfoot here), then it falls into its "zingy place". I get the impression the Professor wants to be driven, not ridden.
I have skied the old Atomic SX:11 (not the slightly less-serious SX:10 having the same dimensions as the Swallow Professor 106) and found the Atomic SX:11 to be more damp, slightly heavy and perfectly stable, although somewhat tiring as an all-day ski. The Swallow Professor 106 is sprightly and lively. I can't quite put my finger on the "class" of ski the Swallow Professor 106 belongs in. It's not a slalom racer, it's not a wider-waisted all-mountain ski, it's not a hypercarver, it's not a freestyle ski...it's....well, it's a really quick, really responsive, high-performance hard snow tool to rip quick turns with yippe-like acceleration at moderate to high speeds. If you like some serious kick at the end of your turns, and haunt the hardpack, but don't want a race ski, the Professor might be the ticket. It's not that it lacks control. It has very precise control. It has exciting snap - something often lacking in today's "enthusiast-oriented" skis. This could do a nice job in a NASTAR course I think. Very refreshing. Hard to find. Great niche ski.
Analogies: (this ski is like...)
Mischevious knive thrower cross-bred with Richocet Rabbit
After Skiing These, I Want To...
Spend more time with them adjusting my stale technique to suit their responsiveness.
Self-Description of Skiing Style, Ability, Experience, Preferences :
5' 11", 190 lbs. Expert groomed-surface carver, "old-style" race inspired, "foot steerer" with fairly sensitive edging feel. Loves to hold long arcs with lots of pressure on the downhill ski (you know the type), but also loves the feel of both skis on-edge leaving tiny railroad track edge tracks. Not an instructor, but 10 year coach for youth race team in New England (bulletproof is the norm).
More opinions to come after this initial day...stay tuned...
Almost forgot one of the best features of this ski: The name translation:
I totally agree with Eric Stamp on this little rocket from Japan (made in China) after skiing more days on it. Addictingly effective weapon that craves speed and delivers grip, grip grip with astonishing response at times. AND it has the wiggly-honeycomb topsheet protective layer. This was probably the biggest surprise of the 2007-2008 test season for me. I expected a bargain-basement ski with perhaps dated technology and performance, but what we got was a wicked-turning race-like tool for hard snow excitement. Cool and the graphics keep growing on me the more I see it on snow. Yippee.
Well here it is mid summer and I am finally getting stuff cleaned up. About the Professor, here are the words that come to mind....Rocket ship. Carving machine. Ice skate. Swallow is so on their game with this ski. Who would have thought that a ski with this geometry would be so quick edge to edge. It is absolutely a carving master at any speed. Nice down to earth construction...(I love straight sidewalls) cool,dimpled topsheet. Even the skeptics thought it had great shelf appeal...except for Super, Demon, Stration. on the topsheet.
It is a demon! Not afraid of high speeds, hard snow, ice or whippy little carved turns! Amazing. Would not budge or be overpowered under any circumstances...actually would toss you around a little if you were not paying attention. The tail loads like a slalom ski but the shape is like a GS ski. Hmmm...Race Carver...I am not mentioning ski company names.Great ski for the East or for high speed groomers like Deer Valley. Lots of value here and lots of performance. Too bad that more skiers outside of Japan aren't aware of this company.
Swallow Professor Super Demon Stration
These skis ROCK. Zippy, snappy, full of energy.
I had no expectations, had not read any reviews, tried these things and found myself thrown in the backseat for an instant. Those who ski with me know the amount of time I can be found in the backseat of a ski. Always driving, always forward. Then I read reviews, "...it will accelerate right out from under you in a blink of the eye!" "It has a kick that will keep you on your toes if you get 'in the backseat' too much." Well, it will and it does.
This ski has very quick edge to edge capabilities. It can pack a punch. I really like the graphics and would bet that these would hold up to the nastiest European lift line with everyone stomping on your skis. That topsheet looks tough.
One of the most surprising aspects of this ski was it's ability to thrive in spring conditions. During a test day with some really fat skis, I tried out these skis to get some perspective. They rocked, once again. Loved the slush and gripped the ice. What more could you want?
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