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Ullr's Chariot Review

My Ullr’s Chariot Review

 

I saw two Ullr’s Chariot (UC) reviews before trying the skis.  One was from here and the other was from www.Realskiers.com.  Realskiers made the UC their “Ski of the Year,” while Exotic Skis was unhappy with the early released ski’s flex.  There are significant differences between the reviews, and mine might add more confusion.

Overall, I really like the ski and own a pair. However, it is not the “one ski quiver” Realskiers made it out to be (I still don’t believe such a ski can be made).  I also did not find it having any unusual flex issues that the Exotic Skis review claimed.  Instead, I found this to be an extremely versatile and beautiful ski, at its best when the snow is soft.

Visual Impression:  These are probably the most beautiful skis made, and they certain turn heads and spark conversations on the lifts and lift lines.  Ski Logik charges a mere $100 to commission custom artwork, insanely inexpensive for an artist (Mariella) to create a design from scratch.

Quality:  Many people consider Stockli to make the best skis in the world, and I find their finishing to be top notch (for one thing, their bases are flat).  Ski Logik easily matches Stockli quality.  Despite the UC being a relatively fat ski, the bases are flat.  This is likely from the time they stay in the mold while the resin sets.  The camber is consistent between each ski.  The marquetry fits together beautifully.  The edges fit together so perfectly that it is almost imperceptible there they meet.  I love the bases.  They are structured, very hard and fast.  They are also thirsty, and need several coats of wax before skiing.

Skiing Impressions:  I skied the UC for 7 days prior to writing this review.  One day was skied in hard pack.  This was followed by 5 days of non-stop powder, chop and soft snow, followed by a day of mixed hard and soft conditions.  The bindings are mounted “neutral,” exactly where the manufacturer suggests.  The binding position seems perfect.

Powder:  These skis are a joy in up to a foot in powder, after which a rockered ski will make a noticeable difference.  I simply skied the UC in a neutral stance and let the skis do all the work.  Even in two feet of snow, these performed well although a little speed in the deep certainly helped.  Despite the 15m radius, the UC was not overly “turny” and had no problems going straight when you wanted them to.

Chop:  Here is where I was really impressed.  These skis had no problems towards the end of the powder days when the conditions included newly formed bumps, choppy snow and powder. They just skied over and through all of it with ease.

Drifting:  These skis “drift” easily and predictably when you want them to…so long as the snow is soft.  In fact, I purposely tried to scrub speed on one bump run by “drifting” just to see what would happen (I typically ski over the bumps to control speed and save my knees), and the UC was amazingly predictable.  In a steep gully, I drifted sideways with ease until I felt it safe to start turning.  I found the exact opposite the first day I skied these on frozen man-made snow.  The skis drifted OK, but it took work to do so (they were not drifting as smoothly).  The hard snow feeling is similar to some other skis I’ve tried with the same or fatter waist size.  The hard snow feeling improved at the end of the week when I slightly dulled the tips with a stone.

Bumps:  I was really surprised at how well these skied in the bumps.  I’m a fan of the SVMM and typically ski over the tops of the bumps.  The UC’s flex allowed me to do this slowly or at speed.

Carving:  Here is where I disagree with the “one ski quiver” Realskier’s review, and the Exotic Ski’s review.  On soft snow, these are easy to carve.  The arc is predictable and round.  Just put the UC on edge, pressure it correctly (I’m a “big toe. little toe” kind of guy), and the ski will get you where you want to go.  Short and medium radii turns are no problem.  It is more difficult to carve long radius turns, but that is to be expected because of the ski's 15mm radius.  I have absolutely no problem with the flex.  There is a bit of camber in this ski, so you may have to pressure it a little more than some other skis to start the turn.  But that is no big deal. 

On hard snow, the ski was not so friendly.  I found it difficult to easily steer (part carve, part drift) the ski at the beginning of a turn.  When railing turns, it is critical to set the edge hard to engage it.  This experience is completely different than the soft snow experience until... I dulled the tips with a stone.  Then the hard snow experience improved.

Bottoms and Edges:  Somehow, in the middle of a powder day, I hit a big rock.  The edges were barely damaged (an Arkansas stone made them sooth in less than 30 seconds) and the bottoms show no damage.  The base material must be super hard!

Speed:  These skis perform well at slow and fast speeds, adding to thier versitility. The UC is not a ski I'd take into gates (like a Realskier reviewer commented), but it can carve fast turns with no problems.

Conclusion:  These are absolutely beautiful and well made skis that can indeed “do it all” in any condition.  Like all 100mm+ waisted skis, their forte is not hard pack although they will certainly get you down the mountain OK.  Are these a “one ski quiver?”  They certainly can be for some people.  But this skier will still keep a pair or racing skis/carvers on hand for the hard snow days.

Note:  On a hunch, I slightly dulled the tips with a stone and the hard snow drifting and carving improve quite a bit.  I never though about doing this when I originally wrote the review.

 

Update 3/17/2011
I skied the UC another 12 days or so (they are not my only skis) and I am more impressed with them than when the review was originally posted.
1) Durability: The tops are as durable as any ski I’ve had. No issues at all. My first impression of the bottoms has not changed. They are hard and fast. In fact, they almost look brand new after waxing.
2) On Snow Impression: I am happier on hard snow (read: frozen morning snow) with the skis. I think the “grabbing” was due to the edges at the tip and toe needing to be dulled a tad. I never dulled any part of my ski edges before, so this was a new concept for me. The hard snow grip is very good, and they really do carve trenches. A great day for these skis was yesterday, when I skied on 4”-6” of powder that fell over hard crusty snow (it rained before it snowed). These skis were a blast to be on going down open bowls or through the trees. They were fat enough to ski differing snow, and they held an edge just fine. 
By: quant2325  Posted: Saturday, December 25, 2010 10:39:00 PM

Thanks for the review Quant2325! It really helps to have other opinions of how skis behave, so everyone can get a good cross-section of real experiences.  You definitely have more days on the skis than we had...(we only had one day). The pair of ULR's Chariots we reviewed were an earlier release, and felt stiff and very strong, but took some effort due to the stiff midsection (adjusted now for a nice, round flex)....I talked to Mazz after testing and he said he had feedback from several people about several skis in the lineup being a bit stiffer in the midsection than some liked, and he immediately revised the construction and the next shipment of skis in several models of the lineup became more compliant and friendly to a wider range of skiers...it's great to see a builder take feedback from the skiers and apply it to the production line immediately...try getting that from the big manufacturers!

I thnk the SkiLogik skis are definitely sensitive to their state of tune, and as you saw, just dulling the tips a bit caused a significant change in behavior.  I like Mazz's skis and I think he's got a great product going, quality and performance-wise....as well as being definitely different and really impressive to look at.  I think once someone gets the tune just-right on the ULR's Chariot...it would be a great all-around ski.  I do agree it may not be the {"one-ski-quiver") solution, but for nearly any condition, it works really, really well. (maybe a race-carver for bulletproof days, the ULR's chariot and a rockered powder ski is the quiver to have...?)...Thanks for the review!

 

By: e.edelstein  Posted: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 12:33:19 PM

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