REVIEWS AND TESTS
Ski Tests & Reviews
Whitedot Skis "The Preacher" Carbonlite 2014-2015
2014-2015 White Dot Preacher Carbonlite
155-112-133 r=16.5m @ 179cm
Whitedot Preacher CarbonLite Camber Profile (from the front)
Whitedot Skis Ltd
91-93 Green Lane
Leeds, LS16 7EY
Phone: (509) 392 1394
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP): (Carbonlite version)
$ 976 usd
Cambered All-Terrain Soft Snow
Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
8 for a directional powder ski
8 for packed powder groomers
9 for mixed conditions - medium-to-larger radius turns
7+ for hardpack - medium-to-larger radius turns
9 on hardpack for its size
Whiedot Skis began to really get skis out of prototype mode and sold to the public in 2009. (We tested some of their first production candidate models back in 2009 in France.) The collaborative effort of several enthusiasts who wanted to build unique and effective skis in small batches using designs developed with pro freeriders at Chamonix and Verbier testing grounds. The guys at Whitedot believe in constantly evolving their designs and exploring the effectiveness of different materials, so their models often behave differently from year to year. Whitedot Skis are very popular in Europe for a reason...they seem to work for the conditions found in the Alpes of France, Italy and Austria.
"Our ‘over-sized’ all-mountain, single quiver, cambered, ski. The Preacher has won independent ski tests, Freeride World Tour podium places and professional athlete accolades.
The Preacher offers a lot of floatation in deep powder yet the positive camber and full length torsional stiffness allows for an incredible edge hold on even the hardest of pistes. Designed with a 155mm wide tip to allow for a weight forward stance for ease of turn initiation, and a tapered tip to avoid hooking in the soft stuff.
Our unique carbon layup brings added weight-saving and durability into the mix and combined with it’s shape continues to give large amount of float in the fresh. The positive camber and increased torsional stiffness from the CL:3 construction brings an increase in edge hold on hard packed snow, decreasing fatigue and allowing you to ski for longer and harder."
- website 2015
The Whitedot Preacher is one of the more exotic designs out there, being perhaps the fattest cambered ski in production we can think of...yet has a claimed radius of 16.5 meters at 179cm length. This design has been refined over many seasons to become a ski with a completly unique character people either love or have trouble relating to, depending on their expectations. The Preachers maintain an uncanny ability to set a pressured carve along their entire length once you tip their 150mm tips up on edge and feed the rest of the ski into the turn and apply force into the surface. While the Preacher really has a single carving radius it's happy with (think "GS" turns), it's ridiculously easy to get it to engage, despite its large surface area.
If you like busting through crud with a cambered chassis and don't mind a wide-area shovel to float over softer materials (some people like a narrower shovel for crud cutting..it's a matter of preference...), and want a super-light feel underfoot, there are few skis like the Preacher on the planet. In its CarbonLite construction, Whitedot's Preacher becomes a nearly-zero-effort ride in more kinds of terrain than you are likely to find in one day. It floats through mixed materials and powder superbly and predictably, while maintaining a definitlely directional quality rather than a surfy-smearly feel of a heavily rockered ski. This means you can point the Preachers at nearly any surface and get a solid, light-handling ride with excellent floatation not found in other cambered skis. Conditions in Chamonix and Verbier (where the Preacher design was honed since 2008) are often firm, windblown, chalky and variable with super-fluffy powder usually in short supply and the Preacher provides a cambered, responsive platform to navigate these conditions securely with no hint of washout, unwanted release or drifty behavior.
You notice the light weight of the CarbonLite Preachers at higher speeds where they can feel a bit looser and more flexy up front and in the tail than the standard-layup version. The Preachers have a devout following among many skiers in Chamonix/Verbier neighborhood because they provide solid grip underfoot at all times, yet are fat enough to float above the 3D materials instead of through them...as needed.
They are unusually quick edge-to-edge for their width, making them more playful than people expect, surprising the pilot with their ability to go into tight spaces typically reserved for more rockered designs, yet retain a grip when needed, and float when needed. Some testers remarked the Preachers felt like a powder ski with too much camber, or an all-mountain ski put into an oversized chassis...making them hard to categorize. It's precisely this crossover personality that makes them so popular with so many skiers looking for a large-surface-area ski with cambered behavior, grip and pop.
Technical Ski Data:
Weight: 1790 grams and 1798 grams (measured) 179cm
1.2mm ISO 7200 High Speed Precision Sintered base, Die-cut
Full Tip - Tail Popular / Ash Laminate Core
Carbon Fibre / Flax / Carbon-Kevlar Stringers / Dry Weave Binding Retention Plate / Rubber Foil Dampening Tape / Carbon-Aramid / Carbon
1.9mm hardened Steel, 360 pre-bent Wrap-Around Edges
ISO Foil, Screen Printed & Twice Lacquered topsheet
Bindings and Boots Used:
Tyrolia PowerRail SD12 Bindings
Salomon S-Max 120 boots.
Catchy field of dots on a glossy topsheet with excellent fit and fihish. Moderately soft tip and tail flex, firmer midsection. Very light weight by hand-feel (see specs...they are light!), relatively damp response with moderate torsional strength. Appealing look and feel. Camber is fairly pronounced for such a large surface-area ski.
Eastern corduroy, packed powder and hardpack groomers, boilerplate, ungroomed packed powder with small bumps, shin-deep to knee-deep powder conditions, both smooth and bumpy. Chalky wind buff, fresh and old powder. Spring conditions.
Hardpack and Boilerplate:
The Preachers are not a racecarver, despite being fully cambered, but they have a degree of grip on harder surfaces you simply won't find in other skis with similar dimensions. There is a set-it-and-forget-it quality when you roll the Preachers up on edge and set them on their trajectory. No washout, no wobble, no slip, no surprises..just a reliable, solid grip with some funloving pop at the end of the turn if you load them up and release them. Vibration control on hard surfaces is very good, despite their relatively thin vertical profile and low mass in the CarbonLite construction. The Preachers also posess a quick edge-to-edge ability on hardpack you won't find in other skis with this much surface area, which is great news for people frequenting slippery surfaces on their daily outings.
Turn initiation is easy, if not slightly delayed due to their width....requiring the pilot to turn them up on edge deliberately to get the edge to really engage. They never dart across the fall line or get any hooky behavior, even when tuned with very little base camber (our favorite setup for these). They can feel a bit loose underfoot at higher speeds on hard surfaces because they weigh so little, but you can always reset them into a secure arc if the looseness gets uncomfortable. If you want one of the best carveable skis with a huge surface area available to civilians...the Whitedot Preacher fits the bill...even in its stunningly lightweight CarbonLite version.
The Preacher's faithful followers rave about this ski's satisfying behavior in so many kinds of mixed surface condtions ranging from fresh powder, crud, windcrust, packed chalk, cobbly blown-chunks, mashed potatoes, dry-on-top/wet-underneath mixed media and everthing in-between. Some skiers loved the wide tips for early rise floating of the body up on top of the snow, while others found they wanted a narrower shovel to give more of a cutting-behavior to avoid some deflection possible if you don't pay attention. Some skiers raved about the control and directional integrity of the fully-cambered body in mixed snow, while others wanted their surfy-smearly heavily rockered skis in these conditions...it was a mixed bag..depending on what people expected or had grown accustomed to in previous outings with other skis. In CarbonLite layup, the Preachers feel light in rough materials, so skiers who prefer a more heavily-planted feel might want the standard construction, while those who don't want to muscle their skis into submission will love the low-mass of the CarbonLites..depending on their body weight and strength patterns.
The more you ski the Preachers in mixed snow condtions and terrain types, the more you realize you could use this ski nearly all the time the snow is 3-dimensional, reaching for your racecarvers only when groomers are on the menu. The Preachers have a cult following in areas with wildly variable snow conditions for a reason...they work really, really well in those situations, showing a super-wide performance envelope people come to love as long as you like the directional integrity and personality of the cambered design in a ski with a 155mm tip.
The Preacher's wide shovels and cambered flex can become a little noticeable in tighter bumps, but this tends to be somewhat cancelled-out because of the super low weight of the CarbonLite construction making them very agile for their size. The responsive flex and light handling make the Preachers fun and playful in larger bumps where you don't get tangled fore-and-aft with the large surface area tips and tails. While many skis with similar dimensions get overly flappy in the bumps at higher speeds due to their heavily rockered tips and tails, the Preachers remain solid, allowing you to pound through bumps with more directional integrity and
The Preacher Carbonlite is unique in being one of the rare fully-cambered powder-sized designs out there. It has a relatively large, 155mm tip leading to a moderate-width 112mm waist finished by a failry sizable 133mm tail, so it has the surface area to float and a broad tip for initial rise in most 3-D conditions. What makes the Preacher interesting is this surface area is not rockered fore and aft to any significant degree, but supported by a long cambered chassis delivering a securely directional personality. You don't really "smear" the Preachers in powder, you "turn" them by either tipping them over and pressuring the body, or keeping them somewhat flat and steering the shovels or tails. Skiers who have spent their powder time exclusively on heavily rockered fat skis with zero or negative camber underfoot find this feeling somewhat foreign or difficult to grasp at first, then they figure it out. There is a more "deliberate" technique required to navigate the Preachers in 3D snow with their cambered body....you don't just drift around lazily. You set the Preachers into a line, and they follow it until you change direction. There is plenty of float and no diving behavior, but you trade the smeary, drifty, unconnected feel of rockered powder skis for the powerful tension of directional integrity and sense of being connected to the snow when you ride the Preachers in powder. Some skiers love this, while others want the smeary feel of their zero-camber, rockered skis instead. The Preachers have the ability to load-up the cambered chassis inside the depths of the 3D snow and release the rebound energy to travel to the surface quickly, making porpoise-like behavior pretty darn addicting once you figure out the pattern. This energetic rebound can also be really useful in the woods when there are logs, stumps and submerged branches to deal with along your lines. You trade off some pivoty-behavior of a fully rockered, zero-camber ski when you drive the cambered Preachers in 3D snow, but you gain a rock-steady feel and driving power you won't really find in the surfy pow skis. Like we said, some people prefer the loose and surfy zero-camber, rockered skis in powder, while others find the cambered personality very useful and perfectly suited to their style and terrain/snow conditions...it;s a matter of taste. Many people said their zero-camber, fully rockered skis were ideal when the powder is weightless and bottomless, but when the powder was inconsistent or erratic, they preferred the control of camber along the body of the Preachers to keep them on-line. If you spend all your powder time in fuff...pick a loose and surfy ski. If your powder is less-than-ideal and you venture into packed or windblown surfaces frequently, maybe the cambered chassis is your choice. Luckily, Whitedot gives you those choices....Cambered Preacher or rockered Redeemer.
Analogies: ("This ski is like...")
A nimble, all-terrain sport-utility vehicle for nearly any kind of 3D snow, with some impressive corner-holding carving traits on packed surfaces.
Things I Would Change About This Ski:
Nothing, it does exactly what it was designed to do really well.
Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":
Great ski if you love the feel of a cambered chassis underfoot, but want some serious surface area for flotation and prefer a directional feel rather than a smeary, drifty ride. Great if your snow conditions get firm or windblown or otherwise require some grip along the entire ski more frequently than not.
Advice To People Considering This Ski:
Get a demo ride in the kind of snow you will most frequently encounter in your daily outings. This ski has a large footprint and plenty of camber you need to engage strategically to get the best ride, but it's ridiculously easy to ski, despite its size. Consider the Preacher if you want more secure grip underfoot than most powder skis, but still want the big surface area.
Pics: (click for larger versions)
Whitedot Preacher CarbonLite midbody camber profile
(Click for larger image)
Whitedot Preacher (3d from left)
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