REVIEWS AND TESTS
Ski Tests & Reviews
Renoun Z-Line 90 2016-2017
Renoun Z-Line 90 (2016-2017)
136-90-124mm r=15m 174cm
“All-mountain smoothie with edging prowess.”
“The faster you go, the smoother they get.”
Renoun Z-Line 77 (left) and Z-Line 90 (right)
266 Main St., Burlington, Vermont, United States
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
$1395 usd (2016) - Unusual Two Year Warranty – 100 Day Satisfaction Policy
Resort Fontside Cruiser/Carver
Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
9 for packed powder groomers...all speeds
9 for mixed conditions...you might want something a little wider and more surfy depending on your style and preferences.
7+ Shin deep powder conditions
“Distinctive for its innovative design, the Z-Line 90 is your performance ski every time in every condition. A stunning meld of classic architecture and modern technology brings you the most stable and controlled ski in the world.
In the past, the design of an on-piste ski left it landlocked on groomers. But with HDT™ in the core, we freed it up for any slope: from early morning corduroy to late day crud. We’ve engineered a carving ski that hyper connects you, your skis, and the snow. Make nimble transitions and effortless turns with incredible stability. This is skiing like never before. More speed and more control are yours with the Z-Line 90. The most experienced skiers can take on the most challenging conditions, ever.” - Website November 2016
The Renoun Z-Line 90 Like its Z-Line 77 sibling the Z-Line 90 produces a very smooth, nearly silky feel under its entire length as you cruise at speed, or pound-out some short, choppier turns with enthusiasm, but adds a degree of flotation and wider platform experience at the upper-end of the carving category. Just like the Z-Line 77, the Z-Line 90 has a very wide performance envelope (just like the other models in Renoun’s lineup), and supports a variety of skiing styles ranging from casual or luxury groomer cruising, to “see-if-you-can-match-my-turns-and-stay-on-my-tail-as-I-turn-up-the-heat” behaviors.. The Z-Line 90 impresses you after a couple runs since it disappears under you and you forget about it, focusing instead on where you want to go and what line you want to take and what kind of turns you want to execute. Like the Z-Line 77, you forget the Z-Line 90s are on your feet...simply doing pretty much anything you want them to do...without any glitches, hiccups, protest or failures. The Z-Line 90 feels more loose and slightly easier to ski than the Z-Line 77, with a bit more mass underfoot, although it feels somewhat shorter underfoot than the narrower model when you’re paying attention. People who don’t want to be as vigilant about their skiing and want a less precise and serious ride than the Z-Line 77 will like the Z-Line 90. Actually, we can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t like the Z-Line 90. It has a huge bandwith of appeal to a wide audience who frequent the frontside of their favorite ski area.
Like the Z-Line 77’s, the Z-Line 90s are infused with the HDT non-Newtonian polymer material in the core, and with the other materials in the chassis, actually gives the impression the ski is quieter and more composed as you go faster and the frequency of actions upon the ski by the terrain and the pilot’s input increase and become more intense. This is a big deal, and one of the holy grails of the ski industry for many years. Plenty of dampening mechanisms, materials and marketing voodoo hype have come and gone over decades of ski designs, all trying to improve quiet behavior when conditions get unsettled, but unfortunately, most have been discontinued because they really didn’t work or made the skis feel heavy and unresponsive. Renoun’s technology of materials and construction have made a significant, and important change to ski behavior. For real. This description is the same as the Z-Line 77 because it’s true.
The Z-Line 90 is a super-composed, smooth and quiet frontside all-mountain ski with a bias toward carving. If you want a more off-piste model, pick the Endurance series (98 and 104) since they incorporate different shaping and rocker profiles to deliver a more compliant and surfy potential off-road. The Renoun Z-Line 90 skis are priced at the higher-end of the spectrum at $1,395 for several reasons. First is the unique, patent-pending material and construction recipe exclusive to Renoun that won the World’s ISPO Gold Award for technical innovation. Second is the rather unusual and confidence-inspiring 2 year warranty against defects. Cyrus stands behind the premium product with a premium warranty. Third is the 100-day satisfaction guarantee. Try them for 100 days, return them for a full refund if you don’t love them. That’s a premium offer...essentially a risk-free purchase direct from the builder. If you love all-mountain frontside skis, but don’t want to carve deeply all day and want a premium ride in a wide spectrum of turn shapes and speeds, the Z-Line 90 delivers a really impressive solution with an eerie smoothness as you go faster or find harder surfaces. Nice work Cyrus. Definitely see what all the buzz is about and demo the Renouns if you can. You might like what you feel.
Technical Ski Data:
Maple wood core
HDT Non-Newtonian Polymer inserts in the core
Carbon fiber and Triaxial fiberglass
Full sheet of Titanal metal
Bindings, Boots, Wax & Tune Used:
Tyrolia PowerRail PRD12 Demo Bindings
Salomon S-Max 120 boots.
Green Ice waxes, cold and warm
Skied as-is out of the box in Spring 2016, then refinished and retuned November 2016 at Northern Ski Works, Ludlow using a crispy, brand-new Wintersteiger Mercury tuning machine.
Good fit and finish, business-like subdued graphics, but not inspirational or overly impressive. Damp, rounded hand flex, “medium” flex with slightly softer tips and tails and a moderately stout midsection. Slight early rise tip.
Eastern corduroy, man-made dry packed powder (shin-deep max), Spring-like corn and refrozen man-made hardpack boilerplate in places.
Hardpack and Boilerplate:
The Renoun Z-Line 90 is at the upper-end of what many consider “carving ski” categories since it’s 90mm underfoot, but it has the ability to grip and hold a line like skis in the sub-80mm class with an eerie smoothness. It lacks the vicously tenacious grip of a dedicated ice-carving race ski, but then again, the Z-Line 90 is an all-mountain design, yet has an authoritative carving prowess under the hood when put on edge under power most all-mountain skis lack. The Z-Line 90 is impressively quick in edge-to-edge directional changes on hardapack and doesn’t require a ton of effort from the skier. Stand square in the center, apply quick pressure directly underfoot and arc the ski left or right as hard as you want. You can hold it into GS-like, long-radius turns and enjoy a quiet, calm ride under pressure..even as speed increases (perhaps thanks to the HDT polymer), or you can cut a more choppy, cut-and-thrust series of quick near-SL turns on demand. The Z-Line 90 is happy doing both at a variety of speeds. The Z-Line 90 runs smooth and stable and compliant at slow or high speeds, and in the East, that’s a great behavior.
Vibration control is excellent, and if you induce chatter on boilerplate with a defective turn initiation and finish technique, you can cancel it quickly with a stance correction without feeling the ski get out-of-sorts under you. Control and comfort is the key trait of the Z-Line 90, and it’s probably one of the best skis to use all-day from freshies in the morning to cut-up junk mid-day to scraped-off hardpack with piles of soft stuff in the afternoon. The level of effort to get the Renoun Z-Line 90 to perform is impressively minimal. It requires little input from the pilot and never generates any surprises, always delivering an impressive quality of ride and satisfaction. It’s the kind of ski you forget is under you after a couple runs, and we found you can ski more runs with fewer breaks, and that says something right there about the kind of ski this is.
Renoun’s Z-Line 90 should be one of the frontside all-terrain carver reference standards for ease-of-use and high-performance over a wide variety of surface conditions. The impressive packed-powder carving behavior expands into impressive surfing or carving behavior when the snow conditions get variable and the terrain gets less rougher. The Z-Line 90 feels more nimble than its 90mm waist might lead you to believe, and it’s as happy on-edge under pressure as it is running flat through fresh snow, cut-up crud, junky snow, skied-out packed surfaces or Spring condtions. In the Spring, we found the Z-Line 90 was great first thing in the morning while the surfaces were frozen and noisy, then went into a completely playful, nearly surfy ride when conditions turned to corn and mush, yet gripped on-demand when those sections in the shadows kept their hardpack nature. The Z-Line 90s fill that niche between the Z-Line 77 surgical carvers and the more surfy, slightly rockered Endurance 98 and 104 models. The Z-Line 90 works great for people who ski bell-to-bell through hell or high water and want something with a carving bias rather than loose and surfy. Eastern skiers might find the Z-Line 90 does pretty much everything they want in between the extremes of race carving and powder surfing. The only reservation we found is the slightly lower level of edge grip and precision of the Z-Line 90 after spending time on the Z-Line 77...but then again..that’s to be expected.
Bumps and Powder:
The Z-Line 90s take bumps in stride by being solid, but never burly and easy, but never wishy-washy. They behave much like other 90mm-waisted all mountain frontside skis in bumps, but the faster you go, the smoother they perform….unlike most skis whose anxiety levels often go up as speeds increase in the bunps. The first third of the flex pattern is easy and absorbs bumps nicely, but if you go beyond the first third, you get into a stiffer, more responsive chassis behavior which can get you some pop and power when you want it. It’s rare to get in the back seat in the bumps with the Renoun Z-Line 90s, but if you do, they are super friendly and easy to reset and find your center again without being burly or overly floppy. We didn’t get a chance to try large bumps with the Z-Line 90s, but soft and hard bumps just below knee-high in packed powder and Spring corn conditions gave us a good idea about their personality.
Analogies: ("This ski is like...")
Silky smooth Audi A6 with fresh tires, quiet, comfortable, powerful and so easy to drive all day at high levels of performance you don’t realize it’s time to go home.
Vermont Beverage Most Like This Ski:
Harpoon Leviathan Imperial IPA – Elegantly smooth, high-octane body hidden in a silky flavor wrapping. The more you have, the more you want. Don’t let the patrolers catch you enjoying it too much.
Things We Would Change About This Ski:
Nothing, other than maybe a Titanal metal “race” version for hotrods.
Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":
Superbly smooth frontside all-mountain ski with a very wide performance envelope for skiers of all types. Everyone who tries it seems to say the same thing….”Wow...super quiet and impressive...” Significantly important ski from Renoun. Other ski companies should watch their backs.
Advice To People Considering This Ski:
Get yourself to a demo day and see if the smooth personality suits your style. These are a “sleeper” type of ski that doesn’t impress you immediately until you realize you’ve been skiing it all day at increasingly sporty levels.
Who and What Are These Good For?
Resort frontside skiers who who get out first thing in the morning to get the first slice of the freshly groomed surfaces, but want to ski all over the mountain all day and have one ski to use when some fresh snow arrives overnight, but still like carving. Finesse and technical skiers will especially bond with the feel underfoot and the quiet nature of the Z-Line 90s. Instructors, 100-days+ skiers and other people who want one ski to run all day on the frontside without burning themselves out will love this ski.
Close up of finish quality at the tail/edge mating points.
Renoun skis are designed in Burlington, VT and manufactured in Quebec, Canada
Renoun Z-Line 77 (front) and Z-Line 90 (rear)
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