REVIEWS AND TESTS
Ski Tests & Reviews
Whitedot Ragnorok ASYM 190cm (2019-2020)
147-122-134 r=30m @ 190cm
Whitedot Skis Ltd
91-93 Green Lane,
Leeds, LS16 7EY, United Kingdom
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
8+ Hardpack for its size and low camber if you keep edges sharp
9+ - Mixed surface conditions, chop
9+ - Powder
Whitedot 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, Switzerland and Austria.
"A statement in innovation and progress.
Skiing off-piste you are rarely carving a perfect turn, instead, you use drifting, speed checking, carving and combinations of these to control your line.
The ASYM’s signature design is off-set taper, making a left and right foot specific ski. While the sidecut radius remains a constant 30m on both edges, the tip and tail of the outside edge taper earlier than the inside creating an inside ski with a shorter effective edge that is easier to control.
This balances the different forces working on each ski as you go through the turn, making for an intuitive and two-footed ride.
The ASYM is built for deep days on the mountain and to deal with the changeable conditions you face. We selected our Traditional fibre-glass construction for this new ski because not only is it our dampest construction but it also adds mass to the ski, making for a stable and confidence-inspiring ride all over the mountain.."
- Website March 2020
Technical Ski Data:
Measured weight: 2200g and 2203g
Flex = 8/10
1.2mm ISO7200 sintered die cut base
525mm low profile tip rocker
420mm low profile tai rocker
1580/1500mm effective edge
1.9mm steel, 360 degree edges
Polar/Ash laminate core, bi & tri-axle fibreglass, dry weave binding retention plate, carbon fibre stringer, rubber foil dampening tape
Screen printed ISO foil topsheet with 2 layers of lacquer
Bindings and Boots Used:
Tyrolia Attack 12 bindings
Salomon S-Max 130 Carbon boots.
The first thing that strikes anyone seeing the ASYM for the first time are the asymmetric tip geometries. Old timers will immediately remember when the first Blizzard Spur models with similar tip shaping appeard on the market several years ago. Flex is somewhat softish at the tip, with a nicely solid underfoot flex. The tail is stiffer than the tips and has a more rounded flex and less taper than the deeply rockered forebody. Fit and finish are very nice, with a glossy, handsome topsheet you just know looks great now, but may show some scars later after some crashes and liftline antics. The Rag ASYM feels fairly light in hand for its 122mm width underfoot and looks playful and floaty. The quality of the construction and clean graphic gives the impression of a really nice ski for a relatively lower-than-expected price point for such a large surface-area ski, especially when Whitedot announces their inventory clearance pricing at the end of each season where prices could be expected to be a little over 500 €. The tips are torsionally compliant, but not wimpy and feel naturally progressive in their torsional flex along their length. You don't get the idea the Ragnorok ASYM is a hard-charger, but a more surfy deep snow tool with some unexpected agility on tap with the tip and tail profiles. It makes you think of deep powder days just looking at it...a specialized tool for special days.
Shin-deep dry powder, packed powder, wind-pack, corduroy groomers, eastern hardpack and cut-up fresh powder, some small bumps.
Our season in Vermont came to abrupt, rainy end in February and limited our powder testing to a few shin-deep days with light powder and slightly windblown powder. We then sent the skis to Colorado with one of or testers (Jeff Tolbert) for deep snow evaluations when the Coronavirus pandemic shut everything down...so we never got seriously deep snow testing completed with the ASYMs. We did get a bunch of packed powder, tracked-out powder and some corduroy groomer testing days, so we got a good idea of how the Ragnorok ASYM behaves.
First things first. The longer-looking ski edge goes on the INSIDE or downill ski edge. If you've never piloted a ski with asymmetric rockered tips in 3-dimensional snow, the first thing to understand is the skis behave asymmetrically and you'll need to feel how the ski wants to change direction differently than a traditional design when you execute a banking or carving maneuver in the snow and adapt your technique a little. When you get into snow and start to execute your change of direction, the tips of the ASYMs will behave asymmetrically and your uphill ski may feel like it gets into the turn earlier than the downhill ski and want to change direction before the downhill ski which may feel like it wants to continue in a longer arc. This feature may surprise you at first and fool you into thinking you're going to do the splits with your uphill ski pulling across the hill while the downhill ski goes down the fall line until you realize this behavior creates a big ski with unusual agility if you drive it accordingly. Whitedot claims the same relatively large 30 meter radius on both edges of each ski, but a shorter effective edge on the uphill edge of the uphill ski.
The Ragnorok ASYMs are surprisingly easy to handle and definitely playful, despite their large surface area. Their light weight helps them feel more nimble than you expect, and they can change direction quickly with a drift, slarve or actual on-edge carving motion. Their superb flotation is nicely balanced and grows on you the more you ski them. Once you learn to adjust your expectations about your uphill and downill ski behaviors when you initiate a turn in 3-D snow, you begin to step them into a new weighted direction quickly with very little effort. The ride is spunky and stable with a light feel totaly devoid of any planky or heavy feel and zero hangups front or rear when throwing them sideways at speed or in tight trees.
The Ragnorok ASYM zips confidently with a sporty zest for life across variable surface conditions without a thought to the density of snow or its cut-up nature. You can get the ASYM to carve on groomers better than you expect in nearly all conditions except boilerplate where a ski this size requires the pilot to precisely set the edge angle for the wide chassis in the midbody away from the rockered sections rather than along its entire length. There is a hint of tip flap at very high speeds, and the ski can feel a bit light at warp 9, but the tradeoff is superb agility all over the mountain and excellent flotation and super-high fun factor. The metal and carbon-infused Blizzard Spur has a more stout, damp and higher-density substance to its chassis and may be the perfect heavier-charger type of ski compared the the Ragnorok ASYM, and that means people have a choice in this class of ski. The ASYM can appeal to a very wide audience of folks who crave powder tools...plus...the ASYM looks really cool. This is a fun ski and probably the first ski a powderhound will reach for if given a choice in their quiver.
Hardpack and Boilerplate:
Despite being 122mm underfoot with just a smidge of camber, the Ragnorok ASYM can set an edge into packed powder surfaces really well and execute a really smooth arc with a natural entry and exit. You can release and elongate, or pressure and tighten your radius mid-arc without any issues and with very little input effort. The ASYM has a surprising amount of spunk out of the turns when carving, making it fun to play with when heading back to the lifts on the groomers. They stay quiet and stable when running flat or on-edge. The only weakness is a bit of instabilty on rock-hard boilerplate surfaces where the real carving only happens in the short-ish effective edge portion of the midbody of the ski since it is significantly rockered with long taper up front. If you sharpen the edges a bit with a diamond stone, you can spruce up the hard surface grip significantly. The factory tune out of the box is pretty darn good for most groomers a person buying this ski might encounter, and a quick pass with a tuning stone can get you more grip than you expect, which is fun. If we brought the base bevel down to .025, we think the big Ragnorok might carve like a champ on harder surfaces without losing drifting abilities. Vibration control on packed powder groomers is excellent, with a bit of buzz underfoot only on the hardest icy surfaces. Whitedot's "traditional" construction (ash-poplar core with triaxial fiberglass and carbon stringers instead of the lighter flax and carbon used in the carbonlite series) produces a nicely balanced mix of dampening and energy for their largest ski in their lineup.
Mixed Surface & Variable Conditions:
There are few sensations more fun than slaying a trashed-out cruddy surface with a long, wide ski like the Ragnorok ASYM. The sheer surface area of the ASYM means you are supported on top of a two-piece platform capable of covering the ground and absorbing whatever its surface texture or consistency. The agility and light feel of the ASYM is really fun, letting you almost dart around at will in mixed conditions, yet retain a confident and stable ride all over the place. The long taper of the asymmetrical tips absorbs pretty much anything without deflection, yet lets you knife through soft snow without getting hooked too suddenly to the right or left as you press through the conditions. You can generate a bit of tip flap at high speeds in roughed-out surfaces, but the Rag ASYM is always on-track with its 30 meter radius and able to scrub sideways or lay down an on-edge arc on-demand through a trashed-out landfill of cut-up snow without beating up the pilot. You can passively surf or drive the ASYM through mixed conditions depending on your mood, and that makes us happy.
While we were dreaming of deep, deep fluffy powder days with the Ragnorok ASYMs, we only got shin-deep powder in a couple of flavors (light and windpacked) during our testing until the rain and Coronavirus ended our powder skiing season early. In powder (fluff or wind-affected), the ASYMs are smooth, smooth, smooth and super fun with a great natural ability to float, smear, drift, bank and porpoise in powder. These skis feel like they were the result of several seasons of design prototypes in powder conditions with some fun loving testers. While there are many suberbly floaty, drifty powder skis on the market today, what sets Whitedot's Ragnorok ASYM apart is the agility of directional change and style on-tap. The ASYMs have a wide repertoire of powder skiing techniques available to the powderhound. You can slash them, rail them under power, pounce-turn them, pivot, drift or do pretty much anything as long as you learn how that uphill ski wants to help you get onto it for the upcoming weight transfer and transition to a new direction. Whitedot has a progressive shaping and geometry to show off what a modern powder ski can do.
Turn Initiation, Apex & Finish:
The Ragnorok ASYM takes very little effort to initiate a turn on any surface, despite its large surface area and length. The softish forebody and generous rocker line depth mean the effective edge is short enough to concentrate turning power into a shortish segment of the ski and allow it to dive deeply into its arc with a minimal amount of pressure. The slightly stronger and less radically shaped tail is a solid, reliable platform to rely upon for a confident finish without hangups or washouts. The ASYMs like to be pressed into their apex and you can sprint out of the turn or hold it along a long transition if you want, meaning you get a lot of different turn shapes on-hand to play with. We like this behavior in a big ski, and it will appeal to a wide audience from aspiring intermediates dipping their toes in the powder ski universe for the first time to the hard core powderhound looking for an all-terrain powder ski with chops to make an enthusiast really happy under rowdy conditions.
Manufacturer's Mounting Position:
We played with the mounting position fore and aft of the center mark, and found 1-2cm back from center helped create higher-speed turns with smoother transitions, while on-the-factory-mark was best in mixed snow conditions. Whitedot have the Ragnorok ASYM a slightly forward, not-quite-freestyle mounting position, but definitely progressive and pretty well balanced on-the-mark.
Analogies: ("This ski is like...")
A fine wine you uncork on special occasions with friends.
Things I Would Change About This Ski:
Nothing, other than offering a pro model with a sheet of Titanal for dampening the chassis at higher speeds on firmer surfaces.
Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":
Excellent example of a modern powder shape with huge skiablity envelope for many types of powderhounds.
What kind of skier is this ski good for and not suitable for?
Hard-charging competition-addicted skiers may overpower the ASYM and want a beefier platform. Smallish, shorter skiers may want a shorter size than 190cm, but that's the only size you can get for 2020.
Advice To People Considering This Ski:
Call in sick to work when you have any powder days if you have a pair of these in your quiver. You won't regret it.
BlisterGearReview (excellent technical and interpretive ski reviews):
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