SKI TESTS AND REVIEWS
SandwichTech Root78 2015-2016
2015-2016 SandwichTech Root 78
125-78-107.5 r=14.7-16.5 @ 175cm
SandwichTech Root 78 Carvers In Vermont
Sandwich Tech LLC
28 Jesse Lane
Littleton, NH 03561
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
$949 sale price
Cambered frontside carver
Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
9 for packed powder groomers
7 for mixed conditions - depth < 8 inches
9+ for hardpack - medium-to-larger radius turn
Katie Mros and Matt Michaud are a pair of engineering geeks who crave high performance skis, and they live and breathe composite material science and mechanical engineering. They are super dedicated and eager to make great skis in small batches. They hail from the icy, wind-blown pitches of Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire, so they know a thing or two about carving ski behavior and properties required to make the ski perform properly in such conditions. Being based in Vermont, we here at ExoticSkis naturally have an affinity for Eastern-made skis (even if these are made in New Hampshire...we can talk about that later...).
"A hard-charging, frontside carver, the Root 78 has east coast roots with its full camber and versatile sidecut. The torsionally rigid Carbon Box construction rewards fast, skilled carvers with great edge hold and stability. Able to store more energy than carbon fiber or Kevlar, our Ballistic Glass provides a consistent flex and rebound. The Root 78 is ideal for a skier who wants on-piste versatility, but demands precise carving to appease their inner-racer. "
- website 2015
We tested the Root78 for most of the last part of the 2014-2015 season in Vermont and New Hampshire and the level of excitement about SandwichTech's design and performance was unanimous by everyone who tried the skis. These guys are on to something special for frontside skiers who crave a torsional integrity beyond compare, mated with excellent vibration control ("vibration decay properties"...not "dampening" as Matt and Katie will describe it....we told you they were geeks...) and calm, secure, confidence-inspiring grip and behavior at nearly any speed. The faster you ride it, the more if feels at home. Carving behavior is superb, with a quiet, elegant shape initiated automatically along the ski's length. No hinge-flex, no imbalance, just smooth, pure, clean "carve-iture" behaviors. Addicting for carving freaks and speed merchants. SandwichTech has some serious mojo happening in this chassis and people should pay attention to any ski coming out of their shop.
This is the same description as the Root88 we tested earlier...only the 78 is quicker, more nimble and less all-surface compatible, craving packed groomers more exclusively than its 88mm sibling. Like the Root88 we tested earlier, the SandwichTech Root78s ended up being on the favorite groomer skis to go in the car every day we went out...so that says something important about these skis.
Technical Ski Data:
(subject to change as Matt and Katie experiement with materials)
Bindings and Boots Used:
Tyrolia PowerRail SD12 Bindings
Salomon S-Max 120 boots.
Suberb fit and finish, glossy, richly colored topsheet. Moderate flex stiffness with authoritative torsional rigidity, feels like a detuned race ski, tranditional camber profile, wide-ish, squared-off shovels. Relatively light for a charging frontside carver. Intriguing look, especially with the hardwood sidwalls.
Eastern corduroy, packed powder and hardpack groomers, boilerplate, ungroomed packed powder with small bumps, shin-deep powder conditions, both smooth and bumpy. Spring conditions and mid-winter conditions.
Hardpack and Boilerplate:
The Root 78's behavior is nearly identical to its 88mm sibling, and is a quiet, powerful, lineholding, tracking machine devoid of any nervous or darty behavior as speeds exceed 50 miles per hour. Turn initiation does not require muscle, but a bit of speed before the tips engage and pull the entire length of the ski into the surface. Grip is superbly secure at any point in a turn, with no hint of vibration or skitter underfoot or at any point along the chassis, even on boilerplate conditions. The Root78 is quicker than its 88mm version, with a snappier, more responsive edge-to-edge transition and livelier power out of the turns on hardpack. Top speed without nervousness is slightly lower than its 88mm version (which is to say, nearly limitless), but higher than other race-carvers in the 78mm waist category. It is rare to have a ski this narrow perform so quietly at very high speeds on extremely hard surfaces, and retain its responsiveness.
The Root78's geometry really prefers "large-SL" or "narrow to moderate-radius GS" turns across the hill rather than jackrabbit-quick SL turns you might expect from a 78mm waisted ski. You can get the Root78s to make tigher-radius turns, but it feels somewhat resistant to sub-13 meter turns like many "race carvers", preferring to be let out on their leash to carve high-angle or low-angle large-radius arcs on the snow at speed. Feedback on hardpack was excellent, without beeing harsh. You can feel the density and composition of the snow under the skis without being abused or disturbed by it in high-pressure situations...speaking of which.....The Root78, like the Root88, can handle an unusually intense amount of pressure in high-intensity turns on hardpack, never giving-out or wavering...reminding us of the behavior of some favorite race-stock skis, but without the effort required to hold a race ski on-line during high-intensity pressure situations. Big thumbs-up for that.
Race-quality performance on hardpack was very impressive, probably the best of any small-company carving skis we have tested over the last ten years, with the only lower marks resulting from a slight lack of "snap" out of the turns on race-quality surfaces some testers crave (The Root88 has this same personality). SandwichTech's design and material recipie for ther hard-charging frontside carver has a bias toward the "strong-silent-type" personality rathet than "wild-and-wooly" jackrabbit behaviors...which is fine with us, Hardpack behavior is superb. The bases are race-quality fast on hardpack.
The Root78 is essentially a frontside race-carver, and its narrow chassis really is happiest on groomed surfaces rather than 3-dimensional snow. It can cut a solid and secure line with unwavering trajectory across odd-consistency and cut-up snow surfaces, but it feels like it sinks a bit and becomes a bit balky if you sink it deep into cruddy stnow. This is a groomer-tool and like race skis, is really happiest on top of snow instead of "in-snow".
The Root78, like the Root88 can be a bit balky and stiff-feeling in tight bumps with its full camber, lack of rocker and race-ski DNA, but a powerhouse in longer bumps if you keep your line accurate (easy to do with the Root78) and weighting on-time. If you get into the back seat withthe Root78 in bumps, you will feel like a slacker since these ski want the driver to be on top of them, not behind them. The design of the Root78 is really to tear up the frontside groomers with race-like grip and security, not pound through the moguls, but that being said, the Root78 does have a remarkably wide performance envelope and handles bumps pretty darn well considering its prowess on hardpack. It is significantly more nimble in the bumps than the Root88...but not on the level of a slalom ski...more of all-mountain feel in the moguls.
The Root78 is indeed a sinker in powder, where it feels like a waste of good snow to use a race-carver first thing after a moderate dump of fresh fluff. Recent developments in powder ski designs and rockered all-mountain skis have created a population of skiers who expect superbly surfy, fun and exciting skis in fresh snow, making it difficult for any fully-cambered carving ski to get any bonus points for powder performance...not just SandwichTech. It displays no odd behaviors...it just feels like a narrow, frontside racecarver in deep snow.
Analogies: ("This ski is like...")
A detuned race ski with accessibility by advanced intermediates looking to up their game, with an extra dose of quiet control and pro-level pressure handling to keep ex racers and technical types thrilled.
Things I Would Change About This Ski:
Nothing, other than perhaps a bit more "snap" out of the turns to keep the racer-addicts happiest.
Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":
Superb frontside race-carver with easy turn initiation and essentially unlimited speed and pressure capabilities...Super solid and quiet underfoot, no matter what the surface is. Addicting.
Advice To People Considering This Ski:
Get a demo to make sure you like the speeds it craves to come alive. Racers and experts - no hesitation. Intermediates might want to try it first, but it is a ski to bring you up to the next level.
Pics: (click for larger versions)
Video About SandwichTech
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