REVIEWS AND TESTS
Ski Tests & Reviews
Stereo Piste RS 175cm 2020-2021
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
$1,300 usd w/Marker Piston WC Plate
Wide-ish Technical GS Carver
Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
9 for groomer trenching and cruisng
7+ for mixed conditions
Jens-Martin Johnsrud started Stereo skis in 2008 by making twin-tip wakeboards and brought his passion to snow skis with design help fron Norwegian ski champions. Jens-Martin has launched a full fleet of powder, freeride and carving skis designed in Norway and manufactured by the modern, renewable-energy powered Skandinavian ski facility at Åre Skidfabrik in Sweden.
"Stereo Piste RS marks the beginning of a new chapter for Stereo Skis. It has an aggressive construction and is the one ski in our collection that is closest to a racing ski, yet is still easy to turn. A full-width titanal construction combined with triaxial fiberglass, a beech/poplar wood core and rubber dampening provides outstanding responsiveness and torsional stiffness. The 78mm width under foot and a 18m turn radius makes it versatile, and the flex makes it easy to turn. The ski has been developed and tested together with Norwegian alpine skiing champions. Comes with a world cup plate."
Technical Ski Data:
Full width Titanal sheets
Marker WC Piston race plate
VDS rubber dampening
Pre-peg Triaxial fiberglass
Slight early rise tip - cambered, essentially flat tail
Measured 2194g & 2204g with Marker World Cup Piston Control Interface Plate
Bindings, Boots & Wax Used:
Marker X-Cell 16 race bindings mounted to Marker World Cup Piston Control Interface Plate (included with ski)
Salomon S-Max 130 Carbon boots
Lange RX 130 boots
Green Ice Waxes
This is a "semi-wide body" GS-like ski with race ski construction, including a Marker World Cup Piston raceplate as standard equipment. At 118-76-105 r=17.2 @175cm length (proportioned to 122-78-107 @ 183cm), it occupies a relatively rare spot in the ecosystem of frontside race-carvers (The Head E-Rally is 132-78-114 r=15.3 @ 177cm). Hand flex is softer than you might imagine, even with the plate, and torsionaly compliant, neither stiff or soft, but strong, giving the impression of a serious specialty tool for carving medium to large-radius arcs into firm surfaces. Very handsome, slightly understated graphics in a textured topsheet. Semi-cap construction. Excellent fit-and-finish, with a nice tune and base pattern out of the box. Anything with a raceplace as standard equipment means you need to expect a serious dialog between yourself and the ski..so that's what we thought...until we skied it. The Piste RS gives the impression of being a racecarver...but somehow different...it's hard to describe.
Eastern boilerplate, man-made hardpack, packed powder, corduroy, multi-day regroomed and windbuffed surfaces, boot-deep powder and skied-out conditions.
The Stereo Piste RS is a specialty tool for ex-racers and large-radius carving enthusiasts who want a race-like build underfoot with a wider performance envelope on the groomers to handle "serious carve-cruising" and race-carving on civilian slopes devoid of other skiers. The Piste RS has taken the 110% concentration level required to drive full-on GS skis at peak performance down to 75% without reducing the speed limit, yielding a bit of laser-like death grip found in pure GS race skis for a more compliant range of edgehold at various angles and degree of forgiveness you will never find in an FIS-spec GS race ski. If you were a serious GS race specialist, the Piste RS is the ski you take out "on your day off".
The Piste RS has a softish turn initiation, but that merely gets you to the business section of things in the forebody where raceplate-enhanced grip and control deliver a powerful, yet damp and civilized degree of carving intensity. The Piste RS likes to be driven with a forebody focus, leaving the midbody and tail as the finishing segments. You can drive it gently or dedicate the entire essence of your being into the turn and the Piste RS delivers a rock-solid arc of impressive edgehold and dampened control. You pick. The Piste RS has an interesting and unique feel since you can drive it with a little bit of effort and cruise securely at pretty much any speed you want, or you can press it into pro-level intensity and it happily executes the arc as deeply as you want, never seeming to waver, complain or lose its focus...all while being eerily quiet underfoot..but not dead-feeling or heavy-feeling. While you can drive it with a moderate effort and get superb carving behaviors...it really craves the pilot to get out over it, press the forebody into the turn and increase intensity to get its sweet spot activated, rewarding the skier with high edge angles at high speed.
It's an addicting feeling racer-types will immediately take a liking to when they want a day off their pure race boards. The Piste RSs do a decent job of cutting through skied-out surfaces smoothly with unwaivering control. They prefer to be slightly on-edge, but you can toss them sideways a bit to scrub speed without fear of being high-sided since their camber is moderate. Smooth and deceivingly powerful are the words to describe the Stereo Piste RS. The level of effort to ski the RS at high levels of performance is remarkably low. If you want a GS-like carving cruiser to mimic your GS racing days at lower speeds and pressure levels, yet still blur your vision and risk losing your lift pass to the Gendarmerie, Piste RS is a technical tool for the job. If you want a ski with similar GS carving behavior but more compliant for less intense ski styles and lower top-speed...the RS's sibling Piste V3 might be the ticket.
Hardpack and Boilerplate:
The Piste RS really wants hard surfaces or squeeky-tight groomed surfaces, and it reacts wth a clean, quiet commanding grip on the hardpack. Vibration control is excellent (it better be with a Marker WC Piston plate!), and the Piste RS feels balanced in its engagement along its length as you press it onto hard surfaces. The stock tune was a touch grabby up front, but a quick pass with a hand file brought the edge down to eliminate the hooky feel. While the Piste RS feels damp and quiet, it remains sensitive to the changes in surface density and communicates the conditions to the skier really well without deadening the experience or being annoying. Edge angles from low to high on hardpack are equally responsive and the RS does not seem to care if you are tipped way up on edge or running nearly flat...the control and feel for the hard surface remains consistent and predictable at lots of different speeds. The Piste RS really feels like it softens the hardpack a bit rather than sharply biting into it...if that makes sense.
Mixed Surface & Variable Conditions:
For a ski with a raceplate, the Piste RS does remarkably well cruising through mixed snow conditions, skied-out fresh snow, windpack and inconsistent materials. The plate can be felt coming into play if you flex deeply into some bumps...but the RS is really not meant for that...it wants to cruise. It's most at home arcing GS trajectories through mixed conditions, but it rides dead-quiet..like a Euro luxury sports sedan ignoring potholes and pavement irregularities. It can be ridden flat through mixed conditions, but reacts more lively to a bit of angle in a banked turn through variable snow rather than dancing-flat across the surfaces. It's not a hardpack-only ski, despite its raceplate....but you might find it a little tiring if you ski it all day in roughed-out snow conditions at a fast pace unless you are in good athletic condition.
We only got a chance to ski the Piste RS in boot-deep fresh powder, where it preferred a bunch of speed to get planing, but behaved really well for a purely directional GS-like ski due to its somewhat softish forebody, so if it snows a few inches the night before your ski day...you don't have to start off on a different ski...unless you really want some smearing, surfy turns. Point 'em and go.
Turn Initiation, Apex & Finish:
The Stereo Piste RS felt like it was mounted a bit too far forward for one tester, yet right-on for others. We tried the bindings mounted on-the-mark as well as -1cm and with a bit of a shim under the toepiece. Turn initiation is really easy due to the soft-ish flex and compliant forebody torsional resistance, making the start of any turn a zero-calorie affair. You begin initiation...wait just a moment..and then the easy initiation begs for more forebody pressure which gradually stiffens into the midbody where your apex can be reached with passive or powerful intent, leaving the tail to finish off more accurately than you might guess for a rounded tail shape rather than a square-flared tail most race carvers display. Addictingly tasty feel. Racy-instructor type skiers or technical carving enthusiasts can coax the Piste RS into its carving shape at slower speeds than you might imagine for a race-plated, 17m radius ski. Otherwise, bring it up to 20 miles per hour (at least with our 175cm test ski) and lay it over while applying pressure to start the silky arc. Edge changes are quicker than you might imagine possible, and the Piste RS rewards a smooth, technical approach to turn sequences.
Manufacturer's Mounting Position:
Several testers liked it mounted on-the-line, while one tester thought -1cm was better.
Analogies: ("This ski is like...")
An Audi RS4 Avant sport wagon with aftermarket suspension. Cruise to the store, or peel the tires off the rims under pressure while getting the exhaust manifolds cherry-red on the mountain road....while enjoying a nearly soundproof cabin and finely-tuned climate control.
Notable Tester Comments:
The most obvious starting point for the skis from Stereo is to talk about them as a group. What I appreciated from all of them is that they felt like a well thought out and coherent family of skis. Often times manufacturers produce things that seem unrelated or aberrant in nature. These all appeared to be well thought out with a similar lineage and feel.
It was quite effortless to change from one ski to the next ski without having to feel that I would re-learn the brand or have to adjust. The Piste RS had very elegant semi cap construction and a very even flex throughout. The asymmetrical graphics in the angular tips and tails made this ski stand out in a crowd. The turn initiation was simply effortless. Round turns were rewarded and increasing edge angles were simple on the ski. The mid-70s width did not feel as sluggish as I would’ve expected. this ski handled uneven terrain on groomed piste very well and unlike V3, could be pressured as hard as you want to without having the shovel disengage from the snow. The tail was predictable but not as snappy as I would’ve appreciated – yet overall this was a very smooth ride.
What struck me with this ski was that it looked to have the most commercial success or ability to have commercial success of the ones that we were testing. I gas pedal’d the toes & steering was near metacognitive.
What was especially nice about this set up was the smooth and easy ability to gain or ditch speed without having to do dramatic maneuvers.
If someone is getting tired of their Stockli’s or Head SuperShapes, this would be a step up. The graphics are simply exquisite and the bases are elegant with the die cut emblem on the tips. Over and over again people stop me in the lift line to discuss this. when called upon they would also do very appropriate short swing turns as well.
I happened to toss a very discerning European friend on these for a couple runs and two things occurred. She did not want to give them back and she instantly was able to rail the ski down the hill at GS speeds.
This is the ski for the charging technical skier that doesn’t have a substantial race background. Maybe they’re a little bit older and perhaps they are not in plug boots, but they want to rip on a ski that will could take them there.
Smooth, smooth, smooth.
Quiet, impressively controlled race-like GS turns without intense effort.
High-quality ride. Thoroughly refined feel.
Likes focus on the forebody.
Secure and confident race-carver for medium to large-radius turns at any speed
Things I Would Change About This Ski:
Offer it without a plate or with other plate options.
Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":
The Stereo Piste RS is a seriously quiet, elegant tool to etch GS-like turns into groomers without intense input effort from the skier. Very refined. It occupies a place outside "traditional" race-carvers, with a bias toward smooth, stable, perhaps elegant personality rather than rough-and-tumble race-carver. If I was an ex-WorldCup GS racer...the Piste RS might be my daily driver for resort frontside trench-digging and cruising.
What kind of skier is this ski good for and not suitable for?
The Piste RS is for the ex-racer, technical high-speed aficionado, athletic technical instructor or groomer-zoomer enthusiast with a craving for large arcs at various speeds. Beginners, intermediates or feeble skiers would be overwhelmed by the Piste RS.
Advice To People Considering This Ski:
These skis feel true-to-size on snow. They deserve to be kept in impeccable tune and waxed condition. These are not for bumps, they belong on open terrain. Buy a new helmet.
Brian Finch angulating Vermont packed powder on Stereo Piste RS
Stereo Piste RS Midsection
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