REVIEWS AND TESTS
Ski Tests & Reviews
Stereo Apex V3 178cm 2020-2021
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
8+ for groomer trenching and cruising
10 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.
"A versatile all mountain ski with grip and maneuverability. The Apex V3 has a center width of 100 mm and a rocker in the front that provides float in all types of snow conditions. It is built with a titanal construction and a beech core, which makes it stable at high speeds in any condition. The ski works very well on hard and demanding surfaces, while also floating well in deeper snow off the trail. You just have to try it!"
Technical Ski Data:
Dual Titanal sheets
Aviation-Grade pre-peg laminates
Slight early rise tip, cambered midsection, slightly rockered tail
Measured 1981g & 1962g
2 Year warranty
Bindings, Boots & Wax Used:
Tyrolia AAtack2 AT Demo Bindings
Salomon S-Max 130 Carbon boots
Lange RX 130 boots
Green Ice Waxes
The Apex V3 looks like it's built for all-terrain, any-surface conditions. Moderate hand flex stiffness, with elegantly rounded shape throughout the body..no hinge points and relatively firm underfoot. It give the impression of a ski meant to take on pretty much anything, with a slightly carver-esque quality to it except for the broad-sword-like forebody. Handsome, business-like graphics. Textured topsheet. Fit and finish are excellent, with a nice tune and basegrind out of the box. Looks and feels like a high-quality, serious all-mountain tool. Damp feel by hand rebound. Moderately strong torsional strength but not burly. Feels like a smooth-riding ski.
Eastern boilerplate, man-made hardpack, packed powder, corduroy, multi-day regroomed and windbuffed surfaces, boot-deep powder, storm conditions and skied-out conditions.
The Stereo Apex V3 is one of the most impressive all-mountain skis we have tested. Everyone who skied it was extolling its virtues...even the racer-types who are hard to please. The Apex V3 has a directional bias rather than being a surfy-slashy kind of ski, but can float across mixed terrain and powdery surfaces with alacrity and graceful power without deflection, yet drift on-demand without demanding the pilot be hyper-vigilant or technically precise. The fun, spunky, smoothly agile feel of the Apex in cut up, skied-out conditions or velvety new snow is complemented by a seriously impressive ability to rail GS-like trenches into groomers and rock-hard surfaces at speed with a calm, quiet authority and confidence. The combination of serious carving ability on Eastern-style hardpack without intense demands and effortless navigation through mixed snow conditions and terrain is immediately addicting. The Apex V3 disappears underfoot after a run or two, and its intuitive feel and responsive behaviors come automatically in almost any situation. We have been watching various skis from every company in the generic "all-mountain" ski category get better and better each season, but the folks at Stereo really delivered a standard-setting winner with the Apex V3, and we don't say such a thing lightly.
Hardpack and Boilerplate:
The Apex V3s are 127-98-115 @ 178cm and 130-100-118 @ 184cm, both with dual Titanal construction and beech hardwood as part of the core, so we expected a decent, but reserved degree of grip and behavior on our typical Eastern surfaces here in Vermont. Man, were we wrong. The essentially excellent tune out of the box had an ever-so-slightly grabby feel in the forebody (like the Piste RS and Piste V3 we reviewed), but a light pass with a hand file and gummy made the slightly hooky feel disappear immediately. The Apex V3 can grip hardpack with an authority few 100mm-waisted skis can achieve, yet feel friendly and easy to pilot at low or high speeds, never demanding the skier drive hard, resort to athletic stances, angles or pressures to get the chassis to set onto the surface with a intensely secure focus throughout a carve. Vibration dampening is excellent (even without the VDS rubber its carver-oriented Piste RS and Piste V3 siblings receive) and feel for the surface density and condition is superbly communicative and never harsh or distracting, yet quiet and well-mannered even under pressure. The Apex does not feel damp and heavy, but calmly confident and refined with a quiet demeanor on hardpack. Super stable at speed. Sometimes when you drive an "all-mountain" ski really hard with a stiff (e.g. 130 flex) boot on hard surfaces, the ski can feel overwhelmed and telegraph some discomfort and unsettled behavior, but the Apex V3 feel at home being driven in race-mode on hardpack with a strong boot as much as it does being passively ridden with a less-intense boot at lower pressure and angle levels. Carving and directional changes with the Apex V3 on hardpack can be crisp and remarkably quick for a 100mm-waisted ski, or it can be drawn-out in long, remarkably powerful GS-like arcs at speed with different pressures and angles with completely calm, quiet confidence. We found this impressive.
Mixed Surface & Variable Conditions:
The Stereo Apex V3 really, really shines in mixed snow conditions and terrain, seemingly adapting to variations in surface density, depth and texture automatically, always delivering a nearly playful, but always confident, refined ride at slow or high speeds. You can ride the Apex flat or bank it up on-edge in variable snow conditions and it behaves exactly as you expect with nearly zero deflection or darty feel. You can maintain a predetermined arc across the mixed surface or pop and surf on top of the snow along the way. The Apex allows the skier to skim and throw the ski sideways to scrub speed or change direction, or deftly carve through the snow under pressure...it appears happy to oblige any kind of style, and really responds to a a technical-oriented skier who wants to mix it up with different skiing styles depending on the kind of snow and terrain. The Apex seems to be at home skiing slowly, noodling in trees and brush, or layed-over ripping GS-like arcs across the hill through tracked-out fresh snow or regroomed old snow. Versatility is the watchword for the Stereo Apex V3, and with the carving prowess to etch hardpack and flotation and shaping to surf powdery conditions wth ease and fun, it's a great combination.
We only got a chance to ski the Apex V3 in boot-top-deep fresh powder, but it transitioned from groomer-etching carver the previous day to a fun-and-frolic directional-biased powder surfer the next. The 100mm waist is supported nicely by the 127mm tip and flotation occurs naturally and smoothly along the length of the ski. No tip-dive to speak of, and no abrupt, darty behaviors...just elegantly executed surfing behavior where you can throw them sideways to scrub speed or just create a wave of powder spray on-demand. You can set them up to bank through soft snow or run them flatter and drift as needed...with only a hint of preference for bank-and-carve technique since the V3 is cambered and has a firm-ish tail.
Turn Initiation, Apex & Finish:
The Stereo Apex V3 initiates a turn on hardpack, mixed snow conditions or powdery conditions intuitively and with very little effort. You don't have to drive the Apex into a turn, you just tip the ski and let the geometry pull it into the turn, delivering a variable radius determined by your edge angle and pressure level. The Apex seems to feel just fine to crank out turns tighter or longer than its 19.1m radius specification without protest, but it really settles into its sweet spot of 19 meters at moderate speed, letting you reach the turn apex under low or high pressure. leading you to finish your turn with determination or as an afterthought, which is unusual in most skis. Transitions on the Apex can be quick and energetic with gymnastic cross-under at high angles or lazy-drifty nearly upright. Again, such versatility is unusual in most skis tagged into the "all-mountain" category.
Manufacturer's Mounting Position:
We liked the Apex V3 mounted right on the suggested line.
Analogies: ("This ski is like...")
The Apex V3 is like having a ski wired directly to the part of your brain devoted to skiing processes. You think it... it happens...pretty much every time in all conditions....then you forget about the skis underfoot...just going where you want.
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 Apex V3 is the sleeper in the bunch for myself. Of all the items I’ve tested that’s far this season, this is the one that I absolutely don’t wanna return. It is highly balanced and felt like it was allowing me to ski in suspension the entire time. I felt like I was inside the ski and that regardless of the terrain I was able to just float over it. 1 foot or two footed stance, it didn’t matter. noodling in the trees or going fast on the groomers, this board was just supple, compliant and bomber. I actually did a straight run directly down and ungroomed hill just to let them fly and they were unflappable.
Again the construction was top shelf and the ease of turning combined with the ability to feel like you were always inside the sweet spot was amazing. I had to check a couple times to make sure this was a 100 mm ski as it turned much easier but yet floated on par with a 105+ category. I took these out in a storm and the visibility was absolutely terrible. Ice balls attaching to your goggles every second and fog preventing you from seeing the tips. these confidently piloted me down the hill run after run.
The Apex reminds me of the mass-market appeal that the Rossignol 4S or Soli Pocket Rocket had - it works for a broad range of skiers and doesn’t have any downsides. Can be driven hard or soft and doesn’t need an attentive pilot👊
Silky smooth. Seems to do everything really, really well.
Carves intensely on hardpack without intense effort.
Ignores variable snow densities and textures like they're not there.
High-quality ride. Thoroughly refined feel.
Remarkably versatile and capable of variable turn shapes.
Is there anything it can't do?
Things I Would Change About This Ski:
Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":
The Stereo Apex V3 is probably one of the best all-mountain skis we've been on. Period. It seems to do so many things so well, it's hard to find any shortcomings and it sets a standard for others to follow.
What kind of skier is this ski good for and not suitable for?
The Apex V3 would be great for intermediates, experts, instructors, technical afficiandos, retired racers, people who appreciate finely developed ski behaviors...pretty much anyone looking for a 100mm daily driver...(and for those who thought they wanted a 90mm category ski as well). Beginners may find the ski stronger than they would find comfortable.
Advice To People Considering This Ski:
These skis feel fairly true-to-size on snow. They deserve to be kept in impeccable tune and waxed condition. If your boots are 3+ years old...go get a fresh pair of boots to ride these skis...you'll be glad you did. Be prepared to leave all your other skis at home.
Stereo Apex V3 Tail Detail
(base scratches added while skiing for character)
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