REVIEWS AND TESTS
Ski Tests & Reviews
Palmer P02 Carving Ski (Austria) 2007-2008
Palmer P02 163cm 120-68-107
12.5m radius @ 163cm
Note: Palmer catalog declares ALL lengths (155cm, 163cm and 172cm) have the same 12.5m radius.
Each length has a different geometry - very interesting:
155cm = 114-66-101
163cm = 120-68-107
172cm = 128-70-115
P02 with Tyrolia / Palmer Binding: $1200 usd, w/o binding:$ 900 usd
Palmer Snowboards Ltd.
Denver, CO. 80202
Manufactured in Austria
(From the looks of the sidewall text...maybe in the Head factory?)
All mountain carving & performance.
Palmer states "Easy to ride, with Titanium for grip and agility, and the performance of DPD Klothoid."
Your Rating (with comments): (1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
Excellent carving ski for non-muscleheads. Finely tuned machine with a very freindly behavior. Remarkably effortless and very, very interesting. The description in their catalog is accurate: "P02 hits a home-run with all expert skiers looking for ultimate agility and speed in any terrain..."
Ski Designer (if known):
Rumored to have some design elements by Hansjürg Kessler (multi-time snowboard worldcup winner and design guru).
Technical Ski Data (if known):
NCF Prepeg beech/poplar wood core sandwich construction with titanium.
DPD* Klothoid geometry** with laminated cyan sidewalls.
7200 graphite base
Tyrolia carve plate 13 SLR (13mm height)
Good quality construction and finish. Sparse, clean, simple name graphic on blank, glossy topsheet.
First impression was "wow, look how THIN they are." (not width, but vertical thickness)
The P02's vertical profile is indeed very thin, with 5mm thickness at the tip (unladended resting contact point), 12.5mm at the boot center mark and 5mm at the tail.
My trusty Nordica 16.1 racecarves are typical of many "carving skis" with vertical thickness of 8mm tip and tail, 17.5mm at the boot center mark.
The Palmer P02s are indeed very thin skis. My reaction was "don't bend them - stay out of the serious bumps". Eyeballing the sidecut revealed they have a prounounced, almost "extreme" carving geometry.
Not quite an "extreme carver" or "hyper carver" in a 163cm. ("extreme carvers" are very popular in Europe - imagine doing your best "Apolo Anton" short-track speedskating impersonation, but on snow...no poles, dragging your hip on the snow...maybe laying out front on your chest like a snowboard carver... see the extreme carving gallery at for excellent example photos)
My second impression was "wow, look how flat the shovel is."
(see the DPD description below)
Background: - What is "DPD" and "Klothoid geometry" ?
*DPD = "Dynamic Power Distribution"
According to Palmer, DPD is the design of the tip and tail in such as manner as to dynamically allot the power distributed to the edge throughout a turn to prevent "digging" and "skidding". This spreads the resistance created when the snow deformation increasingly apposes the motion of the turn of the ski on edge. It reportedly reduces resistance, making the turn smoother and grippier as it reduces effort to maintain the carve. The design of the DPD is apparently targeted at extending the numerous radii of the "Klothoid" sidecut into the tip and tail regions, optimizing edge contact and pressure gradients along that contact surface. The user is supposed to experience reduced nose edge pressure and greater control. If you compress the skis against the snow surface, the contact point is farther down the ski's length than with "traditional" designs. Essentially, the nose and tail are flatter than traditional designs.
** "Klothoid" geometry
According to Palmer, the Klothoid (also spelled "clothoid" in many reference books and articles) geometry produces an extremely high-performance sidecut with dynamic pressure properties. The general description of the Klothoid or Clothoid spiral curves is:
"The clothoid or double spiral is a curve, whose curvature grows with the distance from the origin. The radius of curvature is opposite proportional to its arc measured from the origin."
These curves are typically utilized in railroad track corner designs or roller coaster loop-de-loops which attempt to minimize the amount of input force required to complete the curve or loop, while minimizing the centripital force experienced by the passenger. Essentially, you utilize an ovoid-type of curve instead of circular as the path proceeds from entry to exit of the apex. Maybe it works for skis?
Palmer has invested a great deal of effort in promoting its sidecut geometry and mating new shovel and tail profiles to that geometry to produce what it calls "A revolution in shape technology." The marketing hype from the sales materials works very well prior to trying the skis. "A" for marketing effort. (but I'm a notorious skeptic about all the poly-raz-ma-taz manufacturers spill out in ads and promo materials...having seen plenty of design "revolutions" come and go).
Late spring snow. Groomed corn and pocky, rotted surfaces from very warm days. Not refrozen for at least 48 hours. Corn had unlimited depth, edges of trails in the shade had firmer, softening ice base where you could find semi-hard surfaces. Soft, easy-going bumps with very low-profile faces. Superb spring conditions.
First thing I noticed while cruising down the cat-track to some favorite runs was when I rolled the skis over from left to right...watching them spray corn as they rolled along the virgin groomer courduroy (yeah, yeah, I should watch where I'm going...not look down at the skis while tooling along...I know, I know..) the corn snow was spraying NOT from the widest part of the shovel, but back from the shovel about 6-8 inches... Very odd. Something you'd expect if you bent the b'jeepers out of your skis in the bumps and kept skiing them.. The Palmer "DPD" apparently does splay the tip back as the ski is decambered...moving the contact point away from the tip, down toward the center of the ski as it is pressured. Very interesting. These skis were 163cm, shorter than I usually ski, but they were very stable at speed, damp and never nervous, especially with their fairly deep sidecut and short radius of 12.5m @163.
Second thing I noticed was they do not appreciate being muscled. The Palmer P02 is a finely tuned carving tool, NOT a "bear down and force it to stay" race carver. There is a difference between an all-mountain high-performance carver and a race carver, and the Palmer P02 is not a race-derived ski (although you could probably do pretty well with them in your favorite beer league). I got the distinct impression I was supposed to cut fine arcs with these, not dig trenches. Once I backed off the brute force, these skis suddenly responded with very refined feedback and a eagerness to carve parallel railroad tracks in both directions with very little effort. Just roll your ankles or do a little lateral move, and bingo - carving left - carving right. No twitch, no muss, no fuss, any speed you want. Change direction at any time - early in the turn, in the middle of the turn, or late in the turn - no problem. I immediately realized I wanted a squeeky-dry, cold, man-made surface or very dense packed-powder surface to run these skis on. Spring mush is not their element, but they worked effortlessly anyway.
Third thing I noticed was they do not have explosive power, just quick, quiet carving efficiency. Not boring, just deceptively civilized (until you look back at what kind of turns you just put down). The more runs I took the more I realized this was a surgical instrument for pretty much any speed and terrain without deep snow. This ski could bring an advanced intermediate skier instantly into an semi-expert level carving experience with very little coaching. It can bring a perfectly skilled expert skier into some new carving territory with very little effort. It may well be one of the best women's carving skis I can think of, due to its impressive finesse and remarkably light weight. One expert woman we met absolutely loved these skis. The thin profile of this ski allows it to be extremely light. In an age where boat-anchor skis like the Atomic Metron series are popular carving tools in short lengths, the Palmer P02 is a refreshingly light ski which also lays down equally serious arcs....without the bulk, weight and effort of many competitors in this category.
This leads to a final observation. The Palmer P02 is remarkably effortless. It didn't sink in until after I finished up the testing session. Because of its low weight, corresponding low swing-weight (a sadly retired term), and perhaps its geometry and flex pattern, the P02 can allow the skier to arc serious cuts into the surface of dozens of different runs all day without encountering the fatigue often associated with other frontside carving skis. That's significant. Overall, I really like what this ski has to offer.
I totally agree with SierraJim's review of this ski. Not immediately extraordinary, but impressive the more you live with it.
Analogies: (this ski is like...)
Finely honed ninja carving tool - finely crafted, not to be abused.
After Skiing These, I Want To...
Try the 172cm size, then decide which one to buy and go find some man-made hardpack to slice.
Self-Description of Skiing Style, Ability, Experience, Preferences (be honest):
Expert groomed-surface carver, "old-style" race inspired, "foot steerer" with fairly sensitive edging feel. Loves to hold long arcs with lots of pressure on the downhill ski (you know the type), but also loves the feel of both skis on-edge leaving tiny railroad track edge tracks. Not an instructor, but 10 year coach for youth race team in New England (bulletproof is the norm).
SierraJim's review over at the excellent BarkingBear forums of Epicski.com:
Greetings to the exotic ski followers. I have been invited by Eric to post this review and a few follow up thoughts here.
Thanks for the invitation......Sierra Jim
Late January 2007: A couple of staff members and I got together @ Northstar for a day of groomer zoomin'. To put some fun and challenge into the day, we brought six skis along to compare how different sidecuts work. Skis in the mix were......Nordica Mach3 Carbon, Fischer RX-9, Atomic M11-B5, Palmer P02, Dynastar Exclusive Powder, Salomon Scarlet.
Myself (57 y/o 5'10"-190#) Fairly good technical skier for an old guy.
Tyler (22 y/o 6'4"-200#) Agressive but a little unschooled.
Katherine (25 y/o 5'9" 150#) Rips groomers on a high edge.
Palmer P02: = 120-68-107 (12.5m @ 163)
Conventional wood metal layup, sandwich rather than box. Ski is set up with Tyrolia Carve plate. The Palmer differs from other skis in two shape factors.
"Klothoid" Radii sidecut = Multi radius tip shape with 7 radii overlapping with the tightest radius at the initial contact point getting gradually longer toward mid body. Result = progressive sidecut with smooth pressure transitions.
Dynamic Power Distribution = Very low profile tip with a unique camber profile that causes the tip splay to peel back from the normal contact point when the ski is decambered. Result = ski intiates from the normal contact point, then the pressure causes the tip to splay back, reducing to tendancy of the tip to "dig" and oversteer.
Conditions were firm man made (chalky) snow with a little dust on the 'tween trees crust'. We all skied the other carvers first so that I could do a little "ski personality" clinic. Then we mixed in the Palmer and did rapid fire switches. I found the Palmer to be very solid for a 163 with grip nearing the level of the other skis. It liked a high edge and was easier in medium carves than in was in short radius steered turns. The ski was more damp than expected and was secure on the firm snow. In a quick foray over the rough stuff, it laid down with excellent manners. Given the deep shape, I was surprised by the overall stability, but disappointed in the lack of energy. It is just not a snappy ski. Katherine was next up and she was whooping immediately. This is her kind of ski and she thought that the grip, power and ride was similar to her HR Modified but with a tighter radius. Tyler was not impressed. His style is not up to date, and although he likes most carvers, he steers a bit too much for a 163 with this shape. Tyler was however, positive about the grip and stability for such a small ski.
Generally, I'd say this is a superb carver but not revolutionary. To be fair, I would have to compare it against other skis in the same size and the others were all 170-176. Whether the shape technologies offer any advantages is questionable. Often, a shorter carver will oversteer, and this one doesn't. This may be due to the unique camber and pressure distribution, then again, it may not. I have skied progressive sidecuts before and on a bigger ski like a K2 Outlaw, there is a difference. In this shape, I'm just not sure.
Since the above review, I have been able to ski the P 02 quite bit more and the P 01 as well. I have also had the opportunity to compare the P 02 to a Volkl S5 in a 161 and Atomic M11-B5 in a 164. My opinions from the above review have not changed dramatically, but comparing the P 02 to other skis in smaller sizes has made the P 02 stand out quite a bit. Compared to the shorter skis I would say that the Palmer is the most stable and damp of the three and had better grip than the Volkl and equal to the Atomic. The construction of the 02 will also lend itself well to more versatile shapes as Palmer gets more involved in ski production.
Palmer P 01--121-85-113 (17.5 m @ 171)
This ski is a Twin Tip and it has a soft flex like many specialty park skis. The flex is more balanced and versatile than the typical park ski though. The tail is a subdued twin shape with a lower profile than the tip. The P 01 also uses the DPD and Klothoid sidecut technologies. The 01 is a wood/glass layup without metal and is very light.
We didn’t have this ski for long and our impressions are quick ones. Despite the soft flex, the 01 was quite grippy for this category of ski. On rough hardpack, it was more damp and smooth than expected and it had more snap than the 02. The 01 is a very nimble and easy going ski but I wouldn’t position it for a real hard charger or a heavy skier. The P 01 is an unusual combination of a soft overall flex on a ski with substantial edge bite. While the shape of the 01 is pretty similar to the ’06-’07 Volkl Karma, the Palmer is much softer and more supple. It is however, not as solid and would get knocked around in heavy snow or at high speeds on rough snow. The Palmer is far more versatile than the typical park ski and would fare better in the park than the typical all mountain twin.
Peter Keelty's subscription site over at http://www.Realskiers.com has a quick preview of the Palmer carving ski, and to quote one tester:
""I have got to get me some of these!"...
The reviews at RealSkiers.com are very good and well worth the annual subscription fee...AND they don't take advertising from the manufacturers! Check them out.
Got back on the Palmer P02 carving ski during the near-to-last day in New England.
Topmost steeper trail section was harder than expected for a late spring day, excellent to test the P02, no tracks left to see as you turned...the last 2/3 of the trail was "set your depth" corn snow...groomed smooth in the morning, but soft and deep enough to sink down shin deep if you pushed it and bank a big turn with a laid-over ski. Palmer P02s where quick to transition left to right at any pace you wanted, quick little toys. Really shined on the hard surface...quick and easy carving arcs....immediately felt very narrow under foot in the softer corn...never did the "Dive Captain!" routine in the forebody...only underfoot if you pushed down. Don't bully this ski, just set its angle and apply body weight...not "pressure". Really really FUN.
Soft, soft corn, still bottomless, but cut up into long rolled pillows, not really bumps...just lots of turn trenches and piles of corn. The little Palmer P02s were actually fun to follow the troughs, rebounding in and out...just don't come down with all your weight on top of a corn pile...down you'd go...moof. They really liked to find some firmer surface at the bottom of some of the trenches...took a nice bite and "zing"...out they'd come. Again, I was impressed at how light they feel on your feet and how effortless it was to make some really, really nice carves. They instinctively began to make me focus on carving the uphill ski with more pressure than normal...I really can't wait to get these on some firmly groomed surfaces. I got on these skis for my last runs of the day, and was impressed at how easy they made it to crank any size turn...even through the cut up corn piles.
"Captain, you'd better come to the bridge. There's something on screen you should see."
While not "revolutionary", I think Palmer has naturally evolved the frontside carving ski into a new species. Not a racer, not a hypercarver, but a technician's tool for groomers with excellent performance for very, very little input effort. A track-layer you can ski all day. A ski that puts the "fun" back in carving instead of "work". I think this one will make some waves next year. Watch for it. I feel a cult-following coming on...Let's see how sturdy it is and how it holds up under a season's wear and tear.
I was able to take a few runs on this one with some of the softer snow @ killington this week. I was suprised by how lite the ski was and how easy it was to move around. Noteable is the low profile SG tip and the rather large flat-style tail. I found myself skiing w/ the feet a little closer & the weight a little back over the heels. The ski was so easy to turn that I was afraid to really drive the tips into the already soft snow. This form really suited the ski well & was quite a fun ski. A welcome change from heavy, damp, power boards.
I would not call it a racer & must say that I did not find it to be a supreme carver. I think this ski will be a hands down winner with the upper level blue skiers, folks who want to play in the trees and bumps & those not looking to "work" all day at turning a ski. Another plus was the extreme lite wt, I think on the consumer level, this will be a big selling point.
I think this is a real versitile, all-mtn, improving skier's ski. I feel the average person you see on the hill (vs. the 240 lb, mucle bound, ex-pro world cupper who tests for a major mag) will do well by trying these out. Most real skiers out there would ski a little better on these & have more fun at the same time
thanks again guys!
Another good review of the Palmer P02 carving ski in 2008 by quickk9 over at EpicSki.com:
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