Ski Review: Radical Race Carver (2019-2020)
Mark Farner is a former Worldcup snowboard competitor and member of the Swiss Snowboard Federation who has assembled a team of craftsmen to design and construct high-quality skis and snowboards in Zurich, Switzerland since 1984. Radical is a super-passionate, small-batch ski and snowboard company dedicated to intensely well built products incorporating the best materials the designers can find. They stand behind their products with a 5 year flex and camber warranty...something we have never seen before. Radical represents a superb example of high-quality ski and snowboard fabrication aimed at intensely effective high performance in a premium product.
In Europe, the piste-carving ski remains one of the primary staples for skiers at neary any mountain, even with the prominent rise of the rockered, wider freeride ski designs of the last ten years. If you visit any lift-serviced ski area, the majority of skiers will often be riding dedicated frontside carving skis. Since the ski racing cutiure is so strong in Europe (some argue it is much stronger than in North America), race-like skis for the masses are extremely popular, but full-on FIS-compliant race skis have too large a radius and are too demanding for civilians and carving enthusiasts who need something to produce intense carving behaviors without requring Olympian-level stamina and conditioning.
These conditions gave rise to the Euro-carving ski designs which display typically race-like grip and response in a more forgiving chassis with tighter radii. Race ski componentry often makes its way into the Euro-carver or "Race Carver" layups in more friendly proportions. Technical carving enthusiasts, instructors and ex-racers tend to love these designs allowing the skier to execute intense angle carves at less than race speeds, yet ski all over the hardpack runs all day without feeling punished by an overly-demanding design. The Radical Race Carver, like similar skis from RTC, AK-Ski, Kessler, Mach, Blossom and other Euro brands, uses race-quality materials and layup expertise in geometries more suited to technical carving at less than race-like speeds on water-injected race course surfaces.
Radical's Race Carver is a stunning example of how a somewhat softer-flexing ski can deliver impressively accurate, intense carving performance. You can ski it relatively slow and easy, or use intense edge angle and pressure inputs to get a slot-car-like grip and turn response in a lightning-quick manner. What's really interesting is the unusuall lightweight feel underfoot. Normally, a ski with abilities to dig intense carving arcs into the snow at moderate to high pressures feels like it weighs like a race ski. Radical's Race Carver feels wonderfully light underfoot due to its carefully proportioned materials. Radical is demonstrating a state-of-the-art carving ski design and construction prowess with traditionally excellent Swiss craftsmanship and quality.
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