Skis! Where does one start when it comes to selecting a pair of skis to buy? I seemed to have ended up with a quiver full of different skis covering the various styles of skiing from ski touring, GS, All mountain, telemark etc… but this does make it difficult when travelling as one can not take a pile of skis on every trip, much as I would love to. The other alternative is to look for a ski that covers as many bases as possible, however this is a hard task and no one ski can truly cover every style and terrain, or can it? I was about to review the ‘Citadel’ skis from Renoun– a ski company from North America. The website quoted the skis as best for ‘Powder — Best in soft snow and powering through crud and chunder after the storm passes.’ So I was planning to pack these skis in the car with my piste skis, hoping that I had covered all the bases for my coming trip to Austria.
Initially when the Renoun Citadel skis arrived, they looked pretty large in length and width but I was struck by how light they felt considering their size. Usually I like garish graphics, but the Citadel graphics looked pretty smart and understated. The weather conditions across the Otztal region were sadly not deep powder, but there had been a little new flurry here and there; so much of the ski test would be piste skiing on this particular trip unless I got lucky and found a little shallow powder. So I went forth to explore what the Renoun Citadels could do on the various pistes that Solden has. Previous experience with skiing big powder skis on piste can be a little hard work with slow edge to edge, having to push angles a little further just to get the skis onto their edges, and generally not quite obtaining carving positions that one might get with some piste skis…. BUT, the first few turns and the Citadels felt like piste skis! I had to look down at my feet to check that I had picked up the correct skis. Long turns – the skis flowed from edge to edge smoothly and with a little lateral separation I had the ski on their sides and cutting into the slope without any vibration, they felt firm under my feet despite how light they are… the Citadels felt like they were on rails. Next up… Short Turns- OK, how is this going to go? Well, due to their lightness and I presume because of their well sized rocker the Citadels felt like short slalom skis! They were responsive and then some! I did not get to prepare for the winter as well as I had initially intended by training my legs in Summer/Autumn, but the speed that I could move these skis and bend them under my feet from edge to edge, carving the skis through short turns without skidding through the turn was incredible, this was more like riding a horse who knows how to respond to my every move.
I kept pushing the skis where I could to see if they struggled, but they kept adapting to the terrain it seems. Steeps were fun and stable, with good grip throughout. Bumps – well I know they are not built for that, but let’s try it. They were light enough to whip through the moguls, though the wide tips and tails do catch and bang now and again when riding the skis this close together – I would just need to adapt my technique to allow for this. Solden delivered a healthy amount of snow several days into the trip though, not the safest of conditions off piste, but I managed to find a few spots of powder that were surprisingly good. The Citadels floated like a dream when it came to the powder, they seemed to hover together through the fresh snow, once again responding to my every whim. If only there had been endless mountains of fresh powder to keep pushing these Citadels, but just after several runs through various pitches of powder I was sold. I managed to find some of the choppiest conditions too, on an ‘un-pisted’ black piste (Too steep and too much snow for Piste Bashers perhaps) the powder had been about 2-3 feet in places and it had been skied out a little, so what was left looked like a battlefield; there seemed to be quite a few people stuck and trying to work out how to ski it as well. The Citadels took it in their stride, they had the strength to just bash through the chopped up conditions making it look easy. Hardpack – though not the ideal landscape for these skis was pretty impressive too.
There is a secret behind the Renoun skis, discovered by Cyrus Schenck while studying Aeronautical Engineering, this secret was a space-age material used by NASA; an Anti-vibration Hyper Damping Technology (HDT) called VibeStop™. This is a non-newtonian polymer which when exposed to vibrations the polymer hardens, actively damping the ski adapting instantly to snow conditions and ski style, with the polymer becoming more and more ‘activated’ with speed & intensity decreasing chatter and vibration by over 300%. So, the faster you ski the calmer your skis become. The Polymer replaces some of the wood core resulting in a ski that is 50% lighter but making the ski three times more stable and controlled when the going gets rough, tough and aggressive. By that way, this is based on actual scientific data rather than some ski dude’s opinion.
I have always wanted that ‘ungettable get’, that ski that encompasses a whole quiver of skis and can ride through all conditions, a ski that adapts to the mountain and to the rider and their style of skiing. Well it is either the non-newtonian polymer VibeStop™ or perhaps that is all just a cover for the fact that Cyrus has actually signed his souls away to the devil to create a ski that essentially does everything! Unbelievable… One question, does this make this the greenest, most environmentally friendly ski on the market? Because now you only need to take one pair of skis to the mountains.
For more information or to purchase see online at RENOUN SKIS.