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Atomic Vantage 85 Review

Posted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:36 pm
by Woodserson
BooYA my Atomic Vantage 85s have become my number 1, go-to, do-it-all ski for the frontside. BAM! They come out of the gate, don't ask questions, kick ass, take names, accept phone numbers, and don't look back at explosions. BOOM!

173cm 125-85-109
All Mtn Rocker which translates to: Very little rocker.
17m Radius

I mounted them with Rottefella Cobra R8's one of my favorite bindings with the perfect balance of activity and power, and I ski them with my T4's. They are mounted at the -2 line, which is factory marked.

I'm a 6'2" 160lb skiing machine with strong intermediate telemark skillzz coming from a very strong alpine background that I have abandoned due to injury. I can get myself down anything in telemark gear, but sometimes it's not pretty and no one would call me graceful. There are days though where everything comes together.

This is sold as a basic intermediate ski at an incredibly attractive price point (I bought mine for under $200). Do not confuse these with the CTI versions, these are wood core only, no carbon, no titanium. Bomber construction.

They have an even round flex with a nice firming up near the end which translates to a very nice pop out of turns after you load them up. There's pretty decent rise in the tails, so they release easily and don't hook, AND they are good for any radius turn your choose. Tight slalom? Check. Big ol' turns at speeds? Check. I find them a little high-energy in frozen granular, there is little in the ski to dampen vibrations but they don't chatter.

These skis just rock. They eat up the crud with gusto, the have great torsional rigidity for hardpack, and when I roll them on edge and start carving parallel style they hold on and lay railroad tracks so goddamm deep you can drive the Acela on them to your morning commute. I love bashing the bumps with these skis, they swing quick and transition from edge to edge on demand and the slightly shorter length makes them easy to maneuver.

The one drawback is powder, I find them a little short in the shovel at the 173cm length and combined with the lack of any kind of appreciable rocker I have to adjust my stance to keep them up and floating. Not my go-to powder ski but here in the Northeast that's OK. Once it gets crudded up though, rock solid riding through the mank.

I did not expect these skis to be the ones I grab everytime I walk out of the house, but it's what they have become. They are a little heavy to be touring with, which is unfortunate, but the weight is what gives it better performance when charging hard down the frontside of the ski area dealing with unexpected obstacles. I'll take that trade-off and tour in something else.


2018-01-23 12.08.13.jpg

Re: Atomic Vantage 85 Review

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:38 am
by naesb81
if you had to do it again would you have gone with a longer (181) or are you happy with the 173? I am 6'1", 185, trying to decide.

Re: Atomic Vantage 85 Review

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:52 am
by Woodserson
I'm happy with my 173's. I did look at a pair of 181's, and decided against it, they were pretty long and stiffer than I expected. I do not use the 173 in anything more than 5" of fresh snow because the shovels are so short and I don't want to catch a tip. These are exclusively my short turn, firm or corn surface, bump ski for the frontside.

Since I wrote the review, I have found an upper speed limit to the ski, which I think is normal seeing as it's a pretty simple budget ski, but high speeds they can get a little chattery, I don't know if the 181 does this less or not.

However it's important to keep in mind that I am light, 160lbs on a good day, and not very muscley, and on short soft boots. If I had more power, was in taller boots, the 181 would be the ticket. I talked a ski buddy (fixed-heel alpine guy) into them and he chose the 181 and he's very happy with them-- he's 5'10" and 165lbs and a powerful skier. FWIW.

Re: Atomic Vantage 85 Review

Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:13 am
by MSU Alum
Nice review. I'm 67, 5'8" tall, 160 pounds and ski the Wasatch back. I love this ski, though I am on the CTI version. I chose the CTI due to the fact that I'm skiing them so short and thought I'd need the beefiness due to that factor.

I'm on Scarpa Tx Comps and Freedom bindings, mounted boot center over the recommended mounting point.
I use these as my dedicated bump ski (out west) and have it in 164cm. I liked them so much and they were so cheap, that I bought 3 pairs! I get about a season out of each pair and unfortunately, they are now nearly impossible to find.

I get in close to 100 days a year and I'd say 40 to 50 of those are on the Atomics. Very quick edge to edge and great grip in the turns. I have mine tuned to 3 degrees of side bevel, so that helps! But, due to the short length and being "rode hard and put away wet" nature of the skiing I subject them to, they do break down by about 60 days or so.
They ski switch completely effortlessly, due to the tail rocker and that enables them to release easily as well.

I was willing to try the short size, as I have a quiver (186cm Armada JJ's, 172cm Blizzard Rustler 10's and these) and I'm very happy with them. My first day on them was up at Grand Targhee Wyoming, early season after about 5" of snow. I had bought them as a groomer/bump/carving ski and decided to go a little off piste in some cut up powder. I was completely blown away at how well they handled those conditions (5", cut up, over a solid base).

This would not have worked for me as a one ski quiver where I live regardless of length. For that, I'd say my Rustler 10's would have been the ski....maybe in a 180 Vs. the 172 I got.

I am just about to mount up pair #3, as pair number two probably has about 20 days available. As an experiment, I'm going out on a limb this a pair of Rossignol EXP 84 AI's in a 160cm, just because it has a stupidly tight 11.5m turn radius - and they do have enough tail rise to ski switch, an absolute requirement. These will be mounted with Meidjo 2.1's and using Cripsi Evos, so the carving potential is off the scale. We'll see. I will report on the skis, bindings and boots as I get some time on them this year.

Cheers, and thanks for the review on a great, underrated ski!

Re: Atomic Vantage 85 Review

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:44 am
by Woodserson
Thanks for the second great review of this little underrated ski! (and you are right, they are rarer than hen's teeth now... only used on ebay now...)

I am really hoping you write up a good review on the Rossignol EXP84 AI's... I am intrigued and I feel like I neeeeeeed them!

Re: Atomic Vantage 85 Review

Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:55 am
by MSU Alum
Woodserson wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:44 am
Thanks for the second great review of this little underrated ski! (and you are right, they are rarer than hen's teeth now... only used on ebay now...)

I am really hoping you write up a good review on the Rossignol EXP84 AI's... I am intrigued and I feel like I neeeeeeed them!
Of course you need them. I looked at the Rossi 88 as well. I can't remember if they had much tail rocker though. They'd likely be better on icy days, I expect. Here are some pictures comparing the 84 AI's to my final pair of Vantage 85's

The 85's are 164cm and the 84's are 160cm. I put a thin piece of tape on the mounting line and the inside of the front and rear tape is about where the edge leaves the floor, decambered for reference. BTW, at this length, the 84 AI is 82mm underfoot and it looks like they have similar running lengths.
Noticeably more sidecut.
The tail of the ski looks like it would hold a clip for skins well, though the ski probably would be best again, under 6" of powder. They also seem stiffer flexing than the CTI's so I expect they wouldn't be as nice in powder, but then the CTI's exceeded my expectations in that regard, so we'll see.
Here's the tail splay decambered.