I picked up the Atomic Atlas a few years ago as a powder ski. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of its ridiculous dimensions — 115 millimeters underfoot with a fat rockered tip (no rocker on the back) and reverse-camber construction, also only on the tips.
I soon learned that this was not your typical slack-country Mickey Mouse powder ski. It’s a powder ski designed by Daron Rahlves, one of the most decorated ski racers in U.S. history, and it shows. It has a race ski kind of attitude with solid sidewall construction that is all business from about the middle of the tip to the tails.
I actually got to know the 182-centimeter-length ski during a springtime run when an all-mountain, every-day ski I had been using broke on me, and the Atlas was all I had left in my quiver. It changed my skiing for the better, forcing me to come to the front of my boots more aggressively and really drive my knees through each turn to maneuver the big boats around. I also developed at that time a little catch-phrase mantra — “nips (as in nipples) over tips” — which still serves me well to this day in thinking about attacking the mountain.
Bottom line, if you ski the ski correctly, it will handle any snow conditions, not just powder. I found them to be especially fun in the spring-time corn snow.
But now on to the good stuff. In powder, this ski is an absolute dream. Reverse-camber construction means the base of the ski has a convex — as opposed to concave — plane to it. Along with the slight rocker in the tip, I like to think of this as my powder water wing (you know, the floaties your mom put on your arms in the pool when you were a little kid). The ski assists you in the up-and-down motion so critical to shredding the pow, popping you back up out of each turn so you are set up for the next, kind of like a floatation device.
Another nice feature is that, due to the reverse camber, the big ski actually creates less friction on the snow, so they glide faster than any ski I’ve ever experienced.
Needless to say, with the strong snowfall we experienced in February, I’ve had lots of quality time on the Atomic Atlas lately. Although I am rocking the 2010 model, the 2013 model is basically the same ski, only with different graphics. Highly recommended.
Get Your Own:
Atomic Atlas, 182 cm
$559 at evo.com (2013 model)