2016 Atomic Vantage 90 CTI Ski Review // Ski Reviews
The new 2016 Atomic Vantage 90 CTI sits essentially right in the middle of a redesigned line of all mountain skis from Atomic. Atomic boasts the new line to be their “lightest, strongest progressive All Mountain line ever.” Combining camber, rocker, and a whole slew of new construction technology, the Vantage 90 CTI is a relatively light weight, super versatile ski that can be confidently skied all over the mountain. With an illustrious Skiing Magazine Tester’s Choice award and scoring 2nd overall in its category, this is one to look out for at your local demo events.
With most skis available from Atomic being designed specifically for on-piste or off-piste (the Nomad and Automatic series), they have positioned the Vantage line up as their most versatile skis, equally at home both on and off-piste. The Vantage 90 CTI features a 90mm waist and is perhaps the most evenly divided between variable conditions, soft snow skiing, and on-piste groomer performance as it sits right between the widest Vantage at 100mm width and the narrowest at 85mm.
In soft snow, off-piste conditions, our testers found the Atomic Vantage 90 CTI really shined in tight, steep terrain. The ski features Atomic’s “Carbon Tank Mesh”, a wall to wall sheet of woven carbon fiber that provides exceptional lateral strength across the ski while minimizing weight. Keeping the weight down helps the Vantage 90 CTI achieve its distinctly playful feel. The ski thrives in tight trees, moguls, and steep technical terrain where low swing weight and maneuverability are of the utmost importance. Because Atomic has achieved such a light weight platform, some might think that the ski would lack stability at high speeds in open terrain. Most of our testers, however, found the ski to be plenty stable through chopped up, variable snow. It isn’t quite as damp and quiet as some heavier, competitor skis, but it’s really only noticeable for heavier skiers at really high speeds. The combination of a light weight platform and some solid stability creates a unique, inspiring ski. You can ski fast and hard and your legs will stay feeling a little fresher than if you were on a similar shape with multiple sheets of metal in the construction.
When you take the Vantage 90 CTI on-piste, you really start to understand the overall design of the ski and why it’s so versatile. The new ski features Atomic’s Power Woodcore, which is a combination of ash and poplar. The ash in the ski helps provide additional strength, while poplar keeps the light weight overall feel of the ski and adds a small amount of forgiveness. On top of the wood core Atomic uses their Titanium Backbone 2.0, a strip of titanium running tip to tail, to further stiffen and strengthen the ski without adding excessive weight. Combine this construction with a flatter tail than previous Atomic all mountain skis and you’ve got a ski that’s energetic and responsive on frontside trails. Our testers were impressed by how well the Vantage 90 CTI held a fast, powerful carve, while retaining such a light weight overall feel. Most gave a lot of credit to the flatter tail, as the ski finished a turn much better than some competitor’s skis with more rocker in the tail. At an approximate 17m turn radius (at the 176cm length), the skis like to make energetic, relatively quick turns on groomers, yet will hold an edge through longer, faster carves as well. Again, some of its competitors’ skis have a quieter, damper feeling, but also are less energetic and responsive coming out of a turn.
Overall we’re very impressed by the new Atomic Vantage 90 CTI. It’s a great ski for those who are looking for that elusive “one ski quiver”. No, it won’t float you through 3 feet of fresh, and no, it won’t win your local GS races. It will, however, put a smile on your face whether you’re cruising groomers for the day, venturing into the side country, bashing moguls all day long, or any combination. Heavier skis and those who really like to push the envelope might want to look for a heavier platform, or even consider moving up to the Vantage 100 CTI for the extra stability. For the vast majority of skiers, on the other hand, the Vantage is a confidence inspiring, fun all mountain ski. They will help keep your legs fresh and keep your mind excited about the runs to come!