Do trickle-down economics work? Well, we’re not going to get into that. We do, however, love when technology trickles down from World Cup race skis into more consumer-friendly carving skis, which is certainly the case with this Atomic Redster X9 S. If it’s good enough for Mikaela Shiffrin, it’s good enough for the rest of us. The Redster X9 S utilizes technology like Atomic’s Servotec system, uses their Ultra Power Woodcore, and is powered by Titanium. While there are some subtle differences between it and true World Cup race skis, those differences won’t take away from its ability to absolutely rip on firm snow. Well aware of Atomic’s race heritage, we were excited to put this ski on the feet of our testers.
Marcus Shakun was impressed after testing the 181 cm length. He summarized the ski as an “advanced to expert-level frontside carver,” which is what we expected to hear. Marcus gave the Redster X9 S high scores across the board, including 5 out of 5 for stability, quickness/maneuverability, torsional stiffness/edge grip, and even playfulness, likely a result of the ski’s quickness. The only score from Marcus lower than 4 out of 5 was for flotation, which is just fine with us. Frontside carving skis aren’t meant to float. “Lightning fast edge to edge and super energetic in and out of a turn. Not a question on edge hold, it’s glued to the trail.” Those are the key characteristics to an expert-level frontside carver. Based off Marcus’ feedback, you’re not going to be wishing for any additional edge grip or responsiveness out of the Redster X9 S. The length Marcus was skiing has a 16.2-meter turn radius, which essentially falls in between slalom and GS radii, at least in terms of consumer skis. Marcus noted the same, yet found he was able to make “all different turn shapes,” suggesting you can power it into shorter radius carves, or let it run. The last note from Marcus was that you “can take it off the groomer, but that’s not where it wants to be. If you do, don’t get in the back seat.”
Phil McGrory doesn’t typically choose skis like the Redster X9 S, he’s more often found deep in the backcountry, but that didn’t stop him from wanting to put the 181 cm length to the test. He was psyched with the edge grip this ski achieves, giving that criteria a solid 5 out of 5 rating. “Smooth and fast! Quick turn initiation and loves medium to long radius carves.” Phil might not have been trying to drive it into shorter turns like Marcus was, but still found some variety in the ski’s carving turn shapes. “Advanced to expert carving ski with endless grip.”
Josh Wolfgang is an experienced, accomplished skier in his own right. While he enjoyed the Redster X9 S and the performance it achieves, he made a profound comment that even aggressive skiers might find it a bit much. You need to be ready to drive the ski if you’re going to pick up a pair of the Redster X9 S. “This ski definitely wants to be on edge. I am an aggressive skier and even so, the ski needed to be pushed further than I wanted to take it.” While Josh has the ability to ski it, it’s interesting to note he likely wouldn’t choose it as his daily ski.
Be aware of the level of performance this ski achieves if you’re considering it as your next frontside carving ski. Because of that race heritage and technology, it requires a certain ability level and commitment to aggressiveness and driving your ski with plenty of forward pressure. For many, that’s exactly what they’re looking for, but timid intermediates or even less aggressive advanced skiers may find it overpowers their typical skiing techniques.