2020 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti

The Vantage 97 Ti is the second-widest ski in Atomic’s unique collection of all-mountain skis. What makes them unique, you might ask? Their construction is, with some arguable exceptions, quite different than what we see from any other brand. Material has been removed from the center of the ski, creating a channel between raised portions along the edge. Sure, we’ve seen similar concepts before, but few get as thin as the Vantage skis do, and few achieve the same level of stiffness and responsiveness. Atomic calls it Prolite, and it’s designed to be lighter and stronger all at the same time. Titanium Tank Mesh builds in some vibration damping and increased stability. One look at Atomic’s Vantage line and they’re obviously something a little different.

David Wolfgang certainly thought they stood out, as his first response to the Vantage 97 Ti after testing the 180 cm length was, “in this width category I found the Vantage (97 Ti) to be one of the quietest and most stable.” What David didn’t mention in that response is that it’s also one of the lighter skis in this category. Combining stability with a lightweight feel is challenging, and Atomic has done a very good job of it. “Velvety smooth turn initiation with plenty of power.” Atomic has tweaked the flex pattern of their Vantage series for 2020 to make them a little smoother. A slightly softer flex has also increased forgiveness, but it doesn’t sound like David thinks they’ve lost any power.

Atomic has multiple skis in this width range including the Bent Chetler 100 and the Backland 95. The shape of the Vantage 97 Ti is arguably the most focused on firm snow performance out of those 3, and Brad Schauerman’s response supported that concept. Brad tested the 180 cm length and found it to be a “good groomer ski.” He thought it was a little unstable at times in cruddy snow conditions, which isn’t tremendously surprising given how light it is. A lighter ski will get deflected more easily in choppy conditions. “Great from edge to edge on groomers. Not the quickest or nimblest ski in its class, but very stable at high speeds and great for carving.” A ski with more rocker is going to feel nimbler off groomers, and a heavier ski will track better through choppy snow, but for responsive carving turns in this width range, it doesn’t get much better than the Vantage 97 Ti.

Brooks Curran seemed to agree after testing the 188 cm length. He thought it had a “race-inspired” feel and found that it “loves the smooth, hard snow.” Again, it’s important to note that Atomic has other skis in this width range that are more focused on soft snow performance, and that makes statements like Brooks’ “less friendly in chunk or at slower speeds,” not surprising, and not necessarily a downside. A ski like the Bent Chetler 100 with its increased rocker profile will be easier to maneuver at slower speeds in variable snow than a ski like the Vantage 97 Ti, and that’s okay.

Annie MacDonald was impressed by its ability on firm snow, reflected in her score of 5 out of 5 for torsional stiffness/edge grip. “Stable, but also lightweight. Holds well and liked big radius turns, but also pretty quick turning when you need to.” Annie actually found the lightweight feel made it “very maneuverable,” but if we consider Brooks’ reaction, we can extrapolate that it’s going to take some good technique to maneuver it; it’s not just a smearing, slow-speed ski. Overall, Annie thought it would be “good for aggressive skiers for all-mountain use.”

The Vantage 97 Ti is going to be best on the feet of skiers who value edge grip, precision, and responsiveness. It’s a great all-mountain ski, but skiers that want to smear and skid their turns may find it’s not the right ski for them. Those with solid technique and a traditional skiing background will feel right at home unweighting the tail to get it to maneuver and will fall in love with its lightweight feel, responsiveness, and impressive, stable feel.

Testers

Brooks Curran

Age: 24Height: 6'2"Weight: 170 lbs.

Ski Style: Ex-racer, now backcountry freerider

Evan Caha

Age: 30Height: 5'10"Weight: 140 lbs.

Ski Style: Fast and adventurous with a love for high edge angles

Annie MacDonald

Age: 56Height: 5'7"Weight: 118 lbs.

Ski Style: Lots of style, grace, and power

David Wolfgang

Age: 67Height: 6'3"Weight: 230 lbs.

Ski Style: Strong, deliberate, and smooth

Brad Schauerman

Age: 28Height: 5'9"Weight: 160 lbs.

Ski Style: Trees, trees, and more trees just like a squirrel

6 Comments on the “2020 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti”

  1. Hi. From your 2019 and 2020 Atomic Vantage 90 TI reviews, i took away that the main difference was the tail was a little more forgiving? For the 2019 and 2020 Atomic Vantage 97 TI reviews, was there any material change in construction and performance?

    Our family has a bunch of the 2017 models: 85, 90, 95, and 100 CTI and really like them. The one tweak i would have made to the 2017 models was adding a bit more torsional stiffness – edge hold on firm snow days. Love the light and playful nature of the 2017 models. Seems like the 2019 and 2020 models firmed up torsional stiffness w/o pushing the performance too far towards the damp, heavier and stiffer natures of the Mantra, Bonafides, etc?

    Looking to replace the 2017 models and hoping that the 2019 or 2020 models fit the bill. Thank you for any feedback.

    1. Right you are, Christian!
      Same type of change with the 97’s. Same basic overall construction, but a less-demanding (more playful) tail. At that width, it’s pretty important to have some type of bend in the ski, otherwise they’re just too stiff. It’s nice to have the lighter Atomics in the mix for sure. I personally prefer the 2020 models, as I just found the 2019 to be twitchy. Hope that helps!
      SE

  2. Hi! For nine seasons my skis are Atomic Nomad Sauvage and I loved them from the first moment .But they begun rusty so I bought online an Atomic Vantage 97 ti 2020 , 188cm, with premounted bindings. The boots doesn’t fit by 3mm. I called the seller and they give me three options:
    1. send skis back and they will change the bindings, that means anoather 4 holes in each ski (they say is ok due to Ti)
    2.change the ski with the same model but 180cm ( My height is 185 cm)
    3.change the ski with the 2019 model 188cm.

    Initially I inclined for option 3. the 2019 model with 188cm but reading that you ” found the 2019 to be twitchy” I have second thoughts. Taking account with these what is your advice?
    Thank You!
    Radu .

    1. Hi Radu!
      I’m assuming you have taken your skis and boots to a certified binding technician to determine the compatibility? Just want to make sure that base is covered. Don’t worry about the extra holes–I’d worry more about the 2019 version. The tail was just too stiff on that ski–a bit more user-friendly for 2020. I’d go for the remount, but double check with a shop for binding adjustability. Good luck!
      SE

  3. Hi! Great review. I don’t no if I should buy the Völkl Mantra m5 or the Atomic Vantage 97 ti? Im an expert skier and want an Ski that works great in powder and on piste. For me its important that the ski is good in carving, short turns, when its getting icey and it have to work good in powder, because for the days when there is no powder and I have to ski with my Family on piste . I ski 50%powder and 50%piste. Or would you recommend a other ski for me ? Sorry for my Bad english, I hope you understand everything.
    Thank you!

    1. Clear enough, Tom!
      I’d say that overall, more skiers like the Mantra over the Vantage–the Vantage is lighter, but also stiffer, so it can get twitchy or jumpy while the Mantra has better balance for true 50/50 skiing. I think that mid-90’s underfoot is the place to be for sure. Fischer Ranger 99 Ti is another solid choice. Take care!
      SE

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *