2022 Stockli Laser AR Ski Review: Lead Image

Ski Reviews

2022 Stockli Laser AR Ski Review

“Give me a pick of all skis on planet Earth, and it's going to be hard not to pick the Laser AR in the 182. Especially for what we do here in Stowe, Vermont, having that 83 mm waist with this level of construction and design, this ski is definitely on my wish list in the top 3. There's just no limit to what this thing can do, especially in a front side and all-mountain sense. When you drive forward into your boot, you can feel the AR start to accelerate into the turn like a race ski. The tail grabs right on and rips you through the turn, providing instantaneous feedback and rebound into the next. We use car comparisons a lot with skis, because it's easily relatable for the most part. I'd say the AR falls into the BMW M5 category. Incredible performance, but is not confined to the race track--you can still use it as a daily driver, you just get insane precision and power to go along with the top-end fit and finish. Most skiers/drivers will never really find the top end of this ski, or that car, but it's sure nice to know it's there. The only limit on these skis is me. If you have the bank account that allows you to make a purchase like this, I'd highly recommend it.”

I thought we’d start with that quote from Bob St.Pierre on the Laser AR as I think the BMW M5 comparison is about as accurate of an analogy as you can get. In general, we get a lot of comments about the Laser AR. They usually are along the lines of “best ski ever,” or “this is the only ski you need.” While those might be slight exaggerations, there’s certainly some truth there too. The Laser AR is, hands-down, an extremely well-rounded ski that crosses over nicely between feeling like a true carving ski and a more versatile all-mountain ski.

AT A GLANCE


2022 Stockli Laser AR Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

STRENGTHS

154, 161, 168, 175, 182 cm

16.5 m at 175 cm

130 / 83 / 112 mm @ 182 cm

Light Core, Two Sheets of Titanal, Torsion Racing Technology

Edge Grip, Stability, Versatility


Stockli starts things off with a lightweight wood core that’s made up of a blend of different materials. Stockli doesn’t really get into specific details about what’s in there, but it’s lighter than the cores used in most of the narrower Laser models. As is true with just about all of Stockli’s skis, there’s two sheets of titanal metal in there too. What’s unique about the AR is that it uses their Torsion Racing Technology. Longitudinal slits are integrated into both the tip and tail of the ski, right through the middle of the ski and ending just after the tip flattens out. This is designed to give the tips and tails of the ski less torsional stiffness and a softer longitudinal flex pattern as well. We’ve had a similar conversation when talking about Armada’s Declivity line and the overall concept is the same. By reducing torsional stiffness, Stockli is increasing control while also giving the ski a more forgiving and less demanding feel. It’s easier to initiate a turn, and it’s also easier to get out of that turn when you want to. With full width metal through the rest of the ski, however, you get strong torsional stiffness when and where you need it.

2022 Stockli Laser AR Ski Review: Camber Profile Image

The shape of the Laser AR is probably about what you’d expect. It has camber underfoot which extends through most of the ski, with some subtle rocker in both the tip and tail. The rocker lines are longer in the tip, as is expected on a directional ski like the Laser AR. Maybe the most interesting thing about the rocker/camber profile is the fact that the camber doesn’t rise much off the snow. When you put the skis together, especially under the weight of a binding, there’s only a couple mm of camber height.

Let’s talk performance now. We see a ton of these skis here at our home mountain, Stowe Mountain Resort, and when you consider what they can do, it’s no wonder why. Let’s start with firm groomers. We’re talking early morning, perfect corduroy, plenty to push against, just perfect groomers. The Laser AR can rip. I love Bob’s analogy of the M5 here. Is it a Formula 1 race car? No. Is the Laser AR a World Cup GS ski? No. Would your average person sit in an M5 and think, “geez, this car just doesn’t have enough performance for me?” Also, no. The same is true with the Laser AR. Sure, there’s a limit to its performance, but you’ve got to be among the best skiers in the world to find it. Most skiers will find seemingly limitless edge grip and stability. For those that demand more, Stockli makes narrower and stiffer skis, so there are plenty of options, but we’re pretty confident in our assessment that the vast majority of skiers won’t find its limit.

2022 Stockli Laser AR Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 1 2022 Stockli Laser AR Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 2

Those that can find its limit may not care, as the reason why it has a limit in the first place is basically the same reason why it’s more versatile and more accepting of varying snow conditions than stiffer, narrower skis. We skied the Laser AR on some soft snow days, those days where there’s just not much to push against. A stiffer, more demanding ski wouldn’t really have worked on those days. I’m thinking about skis like the Laser WRT ST. That ski rips on firm snow and you can find objective benefits compared to the AR if you’re part of the upper 1% of the skiing population, but it has limits. In soft snow, it’ll push right through. The Laser AR, on the other hand, is accepting of softer snow conditions, which is awesome. The combination of a slightly softer flex pattern in the tip and the wider platform means this ski will hook up and carve in softer snow and with less skier input. On those really soft days, I still found myself needing to ski with a relatively delicate, balanced style, but I was exceptionally impressed with how well the Laser AR handled it. If you like carving, and you want to keep carving through the spring, on soft snow days, etc, etc, the Laser AR is a really, really good choice.

Then there’s off-piste performance. Is this a powder ski? No. Is it the best choice if you’re spending a lot of time off-piste? Also, probably no. On the other hand, it’s really good off-piste among skis that are this good on firm snow. The Laser AR is a blast in moguls. For accomplished mogul skiers with good technique, we’d even go as far as saying it’s just about perfect. Look at what World Cup mogul skiers are on. They use relatively stiff skis with a lot of responsiveness. While we spend a lot of time recommending skis with lots of tail rocker as good mogul skis, the reality is a lot of advanced/expert mogul skiers actually prefer something with a little more stability, especially in the tail. The 83 mm waist width is also wide enough to handle some softer snow conditions. Similarity to how I described it on a softer groomer, it will handle softer snow conditions better than most skis that fall into this category. Even if you just take skis in the low-80 mm range, the Laser AR is one of the best in soft snow due to the slightly softer tips and tails.

In general, I like to think about the Laser AR as a real skier’s ski. That makes sense considering most of the time I see a pair on hill, they’re on the feet of a strong skier for whom I have a lot of respect. You can rip around on groomers, but you can also manipulate the ski into different turn shapes and styles more easily than other skis that achieve this level of torsional stiffness, power, etc. Then you can also take them off the groomers into long mogul runs and even some light tree skiing without feeling completely out of place. All things considered, it’s not surprising we get so many comments from people saying the Laser AR is their favorite ski. If you haven’t been on one, you should try it. And as Bob mentioned in our video review, it’s the type of ski you can buy sight-unseen if you’re not able to get on a demo. You won’t be disappointed.

2022 Stockli Laser AR Ski Review: Buy Now Image

Written by Jeff Neagle on 07/08/21

12 thoughts on “2022 Stockli Laser AR Ski Review

  1. Will the softer tip chatter? I need a test drive. I am used to narrower skis. Are they nimble enough side to side? Good looking. Do you have a comparison between the Laser AR and AX?

    1. HI Scott!
      More tip chatter than a pure race ski, but the AR has way more range, and that's the most impressive part. Very nimble, and the tail is quite responsive and eager to help with the quick side to side changes and transitions. The AX just takes that quickness to the next level. I've found them to feel similar in terms of flex, but the narrower waist increases the agility and edge grip, but with a slight ding to the all-mountain versatility. Have fun!
      SE

  2. So, how does the Laser AR compare to Black Crows Serpo for skiing at Stowe, groomers, bumps, trees, for an advanced skier?

    Many thanks and please keep up your great reviews!

    1. Hi Jan!
      Tough choice! Groomers and bumps, I'd rather ski the AR, but Serpo for trees and other off-piste terrain and activities. When it snows here at Stowe, I'd rather be on the Serpo for sure. They do fit slightly different slots in a quiver, and I don't think I'd be satisfied with the AR as my only ski, while I could take the Serpo as my only and be totally happy on it every day of the winter. Have fun!
      SE

  3. So, I ski on Rossignol Experience 88’s and find them very nice in most conditions except deeper off piste powder.
    How would you compare the AR ?

    1. HI Steve!
      You're not going to get better powder performance, especially if you're on a more recent Experience 88. The AR is more flexible, so it's a better mogul and tree ski, and it just has a much wider range of applications and turn styles than the stiffer 88. The overall composure and performance of the AR is superior to the 88. The AR really does take the ski experience to the next level. Have fun!
      SE

    1. Hi Russ!
      Slightly different top sheet with a bit more gloss, but same structural ski. Have fun!
      SE

  4. Love the reviews, thanks! Is there any change to the 2022 AR vs the 2021? (other than the graphics?)

    1. Hi TBone!
      Nope! The topsheet is a bit more glossy for 2022, but it's not affecting performance.
      SE

  5. Can you please compare this ski to the 2022 Kastle FX 86 Ti? I own the 2021 Stockli Laser AX and love it and want to add either the Laser AR or FX 86 Ti.

    Thanks,

    Chuck

    1. Hi Charles!
      First, I think the 86 is a better complement to the AX, with there being some crossover in the AR/AX world, mainly in terms of shaping. The FX offers a different level of all-mountain versatility in both shape and construction. With two sheets of metal still, the new FX 86 Ti has both a wider overall footprint as well as longer rocker lines and profile. This gives you a better option in variable conditions and terrain than the AR, while still keeping the quality and precision intact. Have fun!
      SE

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