MAY 4, 2021 | WRITTEN BY Matt McGinnis

“It takes 12 days to make a pair of our skis. Most brands can make a pair in a couple hours.” That quote from George Couperthwait, President of Stockli North America, is a perfect way to explain what sets Stockli apart from most ski manufacturers. From the consumer perspective, it’s mostly just the price, which can cause a little bit of sticker shock for those not familiar with the brand. When you’re browsing the selection at your local ski shop, however, you’re not getting the behind-the-scenes story of how those skis were built, and that’s the key to understanding why Stockli skis (and other brands like Kastle) can be almost twice as much as comparable skis from “big box” brands. The Stormrider 102 is a perfect example. It’s a 102 mm all-mountain/freeride ski that’s designed for versatility. There are a ton of skis in this width range that hover around the $600 range, but the Stormrider 102 is $1249. On paper, that’s a bit jarring. When you get them on snow, however, it all starts to make sense.

Before we dive into performance, let’s take a moment to talk about how the Stormrider 102 is built, where it sits in Stockli’s line of skis, and all that good stuff. First, it’s the widest ski Stockli makes. That’s pretty interesting, because realistically it’s not that wide, and Stockli has made plenty of wider skis in the past (I had multiple pairs of the Stormrider 110 TT, that thing was sweet). Also important to note that it takes the place of the Stormrider 105, although I suppose that’s obvious if it’s now the widest ski. In addition to changing the width, Stockli also changed up the rocker profile. Going narrower, you might expect they gave it less rocker, but it’s actually the opposite. The 102 has significantly more splay and longer rocker in the tip compared to the 105. Even though it’s more significant than the 105, in the grand scheme of things, it’s still relatively subtle rocker. The tip rocker is reasonably long if you just measure it in length, but it doesn’t abruptly rise off the snow. It’s most noticeable when you de-camber the underfoot section of the ski, but even then it’s not drastic rocker lines. Stockli also turned the tail up a little more compared to the 105. It technically is rocker, but it’s almost like a subtle twin tip. It’s not nearly as long as the tip rocker and the tail of the ski is still mostly camber. Stockli as a company values precision, so this shape makes sense. It’s more rocker than any other ski they make, but still less than most, which should retain a long effective edge in most situations and a precise responsive feel.


2022 Stockli Stormrider 102 Skis






173, 182, 191 cm

19.8 m at 182 cm

135 / 102 / 125 mm

Light Core with Titanal Technology Pro

Stability, Edge Grip, Vibration Damping

Then there’s the construction, which is a big part of what makes Stockli skis so special. Stockli’s engineers are extremely focused on quality control and precision in the manufacturing process. The Stormrider 102 in particular uses a relatively lightweight wood core with two full sheets of titanal. As is true on all Stormrider skis, the top titanal layer is also the topsheet of the ski, which allows Stockli to reduce the overall weight by essentially eliminating an unnecessary layer. There are details to Stockli’s construction method that not many manufacturers talk about. Their glue application is more refined than most brands. They’re not just slopping on a bunch of epoxy and calling it good. It’s a very precise method. Then there’s the rubber polyurethane dust that’s applied to each part of the ski before going into the press. When’s the last time you heard a company talk about rubber polyurethane dust? All these little details and specific manufacturing control add up to an extremely impressive finished product.

2022 Stockli Stormrider 102 Ski Review: Camber Profile Image

And you feel it when you take them on snow. The Stormrider 102 is incredible smooth anywhere you take it. They feel strong and supple at the same time, which is perhaps the most difficult combination of characteristics to achieve in a ski. In terms of on-trail, carving performance, I think the Stormrider 102 is one of the best in its width range. It’s not the stiffest, but it doesn’t lack any edge grip and is one of those skis that you can really flex in a turn without it washing out. There’s a good amount of energy when you exit a turn too, and that energy is easy to control. It never feels like the ski is running away from you, just intuitively does what you ask it to. It loves a high edge angle and will make some big, sweeping, deep cuts. If you give the forebody of the ski more pressure, you’ll start making quicker, more snappy carves. It’s really cool how the ski lets you play around with turn shapes. Not many skis that achieve this level of power, stability, and vibration damping also feel this compliant.

It flies through choppy snow conditions. It literally feels like it takes a chopped up, skied out slope and turns it into a perfect groomer. Again, there aren’t many skis that can stay this composed at speed, without feeling unforgiving or punishing if you hit a bunch of inconsistent snow. The tip shape really helps in that regard. The long, low tip rocker keeps the ski planing above the snow surface, even when the snow isn’t that deep and you’re not even thinking about float. The subtleties to the tip shape are, in my opinion, a big reason why this ski feels so smooth in variable and/or bad snow conditions. If you’re up on edge, it knifes right through things. If you’re riding a flatter ski, that tip shapes allows the ski to skip over little bumps without feeling like you’re bouncing around. It has such a nice blend of feeling adaptable through challenging snow conditions while retaining a long effective edge. It makes you feel 100% in control as a skier, rather than just being along for the ride as can happen on some skis.

2022 Stockli Stormrider 102 Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 1 2022 Stockli Stormrider 102 Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 2

Off trail, like when you take it into the trees or into deeper powder, the slight turned up tail and the fact the ski is lighter than most ski that use this much metal does give it some nice maneuverability. I think it’s important to point out that in the grand scheme of things, there isn’t that much tail rocker, so it still requires someone with good technique is you’re going to use it in more challenging and more technical terrain. A skilled advanced/expert skier won’t have any issues with it whatsoever, but that’s kind of where I start to draw the line for an intermediate. A western based intermediate wouldn’t have the same issues, but I would expect an east coast based intermediate who wanted to use them in the trees might find them a bit overwhelming. Again, an upper-level skier will do just fine, but they do emphasize good technique. No sitting in the backseat and just wiggling around, you have to have your weight forward, be actively engaged in your skiing, and comfortable unweighting your tails when you need to get the ski to quickly swing around behind you.

To me, the highlight of the Stormrider 102 is the way it carves through anything. I enjoy its performance off trail too, but as someone who owns a lot of skis with more tail rocker, it doesn’t quite have the surfy factor I personally look for in a powder/tree ski. On the other hand, a skier with a different style than me, even someone who skis more like Bob, might not feel the same way. Not everyone likes tail rocker. There’s a ton of skiers out there who prefer the feedback and responsiveness of a flatter, stiffer tail when skiing trees and technical terrain. I understand that, I just think it’s something to consider if you’re choosing this ski. The carving-through-anything performance, however, is unreal. I think it does that better than just about any other ski on the market. Such a perfect blend of feeling approachable and intuitive, but also strong, stable, and precise. Can’t wait to make more deep trenches on the Stormrider 102 next season!

2022 Stockli Stormrider 102 Ski Review: Buy Now Image

Written by Jeff Neagle on 05/04/21