Atlas Aspect 2 ReviewOctober 13, 2013
- Natural feel when moving
- Tail drop was minimal, reducing most drag in the snow for good maneuverability.
- Traction on ice
- Deep powder ascents resulted in trapped snow on the decking with each step increasing snow weight on the surface.
- Heel lift bar required more effort to release underfoot especially with poles.
- Z straps were cumbersome for mating the straps and hooks
While not receiving top marks in any one category, the Atlas Ascent scored well in all areas. It seems best for users looking for a lightweight snowshoe that excels in icy conditions and performs respectably in deep powder. The newer binding provided a tighter lateral fit than previous designs however suffered slightly from a more cumbersome process of getting the straps and hooks to line up. The high price pushes the value rating down somewhat.
Atlas is known for using a spring loaded binding that minimizes the heel drag by keeping the binding closer to the foot while still allowing some movement for shedding snow on steep ascents. The changes for 2014 include a new Z strap that goes diagonally across the foot, engaging on three hooks in three spots.
The Atlas Aspect scored good marks for its natural feel and neutral position while walking. However, during deep powder testing, some snow got traped on the decking area which each step. The spring loaded binding—while keeping the shoe in a neutral position—also flipped snow up over my head when running downhill in powder (not necessarily a bad thing for some powder lovers). The edge grip proved trustworthy on icy terrain with noticeably good traction on lateral traverses. Responsiveness was adequate for quick turns but lacked the quickness of the Easton Backcountry shoes we tested.