Atomic Vantage 90 CTI Review

December 18, 2017
Atomic Vantage 90 CTI Vantage 90 CTI
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
92
Float
6
Stability
9
Edge Hold
9
Carving Pleasure
9
Turn Shape
9

The Good

  • Smooth, seamless turns
  • Amazing edge hold
  • Quick edge-to-edge
  • Great versatility
  • Confidence inspiring performance
  • Absolutely rips at high speed

The Bad

  • More carve than float
  • Performs better at higher speeds
  • Needs to turned all the time
THE VERDICT
Atomic hit it out of the park with the Vantage 90 CTI, a ski that combines power, finesse, and lots of fun and excitement with a lightweight feel. It does prefer to be on edge all the time, and offers a little less float than some of the other skis in this class, but so what. The Vantage 90 owns lift-serve conditions and could easily be your go-to ski for all but the deepest days on the hill.
FULL REVIEW

Atomic’s Vantage 90 CTI offers a lot of design features similar to other skis in the Frontside class – a woodcore, titanium for power, hold and dampening, and a mix of tip and tail rocker for easy turn initiation – but this ski seems to put all the ingredients together better than almost anyone else. One big reason why is the extra addition of the brand’s Carbon Tank Mesh, a rigid weave that provides that extra bit of tip to tail edge hold without adding extra weight.

Across the board, testers lauded the versatility of this ski, marveling at how it could carve precise slalom turns on the groomed and in the bumps, then quickly and easily unwind into wider arcs on off-piste steeps, crud and windpack. The Vantage 90 is an absolute pleasure to turn, with such amazing hold that anyone who loves the feeling of arcing perfect trenches in the snow will more than get their money’s worth. Yes, it does need to be on edge, and features a little less float than other Frontside offerings, which hardly seems to matter with such a wide range of performance. This ski is perfect for advanced to expert skiers looking to get the most out of their season pass.

Float

Even with 15 percent rocker in the shovel, the Atomic Vantage 90 CTI’s ‘Float’ scores were the one aspect of this ski that didn’t blow us away. That’s partially because it’s so fun to carve and ride an edge, that you don’t expect to have that little bit of a turned up tip to ease you into the off-piste and cut up snow. The ski did earn a couple of high marks in this classification from the four testers who named the ski their “Favorite,” and then scored a series of 7s and 6s, even from the skiers who rated the ski as “Excellent.” Only one tester rated the CTI as simply “Good,” yet still wrote that, “This is a ski that will appeal to a wide audience.”

Stability

The Stability for the CTI, however, was a completely different animal. Thanks to the Carbon Tank Mesh and Titanium Backbone 2.0, this ski is stable at any speed with the kind of torsional rigidity that makes you want to go faster and faster each trip down the hill. It also gives you the confidence you need to keep pushing a little bit more outside your comfort zone, like say, making GS turns in the bumps or laying it over that much deeper in the groomed. This is a wonderfully confident ski that as one tester noted, “is a hard charger that loves to turn.”

Edge Hold

Ditto for edge hold. One of the top five skis in this category for grip on ice, bumps and groomed, this is a ski that will absolutely thrill every skier who loves to feel the steel slicing through hard snow. “A carving machine that is solid, alive, and good on-piste,” “Smooth in and out of the turn,” and “Very powerful but with a lightweight feel – I’m a big fan of the Carbon Tank Mesh,” were just a few of the comments about the kind of Edge Hold this ski offers, particularly on-piste.

Carving Pleasure

The Vantage almost earned the top Carving Pleasure score possible here, with several testers giving it a 10 (out of a possible 10) and the rest scoring it with 9s and 8s. Expert, technical skiers will thrill at how this ski rewards good skill. The more you drive it, the better it performs, with a wonderful edge to edge quickness in short, medium and long-range turns without ever losing contact with the snow. Some of the top comments here include: “The transfer from tip to tail through the turn is smooth and beautiful,” and “It’s so easy to charge on these skis from edge to edge.”

Turn Shape Variability

As more than one tester wrote, this ski “does it all!” It does seem to provide the most pleasure and performance at medium radius turns, but that speaks to the preference of our testers as well. One of the best aspects of testing this ski was enjoying its ability to change from short to medium to long turns several times on the hill. It’s one of the top three skis in the Frontside Category.

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