Loveskiing’s Atomic Access Ski (2011) Review
We couldn’t wait to get our hands on the Atomic Access All-Mountain ski. General industry feedback and reports have been very positive so our expectations where high. We were lucky enough to test these skis after a big dump of snow and so we were able to put the Atomic Access skis to the test in the backcountry, over kickers, down a slalom course and on perfectly groomed pistes…lucky us!
Specifications and ski sizes:
At first glance the skis are gorgeous and will definitely appeal to a younger audience. We must highlight that the bright yellow may not be to everyone’s taste! However, here at Loveskiing, we like to stand out on the slopes and with the bright yellow Access skis, blue Scott jacket, orange Head ski boots and green Schoffel trousers our reviewer certainly lit up the mountain! Enough on looks, let’s discuss what really matters… the performance!
Powder and Piste
The Access contains Atomic’s Powder Rocker 10 technology which offers great flotation in powder whilst increasing the edge contact point when turning on hard snow, which increases stability. This is illustrated in Figure 1 below and is visible in the shape of the ski – the lift at the tip is huge. Therefore, when putting them in a gondola you will have to put each ski in a separate holder. As Figure 1 shows, a combination of an early rise in the tip and tail of the ski combined with the rocker and camber (under the binding section of the ski) provides the ski with greater contact points through turns whilst offering superb flotation in the thick stuff. In simpler terms, we found that the Access glided through powder and turning off-piste was a joy to behold. With minimum effort and maximum enjoyment we were able to carve a beautiful snake down fresh untouched powder… bliss!
On hard packed snow it was a different story. Stability at slow speeds was on the whole good, but once we started opening up and carving at speed we struggled to find grip on the edges and the skis would judder constantly leaving us feeling less than stable at times. Because of this, we decided to test the Access skis on a slalom course to gauge their level of stability. On the first run of the day, on a freshly groomed course the skis were a delight to use, with great edge stability and they truly allowed us to carve up the course at high speed. However, by the end of the day once the snow was compact and icy the skis were all over the place with little-to-no edge bite or grip in the snow. Ultimately, the Access skis are incredible on powder, especially fresh virgin powder, good on groomed pistes and poor on hard packed or icy snow.
Kickers and Moguls
Is there anything like the adrenaline you get from stomping a kicker? I’m not sure there is. The Access skis would glide over the fresh powder, propel me off a backcountry kicker and nail the perfect landing time after time. The skis are just ridiculously stable on landing and, to make them even better, they’re relatively lightweight so you can walk back up and stomp the kicker again and again.
Whilst continuing down the backcountry of Sainte Foy, we pitched the skis against some moguls (admittedly small ones due to fresh snow and lack of other skiers to shape them, but moguls nonetheless) and despite the length of the skis we found that we were able to find all the grip, control and tight turns that we needed, when we needed them. We weren’t expecting the Access skis to be any good when it came to mogul skiing, so this was certainly a pleasant surprise.
To summarise, the Atomic Access skis are incredible for kickers and for ploughing through powder, very good over moguls and on freshly groomed pistes, but poor on hard packed or icy slopes with a total lack of edging stability. The enjoyment these skis provide for the casual expert skier is immense though. Our reviewer stated that he had never had so much fun off-piste over jumps, moguls and in fresh powder fields. On this basis, we would highly recommend the Atomic Access skis to anyone who skis the whole mountain at a high level and wants the best of both worlds… carving ability and a monster powder ski.
The Atomic Access ski retails at £400 (ski only).