Loveskiing’s Atomic Access Ski Review 2011
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the Atomic Access all mountain ski. General industry feedback and reports have been very positive so my expectations where high. I was lucky enough to test these skis this February after a dump of snow and so I put the Atomic Access skis to the test in the backcountry, over kickers, down a slalom course and on groomed pistes… perfect!
Specifications and ski sizes:
On first glance the skis are gorgeous and will definitely appeal to a younger audience. I must highlight that the bright yellow may not be to everyone’s taste! I 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 I certainly lit up the mountain! Enough on looks, lets discuss what really matters… the performance!
Powder and Piste
The Access contains Atomic’s Powder Rocker 10 technology which offers great floatation in powder whilst increasing the edge contact point whilst turning on hard snow increasing stability. The Powder Rocker 10 technology is illustrated in Figure 1 and is visible in the shape of the ski, the lift at the tip is huge… 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, provide the ski with greater contact points through turns whilst offering superb floatability in the thick stuff. In reality I found the Access to glide through powder and turning off-piste was a joy to behold. With minimum effort and maximum enjoyment I could 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 I started opening up and carving at speed I struggled to find grip on the edges and the skis would judder constantly leaving me feeling less than stable at times. I decided to test the Access skis stability on a slalom course to gauge the level of stability I was getting. 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 me 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 are relatively lightweight so you can walk back up and stomp the kicker again and again.
Whilst continuing down the backcountry of Sainte Foy I pitched the skis against some moguls (admittedly small ones due to fresh snow and lack of other skiers to shape them, but a mogul nonetheless) and despite the length of the skis I found that I could find all the grip, control and tight turns that I needed, when I needed them. I wasn’t expecting the Access skis to be any good at moguls so this was 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 the Access skis fall down 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. I have never had so much fun off piste over jumps, moguls and in fresh powder fields. I 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).