Line lives under the same corporate tent as K2, who tends to siphon off most of the R&D dough, leaving a smaller kitty for Line to play with. Its core collections tend to stay intact and subject only to subtle revisions when upgrades are in order. So it’s refreshing to see a couple of all-new models from Line, the Vision 98 and Vision 108.
The Visions don’t replace any existing models and they have to find a home in a collection that’s already stocked with wide, floaty pow skis. Their calling card is lighter weight, created by laminating carbon, glass and Aramid fibers together around a Paulownia and maple core. This allows Line to concoct a new name, Triple Hybrid Construction, crafted no doubt for its acronym, THC.
Both the 98 and 108 are Finesse skis, decidedly lightweight and easy to de-camber into a mid-radius arc. The Visions can handle groomers, but it’s not where they belong. Both are better at breaking through battered crud than they are making technical turns on hard snow. The Vision 98 is such simple-minded fun, it earned the highest score for Finesse properties in the entire All-Mountain West category
One of my happiest runs of the 2019 test season was on the re-tweaked Sir Francis Bacon. I was lucky enough to encounter ideal conditions, around a foot of wind-affected powder. It never faltered, never called attention to itself and never let me stop smiling. The SFB has been around for so long, many testers no doubt didn’t realize it was new, and that what made it new was a return to the shape of the SFB of old, with the addition of convex curvature to the base at tip and tail, allowing the ski to move laterally without the slightest resistance. Anyway, it’s a shame I couldn’t corral more cards on the latest SFB, as it’s one of the best powder skis I’ve ever been on, and I’ve tried a boatload.
Another new Line that somehow slipped through my grasp is the ginormous Outline (150/117/142), which shares the SFB’s convex base design.
BTW, Line turns 25 this year, and like Will Ferrell’s character in Old School, the transition to adulthood may prove difficult for the brand to accept. Will Line suddenly start making Technical skis? Instead of sharing bong hits with its bros will they begin sharing stock tips? Line Technical skis would be welcome – maybe they’ll shake up that staid genre – but I hope Line never outgrows its irreverent, stick-it-to-the-Man attitude.