Line has come a long way in its brief history without ever straying very far from home. We can’t think of another well-distributed ski brand that began life making handmade skiboards, which in case you’ve forgotten, were the super-shorties barely long enough to contain a boot and a rudimentary, non-releasable binding. But Line wouldn’t be here today if Jason Levinthal hadn’t first decided to make a sliding device that was as easy to point backwards as forwards. All Levinthal had to do was elongate his platform and a ski brand married to the twin-tip concept was born.
If the idea of carving every inch of every turn remained as popular as it was in the hey-day of super-shaped skis in the 90’s, Line probably would have gone the way of the dodo. Despite being a fairly diverse brand today, it still doesn’t make anything one could seriously call a Technical ski. Happily for Line, the market shifted its emphasis to skis with better performance in soft snow and crud, which moved a good deal of the market right into Line’s wheelhouse.
There isn’t another mainstream brand that turns over as much of its product line to its sponsored athletes as Line. The term “sponsored athlete” is actually misleading, as Eric Pollard’s designs are intrinsic to the collection and there is no bigger star in the freeride firmament than Tom Wallisch. (If you’ve never seen Wallisch’s crazy-good video from two years ago, Imagination, stop what you’re doing and watch it now.)
Eric Pollard currently has six of his creations in the genres where Line excels, Big Mountain and Powder. His Sakana swallowtail was one of the few new models in Line’s 2019 catalog and, along with big bro the Pescado, one of the most innovative designs in the genre. (Realskiers, alas, wasn’t able to corral enough cards on any of Pollard’s opus, an omission we’d love to correct.) The sub-head to Pollard’s Signature Collection in the 2019 catalog captures the essence of the brand: “Designed and shaped by 20 years of skiing the wrong way.”
While twin-tips and any-way-but-forward seem to be what Line is all about, the reality is it makes a lot of directional models. (Note that the Pescado and Sakana are directional pow skis.) Two Line product families in particular overlap with Realskiers’ core readership, Sick Day and Supernatural. The Sick Days could trademark the adjectives “playful and poppy.” The 4-model series gets its sass by omitting any metal, allowing Line to hit key price points between $399 and $699. The 3-ski Supernatural series focuses on all-mountain footprints at 100mm, 92mm and 86mm, all with just enough metal to keep them quiet in choppy terrain.
Line has always made a good women’s collection, so we’re happy to report we finally got enough data on the Pandora 84 and 104 to Recommend them. We’re unhappy to report that Realskiers couldn’t collect enough feedback to compose a Pandora 94 review, a deficiency we devoutly hope to correct next year.