Depending on where and how you ski, the Maverick 88 Ti may be the best of the top 3 models in the latest all-mountain series from Atomic, despite residing on the lowest rung of the pricing ladder. It arcs the best short-radius turns of the bunch despite a mid-radius sidecut that’s equally comfortable when allowed to run for the barn. Its tail is supportive without being flashy, gradually releasing its grip as it crosses the turn transition.
As the narrowest of the Maverick Ti trio, the 88 Ti is the best fit for today’s arrhythmic bumps, and its ability to access a short arc in a jiffy is a huge asset in the trees. When I let it run on a long, gradual ballroom on the sunny side of Mt. Rose, it remained predictable and trustworthy as I raked up the edge angle, banking off a receptive layer of solar-softened cream. Its baseline is more cambered than its siblings (15/75/10), so there’s a longer platform under the pilot in all conditions, without sacrificing its ability to swivel a turn in a pinch.
I’m not sure I would have been so confident on a surface much steeper and harder; after all, the Maverick 88 Ti is, in concept and execution, an off-trail ski. It’s ready and willing to smear at all times, although its secure edge is always there for the summoning should circumstances change on the fly. Its tips would prefer that the snow find it, rather than the other way around. This makes it a hero in spring snow, where its rockered forebody can buffer the blows delivered by ever-softening conditions. Bear in mind, it earned its highest marks for forgiveness and other Finesse traits, so it shines on softer surfaces.
To give you an idea of what a steal the Bent Chetler 100 was when it was introduced four years ago, Atomic understandably raised its retail price by $100 a year later, and it was still the best value in the category. But the Bent Chetler 100 is more than just a good deal; it’s a wonderfully versatile ski that’s as easy to ski in off-trail conditions as any AMW model at any price.
The key to the Bent Chetler 100’s charms is its Horizon Tech tip and tail which are rockered on both axes. By crowning its extremities, the littler Chetler feels like it can drift in any direction on a whim without losing control of trajectory. When in its element, it’s the epitome of ease, rolling over terrain like a spatula over icing.
The Bent Chetler 100 is all about freedom of expression rather than the tyranny of technical turns. So what if its liberty-loving tip doesn’t want to show up early in the turn? That’s not its shtick. It has talents Technical skis never imagined, like throwing it in reverse off a precipice. It’s light, it’s easy to pivot and it’s wide enough to float in two feet of fresh. If you evaluate the Bent Chetler 100 for what it does rather than what it isn’t meant to do, it’s an all-star in a league of its own.
“These are the top of the heap when it comes to blending playfulness with precision,” observes Boot Doctors’ Bob Gleason, who has been assessing skis for almost as long as your esteemed Editor. “Easy to ski in variable conditions, it arcs and scrubs with dexterity.”
Although the Bent Chetler 100 is a directional ski, its unique design lends itself to omni-directional skiing. This pegs its probable skier profile as a young male with aerial antics on his bucket list. But it would be underselling the Bent Chetler 100 to lump it with Pipe & Park twin-tips. Anyone looking for a great value in an all-terrain ski can’t do any better than a Bent Chetler 100.
In the 2018/19 season, Atomic dove into the deep end of the Lighter is Better pool, emerging with Pro Lite, a skeletal construction that sought to trim mass using all the means at the R&D department’s disposal.
Launched just last year, Atomic’s Maverick and Maven (for women) series have bid aloha to Pro Lite, returning to a classic, elementary construction that Atomic could build in its sleep: an all-poplar core encased in top and bottom sheets of fiberglass and either Titanal (.4mm) or carbon, depending on the model. The emphasis on lightweight hasn’t been jettisoned, but it has taken a back seat to performance fundamentals.
The Maverick 100 Ti’s special sauce is the combined effect of its double-rockered baseline (25/60/15), tapered tip and unique HRZN Tech Tip that’s rockered on both axes. Atomic calls this combo the ski’s Flow Profile, a good term for how a ski meets the snow. In the case of the Maverick 100 Ti, the front rocker reveals a decided preference for off-trail skiing, sacrificing early connection at the top of the turn on firm snow for a better buffer when barging through cut-up crud.
The 100 Ti is the best of the new Mavericks at drifting, able to smudge over loose, sloppy snow whether meeting it head-on, sideways or somewhere in between. It also has a bit more metal than its bros by dint of its added surface area, so it surprisingly holds a better edge on sheer surfaces than its skinnier siblings.