Renoun Citadel (2018-2019)
266 Main St., Burlington, Vermont, United States
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
10 for soft to medium density snow for agile, all radius turns, trees and open terrain
9+ for groomers and hardpack for a 106mm waisted ski
9+ for cruddy conditions and cut-up surfaces at less than warp-9 speeds
9+ for powder conditions with a slight bias toward directionality vs. smearing surfy style
Cyrus Schenk grew up skiing Vermont in the United States, and while
attending Clarkson University for Engineering, discovered the science
behind the unique properties of non-Newtonian materials. Being inspired
to build a ski utilizing these instantly-adaptable materials, Cyrus
developed prototypes with friends, decided to create his company called
Renoun and won the 2015 ISPO innovation Gold Medal award with his
now-patented "Hyper Dampening Technology (HDT)" ski design. Since then,
the Burlington, Vermont-based Renoun has developed a series of
carving, all-mountain and freeride ski designs incorporating HDT,
instantly impressing a wide swath of ski testers, industry insiders and
skiers all over the World. Cyrus designs his skis and specifications
in Burlington, Vermont and hires the expert ski and snowboard builders
at Utopie Manufacturing in Rimouski, Quebec to execute the construction
of those designs into his premium-priced product.
"“THE MOST STABLE FULL-CARBON SKI. EVER.”
"The Citadel 106 has been a vision of ours since the inception of
RENOUN. Wider, lighter, carbon fiber. More HDT, less chatter. Everything
you need to build a super ski unlike any other. After 3 years of
R&D - Research & Dreaming, we’ve made it a reality. Welcome to a
whole new level of performance.
With twice the amount of HDT™ than any other model, paired with a full
carbon fiber layup the Citadel is the lightest ski in our line and
guarantees an unmatched level of performance, stability and adaptability
in every condition.
At under 1,700g/ski, it heeds every movement you desire with simplistic
ease — yet with twice the HDT™, it's more stable than skis built with
metal. Light & stable? Yes. This is a whole new category of design.
This is The Citadel."
- Website November 2018
Technical Ski Data:
Aspen laminate core
Full width/length carbon layers
HDT polymer inserts inlaid into the core (twice the volume of Renoun's other models)
Durasurf 4001 bases
Slight camber underfoot, rockered tip, nearly flat tail configuration
Bindings and Boots Used:
Tyrolia PRD 12 bindings
Salomon S-Max 120 boots.
Upon unwrapping the Citadel 106, the first thing you notice is the lack
of weight. These things are seriously light...reminding us of touring
skis since they only weigh 1744 grams and 1721 grams each in our 185cm
test pair. The flex is somewhat soft feeling tip and tail, with a
medium-stiff midbody flex. The nearly flat tails flex in a nicely
rounded arc, with the forebody having a slightly hinged flex pattern,
but nearly indiscernablely so. Forebody torsional strength is moderate,
but nothing extreme. Flex response feels moderate, neither
super-snappy or deadly damp (which belies the performance these skis can
deliver). Sidecut geometery looks fairly mild without any radical
Topsheet graphics are subdued gray-black patterns with minor accents
of blue logo and white lettering everyone seemed to agree was handsome
and not flashy, but definitely business-like. Fit and finish were
excellent, right out from the Utopie factory in Quebec (same factory
producing JSkis, Racoon, Renoun and several others). The factory tune
appeared too tight at first blush, with nearly zero base bevel and what
seemed like a 1+ degree side edge bevel. We ran a hand file down the
base of the skis for one or two passes and a stone down the sides to get
a "Ski-The-East" grip underfoot with the stock tune. This proved to be
superb for this 106mm-waisted ski, (read on) even though most people
instinctively want more base bevel on a ski this wide...so don't believe
everything you've trained yourself to think. Mounting screws had a
nice, solid grip into the cores when we torqued the bindings onto the
Eastern corduroy, packed powder and hardpack groomers &
boilerplate. Some shin-deep and knee-deep powder sections, skied-out
afternoon powder, 2-3 day old skied out powder, crud, crust, bumps, open
areas and trees
Bottom Line: The Renoun Citadel is one of the best all-terain freeride
skis we have ever tested. Two different testers immediately ordered
pairs for themselves after spending several days with the Citadels. You
can try this ski for 100 days and return it for a full refund if you
don't like it, then live with a two year warranty against defects. Cyrus
Schenk's claim to have "The World's most stable full-carbon ski ever"
is not marketing hype. It is indeed true.
The Renoun Citadel 106 is Cyrus Schenk's
"ski-I-could-finally-build-for-me" model after 3 years of getting Renoun
off the ground as a business with actual cash flow and growing
customer base. The geometry, flex and camber profile really share
nothing with the now-discontinued Endurance 104 (which tons of people
all over the skier spectrum really found fun and friendly). The
Citadel uses an aspen laminated core with a full sheet of carbon fiber
(a first for Renoun) and twice as much HTD (Hyper Dampening Technology)
polymer as any other model (12 inlay strips into the core).
The Citadel 106 is shockingly light for its size (1744 grams and 1721
grams each ski on our 185cm test pair [which actually measures 182cm
tip to tail straight tape pull]) and feels extremely light
underfoot...mimicking a touring ski-like feel. The tips have a moderate
rocker profile, midbody is cambered and the tail is nearly flat with
minimal rocker. The initial impression we had when clicking into
Citadels mounted with alpine bindings (we used Tyrolia PRD12
adjustables) is that this ski will be light-handling and shouldn't be
pushed too hard or fast since it might get skittery and wash-away as it
folds under pressure. We couldn't have been more wrong. The Citadel
pretty much surprised everyone by taking strong, forceful input pressure
under high edge angles at high speeds like a GS ski, but with half the
weight and half the effort you'd expect. The Citadel can deliver a
high-performance, sporty, athletic, confidence-inspriring ride at slow
or high speeds with complete security and composure on soft or packed
surfaces, even when it feels like a lightweight underfoot. It's quick,
fun, stable, easy, sporty, serious, quiet, secure and playful all at the
same time (yes..it's hard to believe our own words, but read on...).
At 106mm underfoot, the Citadel can set, hold and switch edges on packed
surfaces like a ski with an upper-80s waist, isolating and quieting
firm condition vibrations with an eerie, almost elegant feel along its
entire length. On packed groomers, you can run it flat with a drifty,
almost smeary style, or ride it deeply on-edge like a GS-sized carver
with some hip-dragging angles. In cut-up or junky conditions, you can
dance through the crappy snow with surpising agility because of the low
mass underfoot, or set a solid trajectory through the crud and
power-track your way to your turn points with very little deflection or
kicked-around feelings. The soft flex of the forebody can lead to some
perceived flap at speed through junk, but the line always seems to
hold solidly on-track so you don't need to make corrections or put your
skis back on your line. Powder surfing is completely intuitive,
essentially effortless and a nice mix between directional and
smearingly surfy feel with on-demand depth and turn shape changes with
almost zero effort. In each environment, the Citadels lived up to the
Renoun reputation for becoming quieter and quieter the faster you ski
them...so the family trait endowed by the twice-the-usual dose of HDT
polymer seems to be nicely demonstrated in this design.
The ExoticSkis test crew is pretty skeptical and devotedly critical
since we find most ski tests in the large magazines to be shallow and
all too often full of hyperbole and lacking criticism of ski personality
traits and behaviors. After the first few days on hardpack, crud and
powder outings we wondered how a ski like the Renoun Citadel can deliver
such an easy-to-handle, yet high level of performance in all these
different conditions and surface environments. Many skis deliver a
"great", "pretty good" or "OK" performance at one or some of the
conditions we put the Citadels through, but we can't remember a ski with
this much fun-factor and so little disappointment in so many kinds of
snow with so little pilot effort required.
In summary, the premium-priced Citadel represents an honest-to-goodness
reference standard of 100-110mm freeride skis for the huge swath of
skiers between beginner and professional hard-core charging athlete.
That's a wide market segment. The geometry and componentry of the Renoun
Citadel simply work better at delivering a ton of fun for all kinds of
surfaces than nearly any other skis we can think of for the majority
of skiers out there. Beginners and pro-level hardcore Nice work. The
bar has been raised, which is good for skiers everywhere. Everyone
really loved this ski.
Hardpack and Boilerplate:
Most 106mm-waisted skis are not the best choice for groomer hardpack or
boilerplate carving, so when we test the behavior of a ski the size of
the Citadel, we adjust our expectations. Every tester had the same
reaction after taking the Citadels out for a few days on various
densities of groomed runs...."Wow." Most skis in the 100-110mm category
can grip hardpack with some effectiveness, but getting them to engage,
hold under pressure, change edges and track on-edge at different
speeds and turn radii can be disappointing and a lesson in tolerance
The Citadels surprised everyone by how grippy they were underfoot and
along their entire length, delivering a remarkable level of confidence
and holding power in a really wide variety of situations and
conditions for a relatively non-carving width ski. We're confident
saying the Citadels have class-leading edge grip for The quickness of
edge sets and changes really stuck out in our testing of the Citadels
on hardpack. The light weight helps reduce the effort of tipping the
ski along its long axis into and out of turns, but its tenacity to hook
up and grip in the forebody and draw the grip down through the midbody
and tail during the turn sequence was surprisingly good for a ski this
size. After a few turns on packed groomers, testers all started
skiing the Citadels like frontside all-mountain skis instead of
midsized freeride skis.
Response on hardpack was very sporty and fun, quick when needed,
smooth and quiet when rowdy action was dialed-back. Turn radii could be
forced into tight, choppy modes, medium or long, drawn-out GS-like
arcs at slow or high speeds with very little effort. You don't need to
be an athlete to get the Citadels to work well. As we expected, the
signature quiet ride of Renoun's skis displayed itself in the Citadel
model by essentially zeroing-out high frequency vibrations in the chasis
and controlling unwanted action at high speeds or choppy, harsh
conditions. Feedback underfoot was really detailed without being
irritating. We really liked the hard surface behavior of the Citadels
and couldn't find any dowside to their personality or action on firm
The relatively flat tails help keep a solid platform underfoot under
carving pressure and minimize the shortened contact length on edge
found in many skis with more rocker than the Citadels. They even worked
in a really civilized, secure manner on good old noisy, Eastern
boilerplate...better than nearly any other skis this size we can
remember. Yes, a 106mm ski can work well on hardpack in a way that might
surprise some skiers.
Mixed Surface & Variable Conditions:
There seems to be two schools of thought on what kind of skis people
want to handle cut-up snow conditions. Skiers often want either a
heavy, somewhat stiff, damp, strong platform to cut through junk with
zero deflection, freight train solidity and unwaivering tracking
integrity, or they want an agile, float-and-skim lightweight surfer to
ride over the variable surface conditions to avoid darty subsurface
behaviors. The freight train skis need a strong pilot to keep the
pressure on, while the lightweight surfers need someone quick on their
feet who will keep the speed under control to avoid over-skiing a soft
ski's speed limit and ability to keep its composure. The Renoun
Citadels feel like a surfy lightweight in junky conditions, but track on
a solid line like a stiffer, heavier ski with minimal deflection. If
we had to pick a bias between surfy and freight train styles to
describe the Citadels, it would be on the surfy side, but with very few
of the side effects typically found in surfy style skis in crud.
The Citadels remain quick, yet oddly quiet, without the darty traits
in some soft-forebody skis in the 19m radius class. You can hold a
powerful line through junky conditions with the Citadel with less effort
than a heavy-metal crud-cutter type of ski, with only a slight
tradeoff of stability, which really shows itself as not "instability"
as much as "reactivity". The Citadels never really become unstable,
even at speed in the cruddy conditions. They feel light and quick,
which might disorient a skier accustomed to heavy, damp crud cutters.
For most skiers, the Citadel will let them rip or cruise through the
mixed-density 3D snow with very little effort and no anxiety, which is a
great trait in our book. The only time the Citadels deflect a little
is when there is a hard, soft-ball sized chunk of ice under the
surface, but even then, the quiet and controlled nature of the Citadels
make a minor corrective move pretty effortless, which is valuable if
you ski these kind of conditions all day.
The geometry and flex of the Citadel delivers a really nicely balanced
mix of surfy agility and directional stability in powder conditions. We
skied the 185 in the woods of Vermont and found the size ideal for our
crew, obviously wanting the 191 in more wide-open or Western terrain.
The Citadels like being skied right on the midbody in powder, allowing
the tips to surf up nicely and letting you put the heels down when
needed in the soft snow along your turn sequences. Vertical control of
your depth is pretty effortless, with just a hint of directionality
under the surface if you throw them sideways while still submerged.
Slurfing sideways on top of the snow is simple, even with the somewhat
flat tail rise. We would grab the Citadels on any powder day unless it
was truly epic and demanded a truly fat ski in the 112-120mm+
category. We loved the 185 in powdery, tight trees. We would pick the
191 without hesitation in more open powder terrain or Western
Turn Initiation, Apex & Finish:
The Citadel initiates a turn with a minor tip of the ski, and doesn't
really need an increase in forebody pressure to get it to hook up. It
naturally wants to take the tip engagement and run it down the length of
the ski automatically, letting your body weight pressure the mid-ski
at the apex and finish on a substantial tail under nearly any pressure
level without washing away. We really liked our test pair with a
minimal base bevel (0.5 degrees) to maintain an impressive grip without
feeling hooky or railed, yet allowing a smearing scrubability
on-demand. The Citadel likes a centered stance without any extreme
pressures or movements for and aft...essentially a neutral-feeling turn
behavior at nearly all speeds from slow to rippingly fast. You can get
forward on the Citadels and force a hard-lock carve early, or relax and
enjoy the scenery without feeling you've come out of this ski's
comfort zone, which is impressive. You can pop it into various turn
shapes quickly in rapid-fire fashion, or ride a long GS-style arc from
start to finish without any complaints from the Citadels...they just
seem to do as they're told without any real bias to any extreme.
Analogies: ("This ski is like...")
A Hasbro Transformer. Click: It's a frontside carver on hardpack.
Click: It's a powder ski with fun surf and smear abilities. Click: It's a
tree ski wiggling through tight forests with ease. Click: It's a
point-and-go freeride all-terrain ski.
Notable Tester Comments:
"Let's put it this way, these are the first skis I immediately ordered after testing them.
Got them up to 79.8 mph, according to the GPS. Still no sense of chatter
or wobble. Really want to try the longer version... I'll just have to
get a pair! Not a lot of untracked left, but found a bit and they were
happy little clams. Very happy!
The human mind is hard wired to seek out faults. It's a survival instinct. So let's take a look at the new Renoun Citadel.
Pick them up and they almost fly out of your hands. Unexpected, having a wide, hefty looking ski weigh so little. Way too light.
The graphics match all the Euro gear for next year. Really, I just
received a promo boot pack in the exact same colors. "But graphics don't
matter," you say. Sure, companies never worry about that, or have
teams of well payed employees working on the graphics.
What do these graphics mean for you? This was the first pair of Renoun
test skis that received questions just on their looks, from people who
had no previous knowledge of the brand, the buzz, or the non-Newtonian
physics. But, most importantly, when you put your Citadels together they
don't create one piece of art. So you don't have a left and right
side, you can swap left and right skis without messing up some pattern.
The way these want to go downhill, and the edging you will be doing,
this is a great thing.
Way too good a grip on groomed. Did you ever ski with a person of a
certain age who has a style that seems effortless? These emulate that
style. Even at over 60 miles per hour. No chatter, no wobble, just a
So, despite the request to be ruthless in our criticism I'm having trouble trying to find something wrong with this model.
Did they do it? I think so."
"I immediately ordered a pair on pre-season special as soon as possible
after testing them. I was initially unaware this was a carbon ski &
loved the variable terrain performance & in juxtaposition with how
quickly they engaged with tearing arcs over the hill."
Effortless, refreshingly light (1744g and 1721g measured) and nimble in tight eastern trees, both steep and low-angle terrain
Compliant and surfy when skied lazily (see vid), yet solid and reliable
when pressured in tight conditions with zero tail-washout thanks to the
relatively flat tail and camber profile. Confidence level underfoot is
rock-solid in virgin or cut-up soft conditions.
Elegant open-powder surfing turn shapes and smearability for a ski with
minimal tip and tail splay and long camber zone mid-body…unsually good
open powder behavior for a minimal rocker design. Feels like it's as
long as it measures in 185cm…does not ski super short…maaaayyyybe 180cm
Bias toward highly-accurate directional handling rather than
loose-and-surfy smearing personality. Good balance between line-holding
tenacity and smeary driftability.
Eerily quiet, yet eager feeling and very responsive underfoot without a
hint of darty behavior in 3D snow. Nearly zero deflection from junk
under the surfaces.
Feels a little dead on packed powder surfaces until you realize the turn
intensity you can get out of the shaping and camber. I get the same
feeling from some serious race skis on hardpack….until you realize it's
not "dead", but "quiet" without giving off a "heavyweight" impression
Higher speeds through cut-up, skied-out powder snow is totally quiet and
controlled, with quickly responsive directional changes on demand.
Just a hint of wander at speed running flat.
The response and feel is unique for ski with these dimensions. Damp and
quiet without a heavy-feel, yet eager and energetic both in
low-pressure and higher-pressure turn events.
Packed powder carving prowess is class-leading....right with the DPS
Wailer 106 Alchemist (one of my favorite skis this season). I honestly
have a mental conflict about a ski with touring-class weight (or lack
thereof) that trenches lines at warp 9 speeds on dense packed surfaces
with silkly quiet confidence. You can crank multiple radii turns in
carving mode and the Citadel doesn't protest. No balking, no washout, no
fight-back...the harder you crank them, the deeper they dive into the
turns with slot-car like traction. Do not put a base bevel more than
0.5 degrees on this ski...trust me....you don't want to waste its
ability to engage the forebody quickly and with authority.
I had several carving skis between 82 and 95mm underfoot for hardpack
testing...and found myself spending the most time on the Citadel 106.
That might give you a clue about this ski.
Surprisingly grippy and quick out of a turn on groomers
Fun and surfy tree toys with great feel and agility.
Remarkably good all over the place.
Things I Would Change About This Ski:
Nothing other than offer more length options.
Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":
The Citadel is one of the most impressive skis we've ever tested because
it performs at such a high level in an absurdly wide variety of
terrain and snow conditions with very little effort. Other ski
builders should take note. This is a freeride / all terrain ski that
could raise the bar for everyone
What kind of skier is this ski good for and not suitable for?
The 106mm size might be a bit too wide for some intermediates, and some
muscle-head heavyweights might over-drive this ski. Other than that,
everyone would be an ideal candidate for the Citadel.
Advice To People Considering This Ski:
Consider your terrain and average speed preferences and buy a size up
from your old skis unless they had significant rocker profiles or you
spend most of your time in tight conditions.
Blister Gear Review (subscription required)
Pics: (click for larger versions)
Renoun Citadel Tip Profile
Renoun Citadel Tail Profile
Renoun Citadel Tip Profile
Renoun Citadel construction detail
Renoun Citadel construction detail
Renoun Citadel Tip Detail
Renoun Citadel Tail Detail