Last spring, after nearly drowning in pow at Granite Peak, WI, I became officially fed up with my 171cm Line Blends, and decided I needed something at least 180cm long and 105-120mm underfoot. After seeing the Roofbox review of Surface’s Park Blanks, I checked out the Surface website to see if they had anything similarly cheap, and was immediately roped in by the Outsiders’s topsheet, width, and rocker profile. I tried to find reviews of the ski to see if the crazy triplane rocker profile was just a gimmick or a legitimate innovation, and I couldn’t find any official reviews, but the Outsiders seemed to have a cult following; virtually every opinion of them on the Internet described them as nimble, stable, floaty, and insanely fun. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, I’m gonna get to the bottom of this, and tell y’all what I found out. Here’s my almost official review of the Surface Outsiders.
Size tested: 189cm
Mount point: recommended “progressive” line (-0.5 or true center, not sure which)
Reported weight per ski: 2313 grams
Width underfoot: 112mm
Turning radius: 26.2m
I already implied this, but the topsheet looks pretty dope (at least to me). However, this is the 2018-2019 topsheet, so I guess that doesn’t matter, unless you’re snagging them pre-owned or on sale. I’m not a fan of the 19-20 topsheet personally; I don’t like photo graphics on my skis, nor a grayscale colorway. The bottom sheet is the standard Surface black bottom sheet with just the white logo, which isn’t too spunky, but I’m not really good enough to be flashing the bottoms of my skis anyway.
Upon observing the rocker profile in real life for the first time, it definitely looked kinda odd, although it also looked pretty sick in a certain way. (The park rats I met at my local hills agree.) Hand flexing it, it was definitely way stiffer than my Blends or other skis I’ve skied, like Marksmans or ARV JJ’s. The flex pattern on the upturned sections is probably about an 8 or 9 out of 10. Given their charging ability on groomers, it seems pretty rock solid underfoot, especially given that you’re gonna put your bindings there.
Overall I was pretty stoked upon getting them, and they didn’t look too tall for me. (I’m 181cm tall.) I mounted them with some secondhand Salomon STH bindings, which so far have released or held fast when I needed them to.
I had been told that these ski super short due to the rocker, almost like ski blades. I can’t do a parallel slide on inline skates, so I was actually kinda worried I’d revert to pizza-ing when I tried to take them down a run. However, as I took my first warm-up lap down a Wisconsin groomer, not only did I not have this problem, but I noticed that they felt surprisingly...normal. I wouldn’t call it uninspiring, but turning feels like you’re making a big arc, as opposed to pumping from side to side.
People have generally described this ski as “chargy yet playful”, and while they can definitely charge, I would not describe them as “burly”. They want to go fast because they are stiff and have a very, very wide turn radius (26m), but the low camber underfoot makes it so that they do not blast you out of turns like some other skis I’ve tried. Still, though, when I really flexed my boots forward and carved longer turns instead of shorter ones, I started to get these to hold a real solid edge and haul ass down steep groomers.
When you’re chilling down slower and more “jibby” terrain, the rocker makes you want to pivot, swerve, and slash with your feet and knees close together. They feel absolutely fine skiing switch despite the rocker, probably due to the stiffness keeping you from washing out on your tips.
These skis are definitely capable in park. They are not designed as a dedicated park ski, being 112 underfoot and weighing >2300g per ski at 189cm length, but people still whip them in the park anyway, including the legendary Jack Finn, a video of whom is shown below:
Whip it in the kitchen like stir fry.
They felt noticeably heavier than my Blends, but the swing weight wasn’t unbearably heavy, and probably something that I could just get used to.
The interesting thing I noticed is that although they reportedly ski super short, they are stiff all the way through. In general, they don’t ever feel tippy towards the front and back, despite their profile. If you land backseat, even though they are rockered, the stiff tails will keep you propped up. So on jumps they don’t land like a super rockered ski at all. (Although, being a blader, maybe I’m just used to landing on the bolts.)
Another thing about this unique profile and flex combination is that it makes buttering a tad easier despite the ski’s stiffness. The ski is no butter machine, but even as someone who is learning butters, I’ve learned to press and scrub my tips across the snow with these. If you position your weight right, you should be getting your tails or tips up a decent amount. In short, their stiffness combined with the triplane rocker profile makes them relatively capable in park, especially if you can handle twintips on the heavier and wider side.
They’re no slouch on rails either, but they can tend to feel a bit clunky at times. I can’t tell if their width and length makes them more or less stable on rails, since I can’t do much in terms of grind tricks, but they were not unmanageable.
Bumps & Trees
TBD!!! I skied a whopping two days this season and both of them were at shitty hills where I just lapped the park, so I will be posting a followup review next season when I hopefully get to take these on a real mountain.
Crap Conditions (ice, crust, crud, etc.)
Also see above. Both of my days this season had pretty soft snow on the hill, no crappy snow to be found.
And that’s it for now! Unfortunately, that was just a park and groomer review! I’ll be back next year, though…Hopefully…
Anyway, imma head out. Btw, fuck all my opps/haters!
P.S: shoutout satanworshipper for reviewing this review for me [100 emoji]