Ski: Fauna Omni
Reviewer height/weight: 6’2”, 165lbs
Ski weights: 1699g/1730kg
Length skied: 182cm
Actual length (with straight tape): 182.8cm
Mounted: -1cm from true centre (recommended)
Bindings: Pivot 18s
Locations: Zermatt, L2A
Conditions Skied: Crud, Hardpack, Summer Slush, Winter Slush, Rails
Days Skied: 20+
[Editor's note: Our review was conducted on the 2022 Fauna, which is unchanged for 2023]
The Fauna Omni is, as the name suggests, the do-it-all ski from the independent European brand. I got to ride the prototype heavily last summer, riding the skis in Zermatt's banger park and for a week in the French Alps during this winter ... although it was more springlike conditions than proper winter skiing. The skis are a beautiful wooden construction, described as having a medium-soft flex and a near symmetrical shape. They aim to be a park ski that can handle any resort bash you could throw at them. The Omni is a super fun-looking ski with a lot of potential and I was super stoked to test out a unique ski in the admittedly busy space of one-ski quivers with a park focus.
The Omni has a fairly unique shape, with lots of camber underfoot and fairly pronounced rocker lines, the 182cm version I skied has a 132cm effective edge, a mount point of -1cm, and tip and tail height of 57mm and 56mm respectively. 2.2x2.5mm edges that end early on in the low profile top and tails, keeping the swing weight down. The core is poplar core with beech stringers.
The rocker lines are similar to ON3Ps, they start early. The main difference is that there isn’t as much of a splay/rocker in the tails as ON3P and the flex is very different. In ON3Ps of similar construction (ie Jeffrey 102 or Mango 100) the skis have a flex that is progressive throughout the ski. The Fauna Omni has a hinge point in both the noses and tails (around the bottom of the bear's head on the topsheet), remaining stiff underfoot but becoming very soft in the nose and tails. In my version, the prototype is slightly different from the production line in that the tails have been stiffened. A beneficial adjustment as the tails had previously been very soft. There is a reasonable amount of camber to the ski but it flattened out somewhat over the course of the time I skied them.
Topsheet and Base
Profile (in three separate shots because I'm an idiot)
The Fauna Omni is an absolute blast while partaking in ‘regular’ skiing. It’s light, grippy, and surprisingly stable. The tips will get flappy on you but not as much as one would imagine from the shape and weight. Most of the skiing I did on the Omni was slush-busting but I imagine in choppy, cruddy conditions they would become a little hard to handle due to the weight/flex and they'd flex out rather than drive hard.
The combination of taper and rocker provided a nimble platform for jibbing and playing around. It also makes them pretty surfy, but the effective edge and camber underfoot led to me feeling very confident in laying carves and pushing through turns. Turn initiation is really easy but there was maybe a little bit lacking in terms of rebound out of turns that I really want from groomer performance. That being said, these were great fun to carve and charge around the resort on. I did find the Omni somewhat cumbersome in a switch stance but I think a lot of that is due to riding a 100mm underfoot ski and being a little more in tune with my own switch riding at narrower widths, but I found the ski could be a little catchy.
I liked the softness in the tails for ollies and I really felt a sense of freedom afforded by the low swingweight and ease of loading up the noses and tails. I am by no means a strong or heavy skier so I really enjoyed being able to get a lot out of a little when it came to getting over things and buttering the ski.
The ski was definitely stable and turns on a dime, handles harsh breaking well, and doesn’t lose out too much on the fun factor they offered in the park and jibbing. But I think if you’re looking for an all-mountain ski to push super hard that you can take into the park too this may fall a little short in terms of the ability to ride predictably on the limit. Skis with a bit more weight and a more even flex are going to provide that Mach 10 predictability more yet will be heavier for it.
However, for a park ski that’s going to be hella fun out of the park, and between laps these are ideal. Spring skiing and slushy conditions were really where this ski is at home (outside of the park) for staying on top of slush, being easy to pivot, slash and mogul hop/jerry dodge, the central mounting point keeps them fast and easy to swivel about. I had heaps of fun all over the place on these. I am currently riding in Falls Creek, Australia and think these would have been a perfect ski for everything but the icy mornings - that I don't ski anyway - and big jumps - which haven't been built yet and aren't my forte. Being light and jibby and with an easy-to-handle rocker/flex profile. I think they'd also thrive on other low-speed hills, Falls isn't especially steep and ski like this is so fun to play around on going slower.
Sadly these never got a chance to prove themselves to me in powder, I don’t think I’ve skied a true powder day since February 2019… such is life.
The Fauna Omni was a huge amount of fun in the park, being put through its paces mainly in the Zermatt summer park. I’d spent the first week or so of my trip there on the Prodigy 1.0 and, if you see that review feeling a little uninspired - although that Roofbox needs some updating as after 5 weeks on them in spring I fell in love with them. I digress, the Omni put a smile on my face from the word go. Weight wise it comes in about the same as the Prodigy 1.0 (with 13mm extra underfoot and generally a much wider platform. These were light and easy to throw around in a way I haven’t really experienced before from a wide ski. Tricks like peanut butter 3s were easy... my proficiency with this kind of trick style being somewhat limited, so I was super stoked. I felt like I could really go however I wanted, bend them and they would bend, ollie and nollie them and they just did it without trouble. I think there is a tradeoff here depending on your style and preference, there is a significant hinge point created by the sharp change in flex which those who enjoy a progressive flexing ski might dislike. But I think it really has its merits in a ski like this. Tricks I often don’t feel strong enough for on other skis were no issue. A really good job has been done of making a ski that is just easy and fun to f**k around on.
I did occasionally over-flex these skis, especially the tails but as mentioned, those have been updated since I skied them. In the guise I skied them, I’d maybe worry about their larger jump performance - especially having recently hopped on the new Revolt 90 I’m blown away by how much room for error a stiff park ski provides. Don’t expect much wiggle room on landings from the Omni, but then again, this isn’t a ski for triples and the Revolt is. The stiffened tail will definitely help this as it was forward landings i felt it most keenly.
I had a lot of fun playing with side-ons, butters and 5050s on the Omni. The rocker profile gives that 'swivelability' and makes them easy to switch up and surface swap. Generally, on rails, the skis were easy and light, especially for their size. I definitely find stiffer park skis want to be skied with aggression and these are great to ski with a playful mindset. This characteristic balances very well with the skiability of the Faunas outside of the park.
Although I haven’t skied the Blend in years and the only ON3P I’ve ridden is the Kartel 108 I almost get the sense that the Omni steals a little bit of what makes both these skis what they are and melds them into something pretty new and interesting. The Omni takes away the sheer energy required to butter ON3Ps and the unsuitability of the Blend anywhere but a jib park and finds a nice middle-ground for a soft ski that can lay a trench or two.
The age-old and ever-important park ski question is of course their durability. I seem to have been breaking skis more than I ever have in the last couple of years. As a result, I have updated my detuning regime to pretty drastic of late but the Faunas only got a light and rushed going over. That being said I was impressed with how the edges held up. I eventually got an edge crack directly underfoot but having looked through some of the footage from Zermatt I think I deserved it. Disasters are always going to put a strain on edges and basically skiing rails every day for a month will do that to a ski.
The one thing that I can’t quite point the blame towards myself for is the wooden construction and how that degraded with time. Riders of the old Line Afterbang ski will understand. Nothing too drastic went wrong within the skis but the topsheet chipped very quickly and the sidewall began to splinter somewhat. I think in terms of longevity there may be some issues here.
Overall, I was fairly happy with the state the skis were in after 30-odd days of riding, although a couple of occasions of glue and clamps were needed to stay on top of some of the topsheet peeling. The camber did flatten out after a while of riding but the skis stayed lively as I rode them.
We all know that the do-it-all ski is the unicorn of the ski industry but I think the Omni has an interesting take on how to go about being one for park skiers. I think it’s a ski that a lot of people would have a lot of fun on. It’s easy to ski, it’s playful and it does handle speed when you need it to.
I’ll make no illusions about the fact that it is a pretty soft ski but the fairly beefy profile underfoot means that they can be charged with more confidence than a lot of other skis that are this easy and fun to butter and press. If you like to really throw yourself into butters and hold long extended presses then I think you’d find these skis limiting in that respect. They're probably too soft for that. But if you like to be able to get on the noses or tails easily, use the ski and a soft flex to really go anywhere, over rocks, off sidehits etc but want a ski that will still give you something back then I think the Omni is a great option.
I lament not putting these skis more through their paces in traditional resort skiing because I think that would really be the acid test for whether or not these skis tick that box. The bottom line is, however, if you’re after a playful ski and don’t know what you’re going to be faced with I think the Omni is a great choice.
Next up on The Roofbox - Season Eqpt. Pass by @Twig