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The Bent Chetler has been around for quite a few seasons now (this is the 7th year in production) but last season it got a fairly big update in, namely the Hrzn tech use in the tips and tails (horizontal rocker).
The change of in the tips and tails is basically like a side to side rocker which actually increases the surface area by 10%. This increase in surface area not only aids the float of the ski but I did find it makes the skis very easy to butter and press. The raised edges at the tips and tail really allow easy initiation of both butter and carves. New tech like this is sometimes mainly marketing but I do think it improves the way the skis ride when compared to older versions.
The flex is more towards the stiff side and they are certainly a ski which likes to go fast. I was finding that until you get the skis over about 70Kmh they do feel a little lifeless but get some speed up and they really come alive. I was having a blast even in the wet heavy snow that the 14/15 season in whistler seemed to be made up of.
Considering they are more on the charger side they are still playful. As i mentioned the Hrzn does help with the playfulness but they like most pow skis, they do have a large rocker which means getting up on the tip and tails is still relatively easy.
One thing I did find is because they are a powerful ski they do really ski better with stiffer boots. I tried some 90 and 100 flex boots and they were just not delivery enough power to drive the skis. Once I got in the waymaker 130's it was a totally different experience. The stiff powerful boot matched perfectly with the skis and I was quickly skiing faster and harder then I had all season.
For a fatter ski they handle the hardpack pretty well, you wont be doing short turns but they pivot and smear easily so although not a ski I would choose for my everyday ski they could work. One of the Oakley reps in town actually rides the Bents for his everyday ski including in the park and e throws down on them so although not my first choice for an everyday ski they can certainly work.
Overall if you are looking for a soft jibby pow ski these probably are not for you, but if you are a bigger guy or you prefer a more aggressive style they are well worth a look.
I bought the Bentchetler at the beginning of the season with the idea that I was going to use it as my everyday ski living in Revelstoke, as the season progressed and my I tried some different gear this turned out not to be the case.
The Bentchetler is a phenomenal deep pow ski, if you are like Chris and are fortunate enough to be skiing in Japan, flying in helicopters, driving sleds, or riding in cats on a daily basis than this is an epic ski. If you are riding 1700m top to bottom with crazy terrain and condition changes on the way down than maybe it will not be the best.
My biggest issue with the ski is how soft the tails are. It does make the ski playful in the soft snow but that is about the only advantage that I have been able to find thus far. With the very soft tail I have found that you sacrifice stability at speeds, the ability to confidently drive the tip through crud, stability on hardpack/ice and most importantly a significant amount of pop when compared side by side to other similar powder skis. When I'm charging through trees and need to make a very quick adjustment or turn I can't get the response from the skis that I would like. Because of this I have adjusted my style of skiing in a way that I can only describe as "surfy" (keeping the skis floating sideways as opposed to charging them straight down the fall line). This riding style is not beneficial for me when Im navigating tight coulouirs and riding out of larger cliff features.
All in all the Bentchetler is fun for deep snow and backcountry jumps and hits but it certainly is not my everyday ski that I was hoping it to be.