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Unabridged notes from IST 2008 -Bill Barton


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Unabridged notes from IST 2008

October 2008, Arvin, California.

Tester: Bill Barton 

5'10", 205lbs, HO Approach boots

Normal ski: 68" Monza

PB at time of test 2@32/34

68" Radar MPD


Day 1 and I get to spend it with Eddie Roberts and a batch of Radar skis. Awesome!

The Radar MPD has a very business like appearance. It gives you the impression that you might want to stretch a little or warm up first because you're about to be challenged.

It did not disappoint.

Factory #'s - 6.855"Tips/2.500"/0.790"/7°Inv  29.75" Front heel


1st ride

There is a family resemblance here between my Monza and this MPD.

Primary difference - Don't go dunking the front of this ski unless you're SERIOUS.

Fast and edgy, REALLY wants to hold an edge across course, bites off-side.

For god's sake don't force the turn on either side, it wants control of that part.

And don't think you're going to go run an easy -15. It's commit right off the dock.

I'm cutting this set short because I need to free up the front some before I get ejected.


2nd ride

Took 0.010" length out. Better, but not there yet.

Excellent symmetry and unbelievable cast out. I could get used to that.

Success here is going to take a fundamental adjustment for me. I have to find a way to be more patient from the pre-turn to the exit.

1 more adjust and we'll be there.


3rd ride

This may be my choice of boots (says Matt Rini) creating extra tip pressure, but I took another 0.010" length out and shallowed 0.005" to balance the fin.

New #'s - 6.835"Tips/2.495"/0.790"/7°Inv  29.75" Front heel

Now that's more like it!

It's still fast, even exits faster than what I'm accustomed to, turns automatically as long as you've provided the speed and a positive edge change. That's the "commit or go home" part.

I marched up the rope on this set, got my 28/34, and got into 32/34 which is as good as I've ever done on my best day on my own ski.


This ski impressed the hell out of me.

The MPD is a "commit or stay on the dock" ski. I dig that!

It's like my Monza with some automatic features.

It casts out and holds that line so well that turning my 1st one ball gave me the impression that the ski wasn't coming back. Then I found out that it will come back very efficiently....unless you force it (don't do that), then it comes back with a vengeance! (high probability of the over-turned-lean-locked-double-cartwheel)

Both sides were symmetrical and repeatable, it never did anything to surprise me, but it isn't like any of its peers.

If you are especially aggressive in setting your position behind the boat, but at the same time patient from the pre-turn to the exit, this is your ski.

Problem: I'm either really aggressive in all phases or I'm slow and easy in all phases so I'll need to make an "adjustment" that I don't know whether I can pull off in a day.

I still really loved riding it because it showed me where I want to be.

A Monza rider (like me) will have to be willing to relinquish some control to the ski if he is going to be successful on the MPD. It holds a hard line across course, you pick the edge change point, and if you're in a good position through the pre-turn it will change directions and meet you on the other side with all the angle you could need to get cross course early. All you have to do is be there for it.
This is a hard concept for me because I'm used to being able to "give back" a little when I over turn and hook up hard and that's not happening on the MPD. It wants to hold that line at all costs.
The Monza, with its inherent flexibility, represents the skier I am now. The MPD represents the skier I want to be (patient, more consistently in a good position and not so much of a control freak).


69" Radar Senate


Nobody wants to ride this beast and I'm probably the heaviest guy here. Besides, I like the 69" Monza, its only lunch time, and I'm bored, that's never a good thing :)

Factory #'s - 6.876"Tips/2.512"/0.880"/7°Inv  30.25" Front heel


1st ride

Holy Cow! Is it possible that I've found a ski I'm underweight for?

This thing has a LOT of support and what's worse is the wind is really starting to blow.

I put the minimum weight for this ski at 220lbs if you're going to ride it at a tournament speed (55-58kph).

All that being said this is a great combination of the MPD's best qualities applied to a wider platform for heavier skiers.

Running downwind with the chop these passes are very easy.

Against the wind, into the chop, there is just too much surface area to run this fast.

I did a gate-1-2 drill at 32mph and 30mph all the way to 35-off. Properly sized this could really be the clinical definition of "The ski for the masses."


67" Radar "AM" Senate (carbon version)



Not only is there a 67" here, but it's neeewwwwwwww :)

It's what Eddie called the "AM Senate".

All carbon version, same graphics, a LOT lighter.

Factory #'s - 6.845"Tips/2.500"/0.850"/7°Inv  29.375" Front heel


1st ride

The set-up is spot on perfect.

Real easy start for a 67" ski (I'm 205lbs)

This ski is the perfect little brother for the MPD. It has all of the MPD's best qualities without being nearly as demanding.

That was the easiest -22 and -28 I have ever run. Not because of lightning quickness from one side to the other, but because of the angle and path I'm taking out of the ball and across to the next one. I really learned something from it.


Radar has created, in the carbon Senate, the most perfect "do it all" slalom ski that a human could make. It could be handed to a beginner for deep water start training or someone like me working on the 32-off pass (or beyond) and still get the job done. I picked a pass I can run easily and skied from 30mph all the way up to 36mph and it was unflappable. This is not easy to admit for someone with a fighter pilot's ego, but the carbon Senate is probably the ski that I should be on, but just won't. I won't because I'm part of the crowd, (we know who we are), that insist upon riding the pinnacle of slalom ski technology because if we don't than we're being held back in some way. I'm going back for a set on my Monza now because I like the way it interrupts time and space coming off the ball, but I learned something today from the carbon Senate.


68" Fisher #01 (yellow)


Wow! Nobody makes a ski that is this impressive to hold. It adds a whole new dimension to quality, fit, and finish. It's no wonder this is a highly sought after ski.

Jodi gave me a choice between yellow and orange because I am right on the dividing line between the 2. I want Yellow first and if we get time I'll switch with Ez-E and ski orange.

Funky hardware for binding attachment. Skinny metric stuff I guess, with washers.

Factory #'s - 7.000"Tips/2.475"/0.650"Needle/7°Inv  29.50" Front heel


1st ride

I'm in shock. The ski requires nothing from where Jodi set it.

Its fast, holds its line, turns like it was struck by lightning, conserves its energy around the ball and meets you on the other side. After running 4 straight -22's I went -28 for a pass and 2.5 at 32/34. That's my practice PB on my own ski!

I'm going to ski it again even though it requires nothing because I may never get this chance again.


2nd ride

Same as the 1st

I'm just going to sneak off, jump on the plane and go home with it.

Privately I guess I was hoping that the Fisher hype was just that - hype. Probably because I know it's out of my budget, but this is the real deal.

67.25" Goode 9800SL


Just finished with the yellow Fisher and have to wait for the orange so I'm sneaking over to the other lake for a ride on the Goode if it's available.

This ski is made out of air. I guess it's the boots that keep it from floating away.

Using Goode's dual-loc'd plate with the inserts. Pretty slick, hope it doesn't come off.

Probably would have liked this ski a lot more if I hadn't ridden the Fisher 1st

It's like a Fisher without the same level of quality control.

I don't know how these manufacturers measure ski length. This 67" Goode is a quarter inch longer than my 68" Monza. The 68.5" Nomad RC is only 67.25" tall?!? No idea.

Factory #'s - 6.871"Jaws/2.449"/0.711"/9°I  29.875" Front


1st ride

What a lightning rod. It's quick and skis a lot like the fisher but with a fuller (more supportive feeling) in the front.

Boots are in the right place, but it bites on both sides and the tail slips a little and I keep thinking it's about to blow out.

I'll have to go deeper and shorter at the same time only because I'll be lucky to get a 2nd ride.


2nd ride

New #'s - 6.865"Jaws/2.459"/0.710"/9°Inv  29.875" Front heel

That is REALLY close to what I need.

This ski is really quick.

Marched right down the line, took 2 cracks at 28/34, got the last one and turned 2 ball at 32/34. Again, that's as good as I've ever done on my own ski.

It's very fast and supportive if you start crawling up on the front of it coming into the off-side. Don't try that on the Fisher, it'll stop in the water.

Changes direction very quickly.

The most symmetric ski I've ridden so far.

Adding depth was the right call, I like it.

This will be my baseline numbers if I ever find myself riding the Goode.


68" Fisher #01 (orange)


Ez-E (Ed Obermeier) had a time dialing this ski, said it was fussy. I'm putting the yellow numbers on it because Jodi is busy and we're running out of daylight.

Factory #'s - 7.000"Tips/2.475"/0.650"Needle/7°Inv  29.50" Front heel


1st ride

 Definitely different. Won't initiate on the off-side, but not so much that I'd want to move the boots. I can come up on it in the pre-turn, but that's dicey for me because the turns will become inconsistent, I'll be wondering how it's going to come out each 1-3-5 and I don't need that kind of extra noise in my head.


2nd ride

This is going to be it. Gotta find a driver, it's almost dark.

Added 0.010" length and 0.005" depth.

New #'s - 7.010"Tips/2.480"/0.650"Needle/7°Inv  29.50" Front heel

Better, more symmetric, but the yellow is definitely the ski for me. At least until I am consistently clear of 35-off.

Can't say enough good things about the ski and Jodi as a front man. He's the whole package. Promoter, tuner, skier, instructor. I'm blown away.


68.5" D3 Nomad RC


Creepy lookin', but I like it.

I'm really looking forward to this. Denney makes GREAT skis.

Factory #'s - 6.940"Tips/2.520"/0.795"Needle/7°Inv  30.5" Front heel


1st ride

What a great ski. It's like a comfortable shoe. I'm cutting this ride short though because I know exactly what I need to do to get this perfect.

Boots need to go back 1 (Approaches)

Fin needs to go forward to tighten up the turn radius.


2nd ride

New numbers 6.940"Tips/2.525"/0.810"Needle/7°Inv  30.25" Front heel

PERFECT! Nothing carves a turn like a D3. I wish that was the kind of skier I am, but I'm not and that's why I got off the X5 early last year.

D3's have a particular turn radius in mind because the bevels are carried to the tail. That means I need to be a "coordinate" skier to really capitalize on it. Problem is I'm not.

If I come out of 3-ball early I can stay early and make the pass. Once I get behind on the D3 I stay there.

I know I'm not supposed to compare 1 ski to another, but I can't help but measure every other ski's cross-course speed to the explosive acceleration of the Monza that I love so much. The Nomad RC is significantly higher effort getting across course. That's been a criticism of D3's and apparently the side effect of the SPECTACULAR manners of all Denny's skis.

I'd take more rides on this ski, but once I've got it dialed I'm not supposed to just ski for fun and this one was predictably easy to set up. Final score 1 at 32/34


67.5" D3 Nomad RC"X"


Special Treat for me!!!

I get to ride Paul's personal ski as long as I don't screw with it. It's from the "new mold" that all the 2008's will get their shape and his claim is that they will all be quicker, substantially quicker, off the ball......We'll see.


Only ride

I got caught on video after the 1st pass using an expletive (oops)

I think it went something like "HOLY SHIT PAUL! What did you do to this thing?!" I have such a way with words.

Problem solved: Can't wait to get a minute alone with Paul and my crayon so he can draw me a picture of the changes in a way I can understand.

These skis look virtually identical from a distance. The tail of the RCX looks abruptly straighter (completely devoid of rocker) from the heel of the back boot to the tail.

Used my set to do a gate-1-2 drill because I'm not supposed to be riding this ski and people are waiting with the X5 Pro and the Rose.

Final score - N/A did a gate-1-2 drill from -22 through -35         WOW!


67.5" O'Brien SS


I've been looking forward to this.

I don't think I've ever ridden an O'Brien of any kind and with Drew Ross here to help set it up it should be a great time.

Like the black top, hate the green bottom.

Ahhhhhhhhh! Another fin clamp without set screws and this one won't hold drag on the fin. What a nightmare! Lost a lot of time getting it exactly right.

Factory #'s - "6.810Tips/2.505"/0.795"/7°Inv  29.75" Front


1st ride

Very neutral handling. It's not particularly fast, not slow, not demanding.

Bites a little on the off-side, I'd like to take 0.010" length out and try again.

I've been advised to back the fin up. That doesn't make sense to me and sounds like the opposite of what I need. Backing it up should add tip pressure and I want to subtract.


2nd ride

I should have listened to the voices in my head. Backing it up was the opposite of what I needed. I just took the most violent ejection of my life coming out of 5 ball. The ski stopped in the water very abruptly. I've NEVER even come close to coming out of my deliberately under-sized Approach boots......until today. The sound that my front ankle made while being crushed forward and then ripped out was not very encouraging and this is only DAY 2!

I am not happy right now.

This is a great ski and I deliberately let someone talk me out of what I knew was the right solution AND then I went out and pushed that bad set-up into a line length that's challenging for me on my own ski. Stupid. Lesson learned.


3rd ride

I stood in a cooler full of ice and water until my ankle came down to human size and Brad Beach taped me up. This should be interesting.

I also pushed the fin forward to its original number and took some length out.

New #'s - "6.800Tips/2.505"/0.790"/7°Inv  29.75" Front heel

That's more like it. My ankle hurts like HELL, especially on the off-side, but that doesn't change the fact that this is the most compliant ski I've ever ridden. It doesn't care how you ride it. Just gets the job done. That being said, I wouldn't buy one because I need a more exciting ride to keep me moving forward. Some skis should come with instructions, like "ride me center/forward" or "ride me center/back." The top graphics on the Sixam SS should say "Let's just go skiing"

68" Connelly F1


Lighter than I remember. I rode an '05 for a day last year.

They need to fire the metro-sexual with the paintball gun that does the graphics.

No set screws in the fin clamp, but it does have constant drag on the fin.

Difficult to get exact numbers.

No factory support today, our prayers go out to Terry Winter and his family.

Factory #'s - 6.770"Tips/2.500"/0.770"/7°Inv  29.75" Front heel


1st ride

VERY edgy, missed my gate by 15' when it grabbed an edge and took off without me.

Doesn't seem fast, but I'm super early and really wide.

My head says we're slow and behind, but I'm consistently early.

The ski demands good pre-turn position.

Boots need to go back.


2nd ride

Boots back 1 to 29.50" Front

Better, still really edgy, but I'm ready for it now.

This ski must be retaining more speed around the turn because I'm not getting the explosive acceleration off the ball, but I'm still early.

I would like to free up the front a little, but not with another boot move. That might be too much.


3rd ride

Reset length to 6.760"T and DFT to 0.775"

I've heard the F1 is not particularly sensitive to fin adjustments. I agree. No change.

I can work with it though.

This is a very physical ski.

The wind is howling on this set and the F1 just slashed right through it.

The ski has a left edge and right edge and nothing in between.


4th ride

I'm running out of daylight and the wind is 35mph right down the lake. I'm glad I'm on the F1 for this set and not the MPD/Monza/RCX. Those skis feel a foot wide in big chop.

Factory numbers are probably the best way to go, but Approaches need to be all the way back to relieve the tip pressure.

This is a "get down in the water and get it done" ski. Very physical. Probably the most demanding ski of the bunch in that it demands a good pre-turn position. You don't want to move around a lot on this ski coming into the turn. You also don't want to climb up on the front of it. I just got off a D3 so I had to stop doing both of those things real quick. :)

As a side note, if you rarely see perfect conditions, this IS the best chop slasher in the bunch. Nothing upset it. It goes through instead of trying to fly over everything.

I want this ski for a week. Final score - full pass at 28/34 (ran out of light)


68" HO Monza


I'm not supposed to ride this one because that's what's in my bag. (check da rules)

HO added a step in manufacturing that changes the way the top and bottom are bonded. It's called a "sock" by people who build skis. Longitudinally it's rumored to be stiffer without affecting its numbers from a flex tester.

Factory #'s - Can't remember, mine = 6.840"Jaws/2.515"/0.720"/7°Inv  29.75" Front heel


1st ride

Damn I love this ski! This one is different though. It still has the explosive speed I love and the killer onside (my 2-4), but it's not coming around on either side like mine.

I did notice that the binding screws don't loosen up between sets. All the Monzas I've had ('05, '06, '07) do this, apparently because the ski is twisting under my feet and this 2008 doesn't. I'm going forward with the fin and see what happens.


2nd and 3rd  ride

I've gone forward twice (0.010" and then 0.005" more) and added 0.005" length and I think that'll do it.

New #'s - 6.845"Jaws/2.515"/0.735"/7°Inv  29.75" Front heel

This ski has convinced me that I've got the right ride for me. I can't afford a Fisher or a Goode anyway. The Radar MPD gave me a look at where I want to be someday (soon I hope) as a skier, but it will be the Monza that gets me there.




If I was forced to rank all the skis based on after-hours discussion mixed in with my own rides it would go something like Fisher, MPD, (Monza, SS, Goode, RCX) all tied for 3rd because there was something in particular they each did extremely well that you couldn't find anywhere else, then the F1, which everyone liked somewhat, it just didn't dazzle anyone. In the F1's defense, it's hands down the dollar for dollar champ of the high end skis. It's also my standout first choice when the conditions suck. I want one in my arsenal just to play with.

From a tester's point of view the test was truly independent. We couldn't accept anything from any factory rep even if they offered. Can't take the skis home or buy anything at the test. We could write anything we wanted and everyone did. It wasn't all positive, especially a few of the 1st rides. Everyone worked real hard though and brought the skis to them. Ski hard, ski often.


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Good stuff Toad!

Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

California Ski Ranch ☆ Connelly ☆ Denali ☆ Eden Lake ☆ Goode ☆ HO Syndicate MasterCraft ☆ Masterline ☆ 

Pentalago ☆ Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes 

About Horton

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  • Baller
Thank you for posting this. Your Monza comments remind me why I love to course ski and why I should still enjoy my old Monza. The unbelievable rush of speed across course - real or imagined - is what keeps me skiing. I have it turning on both sides now (it has me turning?) and I still can't get through 55/12m. I doubt a new ski will change anything this year - but I can still enjoy the rush-of-speed feeling with every attempted pass.
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Terry had a death in the family the week before the test.

Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

California Ski Ranch ☆ Connelly ☆ Denali ☆ Eden Lake ☆ Goode ☆ HO Syndicate MasterCraft ☆ Masterline ☆ 

Pentalago ☆ Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes 

About Horton

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