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Denali C85 Review


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The C85 is the fourth offering from Denali. The first 3 skis were distinctive. Skiers either loved them or not. Many skiers were forced to adjust their skiing to accommodate these skis.


With the C85 everything is different. No longer is Denali the punk rock radical of water skiing. The C85 is a paragon of refinement.


General Feel

Describing a ski as fast or slow is at this point almost cliché. By one definition “fast skis” get from ball line to ball line with minimum strength and effort by the skier. Fast skis are expected to be more finicky to turn and slow skis are expected to turn more automatically. The C85 can be defined as a fast ski that turns like a slow ski. It could be more accurate to say the ski maintains speed throughout the course and delivers consistent sharp turns.


The smoothest passes on this ski are when the skier holds back a little aggression, but when things get frantic the C85 will accommodate hammer down skiing. In other words, this ski is extremely forgiving.



Off Side Turns

At off side, tip height and pressure are predictable and dependable. The turns are fast, sharp and drama-free. With minimal skier input at apex, the nose of the ski pulls quickly to the inside as the tail slides just enough.


On Side Turns

As with Off Side, the On Side, turns are consistent, dependable, and sharp. Tip attitude and roll are consistent, and this ski is forgiving to technical errors at on side.

Wakes to the ball


The C85 runs an early line from the second wake to the ball.

This ski is stable in terms of side-to-side roll and tip attitude. The skier needs to simply be centered and calm approaching the ball.



Ball to the wakes

The C85 generates substantial speed with minimal effort. One of the magical things about this ski is that after a mistake at the ball you only need a bit of extra aggression into the wakes to make up any lost time.



For this review, I ran several setups. The actual stock settings are excellent, and the ski is not overly fin sensitive. I ran my bindings between 28 7/8 and 29.



The C85 is a world class ski that that will accommodate a wide variety of ski styles and skill levels. It is one of my favorite skis of all time.



BABE’S ★ California Ski Ranch ★ Connelly ★ Denali ★ Goode ★ KD Skis 

MasterCraft ★ MasterLine ★ PerfSki ★ Radar ★ Rodics Innovation 

Reflex ★ S Lines ★ Stokes

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  • Baller

Stunning review, what is there not to like about the C85, Sounds like the Adams are going to be super busy, if international travel to the US was available, I would certainly be in the market for one, what is the typical lead time from ordering to receiving within the USA.

Guess , I am going to have to wait for travel to resume.

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  • Baller_
Turn the volume up if you have not...love the applause and cheers at the end!!. That's only part of the story though. @AdamCord can correct me if I am wrong but I believe this qualifies him for the US Open.
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  • Baller_

@Wish Correct I was on the fence about skiing 34 vs 36 this year but when I wasn’t allowed to enter the 55k Elite event, and then they announced the US Open at Nationals, I said screw it I’m going to ski 36 and see if I can qualify.


As far as the cheers, the local tournament scene up here in WA is great, and everyone is super supportive. Really fun skiing when you have all the competitors on the shoreline cheering for you!

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