The Atomic Vantage 90 Ti W have a lot of things going for them. Had they not been compared to such indomitable skis as the Kastle FX95 HP and Rossi Soul 7, they would sit higher in our charts. For a lady who is just starting out in the ungroomed world though, the Vantage 90 Ti is ideal.
The Atomics are a perfect ski to accompany a lady on her first forays into powder, moguls, crud, and trees. If you're already comfortable off of the groomers though, you may prefer something more exciting.
Stability at Speed
Before we compared it to any of the other skis in our test, the Atomic Vantages felt like a strong and stable ski. It was only when the poor things were put up against such powerhouses as the Kastle 95FX HP and the Elan Ripstick 94 that the Atomics began to feel slightly less-than.
With their 90mm waist, created by a company with a history in ski racing, they have a build that lends itself to higher speeds on smooth snow. On a groomed pitch, the Vantage Ti holds an edge with grace, only skittering if the snow is quite slick or if the speeds are more extreme. When venturing out into the crud, they prefer a mellower pace, dancing delicately on top rather than blasting through like the Kastles. When making quick short turns, they perform well. They feel secure when making a tighter radius turn, and don't try to escape and run straight like the Black Crow Camox Birdies.
The Vantage 90 Ti provides plenty of stability at medium speeds but starts to fumble a bit when turned up to 11.
The Vantage 90 Ti is a ski made more for carving than for other endeavors, and they perform fairly well here. With a 17.6m turn radius, they happily arc a medium-sized turn across groomed pitches and packed snow. For the upper-intermediate skier who is perfecting their carving capabilities, this is an excellent coaching ski. It will reward you when you make the right moves, but will also be an adequate guide to other turn-types and terrain.
If you are already carving up a storm, and enjoy doing so at higher speeds, the Atomic Vantage will have trouble keeping up and start to chatter. The Head Great Joys are a better bet for someone who loves to arc clean, fast rails.
The Atomics love to carve, and have a nice flex pattern that would allow an intermediate skier to feel the joy of a pure carved turn.
Regrettably, the Atomics are at a slight disadvantage out of the gates in this category. They are almost the narrowest ski of the bunch. With only a 90mm waist, they are not anatomically ideal for flotation in the deep stuff. Additionally, our testers wanted a longer ski to provide greater flotation in deeper snow, but the 169cm we tested is the longest Atomic produces.
The Atomics are a fine choice for those looking to explore a bit of freshness, in conditions up to 6 inches of light powder. However, when put to tougher tests in deeper, heavier Sierra cement, they simply couldn't pass muster — continually diving down and throwing us over the handlebars.
Unfortunately, the narrower waist and shorter length of the Atomics meant that in deeper, heavier snow, they buried themselves and subsequently their rider too.
If you're only looking to occasionally ski light powder, the Atomics are acceptable. If all you want to do is slay knee-deep pow, then you may desire something more powder-specific, such as the Rossignol Soul 7 HD W.
An ideal ski for someone looking to venture into ungroomed snow for the first time, the Atomic can handle up to 6 inches of light powder.
Again in the theme of this ski being a great guide in new terrain, the Atomics perform decently in chunky post-storm snow, but they do not excel. At 8.3 lbs per pair, they are actually on the heavier side of the bunch. But they seemed to prefer to ride on top of the crud, rather than bulldozing through it like the Kastle FX 95 HPs.
They work in light chop. But in either deeper or denser situations, we found ourselves feeling less confident, and wishing we had something a bit stiffer and bullish like the Blizzard Black Pearl.
The Atomics can manage lighter, softer crud and are a great ski to use if you're just learning to ski this type of snow. Anything heavier or deeper though, and they start getting bucked around.
The Vantage 90 Ti isn't the snappiest of all our tested skis, but that's not to say it doesn't have a spring to its step. These skis are light enough that they're happy getting airborne, and they have a nice rebound when unwound at the end of a short turn, or when released after a high-pressured carve. While it's hard to compete with the pure delight of popping around on the Elan Ripsticks, our testers agreed that their lightness and ease of turning would make these skis feel playful for an upper-intermediate or advanced skier.
A super fun ski that's easy to get into the air, the Atomics were a pleasure to play on.
Whereas in deeper powder, the Atomic's narrower waist and shorter length were a liability, in the bumps these qualities are advantages. We were pleased with how maneuverable they felt in undulating terrain. We could coerce them to turn quickly and exactly where we desired. They are soft enough to move well along the peaks and valleys of a mogul field, and they are forgiving if you don't make exactly the right move in exactly the right moment. The Atomic Vantage would make an excellent intro to bumps ski.
With their middle-range stiffness and easy turning, the Atomics are enjoyable in moguls.
Our testers agreed that this could be an ideal ski for an upper-intermediate to advanced skier who is interested in starting to explore some ungroomed terrain.
Even if you think you may not venture off-piste for some time yet, the Vantage 90 Ti will provide you with stability and fun on the groomers alone. As long as you're only planning to delve into boot-top powder and softer crud, and you're not planning to ski at Mach 10, the Atomic is an ideal coaching ski. If you're already a hard-charging all-terrain mama, look towards the Rossi Soul 7 HD W, the Elan Ripstick, or the Kastle FX 95.
If you want some funny photos, take the Vantage 90 Ti out on a two foot Sierra cement day! A big thanks to Hilary Roache for being such a good sport and clearly testing these skis to their limits.
At only $600, the Vantage 90 Ti is a steal. You're getting a quality-made ski which, at the right ability level, should last you a number of seasons. It's a great deal, especially for someone looking to purchase their first pair of skis.
The Atomic is a reliable and versatile ski for medium-ability level skiers seeking to explore new terrain.