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Icelantic Skis Oracle 88 Review

An affordable, handmade ski from Colorado offering a fun ride on a slightly narrower waist and gorgeous top sheet graphics
Icelantic Skis Oracle 88
Photo: Icelantic
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $649 List | $649.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Affordable, quick edge-to-edge, beautiful graphics
Cons:  Slightly soft, lack of edge-hold
Manufacturer:   Icelantic Skis
By Renee McCormack ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 24, 2018
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 15
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 7
  • Carving - 20% 6
  • Crud - 20% 7
  • Powder - 20% 7
  • Playfulness - 15% 8
  • Bumps - 5% 8

Our Verdict

Winning our Best Buy wasn't just a matter of price point; the Oracle 88 grabbed our attention by crushing all over the mountain in wide-ranging conditions. Despite our initial uncertainty about an independent ski brand, the Oracle 88 came charging over choppy snow with grace and flew through bump lines effortlessly. It was better at speed and edge-control than it should be for a softer ski, and we enjoyed taking it in light powder. While it's not a carving ski, we liked how nimble and easy it is to turn. Plus, they are one of the more affordable options in our lineup.

New Topsheet
Icelantic updated the topsheet graphics of the Oracle 88 since we last tested it. The materials, dimensions, and specifications of the latest model are the same as the model we tested. Check out the newest graphics in the photo above.
December 2020

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $649.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
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$599.95 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Affordable, quick edge-to-edge, beautiful graphicsGreat float in powder, playful, decent stabilityIncredibly versatile, easy to ski, fun and quick, only 92mm makes it nimbleA blast to ski, easy to turn, relatively stable, fantastic in powderGreat stability at high speeds, good on hard snow and crud, affordable
Cons Slightly soft, lack of edge-holdMore expensive, slightly lumbering in bumpsNot the perfect powder partnerNot perfect carvers, some deflection in crudOnly for shallower pow days, needs strong skier to guide them
Bottom Line Beautiful graphics top off this very fun ride on a skinnier ski which is handmade by an independent company in ColoradoA great choice for a West Coast woman who loves getting out in the soft snowThe cat's out of the bag on the new Secret from Volkl - it's versatile performance makes it our favorite overall skiAn absolute ripper ski, but you don't have to yet be a ripping chick to fully enjoy themA high-quality, affordable ski for all snow conditions, including up to 6 inches of fresh powder, but it takes a strong skier to bend and maneuver them
Rating Categories Icelantic Skis Oracle 88 Rossignol Soul 7 HD W Volkl Secret 92 Elan Ripstick 94 W Dictator 2.0X
Stability At Speed (20%)
7
9
9
8
9
Carving (20%)
6
9
9
7
8
Crud (20%)
7
9
9
8
9
Powder (20%)
7
10
9
9
5
Playfulness (15%)
8
9
10
10
6
Bumps (5%)
8
8
9
9
5
Specs Icelantic Skis... Rossignol Soul 7... Volkl Secret 92 Elan Ripstick 94 W Dictator 2.0X
Waist Width (mm) 88 106 92 95 96
Shape 126-88-108 136-106-126 130-92-113 135-95-110 127-96-117
Available Lengths (cm) 155, 162, 169 156, 164, 172, 180 149, 156, 163, 170 156, 163, 170, 177 155, 163, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187
Radius (m) 18 18 17.9 16.2 18
Rocker Tip rocker Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, cambered inside edge Tip and tail, camber underfoot
Weight Per Pair (lbs) 6.5 7.7 8.2 6.7 7.9
Construction Type Full sidewall Sandwich Full sidewall SST sidewall Sandwich
Core Material Pacific albus wood Paulownia wood Multilayer woodcore, poplar/beech Tubelite wood Paulownia & Poplar
Tested Length (cm) 169 172 170 170 171
Intended Purpose Fun and versatile All mountain powder All mountain All mountain play All mountain stability
Ability Level All levels All levels All levels All levels Advanced/Expert

Our Analysis and Test Results

We all came to the Icelantic Oracle 88 with various prejudices, but we all also came away with the conclusion that this is a solid ski for the price. It has its highlights and flaws, but overall would be an excellent purchase for many female skiers.

Performance Comparison


The Oracle 88 is a great ski at a great price, proving itself in all...
The Oracle 88 is a great ski at a great price, proving itself in all kinds of snow conditions.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Stability at Speed


Considering that it is not particularly stiff and it's incredibly light, the Oracle 88 is relatively confidence-boosting with its stability at speed.


There is minimal tip flutter with this ski, and it manages to coast through variable terrain without bucking its rider too much. For those high-end skiers who love high-speed carved turns on groomers, consider something stiffer and burlier.

For a relatively soft ski, the Oracle 88 is suprisingly stable...
For a relatively soft ski, the Oracle 88 is suprisingly stable underfoot.
Photo: Scott Rokis

The Oracle 88 is a bit too gooey to really bend and arc with poise at higher velocities. The edge hold in the steeps was better than we expected, but still came up lacking compared to some other skis in our test. Some of our taller testers also felt the 169cm length wasn't quite enough ski to feel powerful at speed, and wished Icelantic made these in another length up.

We felt confident going fast and taking risks on these Icelantic skis!
We felt confident going fast and taking risks on these Icelantic skis!
Photo: Scott Rokis

Carving


With an 18m turn radius at the 169cm length we tested, the Oracle prefers to make a medium to large shaped turn.


This ski is a little too limp to lay down really deep trenches, but this flexibility awards it high esteem in other areas. If tipping and ripping is your primary movement, you might consider a different ski. The Oracle will carve if you're patient and deliberate, but it's not its forte. The edge-to-edge quickness of the Oracle is a high point, and after skiing so many fat-waisted skis, we loved how nimble the 88mm waist felt. We felt like we could change edges quickly, but then we had to persevere if we wanted to allow the shape of the ski to create our turn shape.

The Oracle prefers a medium to large radius turn given its 18m turn...
The Oracle prefers a medium to large radius turn given its 18m turn radius.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Powder


In up to about six inches of lighter powder, the Oracle is a blast! Anything deeper, or heavier, and it starts to flounder a bit beneath the snow's surface.


We thought the Oracle really did well in up to six inches of fresh...
We thought the Oracle really did well in up to six inches of fresh snow.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Obviously, the 88mm waist (which we loved in bumps and for its quickness) and lack of a large shovel contribute to this ski's tendency to get submerged as the snow gets deeper. However, if you're only interested in delving into shallower powder stashes, or you've got more of an old-school philosophy that pow should be skied "in" and not "on," then this would be an excellent tool for the trade. For those looking for a new-age powder-specialized ski, the Oracle 88 is not what you seek.

Even in a little more than 6 inches of snow, the Oracle 88 played...
Even in a little more than 6 inches of snow, the Oracle 88 played well on the surface.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Crud


Once again, the Oracle 88 surprised us with its ability to thrash through tricky chopped up snow states.


We found minimal (but some) deflection of the tips while skiing crunchy and difficult snow after some wet storms.

Especially considering its softer flex, the Oracle cruised fairly...
Especially considering its softer flex, the Oracle cruised fairly well through some difficult and heavy snow.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Some testers did experience being bounced around more than they'd like on this slightly softer, lighter ski. We thought this model's strength in crud is actually that it's so lightweight, it seems to soar on top of the chunky-funkiness. Most of us did agree that we felt stronger in tracked snow on the Oracle than on some other of our lighter-weight skis though, so they're doing something right.

The Icelantic skis are so light that sometimes in crud we could just...
The Icelantic skis are so light that sometimes in crud we could just jump over the tough stuff!
Photo: Scott Rokis

Playfulness


Weighing in at only 6.5lbs per pair, the Oracle is certainly one of the featherweights in this lineup, and they prance around the ring with all the dexterity and grace of the best boxers.


We loved how lively this ski is, its quickness to turn, and its capacity for flight. There are few skis we've tested over the years which outmatch the Oracle in this metric, and when they do, they generally do so due to the Oracle's lack of notable rebound. We didn't feel the springy kickback at the completion of a turn on these skis.

With its super lightweight frame, we found it very easy and fun to...
With its super lightweight frame, we found it very easy and fun to fly on the Oracle's wings.
Photo: Scott Rokis

The Oracle is so agile that the skier has complete control over how "fun" she wants to make her turns — pop into the air off a bump on one turn and then swiftly smear them across the top of the next one. The mountain is your oyster on these boards.

The Oracle is quite pliable, and enjoys bending and bobbing over...
The Oracle is quite pliable, and enjoys bending and bobbing over terrain when you feel like playing around.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Bumps


Its deftness from turn to turn makes the Oracle an ideal bump ski. While some testers were disappointed the company doesn't make them in a longer length, their 169cm span made them quite easy to maneuver in a mogul field.


The Oracle 88 loves to swivel from side to side, and trough to the summit, and are light enough that a strong lady can even leap up and skip a bump if she pleases. The Oracles has all the right attributes to create a fantastic mogul ski. Its nimbleness puts it near the top of the pack in this metric.

Light, flexible, and given to smeared turns, the Oracle excels in...
Light, flexible, and given to smeared turns, the Oracle excels in the bumps.
Photo: Scott Rokis

At a great price point, allow this fun ski to take you to new heights.
At a great price point, allow this fun ski to take you to new heights.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Value


As the winner of one of our Best Buy awards, we believe the Oracle 88 is a screaming deal for a screaming ski. Icelantic packs a ton of merit into this ski since we found that you can take it all over the mountain and have a great time. Other people must agree with our conclusions since last season the manufacturer's website ran out of the ski in the early season! The full sidewall construction should make it long-lasting and hardy.

However, one of our testers did notice that the top sheet of one ski already had a minor flaw on it when we received them. One could say that this might suggest the possibility of other defects in construction, or one might say that this is a quaint signature of a hand-made ski from an independent (and local, depending on your definition and locale) company. We tend towards the latter.

The graphics on these skis are stunning and get compliments on every chair ride. The geometric mountain scene reminded us of one of our favorite local artists here in the Eastern Sierra, Ann Piersall, and made us feel right at home. And we love the fact that they're using Colorado beetle-killed pine to make this ski — way to make lemonade, Icelantic!

Conclusion


The Icelantic Oracle 88 performs well, especially for an independent manufacturer's ski, in a variety of terrain, and for anyone with between intermediate and advanced abilities. The price point makes this an outstanding choice for those value-conscious ski-shoppers out there. If the Oracle could offer a prophecy, they would predict a lot of fun at little cost.

Renee McCormack