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Icelantic Skis Oracle 88 Review

An independent handmade ski from Colorado which offers a fun ride on a slightly narrower waist and gorgeous topsheets.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $599 List | $599.00 at Amazon
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
#8 of 11
  • 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 88s grabbed our attention by crushing all over the mountain in wide-ranging conditions. They did this even despite an unfortunate bias, at the start, against independent ski manufacturers — many of whom have yet to truly impress us with a ski. To overcome this prejudice, the Oracle 88 came charging over choppy snow with grace and flew through bump lines effortlessly. They were better at speed and edge-control than they should be for a softer ski, and we enjoyed them in light powder. While they're not a carving ski, we liked how nimble and easy to turn they are. Plus, there's the price point.

New Topsheet

Icelantic created a new look on our Best Buy winner, gracing it with a pretty stained wooden graphic that resembles an abstract mountain scene. Bonus: It's crafted from beetle kill pine! See the updated look in the photo above.

October 2018


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $599.00 at Amazon$449.99 at Amazon$959.95 at Amazon$750 List$449.96 at Backcountry
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Star Rating
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Pros Affordable, quick edge-to-edge, beautiful graphicsGreat float in powder, playful, decent stabilityUnparalleled stability at speed, crud-buster, lends you strengthShort turn radius, very carvy, solid construction, fun in the powderA blast to ski, easy to turn, relatively stable, fantastic in powder
Cons Slightly soft, lack of edge-holdMore expensive, slightly lumbering in bumpsVery pricey, prefers faster straighter linesCan be hokey in crud and bumpsNot perfect carvers, some deflection in crud
Bottom Line An independent handmade ski from Colorado which offers a fun ride on a slightly narrower waist and gorgeous topsheets.A great choice for a West Coast woman who loves getting out in the soft snow.If you like to go fast and want a one-ski quiver, this ski is absolutely worth the extra funds.A great ski for an advanced skier who wants to carve snappy turns on-piste and venture off trail into the deep powder.Ripping skis for ripping chicks, or those on their way to becoming one, so fun and flexible.
Rating Categories Icelantic Skis Oracle 88 Rossignol Soul 7 HD W Kastle FX95 HP Head Great Joy Elan Ripstick 94 W
Stability At Speed (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
Carving (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
7
Crud (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
Powder (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Playfulness (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
10
Bumps (5%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
9
Specs Icelantic Skis... Rossignol Soul 7... Kastle FX95 HP Head Great Joy Elan Ripstick 94 W
Intended Purpose Fun and versatile All mountain powder All mountain stability All mountain carver All mountain play
Ability Level All levels All levels All levels All levels All levels
Available Lengths 155, 162, 169 156, 164, 172, 180 173, 181, 189 153, 158, 163, 168, 173 156, 163, 170, 177
Shape 126-88-108 136-106-126 126-95-115 142-98-125 135-95-110
Waist Width 88 106 95 98 95
Radius 18 18 18 15.3 16.2
Rocker Tip rocker Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip rocker, camber underfoot Tip and tail, cambered inside edge
Weight Per Pair (Pounds) 6.5 7.7 9.62 8.2 lbs 6.725
Construction Type Full sidewall Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich cap SST sidewall
Core Material Pacific albus wood Paulownia wood silver fir, beech, Titanal, fiberglass Wood & composite Tubelite wood
Tested Length 169 172 173 173 170

Our Analysis and Test Results

We all came to the Icelantics 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 it is an excellent purchase for many female skiers.

Performance Comparison


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

Stability at Speed


Considering they are not particularly stiff and are incredibly light, the Oracles are relatively confidence-boosting at speed.


There is minimal tip flutter, and they manage to coast through variable terrain without bucking their rider too much. For those skiers who love high-speed carve turns on groomers, consider the Head Great Joys, the Kastle FX 95 HP or the Rossignol Soul 7 HD W instead.

For a relatively soft ski  the Oracle 88 is suprisingly stable underfoot.
For a relatively soft ski, the Oracle 88 is suprisingly stable underfoot.

The Oracles are a bit too gooey to really bend and arc with poise at higher velocities. However, they are a tad burlier than the K2 FulLuvit when you put the pedal to the metal, and they don't have the propensity to slip out of line like the Black Crows Camox Birdie. Their edge hold in the steeps was better than we expected, but still, nothing impressive compared to the Kastle FX 95 HP. 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 the Icelantics!
We felt confident going fast and taking risks on the Icelantics!

Carving


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


They are a little too limp to lay down deep trenches, but this flexibility awards them high esteem in other arenas. For a ski that loves to tip and rip, seek out the Great Joys or the Soul 7s. The Oracles will carve if you're patient and deliberate, but it's not their forte. However, they still outdo the K2s and the Volkl 90Eights when it comes to railing a turn. The Oracle's edge-to-edge quickness is a high point, and after skiing so many fat-waisted skis, we loved how nimble these little 88's 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 Oracles prefer a medium to large radius turn given their 18m turn radius.
The Oracles prefer a medium to large radius turn given their 18m turn radius.

Powder


In up to about six inches of lighter powder, the Oracles are a blast! Anything deeper, or heavier, and they start to flounder a bit beneath the surface.


We thought the Oracles really did well in up to six inches of fresh snow.
We thought the Oracles really did well in up to six inches of fresh snow.

Obviously, their 88mm waist (which we loved in bumps and for its quickness) and lack of a large shovel contribute to their tendency to submerge themselves 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 these are excellent tools for the trade. For those seeking a new-age powder-specialized ski, nothing beats the Rossis. The Oracles performed far better in soft snow than the 90eights, and better than their shape and width would suggest.

Even in a little more than 6 inches  the Oracles played well on the surface.
Even in a little more than 6 inches, the Oracles played well on the surface.

Crud


Once again, the Oracles surprised us with their ability to thrash through tricky snow states.


We found minimal (but some) deflection of the tips while skiing crunchy and difficult snow after some wet storms. While they are not the chop-busting monsters that the Kastles are, they can still hold their own in a variety of conditions.

Especially considering their softer flex  the Oracles cruised fairly well through some difficult and heavy snow.
Especially considering their softer flex, the Oracles cruised fairly well through some difficult and heavy snow.

Some testers did experience being bounced around more than they'd like on these slightly softer, lighter skis. We thought their strength in crud is actually that they're so lightweight, they seem to soar on top of the chunky-funkiness, rather than trying to plow through it like the Kastles do. Most of us did agree that we felt stronger in tracked snow on the Oracles than we did on the K2s.

The Icelantics are so light that sometimes in crud we could just jump over the tough stuff!
The Icelantics are so light that sometimes in crud we could just jump over the tough stuff!

Playfulness


Weighing in at only 6.5lbs, the Oracles are certainly the featherweight of this fight, and they prance around the ring with all the dexterity and grace of the best boxers.


We loved how lively these skis are, their quickness to turn, and their capacity for flight. The only skis in our test which outdistance the Oracles for playfulness are the Elan Ripstick 94 W and the Soul 7s, and this has mostly to do with the Oracle's lack of notable rebound.

With their super lightweight frame  we found it very easy  and fun to fly on the Oracle's wings.
With their super lightweight frame, we found it very easy and fun to fly on the Oracle's wings.

They do, however, show just a bit more bounce to their personality than the *K2s or the Dynastar Legend 96 W. The Oracles are 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 terrain when you feel like playing around.
The Oracle is quite pliable, and enjoys bending and bobbing over terrain when you feel like playing around.

Bumps


Their 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 Oracles love to swivel from side to side, and trough to summit, and are light enough that a strong lady can even leap up and skip a bump if she pleases. Unlike the Great Joys, whose fatty shovels trap them in the gullies, and the Volkl 90Eights, whose stiffness doesn't allow them to bend across the rolling terrain — the Oracles have all the right attributes to create a fantastic mogul ski. Only the Elans beat them out in this realm of skiing.

Light  flexible  and given to smeared turns  the Oracle excels in the bumps.
Light, flexible, and given to smeared turns, the Oracle excels in the bumps.

Best Applications


If you are a strong intermediate skier looking for a ski that can take you new places, the Oracle might just be the one. Especially if you're on the hunt for something in a lower price bracket which still rocks it in a variety of terrain, this ski is an excellent option. If skiing mostly on powder days, or mostly on groomers, is your cup of tea, then perhaps the Rossi or the Great Joy (respectively) would be better choices. However, for those seeking a lightweight, fun, and adaptable ski for a killer price, go for the Icelantics.

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.

Value


As our winner of the Best Buy award, we believe the $599 Oracle is a screaming deal for a screaming ski. Icelantic packs a ton of merit into a <$600 ski since we found that you can take this ski 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 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 Oracles could offer a prophecy, they would predict a lot of fun at little cost.


Renee McCormack