Hands-on Gear Review

Line Pescado Review

Line Pescado
Top Pick Award
Price:  $1,050 List | $539.97 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Surfy, epic floatation
Cons:  Soft, slippery
Bottom line:  The surfboard of powder skis; it floats and slashes like it belongs in water.
Editors' Rating:   
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Tested length (cm):  180
Weight Per Pair:  8.6 lbs
Available Lengths (cm):  180
Manufacturer:   Line

Our Verdict

The Line Pescado is an eye-catching and aptly-named ski. With beefy dimensions and swallowtail construction, it looks and feels as though this creation of Eric Pollard belongs in the water. We were amazed by this ski's ability to swim and surf through powder. It had an undeniably aqueous feel to it, something we didn't find on any other model.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Powder Skis for Men of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Rob Woodworth

Last Updated:
Tuesday
May 2, 2017

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The Pescado is a specialist, not a generalist. To call it a one-trick-pony is to spit in the face of four years dedicated to research and design. Eric Pollard set out to create a directional, snow-surfing powder tool that is capable of playing on everything. We think he nailed it with the Pescado.

Performance Comparison


This ski has unparalleled performance when it comes to floatation. While it falls short in other categories, we believe that the Pescado is highly-tuned to excel in untouched snow.

Surfing the deep comes naturally to the Line Pescado.
Surfing the deep comes naturally to the Line Pescado.

Stability at Speed


The softness and dimensional length of the Pescado don't really afford high-speed maneuvers in variable snow, earning ita 5 out of 10 for this metric. The only ski that received a lower score in this metric was the even softer Salomon QST 118. This model is more designed for soft, blower conditions where the only real speed limit is imposed by the angle of terrain you're skiing. When the conditions are right, you can let the Pescado run as fast as you'd like. But when you venture into tracked-out or frozen surfaces, it much prefers smaller turn shapes at lower speeds.


Considerations of speed aside, the Pescado boasts a very broad construction that provides the skier with a large platform to stand on. Bumps, chunks, and contours are easily dampened at a moderate pace. But when driven at mach speeds, you'd better hope that you're skiing freshies. Top scorers for this metric include the Moment Bibby, Volkl Confession, Head A-Star, and Blizzard Spur.

Unless floating in the deep  the Pescado had a noticeable speed limit.
Unless floating in the deep, the Pescado had a noticeable speed limit.

Carving


By looks alone, you might surmise that the Pescado isn't built for hardpack carving performance. The profile and dimensions of this ski are straight out of a surf shop. Great for slurping juicy pow-turns, but not exactly what you'd look for in a carving ski. Not surprisingly, we found the Pescado difficult to ski on the hard stuff. While the swallow tail construction lengthens the effective edge more than a pintail would (say, like the Head A-Star), the overall width of this ski takes considerable effort to roll over into a carve. Once there, the edge hold is reliable but not very lively.


If the conditions are right—think soft corduroy and packed powder—the Pescado is capable of putting together some decent arcs. But it doesn't drive across the fall line like the more aggressive Volkl Confession or Elan Ripstick 116. Destined for the deep, this ski has a butter knife edge that is great for shmearing but lacks the chops to rip a GS turn, earning it a 5 out of 10 for its carving capabilities.

The butter knife edges of the Pescado are still able to carve sun-softened corduroy.
The butter knife edges of the Pescado are still able to carve sun-softened corduroy.

Crud


Despite its lightweight design and softer flex pattern, we were pleasantly surprised to see how well this pair of powder skis handled crud. Generous amounts of early-rise and a massive shovel at the tip allow the Pescado to boat over rough, choppy snow. The all-wood core gives the skier a very damp feel when riding through rough terrain with very minimal chatter in the tip. Super fat dimensions also provide greater surface area to plow through snow even in low-angle terrain.


The Pescado didn't rank as highly in this metric as stiffer, heavier models in the lineup and scored a 7 out of 10 for the crud metric. That's because big guns like the Blizzard Spur and Volkl Confession managed refrozen crud and broken crusts better than the Pescado did. All things considered, the Pescado held its own in choppy snow and landed itself in the middle of the pack for crud performance.

If the leftovers are soft  the Pescado will gobble them up.
If the leftovers are soft, the Pescado will gobble them up.

Float


There is no denying that the Pescado had the most stellar floatation amongst all the powder skis we tested, scoring the only perfect 10 out of 10 for this metric. It is rare that we award a product with a perfect score in any given rating metric. But we felt it was well-deserved if not necessary in this case.


Drawing inspiration from old-school surf tech and powder-hungry snowboards, the Pescado certainly stands out on the rack. But these design implements aren't simply for flashy marketing; the unorthodox shape of this ski goes far beyond the realm of gimmicky add-ons you are used to seeing manufacturers conjure up each season. Tried-and-true by surfers and boarders alike, swallow-tail construction allows the rear of the ski to sink in deep snow while the wide-shoveled tip hovers gracefully above the surface. This combination allows it to plane effortlessly atop powder without having to adjust your stance. Couple that with an excellent swing weight and you're looking at a full-blown float machine capable of slashing pow turns as quickly as you can pivot your feet.

The Pescado surfs and slarves like a true hero in deep snow.
The Pescado surfs and slarves like a true hero in deep snow.

Playfulness


Despite its decidedly direction shape, the Pescado also earned high scores as a playful, bouncy ski (9 out of 10. Along with the Moment Bibby and Atomic Backland Bent Chetler, it was the only ski to earn this score. However, the type of play found in these boards is quite unlike your typical jibbing tool. Offering relentless float regardless of where you stand on it, the Pescado likes to bounce in and out of those bottomless turns with an aqueous rebound.


As its shape would suggest, this pair of planks feel much like a surfboard in how it manages to make turns in blower. One tester claimed that the Pescado redefined their comprehension of what it means to 'surf' on powder. No matter how hard or deep you punch into a line, it will recoil back to the surface with spirited elasticity.

A directional swallowtail has never felt so playful.
A directional swallowtail has never felt so playful.

Versatility


If we haven't been clear already, let's set the record straight: the Pescado is built exclusively for soft, fresh snow. That doesn't mean it can't get you down a groomer in one piece, but there are notable compromises in all-mountain performance. If you're a few weeks past the last storm at your home mountain, you'd be better off leaving the Pescado at home and opting for a more piste-friendly ripper like the Rossignol Soul 7 HD or award winning Moment Bibby. This ski is not a daily driver. It is a die-hard powder slayer, through and through.


Best Applications


When the going gets deep, there may not be a better choice than the Pescado. With quick swing weight, massive dimensions, and otherworldly floatation, this ski is highly-tuned to perform in epic blower. Due to its limited versatility, we feel this ski would be best utilized on mechanically-assisted powder laps. Whether you're ripping a sled, riding a cat, or getting first chair to catch those gooey tracks in untouched snow, the Pescado will exceed your expectations for powder performance.

Floating like no other  the Pescado had a preference for deep blower.
Floating like no other, the Pescado had a preference for deep blower.

Value


This was our priciest ski in the lineup at $1050. Unveiled for the 16/17 season, the Pescado is the result of a purported four year R&D period. The cost may be insignificant for those looking to add a powder-hungry snow beast to their already deep quiver. But ounce for ounce, there are more economical powder skis out there.

Conclusion


Massive shovel and swallowtail construction are unmistakably dedicated to epic floatation.
Massive shovel and swallowtail construction are unmistakably dedicated to epic floatation.

We can safely say that no other ski in this review floated like the Pescado did. It is wholeheartedly dedicated to surfing and slarving its way through fluffy white gold. While there may be better options for all-mountain performance, we were floored by how well this ski flew over deep snow. Aptly named and performing like no other, the Pescado is capable of darting through powder with great liquidity. For that reason alone, we felt it was deserving of our Top Pick for First Tracks Powder.

Other Versions


Currently, the Pescado is only available in one length: 180 cm. All things considered, we think that most skiers will be comfortable on this setup when placed in its preferred conditions.
Rob Woodworth

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Most recent review: May 2, 2017
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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