Skier: Sierra Schlag
Skier Height: 5′ 7″
Skier Weight: 130 lbs
Ski Length: 176 cm
Ski Radius: 18 m
Ski Dimensions: 142-120-133
Rocker Technology: 30/40/30
As stunning as they are iconic, I was stoked to hop on the ‘Bent Chetler train’ this season. I had high expectations for the ski after being on Atomic’s freeride powerhouse, the Backland 117, prior to getting this setup. Given my experience skiing in Japan the past two seasons, I have plenty to say about what I want out of a powder ski. I can safely say the Bent Chetlers are my go to, whether it’s a resort powder day or a winter adventure in the backcountry. 120 underfoot can be intimidating for many, but I found the Bent Chetlers light, fast, and surfy through a multitude of snow conditions. Atomic’s HRZN Tech tip is standard throughout their all mountain ski range, facilitating an experience as these skis float on powder and chop through chunder; they make me feel an inertia that subdues the most aggressive conditions.
Factory recommended center mount makes the Bent Chetlers ski shorter than I am used to— but in the powder it’s more preferable because I never feel like the tips are going to catch underneath the snow. In addition, the center mount makes interacting with jumps and cliffs much easier.
I took the Ben Chetlers on a hut trip up in Cooke City, MT and fell further in love. The feather tip of the Light Woodcore is playful and engaging, while the stable underfoot from the Carbon Backbone takes it home. We found steeper lines off a small peak a few miles from our hut and the Bent Chetlers maintained its stature and composure in the run’s entirety. We then found these marshmallow-esque pillows to pop off and it felt like these skis were at home, primed for terrain that would be featured in a ski film.
The gripe I have with these skis is at the end of the day, when the runs are skied out, these feel like too much ski. The ferocity of the skis can be hard to tamper, and it shows in these conditions. The Bent Chetlers float amazingly in the softer, powdery conditions, but show weakness when skiing through the chop and moguls; this can be tough on the knees. Additionally, kick turning on a steep, technical skin track can boast some problems with such a behemoth of a platform.
I scored the Atomic Ben Chetler 120 at an 8.5/10 because of its many strengths. It is powerful, jibby, and versatile in soft snow. They are capable of skinning to where you need to go in the backcountry and are stable on steeper terrain. The drawbacks are illuminated on hard-pack snow and are more technical skin tracks. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that this is a 120mm underfoot ski, and for being ski size that usually offers niche capabilities, the Bent Chetler shines further than most.
What you need to know: Perfect for powder and those deep winter backcountry days. Tough to have such a wide ski for any resort day—for the sake of your knees. These skis won’t be your everyday one ski quiver, but will make you “woo!” on those powder days you dream of.
Overall rating: 8.5/10
Ski Link: Atomic Bent Chetler 120