Ski: 2012-2013 Line Stepup, 176cm
Dimensions (mm): 113-86-113
Turn Radius: 20.6m
Actual tip to tail length – straight tape pull: 175cm
Boots / Bindings / DIN setting: Nordica Jah Love 120 / Marker Jesters / DIN (12)
Mount Location: True center
Test Location: Park City Mountain Resort, Northstar-At-Tahoe
Days Skied: 6
(Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 11/12 Stepup, which is unchanged for 12/13, except for the graphics.)
When Line released the Afterbang ski back in 2009, I was skeptical of the unique Skate Deck construction. The eccentric think tank over at Line Skis had really outdone itself this time, I figured. I wrote off the ski as a somewhat niche or gimmicky ski that probably wouldn’t perform beyond the context of a rail park.
Line’s vision and logic behind the Afterbang was simple: Skateboards are built to hold pop long after taking repeated brutal impacts on hard surfaces. They saw that the construction of a modern skateboard deck is one of the most tried and proven designs in action sports, and wanted to apply its qualities to a ski by using a similar construction. The Afterbang is built with seven stacked layers of maple veneer of successively shorter lengths to create the flex pattern.
Skiers who bought into the hype surrounding the Afterbang’s release were overjoyed with its playful, buttery nature, but common gripes included its slacking performance on larger jumps and virtually anywhere else beyond the jib park.
A year later, Line created a big-brother version of the Afterbang, the Stepup, to address some of these issues. The Stepup certainly was stiffer, but wasn’t necessarily much burlier or more responsive.
This brings us to the new Stepup, the model for 2011-2012 season. Completely redesigned to take a half step away from the legacy of the Afterbang, the new Stepup incorporates a new design concept that Line calls Deckwall construction. The ski is still laminated in layers of maple veneer, but the design incorporates a full maple core and sidewalls for a smooth, consistent, and stiff flex pattern, while still allowing for considerable amounts of pop.
Surprisingly, the design works. The Stepup actually rides like a normal, solid, park ski. For me, making the transition between a conventionally built ski and the Stepup was quick and seamless—so calm of a transition that I could rely on the ski in competition at a slopestyle event at Northstar my second and third days on the ski. I didn’t have to waste any time figuring out how the ski would act during certain tricks or how I would have to adjust throwing any tricks for a contest run.
Much of the reason I had an easy time adjusting to this new ski quickly was just how stable and vibrant of a ski the Stepup really is. Even with the unorthodox construction, the Stepup felt lively and predictable, like any successful staple park ski. The flex was consistently stiff, but, like a skateboard, allowed for plenty of pop in the tips and tails to get up on higher rails and boxes. Plus, the ski would butter with considerable ease given its stiffness.