Ski: 2013-2014 Atomic Automatic, 193cm
Dimensions (mm): 141.5-117-130.5
Actual Tip-To-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 191cm
Sidecut Radius: 20 meters
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 Automatic, which is unchanged for 13/14, except for the graphics.]
A number of you have been waiting to hear about the 186 vs. the 193, so we wanted to get some initial impressions up from three of us in different situations:
1) I’ve skied both the 186 and the 193, and reviewed the 186 Atomic Automatic from Las Leñas.
2) Will Brown has skied only the 193—not the 186—so offers a perspective that doesn’t A / B the 186 to the 193.
3) We’re going to get a cameo from BLISTER bike reviewer, Joe Hanrahan, since Joe’s everyday ski is the 186 Automatic. Joe’s been spending time on the 193 Automatic, and given that he’s got more time than any of us on the 186, I’ve asked him to weigh in, too, about which he prefers. OK, then…
Boots / Bindings: Atomic Redster Pro 130 / Atomic NR ffg 12
Mount Location: +2cm of Factory Recommended Line
Days Skied: 4
I just finished rereading my review of the 186 Automatic, and I stand by what I wrote there. (It’s always a relief to be able to say that when you go back to see what you wrote about a ski more than four months ago.) So how does the 193 compare to the 186?
I really like the 193 Automatic on groomers. It felt like a bigger ski, of course, than the 186, but it still handled smooth groomers very well. Both the 186 and 193 are a lot of fun to carve on even slightly soft groomers.
Getting off piste, however, I quickly wanted to get more forward on the 193—which is something that I speculated about in the Comments Section of my 186 Automatic review. The shovels of the 193 felt long and soft, and I wanted to get more on top of them to control them and reduce deflection.
I went +1, but still wanted more. So I went +2, and that, for me, was the most comfortable spot. It’s worth noting that I was actually -0.5 on the 186 Automatic, and didn’t have that feeling of too much shovel.
Also, as a point of reference, when mounted at +2 on the 193 Automatic, I had more shovel in front of me than I have on my 190 Moment Bibby Pros that are mounted on the line. So to state something that we already know: the Automatic is a pretty directional ski, with a fairly traditional recommended mount point.
As always, I’ll be interested to hear in the Comments Section below from those who have been skiing the 193, and whether they’ve felt similarly about the shovels.
Another extremely relevant fact is that I was skiing the 186 in Las Leñas, whereas I was skiing the 193 Automatic at Alta. There is a reason why we always state where we test each ski, and that is: location matters.
One thing that you’ll find in Alta more frequently than in Las Leñas: deep chop. This isn’t something that we encountered down in Argentina this summer. The chop / variable conditions we found in Las Leñas wasn’t deep chop / variable.
At Alta, I was skiing the 193 Automatics a couple of days after a big storm, and I had them in plenty of deep chop as well as some wind-scoured bumps. In these conditions, the 193 Automatics didn’t feel as home as they had down south. And really, this is no surprise: a stiffer ski would have fared better in the deep chop, and a shorter ski would have handled the firm moguls more easily. I was often feeling the length of the 193s in moguled-up lines around Alta’s Eagle’s Nest, Race Course, and Stone Crusher.
In big bumps on a big ski, my tendency is to turn less and keep the skis straighter down the fall line. That’s something that works pretty well on my 190cm Bibby Pros, but the Bibbys are stiffer than the 193 Automatics, and I missed that stable platform.
In my review of the 193 Blizzard Cochise, I noted that if I don’t feel like I gain appreciable stability by going up to a longer length, then I will prefer to stay short. And that’s why I personally prefer the 185 Cochise to the 193. (It’s also why I do prefer the longer 190cm Bibby Pro to the 184 Bibby—because I do feel like there is an appreciable gain in stability, so I’m willing to accept a loss in quickness.)
In the case of the Automatic, I didn’t feel like the 193 Automatic provided enough of a stability boost to compromise the excellent quickness of the 186. If quickness and ease of turn initiation is your priority, then I think the 186 Automatic is your ski.
Even mounted at +1, the 193 felt like it gave up more of the ridiculous quickness and ease of the 186 than I wished, and I didn’t feel like I received a big bump up in stability. It’s all about compromises, but for me, given where I spend much of my time skiing (Alta, Taos), and given the fact that I wouldn’t only be pulling out the Automatic on big deep days, I’d personally be inclined to stick with the 186.
But if the Automatic was more of a quiver ski for me, only to be brought out on fairly deep days, then I could happily go 193 and mount at +2.
NEXT: WILL BROWN