Ski: 2012-2013 Atomic Punx, 182cm
Dimensions (mm): 112.5-82-112.5
Sidecut Radius: 21 meters
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 181.5 cm
Boots / Bindings: Nordica Jah Love / Rossignol FKS 140 (DIN at 12)
Mount Location: True Center
Test Locations: Park City Mountain Resort
Days Skied: 10
At first glance, the Atomic Punx appears to be a pretty standard park ski: it’s completely symmetrical, traditionally cambered, and is a fairly narrow 82mm underfoot. But the Punx is all business. Pitched by Atomic as a competition-ready park destroyer, it is built to outfit competitors at the highest level.
But I wanted to find out if the Punx was more than just a burly comp ski. In my preview of the Atomic Punx, for example, I highlighted Atomic’s stylistically diverse team of athletes, and took their varied approaches to skiing as evidence of the Punx’s versatility as a park ski.
Flex / Sizing
Hand-flexing the Punx reveals that it’s fairly stiff underfoot, with a progressive but subtle softer flex in the tips and tails. The flex pattern is similar to the Nordica Ace of Spades, but the Punx is marginally stiffer underfoot.
At first, I was apprehensive about riding a 182cm ski. I’m 5’9”, and my ideal length for a park ski is around 176cm. I was a bit disappointed that Atomic doesn’t offer the Punx in any size between 173 and 182, as the 173 would feel a tad short, and I’ve had some issues adapting to a 182cm ski before (e.g., when reviewing the Bluehouse Antics).
Six centimeters doesn’t sound like much on paper, but at first, it was enough to make a noticeable difference. I was also concerned with the 82mm waist as a possible stability issue, as I mentioned in my preview.
With all that in mind, I knew that I needed to get the Punx on some big jumps in order to test it properly.
In late January, Park City Mountain Resort finally opened their largest park, King’s Crown, which has jumps ranging from 40 to 80 feet in length—an ideal testing location for a supposedly burly park ski. I was to be able to get a few days on some large jumps, in addition to medium-sized jumps and rails.
Given my initial concerns, the Punx exceeded my expectations in terms of stability and rebound on off-kilter landings on larger jumps. The landings of a few of the jumps in King’s Crown were a bit flat for the steep takeoff angles, but the Punx didn’t waver on some of the big impacts from the flat landings. They remained solid and tracked straight without scrubbing out on some of my less-than-perfect landings, and I have little doubt that this issue would have been more prevalent on a ski with a softer flex, like the Scott Jib TW or the Bluehouse Antics. If I landed a bit tip-heavy on switch landings or backseat on forward landings, the stiff core did its job, allowing the skis to rebound and to keep me upright.
Stability is my primary concern when analyzing jump performance, but the amount of pop I got out of the Punx on takeoffs was a really pleasant surprise, too. The responsive and spring-like pop that I felt when jumping on the Punx was reminiscent of the Line Stepup.
Like the Stepup, I appreciated how responsive the Punx felt on takeoff and how it felt more like an extension of my body than something bogging me down. I believe that allowed me to adjust to the longer length of the ski more quickly than I’d expected.
That being said, in comparison to an equally stiff ski like the Stepup, the Punx did feel like more ski when performing bigger spins like switch 1080s or double corks because of their moderately heavier swing weight. For me, where the Line Stepup has an edge over the Punx is how it excels in stability while maintaining a lower swing weight, thus giving it a more agile feeling in the air. This, of course, could be chalked up to the Punx’s longer length (182 versus the Stepup’s 176), but it’s worth noting.