Ski: 2013-2014 Atomic Ritual, 190cm
Dimensions (mm): 130-103-119
Turning Radius: 20 meters
Boots / Bindings: Lange XT 130 LV, Atomic FFG 14 Demo (DIN at 9)
Mount Location: “Team Line”
Test Locations: Las Leñas, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Days Skied: 4
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 Ritual, which is unchanged for 13/14, except for the graphics.]
Atomic developed the Ritual to replace the Coax, their 105mm underfoot all-mountain quiver killer of the past few seasons. The new Ritual has a narrower 103mm waist, added tail rocker, and a slightly deeper rocker line in the tip/shovel. The flex is moderately stiff from the shovel through the middle of the ski and softens up in the tail.
After getting a day in on the ski back at Jackson Hole in March, I was happy to take a second look at it in Argentina. Though it’s one of the narrower skis we’ve brought to Las Leñas, over the past three days I’ve been really impressed with the Ritual’s performance in a wide range of conditions on and off piste, from firm groomers; refrozen granulate & crud; wind affected; and fresh, soft snow.
On our first morning of testing, we headed to the Vulcano lift to take some groomer laps on the lower mountain. Once up on edge, the Ritual is solid and stable through the apex of each turn, and transitions easily from edge to edge. I was able to maintain an edge and hold it with confidence on the firm snow. I wouldn’t call the Ritual a particularly snappy ski (not nearly as snappy as its ancestor, the Coax), though I was able get a good, solid rebound out of its titanal-reinforced wood core during a carve. While moderately stiff, it’s far from a damp, lifeless sled.
For the most part, with its 20m radius, I preferred to make larger GS turns on the Ritual on hardpack, but was able to make shorter carved arcs when necessary. With just a touch of tail rocker, I was also able to wash the ski out of any edged turn, easily smearing the tails to control my speed. Skiing the Ritual on hardpack is very intuitive and easy, yet it’s certainly substantial enough to stand up to some aggressive carving.
On day two, after some light snow overnight, I was able to get a better sense of the Ritual’s performance in soft conditions off the Marte lift.
The ski plowed through ~2” of fresh, soft snow easily, exhibiting no real tip deflection or hookiness. I was able to move easily from the main piste into small patches of powder off the trail. Even in more variable, wind-affected snow, I had no real issues with balance or stability on the Ritual (when making bigger, faster, carved turns or shorter scrubbed ones). With a tail that has a softer flex than the Coax and some subtle rocker, the Ritual is a more forgiving ski in variable conditions. The tails slid smoothly through the small clumps of pow off Marte, but still provided enough resistance that I could easily control the amount of pivot and smear.
From groomed snow to light chop, so far the Rituals were taking it all in stride.