Boots / Bindings: Salomon Falcon Pro CS / Marker Jester (DIN 10)
Mount Location: +1
Test Location: Taos Ski Valley
Days skied: 3
On any ski, the increase in length from the mid-180cm length to a 190cm+ length is always an interesting one. Sometimes the difference in lengths isn’t too surprising. Take a ski like the Moment Bibby Pro. The 184cm brings a great balance of playfulness and stability, both on hardpack and in powder, from trees to groomers. The 190cm simply feels like a bigger version—you’ll lose a little quickness in tight spots and gain some high-speed stability, but it’s still very much a Bibby Pro.
However, the performance differences between lengths isn’t always so proportional.
The 193cm Cochise still shares a number of the great characteristics of the 185cm version, but in other areas, the extra length and weight put the ski in a bit of a different class from the shorter version. It’s still a very good ski, but it’s not simply a slightly bigger version of the 185 that feels a little heavier, a little more stable, and a little less quick. Where the 185cm Cochise doesn’t feel too demanding for a 185 (at times it feels shorter, and, as Jonathan mentions, is surprisingly forgiving for how hard you can push it), the 193cm Cochise really feels every bit like a big, heavier, 193cm ski. It’s no joke.
Groomers / Hardpack with Softer, Slightly Consolidated Snow
One thing I love about the 185 Cochise is its balanced feel on edge in a high-angle carve or while making a fast, skidded slarve turn. The conservative sidecut and mellow, symmetrical rocker profile also allows you to move the ski into shorter-radius, powerful scrubbed turns, dictating its turn shape. Like the 185, I found I could work the 193 into shorter scrubbed turns on groomers pretty easily. It behaved very predictably and very intuitively, but the longer length just meant that I needed to be more deliberate and forceful in directing the ski.
Really, it felt more as though I was holding the 193 back, keeping it from picking up speed, than enjoying the snap and energy through each turn. In this way, the flex of the 193 feels (to me, at a light 6’2”) more stiff and supportive rather than firm and snappy like the 185 Cochise. It can still be maneuvered relatively quickly for its size, but you’ll really need to be on your game and work a little to accomplish this.
Unlike Jonathan, I can’t say I found the 193’s shovels to be soft at all. The 193’s flex seemed similarly round to me, but stiffer in general, and less forgiving and poppy than the 185.
With some real speed, I could tip the 193 on edge fairly quickly and was able to lay the ski over into a carve, making huge, very fast and very stable arcs down the backside at Taos. You can carve the 193, but I wouldn’t buy it for that purpose.
The 185 Cochise feels like more of a sane, everyday ski with a longer 28.5m turn radius on corduroy.
The 193 Cochise feels like a missile that’s trying to get you back to the lift in as few turns as possible.
It’s fun, but I’ll agree with Jonathan: you’re going to feel like you’re spending a lot of time on the lift in a day of lapping groomers on the 193.
I love the way the 185 feels in bumps, even full-on hardpack moguls. With a proper detune of the tips and tails, I was able to really work the flex of the Cochise to my advantage in pumping the ski through troughs and scrubbing speed through the tails on the tops of moguls where I needed to. Even at relatively low speeds in tight bumps, the ski felt quite manageable most of the time.
On the 193, this was only the case when I could pick a relatively spacious line—when the material length of the ski didn’t get in the way too much—and I could afford to carry some speed. In those cases I was still surprised by just how well-balanced, smooth, and cooperative the 193 felt. However, I didn’t feel like I had any real ability to bend and flex it in bumps when things got cramped. Instead, when tighter bumps dictated my line, the extra length of the 193 felt very cumbersome.
I did try moving the mount point of the 193 forward 1cm from the factory line. This seemed to make the ski feel even more balanced on groomers and soft chop, like I didn’t have quite as much shovel in front of me and could swing the ski around a little more easily, but it still felt like a very big ski. If you think the 193 sounds like something you want to look into, and you’re less than, say, 6’4” and 220 pounds, I’d say there’s no reason not to mount the ski +1 from the line. I can’t say I noticed any difference in the ski’s high-speed stability whatsoever, but it seemed a little more manageable elsewhere.
In short, the 193 seems to demand a whole lot more speed than the 185 before it begins to feel more maneuverable and agile. The camber profile and straighter shape still enables you to pitch the ski sideways to make some quick turns to scrub speed (just like the 185), but it doesn’t feel compact enough to work in real troughed-out moguls, or anywhere where the terrain is constantly limiting your line choice.
In my book, the 193 Cochise is a full-on, stiff, no-nonsense, big-mountain ski, where the 185 is more of an all-mountain ski with a snappy, firm feel and legitimate freeride attitude.
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