During my time on the Yvette, I was able to test the ski’s powder capability on a variety of slopes—including big open bowls at Vail, tight glades at Beaver Creek, steep chutes at Moonlight Basin, and the Football Fields off the ridge at Bridger Bowl. Though I was impressed with the Yvette’s performance on groomers, it was obvious that this ski shines in powder.
The carbon-nano construction of the Yvette reduces the weight of each ski to only 3.75 pounds, keeping it light and nimble atop fresh powder. I totally underestimated how much of a difference a light ski can make on a powder day until I skied the Yvette. On multiple days, I was able to ski fresh powder all day with only slightly fatigued legs at the end of the day. (Though I didn’t explore much backcountry on this ski, I can imagine its light weight would make it great for touring.)
The mount location of the Yvette also helped its powder performance. When compared side-by-side to the 178cm Volkl Kiku or the 175cm Black Diamond Element, the factory recommended mid-sole mark on the Yvette is farther back relative to the other two skis. So even in an aggressive, forward stance, most of my weight was farther back on the Yvette. With most of my mass behind the ski’s center point, then, the tips remained light and agile, ideal characteristics in a powder ski.
And though they are the same length, the 178cm Yvette actually skis shorter than The Kiku, and even the 175cm Element, largely due to the Yvette’s 435mm tip rocker and variable sidecut.
This exaggerated tip rocker combined with a 138mm-wide shovel keeps the Yvette atop fresh snow with little to no effort. With just a few inches of light, consistent powder, I found it most enjoyable to make medium, sweeping turns rather than the tight, slalom turns the skis seemed to prefer on groomers. The wide shovel gives the Yvette a nice, surfy feel in untracked powder, making it fun to ride the powder in a centered, upright stance on moderate slopes.
Descending steeper chutes in Moonlight Basin, I took a more aggressive stance and was sure to make smaller-radius turns so as to keep the skis in control. Though the Yvette can hold its own in these conditions, the ski felt unstable at higher speeds—the soft, rockered tip tended to sway and catch when I pointed the ski straighter down the fall line.
If I consistently skied in these conditions, the Yvette would not be my first choice; I would much prefer to be on the Volkl Kiku, which is a stiffer ski with gradual side cut for increased stability at higher speeds. (Again, the Yvette is not a heavy, super damp, hard-charging, big-mountain ski; it’s an incredibly light, non-taxing, responsive ski.)
The snow inevitably became more tracked out during the course of each powder day, but I was still very happy to have the Yvette beneath me. In soft chop, I was able to ski as if I were in a bowl of fresh powder; the ski easily powered through soft, inconsistent snow.
After sitting in the sun for a few days, however, the snow became more difficult to maneuver through, and the Yvette didn’t handle nearly as well. I found the shovels to be too soft to push through heavier, sunbaked snow—the tip of the ski would either hook up at the end of the turn, keeping me from transitioning to the opposite edge, or I would get stuck going straight, unable to turn the ski at all. To keep from feeling too out of control, I had to greatly reduce my speed.
Trees / Bumps
In most resorts, you’re almost guaranteed to find some untracked powder in tighter glades, and the Yvette makes it possible to explore these areas more easily. Due to its light swing weight and tip and tail rocker, I’ve been more than eager to hop off the trail and into the woods with these skis.
A few days after it had snowed at Big Sky, most of the open terrain was tracked out, so I decided to head into some glades. To my pleasant surprise, the snow was completely untouched. With just a few inches of fresh powder underfoot, I had a blast weaving in and out of trees on the Yvette. This ski is light, quick, and turny, making it more than ideal for tree skiing.
The Yvette also performs exceptionally well in bumps. The traditional camber makes the ski really responsive and quick edge to edge, giving it a poppy, playful feel. In fact, these skis are so fun to play around on that I’ve found myself popping off features on the side of the trail more often than charging straight down the mountain (a habit I’ve developed from twelve years of ski racing).
I’ve been able to test the Yvette in a wide range of conditions, and overall I’ve been extremely happy with its performance.
The Yvette is ideal on deep powder days, but it also performs exceptionally well in glades, bumps, and on groomers. The lightweight carbon-nano construction paired with variable side cut and traditional camber simultaneously makes this ski light and powerful.
The Yvette isn’t the best option for big-mountain skiers who mostly charge down steep lines in variable conditions, but it is ideal for a broad range of skiers, from beginners to experts, who are looking for a responsive, lightweight ski that they can feel confident taking almost anywhere on the mountain.
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