Ski: 2013-2014 Line Influence 115, 186cm
Dimensions (mm): 145-115-131
Turn Radius: 22.6 meters
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 182.4 cm
Weight Per Ski: 2328 grams / 5.1 pounds
Boots / Binding: Lange RX 130 / Marker Jester (DIN) 10
Mount Location: Factory Recommended
Test Location: Niseko, Japan
Days Skied: 5
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 Influence 115, which is unchanged for 13/14, except for the graphics.]
Last December, I wrote in my review of the 11/12 Line Influence 115 that I was really surprised by—and very much liked—the ride quality of the Influence 115.
Fast forward six weeks, and I’m in Niseko, Japan, skiing the new 12/13 Influence 115 that has just been unveiled at SIA.
The 12/13 Influence 115 returns again with black bases and a black topsheet, but the similarities pretty much end there, and the differences between the two skis are not subtle.
(1) I prefer the 11/12 version of the Influence 115.
(2) I am confident that I will be in the minority on this one, and that the 12/13 Influence 115 will appeal to more skiers.
The 12/13 Influence 115 is lighter, surfier, less damp, and more playful than the 11/12 model. In short, it’s totally different.
• Line has cut nearly a centimeter of width off the tip, and more than a centimeter off the tail.
11/12 Influence 115 = 153-115-142mm
12/13 Influence 115 = 145-115-131mm
The 12/13 has a beautiful tip profile, and the action of the ski is very smooth, nothing grabby or abrupt about driving this ski. (Not that I found those qualities in the 11/12 Influence, but still, the action feels especially smooth on the 12/13.)
• The sandwich sidewall construction of the 11/12 has been altered to a semi-cap (CapWall) construction that blends sandwich construction underfoot with cap construction at the tips and tails, reducing the overall weight of the ski and improving swing weight.
• The “metal matrix” that is visible on the top of the 11/12 Influence 115 has now been pocketed into the core of the ski, and Line is also using thinner titanal strips.
• The binding mat was also pocketed. Binding mats don’t get discussed often, but here’s how Line Skis engineer Jed Yeiser explained the change:
“Companies don’t normally talk about binding mats, and most consumers don’t know they exist. The long and short of it is that we reinforce the region of the ski where bindings are mounted with a bit of extra fiberglass to keep binding screws where they belong. Most skis will have this region of extra glass across their entire width. By pocketing the binding mat, we were able to use the minimum amount of material possible, and we cut about 70% out of the binding mat that was previously there, which made a huge difference.”
That, plus the reduction of material in the tip and tail, plus the CapWall construction, plus the thinner titanal strips equals a much lighter ski.
• Tail rocker has been added.
More On That Weight…
The 12/13 Influence 115 feels so much lighter than the 11/12, that frankly, the new 115 didn’t really feel like it had metal in it at all. Granted, I’ve been skiing some fairly burly skis recently (including the 191 Volkl Katana, the 191 ON3P Billy Goat, 190 Moment Bibby Pro, 187 Moment Belafonte, and the 190 Rossignol Squad 7), but the new Influence 115 is a pretty big departure from all of these skis in terms of stability and heft.
Hop on a truly playful ski, however, like the Line Mr. Pollard’s Opus, and the Influence 115 feels more solid by comparison.
On the 11/12 Influence, I skied more agressively and drove the shovels. The 12/13 Influence 115 responds better to a much more centered stance, anticipating bumps, popping the tops, and spending a good bit more time in the air in bumped up terrain.
Whether this is a good thing or bad thing comes down to your preference and style, but people who like a damp ski that will rage aren’t going to be replacing their 11/12 Influence 115s with the 12/13.
But serious question: how many skiers are looking to Line for a ski like that?
And furthermore, Line already offers a 90mm-, 98mm-, and 105mm-waisted ski in their Prophet and Influence series, all of which, I am prepared to believe (and hopefully soon will be able to confirm), are more solid and stable carvers. (As I mentioned in my 11/12 Influence 115 review, the old Prophet 90 was excellent at speed and in chop. Here’s hoping that the current 90 is at least close.)
Relevant anecdote: Last summer BLISTER reviewer Jason Hutchins was pretty sure he was going to go with the 11/12 Influence 115 for his backcountry ski. He went to a shop, picked one up, immediately set it back down, and left. It was way too heavy for what he was looking for. But the 12/13 version is lighter, and if it had existed a year ago, my hunch is that Jason would now own it.
(UNTRACKED) POWDER PERFORMANCE
The 11/12 Influence is good in pow, but the 12/13 is more fun, a much surfier, playful, feel.
Even though the Influence 115 is a very short 186 (actual tip-to-tail length is 182.4cm), I never experienced any tip dive in deep (but admittedly, light) pow, and the 12/13 felt like one of the easiest, most intuitive pow skis I’ve ridden in a while. They aren’t demanding at all, they can handle slow or fast speeds, and they never got weird or hooky, they are quick and, once again…smooth.
But because these are so incredibly easy to ski, if this is going to be your pow ski, size up. The 12/13 Influence 115 skis short. Line will be offering a 192cm model, and I would take the extra length and wouldn’t worry for a second about a loss of quickness or maneuverability.