2015-2016 RAMP Groundhog

Chop / Crud

The soft shovels of the Groundhog absorb and dampen chop and crud very effectively, which allows the rest of the ski to stay in contact with the snow. The ski’s stiffness underfoot and through the tails provided good stability. Though I am not a huge fan of the soft tips-and-stiff tails design, the Groundhog does perform well in chop and crud. The ski is damp, and the tips solidly powered through when hitting ice chunks and dense snow.

Moguls / Bumps

Given that the Groundhog’s sidecut radius is a short 19.4 meters, I thought I’d be able to whip these skis around easily in the bumps. But because of the relatively stiff tails, mogul skiing wasn’t as fun as I had hoped.

Plus, while the tips were easy enough to aim in troughs, the tails caught and didn’t release quickly enough to allow the tips to turn. I found them most enjoyable skiing well-spaced soft bumps. Tight, inconsistent moguls, like on my favorite lines through Fred’s Trees, produced more of a whiplash sensation, as the tails were constantly getting caught behind me. These skis are easy enough to slash and speedcheck in the bumps, but the tails needed room to release in order to do so. If I were planning on spending more time in the bumps, I’d rather go with the DPS Wailer 112RP or 4FRNT CRJ.

Dust on Crust

When the snow report reads, “trace inches,” it might look like a pow day on the surface, but your first turn sounds like you just killed a cat, and you’re reminded of the ice lurking underneath that soft snow surface.

In these conditions, the Groundhog performed with stability and grace. The tip floats just on top of the dust, placing the edges firmly on the hard pack below. The stability of the tails and regular camber underfoot allowed me to carve enough to schralp these disappointing conditions.

Much as the 4FRNT CRJs proved awe inspiring on sun crust and bulletproof hardpack, the Groundhog definitely held an edge in the less than an inch of dust on crust. It was predicable, damp, and stable—all the things I look for when the conditions are deceiving.


Testing the Groundhog on Alta’s deepest day of the season—31 inches of cold smoke—I was surprisingly impressed. We headed straight toward the Wildcat lift and lapped the Westward Ho in blower pow for two days, and later went and played around Bad News.

Robin Abeles, RAMP Groundhog, Blister Gear Review
Robin Abeles on the RAMP Groundhog, Bad News, Alta.

The Groundhog was floaty and smooth. It was easy to slash them, and the tails provided a lot of energy to jib off Westward Ho’s great natural features. While I wouldn’t choose the Groundhog on a regular basis on a pow day over the DPS Lotus 138, I definitely wasn’t disappointed in their rockered, softer shovel. While it’s not the fattest ski, the Groundhog’s dimensions proved wide enough (100mm underfoot) to float me in Utah’s signature powder.

Steeps / Trees

The Groundhog’s short turn radius made it very easy to slash and billygoat as well as dodge trees. With its stiff and supportive tails, stopping on a steep face like the upper entrances of Piney Glade or Radish was easy. Dropping into Garbage Chute was also confidence-inspiring on the Groundhog.

Skiing in tight, straight areas like Regal Chute with consistent snow was no problem, as the ski pivots well when there are no bumps for the tails to catch on.

The bases are made of a thermoplastic 7500 Sintered Base that RAMP claims has “tremendous abrasion resistance.” I concur, as I have yet to core shot the bases (which, as my ski buddies will certainly attest, is a rarity for my ski arsenal). No matter how deep the snow is, any Alta skier will encounter a rock or two when navigating the occasionally wind scoured entrances to off-piste areas. After much abuse, the Groundhog’s bases are holding up great.

Hucking / Airs

The Groundhog’s swing weight felt a little unbalanced to me. I didn’t notice it too much while billygoating, slashing, and pivoting, but once I was in the air, the Groundhog was not easy to control while spinning. I prefer a ski with a good amount of tail rocker when spinning off features (4FRNT CRJ or the DPS Wailer 112 RP), and not surprisingly, the Groundhog’s flat tail made me hesitant to spin them in the air. However, I enjoyed straight airing drops in Rocky Point on them, as the tails were very supportive on landings.

Robin Abeles, Rocky Point, Alta, Blister Gear Review
Robin Abeles, Rocky Point, Alta.

Touring / Skinning

Because of its full bamboo core and Kevlar/Fiberglass construction, the Groundhog is not the lightest ski out there. Compared to the DPS Wailer 112RP, they were heavy companions in the backcountry.

They did skin well, though. With 100mm underfoot, there is enough surface area to comfortably ascend on the skin track, and the shovels did a good job of breaking trail. The Groundhog wouldn’t be my first choice for a dedicated touring setup, but it will work if you only have one pair of skis.

Bottom Line

The RAMP Groundhog is a damp and stable ski, great ski for those who need one ski to carve in all conditions, though I found them to be work in tight, hard moguls. They excel in dust-on-crust, and they floated me pretty well in deep pow.

If mounting on the factory line, I would recommend this ski to alpine skiers before telemark skiers, as the carving is significantly more stable when you have your heels locked down. (And I would still like to try this ski mounted back 2cm to see if they respond better to telemarking.) And for those who love a natural wood top sheet, the Groundhogs are super sexy, which never hurts.


10 comments on “2015-2016 RAMP Groundhog”

  1. I am an accomplished skier- bought these direct from Ramp end of season- your review is right on target. But after 2 days of skiing, the skis started falling apart, and Ramp would not stand behind them. My local ski shop had the same problem, but of course they had the clout to return them, and gave their customers refunds. I strongly suggest that no one buy direct from Ramp.

    • I am wondering why RAMP didn’t warranty your skis if they fell apart as you said? They have a very good warranty policy and are very helpful. I had an issue with mine, and they fixed them straight away. Maybe you bought factory seconds or something?

  2. I agree with Dani on this one. They have a pretty bomber return policy. That said a couple of years ago they had some issues with the top sheets delamming. I am on the 13-14 Peacepipe and the new top sheet design is holding up well.

    I have not tried the groundhog, but my wife is on the beaver. No issues there either.

  3. The main problem was with the lamination. I have been skiing them this season- 15 days so far- and the lamination repair they did helped a bit but is again looking bad.
    I was worried about the sidewalls getting a lot of noticeable nicks after just a few days but they seem to be standing up ok.
    I like the skis a lot- light, well behaved, love just about any condition in eastern skiing, just get a bit nervous at hi speed. But I think they knew this was a problem.

  4. Keep in mind that Nate doesn’t actually make Tele Turns, he is all about the alpine turn on the tele board. To Cool for School Nate, Too Cool.

  5. would you say its worth geting a marker GRIFFON SCHIZO so i could mount it at center and then be able to move it back for different condtions or should i just get the regular marker griffon and mount it center?

    • Christian, I rode these skis mounted tele so I can’t say where the marker schizo would ride best. I’ve asked our other reviewers who know these skis and those bindings to chime in. Over all I felt that center mount was too far forward for any style of riding.

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