2015-2016 Salomon Rocker2 108

Will Brown reviews the Salomon Rocker2 108 for Blister Gear Review
2015-2016 Salomon Rocker2 108

Ski: 2015-2016 Salomon Rocker2 108, 190cm

Dimensions (mm): 137-111-130

(Note: the 182cm, 174cm, and 166cm models are all 108mm underfoot, with narrower tip and tail dimensions in the shorter lengths)

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 188.9cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2159 & 2349 grams

Sidecut Radius: 19.7 meters

Boots / Bindings: Dalbello KRII Pro / Marker Jester Demo (DIN at 10)

Mount Location: “Recommended” (-3 from center)

Test Location: Las Leñas Ski Resort

Days Skied: 4

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 Rocker2 108, which was not changed for 13/14, 14/15, or 15/16 except for the graphics.]

 

One thing is becoming very clear concerning the 2012-2013 ski season: there are a number of skis in the 100-110 class that are incredibly fun to ride, and the Salomon Rocker2 108 is most definitely among them. The real key is going to be determining which ski is best suited for you, since each of these skis has its distinctive characteristics and feel.

For the Rocker2 108, the most significant quality I have found stems from its sidecut shape. Obviously flex and construction affect the ski as well, but the shape gives the ski its defining traits.

Taking a look at the sidecut, it is easy to see the tip has quite a bit of early taper. This obviously brings the widest point of the tip significantly closer to the binding and decreases the effective edge length on firm snow. The tail reveals a much more traditional sidecut shape, with the widest point very close to the actual tail.

The 108 has a fairly long tip and tail rocker profile, with slight camber underfoot. (See rocker pics on page 3.) Combine all of the above attributes with a “modern,” forward mount location, and you get a ski with the following characteristics.

(Before going further, I need to underscore that this is an initial review. There will be much more to say about this ski once the North American winter hits.)

First off, the ski turns effortlessly at slow to medium speeds. Many of my warm-up runs each day were accessed from the Caris or Vulcano lifts on the front side of Las Leñas. Vulcano 1 was one of my favorite laps to start each day because it offered a moderately steep, consistent, long, and wide groomed run, with some fun little opportunities for air stashed here and there. Whether it was perfectly flat corduroy or pushed-around corn, the 108 could execute short-, medium-, and long-radius turns at slow to moderate speeds extremely easily.

Turn shape could be adjusted very simply by varying the amount the tails were allowed to slide through each turn. The 108 also felt comfortable opening up arcs and laying down railroad tracks so long as speeds were kept in check. This leads me to my first “criticism” of the ski, but first I must also add that the ski provided excellent energy rebound from turn to turn.

As I mentioned, the Rocker2 108 has a fairly significant amount of tip taper and a recommended mounting position that is only -3cm from center. This leads to a sensation that you are (1) riding a shorter ski than you actually are and (2) placed really far forward on the effective edge / sidecut.

What this translates to, on- or off-piste, is some insecurity when you start cookin’ down the mountain, especially when the snow is firm or punchy. I’m not necessarily calling these characteristics a bad thing, but maybe a trade off for the easy-to-ski nature, and smeary, soft snow characteristics. As always, it depends on what you’re looking for.

Jason Hutchins, Salomon Rocker 2 108, Las Leñas Ski Resort
Jason Hutchins, Pala de Vulcano, Las Leñas Ski Resort

Taking the skis off-piste where they belong, I lapped the Marte lift to access Las Leñas’ mind-blowing in-bounds and side-country terrain. There are two runs that stand out in my mind that helped identify the strengths and limitations of the 108….

46 comments on “2015-2016 Salomon Rocker2 108”

  1. Jason,

    Love your reviews, this is the site I trust most to tell it like it is. It sounds like the rocker2-108 is much like the Line SFB but with a stiffer tail? How do those two compare. Thanks.

    • I will definitely say the SFB and Rocker2 108 should appeal to the same audience. They do feel quite different on snow however. The SFB feels very symmetric both in flex and shape. The Bacon unquestionably turns your resort into your terrain park. It is happy to go in any direction either on the snow or twirling through the air, and provides just enough progression in the flex to feel comfortable ripping around the resort.

      The Rocker2 also likes to hit and trick every bump on the mountain, but in contrast to the SFB has more of a directional feel to it. The Rocker2 has quite a bit of tip taper, therefore shortening the effective edge/sidecut length, and providing more surface area through the shovels. While I certainly don’t want to put the Rocker2 in the “pin-tailed” class, you can feel some characteristics (easy-to-ski, turny, smear friendly) of that sort of design while skiing this ski. The bonus of the Rocker2 is that while offering the above attributes, it maintains a fairly traditional feeling tail that you can trust. It doesn’t have the negative attributes associated with a pin-tailed shape, so you can ollie off the tails, feel balanced in the air, and have a stable platform for stomping those airs. The shorter sidecut length also helps give that big 190cm ski a 19.7 meter turn radius, making it handle like a much shorter ski at slower speeds and in tight places.

      Both skis aim to turn the mountain into your playground, and they both accomplish that goal exceptionally. What I’ve described here are the characteristics that I feel best differentiate the two. Hope this helps!

  2. Hello
    I am very interested in this ski and thanks for a good review.

    How do you like it compared to the rosignol siclle wich you seem to like ALOT. i will be skiing it mostly offpiste in sweden so no big mountain endless powder but mosrly in some 5-20inch soft snow tree riding. I also lile ro play around with the terrain and do some small drops up to 5meters(arount 17feet i think). Their will also ve a cople of agressive runs in the piste when its not completely icecovered.

    Gues im saying i want a one-quiver ski for a playful skier..

    Im 1.82 and 79kg, you recommend the longest r2 or the muddle one?

    //Johan

    • Johan,
      I don’t think that you will be disappointed in either the Rocker 2 108 or Sickle. I don’t have a lot of days on the R2 108 yet, but I did have a great time on them in Las Lenas. From my experience so far I believe they would excel in the conditions and terrain you mentioned. You are right that I love the Sickle as I believe it is the best one-ski-quiver I have found for my size and style of skiing. The R2 108 has the potential to take that spot, but I need time on it at home before I can make that call. If you are in love with the R2, I say go for it. These skis feel short and light on your feet, so take that into consideration when deciding on length. You’ll definitely be happy with the 182 for playing and tricking around, but may want the added stability of the 190 if you are an aggressive, fast skier.

  3. Hey Jason,
    Binding question for ya: I have some FKS 140 and am really thinking about these skis with the MFD/FKS setup. Do you think that would stiffen this ski a bit and if I mounted them back a bit, say -1 or -2, then would that throw off the balance point of the ski too much? I realize that it’s not the lightest binding system in the world, but I already have the FKSs, so buying a Guardian or Duke seemed pointless.
    ps,
    You stated that you tested these with Jesters, but the pics show Salomons. Just something I noticed in your very good review.
    Cheers,
    Jason

    • Jason,
      I didn’t have the chance to mess around with different mounting positions so I don’t honestly know the answer to your question. However, the skis are fairly light at the tip and tail so I don’t imagine you will notice much difference in swing weight going back a cm or so.
      The MFD’s will make the set-up heavy and you will feel the effects of that increased weight. If you aren’t tricking that much, or touring long distances I wouldn’t be overly concerned. Unfortunately, all of the strong alpine-touring options are fairly heavy at this point, so we have to make compromises somewhere.

      • Thanks for the reply! I’ve seen on some of your posts that you’ve used some BCA Trekkers before. I’ve heard just terrible things about them, but if I’m just slack-countrying it around, then do they do the trick? What’s the deal with people having horrendous times with them? Figured if I just mount the FKSs on the skis, then I can have the Trekkers for whenever, but I don’t want to be in peril every time I head out of a gate. Thoughts?

        • Yes you’re correct, I do use the BCA Trekkers quite a bit. There are quite a few reasons why I use it, even with it’s terrible street credibility.
          -I test a number of skis and like to be able to take any pair I choose into the backcountry. With all other A/T options I would have to drill another set of holes.
          -I rarely go to an area that a failure of the Trekker would leave me stranded. For longer or more remote tours I use Baron’s. For sidecountry, or the very easy to access upper Little Cottonwood Canyon backcountry I never worry about the Trekkers.
          -Every A/T binding I’ve tried so far have a negative impact on the downhill performance. They are heavier, I feel less from my skis (isolated), and I feel less energy out of my skis (snap).

          If you decide on Trekkers, you have to be gentle with them and check the screws often. Be careful clicking into them and side-hilling. BCA has amazing customer service, call them up and talk about getting a few spare key pieces.

          Bottom line, they are not perfect, but no system right now is. If you ski primarily at the resort and do a few sidecountry adventures, I think it’s worth skiing with the FKS’s ON the skis and picking up Trekkers. The more you’re thinking about spending a lot of time in the backcountry, the more you should think about a dedicated A/T set-up.

  4. Hey Jason –

    Great review of the Rocker2 108. It looks like a very fun ski and I’m excited to get mine mounted up. What can you share about mounting positions based on the few days you’ve skied it?

    I ask because while I do enjoy the playfulness, I’m not much for riding/landing switch. And coming from a traditional skiing and racing background, I’m curious if moving the mount point back by a cm or two would benefit or degrade the skiing.

    Your thoughts?

    Thanks!

    • With the limited number of days on the ski I didn’t have the opportunity to mess around with the mounting position. I definitely will once I can get more days on it at Alta. With that said, from what I felt during testing, and your self description later in the comments, I believe you are right on track by going back a cm or two. Like you mentioned below, the sidecut running length is short, and that edge length is taken out at the tip, not the tail. I definitely felt like I was standing very far forward in the sidecut, and if I had the chance I would have tried the bindings back a cm or two as my first move (rather than forward like I usually do).

  5. Trying to pick a new ski for the upcomming year and your reviews are a fantastic help. I am a big guy who has been skiing since I was 3 (250lbs of aggresive ski hurting). Reading reviews I gravitate towards the rocker2 108 in 190, SFB in 184 or Gotama 186 for a go anywhere ski. I have Rictors for the hardpack and east coast and just got Shiros for deep days and want something for east coast powder and west coast all mountain/freeride. Am I too heavy for the mentioned options? Would a ski typically considered stiff by most reviews be better for a playful ski for my weight? I prefer the trees but like to explore. Sorry for the length but figured the more info the better.

    • Eric,
      Considering your size and the fact you say you are an aggressive ski punisher, I’m very hesitant to recommend either the 184 SFB or 190 Rocker2 108. Both of these skis will feel very soft for you, and will be easy to over power. I haven’t been on a Gotama in quite some time, so I can’t comment on that ski.

      Like Ryan D. recommends, I believe there are better skis out there suited for someone your size looking for a playful ski. One ski immediately comes to my mind in the width you seem to be looking for, the Blizzard Cochise. I highly recommend checking it out and letting me know what you think.

  6. I’m 5’10” 200#, strong and aggressive. I can hold my own on local terrain. My style is suited towards a smaller radius ski like this one.
    I’m uncertain about choosing between the 182 and 190 lengths. the effective edge, in your review (which is excellent btw), made the ski feel shorter.
    Will I find the 182 too short on steeper terrain?
    Thanks for the feedback.

  7. Eric and Scott –

    I’ll share my thoughts on this ski as I just picked up a pair of 190s. Perhaps that will help you in your quest. It should be noted that I have not skied these skis, nor have I been on any Salomon skis in quite some time. I bought them purely on what I read, what I wanted in my quiver and the reviews I read, specifically this Blister review.

    Me: 6’0″, 185# expert skier with a racing background. I ski almost exclusively in the Northwest, including Montana, Jackson and the Wasatch. My quiver has nearly all type of ski, save for symmetrical and reverse cambered/sidecut skis. I prefer skis with at least some camber and direction but like some rockered tails for my fun skis. To quantify this, I ski anything from a planky, stiff and burly Legend Pro XXL to a Moment Bibby.

    If you’re concerned with length, go long. I’ve been told that the Salomons measure short and that the Rocker2 108 has a very short effective edge, so it will ski very short. Couple this with it’s small turning radius and small amount of camber, a 190 for either of your will be enough. For you, Eric, it might actually be too short, given your height, weight and ability. Plus, this ski (as mentioned in this excellent review) isn’t a stiff or damp ski which tells me it’s not stiff in the tip and tails and therefore, you will probably overpower it if you’re not skiing it centered at all times. If I were you Eric, I’d look at the Salomon Rocker2 115 or maybe the Moment Belafonte. Hell, the Moment Governor 196 might even be your ticket.

    Maybe the fellas at Blister can chime in on a good recommendation?

    Scott, I’d also go with the 190. It should be perfectly suited it to you. My guess is that 182 will feel like snoblades to you. Also realize that a jump to a 190 will give you a wider waisted ski at 111mm, which is something I personally wanted.

    Good luck, fellas. Think snow!

  8. Hi Guys these are all great comments but I am getting more confused –
    I am 50 5’10 and 195 at an advanced skiing level – spend 60% on Piste 40% off in France, Austria and Swizerland and N.Amercia- ski most things pretty agressively but struggle hitting heavy moguls – keep trying though!! However over the last few years been skiing shorter carvers circa 170 but with the Rockers you all seem to be going longer – my insticnts tell me they will feel too long over the 180 lengths – I know I am not to the standard of the group talking here but would appreciate some insights and opinions

  9. Hi!
    For the first time, im going to invest som serious money in skis, and im wondering wether the rocker 2 would be a good fit for me!
    I notise that some have allready asked the same question, but as they are so much heavier than me, im going to ask again:
    What I seek is a one quiver ski, suited for offpistskiing, thoug also for some runs in the pist. In other words, something for every ocation.
    Im 68 kg (180 lbs i think), and im 182 cm (or 5’7 i think), and im quit new to skiing.

  10. Jason – I’m considering a pair of R2 108s for my son. He’s very light – 120lbs – 5’7″. Should I get the 174 or 182? We’ll be skiing in Briancon for the season. Last season he rode the 168 S7s which he loved but he’s grown a ton since then.

  11. This ski, praxis protest, and line SFB are all on my radar this year. I ski 75% on piste and about 25% off, but i need a ski for Alta and snowbird that can rip the hardpack and take some abuse. Also, i really like to hold a long edge, and i know these dont excel there, but what ski does it best.
    thanks

    • The R2 108 isn’t your ski, as you describe. It is a terrific ski and with nearly 10 days on it already (Montana has had an excellent early season), I can give a more detailed view.

      The 108 will carve, but not that well and not that fast. If you really drive the center of the ski and the groomer is soft, it will do fine. But as soon as things firm up, bump out or get choppy, the ski gets a bit. squirrely. The softer tip and tail exacerbate this. The short running length also contribute to this.

      I haven’t skied the Line SFB or the Praxis Protest, but I hear great things about the latter. You might check that out. If you can find a hold-over Dynastar Legend 105, that also might be your ticket, especially if you’re mainly ripping groomers.

  12. I’m getting back into skiing after about 8 years on the snowboard. A lot has changed in those 8 years!. I have been slow to truly adopt the fat ski to my skiing, but I’m slowly getting there.

    I’m currently skiing pair of Amomic Theroys (95 waist) which are perfect for early season, carving groomers, and some variable snow. Still, I think I’m ready add a second ski that surfs and plays in the powder.

    I ‘m a casual skier and don’t venture too far off piste. The marked spots at Alta are about as far as I go. My impression is that a 120 someting underfoot is WAY overkill for a guy like me–casual skier measuring 5’7 and weighing in at 140 lbs.

    The Rocker 2 108 looks and sounds like a sensible choice based on the information above. I’m curious what your thoughts are? What about size?

    Excellent reviews–VERY helpful.

    Thanks!

  13. Just to say thanks for the reviews and comments, I bought these and have skied around 6-8 powder days in Switzerland on them and LOVE THEM!!! Very easy to ski in soft stuff and chopped stuff and surprisingly fun on the groomers as well… recommended.

  14. Thanks Ryan!
    I just started checking out the R2 115 as well. It doesnt have the tail rocker, which seems like something I would like because it would be more locked down on the harder runs. Have you skied it or anything like it?

    • I haven’t skied the R2 115. From what I read, it’s similar construction to the 108, just with a more traditional tail. On those types of skis, I tend to go for a much stiffer, plankier ski, a la the now infamous Dynastar Legend Pro XXL. In that vein, the Moment Belafonte or ON3P Wrenegade are similar, sort of. I tend to be one for the indie skis and their unique characteristics.

      You might check the Blister review of the R2 115. http://blistergearreview.com/gear-reviews/2012-2013-salomon-rocker-2-115

  15. Hi please help i am wanting to buy a pair of these 108s rocker 2s not sure witch length 174s or 182
    i am 5.10ish and 13 stones 55 years old a good hard skier,in powder as well,but as skis are shorter now!! not sure if i can ski longer ones as well as i used to, whats every one thoughts.

    • Ian,
      As long as you are a strong skier I have no reservation recommending the 182. This is especially true if your skiing takes you places that are wide open, consistently in softer snow, on groomers, or in widely spaced trees and bumps. Of course, if you ski in a location that offers terrain that is opposite that, with tight trees with large, tight moguls, you may wish to size down to the 174.
      As for how the skis feel on your feet, the R2 108 gives the sensation of having very short tips and are very easy to turn. Keep that in mind when making your decision.

  16. Hi Jason, Thanks for you guidance,i have decided to go for 174s and will keep you informed how i managed with them.They arrive on Tuesday and i am off to resort (AVORIAZ) on Sunday so wish me luck :-) .
    Thanks Ian.

  17. Jason,

    Thanks for the stellar review! I am currently on a pair of 184 Salomon Sentinels (I weigh 155 and am 5′ 9″). The ski is too big, and doesn’t perform quite like I’d like it to on bumps and in the woods given its attributes. (Of course the ski is insane on groomers, but I need my ski to do more than just that). I used to live in Breckenridge, CO and skied a 182 Salomon Shogun (all around the state) and it was just about perfect. I am now skiing in Vermont most of the time with maybe an occasional trip out west. I am deciding between a 174 Rocker2 108 and the 173 Shogun. I was initially sold on the Rocker2, but after learning that it does not perform on the hard stuff so well, I’m skeptical. I love skiing powder, and in the woods, but my thought is that snow may not be soft enough in VT for these skis and the Shogun may be the better weapon of choice. Again, I love to shred pow (when it’s around) and ski off piste / in the woods, but I also feel that I need a ski that can rip at very high speeds (down a groomer or in the woods or bumps when it’s hard packed), because that is something I also value highly.

    Which ski would you recommend (and size if you have a different opinion). Are there any other skis that come to my that I may be better off on?

    • Chris,
      If it were me, I would unquestionably go Shogun for a couple reasons. First off, the Shogun has a very subtle rocker profile and a more traditional shape, which will give you more edge in contact with the snow while skiing hardpack. The Rocker 2 108 feels very, very, short, especially in the tips on hardpack. Second, the layer of basalt in the Shogun will help the ski feel more damp on hardpack.
      If you spent more time in the west I would lean towards the Rocker 2, but with the hardpack, moguls, and high speed stability you are looking for, I’m not certain you would love the ski in VT.
      Another ski you could consider is the Line Sir Francis Bacon, which would keep the soft snow ability, and liveliness of the R2 while offering a little more stability on hardpack. It’s still not going to feel super solid on high speed, icy groomers, but keep them sharp and you should feel fine. I’d recommend the 178 for you if you’re looking to keep the length down.
      Another ski I’d check out is the Rossignol Scimitar.

  18. I was wondering if this ski is a good choice for someone not as concerned with freestyle. I am more interested in the Rocker2 108’s ability to cut turns through tight trees and bumps combined with it’s ability to handle deep powder. Since it seems this ski is geared towards a freestyle attitude–allowing trade-offs in cutting through chop and crud so that it will be light and easy in the air–are the trade-offs it makes still worth it for someone like me?

    • Noah,
      I’ve been skiing the 108 pretty aggressively in moguls, soft crud, and trees, and have to say I’ve been impressed. The skis are very predictable, easy to ski in a variety of ways, moderately quick, and stable enough for me. I can’t comment how they will be in DEEP powder, but I definitely can say the 108 is more than just a freestyle weapon.
      Another ski that is perhaps a little closer to what you are looking for, because it is a little more damp, incredibly easy to ski, and great in powder is the 11/12 Sickle.

  19. Hey Jay,
    Just picked up a pair of these and wanted to knowif I should mount them true center or -1 or -2 back? I primarily ski the east coast (60% park and 40% all mountain). I also want to take these skis out west and wasn’t sure if mounting the skis true center or near to true center will decrease their preformance in deeper and lighter snow.

    • Hi Jim,
      I see that Will already responded in his 2nd look, but I just wanted to chime in to support his recommendation. I wouldn’t go much ahead of -2cm for a couple reasons; First, the short length of effective sidecut ahead of the bindings. Second, the effect on powder/crud performance.
      Staying close to the recommended line the skis will feel very balanced both while in the air and while working the ski through difficult snow conditions.

  20. Hey Jason
    you comment on how the r2 108 is not for high speed turns. I currently have the line sfb in the 172 length, I’m 6’2 170 so I’m looking for a new ski and the sfb in a longer length seems like the way to go but just wondering how you would compare the r2 108 to the line sfb in the hard charging and carving category when there’s no more powder stashes left. Thanks Tyler.

  21. Looking for a new allmountain/powder ski. I’m 5’2 110 pounds and an advanced skier and ski 90% allmountain and 10% park. When I’m in the park I just hit rails. I’ve narrowed my search down to these two skis and can’t decide. I will use this ski whenever it snows two inches since I have a ski that is already 95 at waist. I ski AK/Baker/Stevens so I see fresh snow a lot. Which ski do you guys recommend for me? I prefer a softer skis that can take quick turns and is forgiving, I don’t like a ski that requires all your weight and effort just to ski. I’ve been on S3 the last 3 seasons and have loved them, are these two skis in anyway similar in terms of how they ski? I’ll either get the rocker2 in 108 or Apostle in 165. How do the flexes compare? Any details on the ski you know firsthand I would appreciate! Thanks in advance.

  22. Hi,

    Have jou guys considered testing the down countdown carbon7?
    Its quite similar in size and “target audience” and since I ordered a pair , would be interested in your comparison to the R2.

  23. Hey!
    I have been eying the rocker 2 for a while as my one ski quiver. I will be mounting it with marker f10 and will use it for everything from touring, pow, hardpack and crud. Im 173 cms/5’9” and weighs 60kg/135lb. Which length is suitable for me?

  24. Hey,

    I was also looking at this ski vs. the shotgun. Do you know if they will make a 2014 version of the shotgun. i have not seen it but it might be too early in the season.

  25. Hi,
    I have just purchased the salomon rocker 2 108s and the guardians. Just wandering where you would mount these skis. I enjoy going fast and stomping big landings. I had the blizzard gun smokes last season and mounted them 5cm behind the center line and loved them. look forward to hearing back from you.

  26. hi,
    I’m 5’9″ and 150lb, I’m skiing a Line Blend 178 as one ski quiver, now I’m looking for more float.
    I’m not very aggressive and like most an easy predictable and playfull ski for almost every condition.
    Which size for Rocker 108?

  27. Hi,
    Compared to Rossi Soul 7, Line Supernatural 108, which do you think strikes a better balance?
    I am an intermediate skier, looking for a quick easy ski for tight trees and bumps (fresh and tracked out), but since I’ll only take one ski on the plane out west, I want to be able to stay controlled at moderate speed in crud as well, and work on skiing switch with my 4 year old.
    6’4″, 180lbs before gear.

  28. Quiver questions. I am 56 years old, 6’0″, 180 and I ski mostly Mammoth Mountain. I can still ski most everything at Mammoth aggressively and with speed. I’ve always preferred a GS (long turn) carving style. I try to time my runs to Mammoth on powder days. Anyway, I now have a quiver of 2: Salomon R2 108 (190s) and DPS 138 (190s). What would you recommend for Mammoth on harder snow days to fit in with my current quiver.
    Thanks in advance.
    Craig

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