Ski: 2016-2017 Scott Punisher 110, 189cm
Available Lengths: 157, 163, 173, 183, 189 cm
Blister’s Measured Length (Straight Tape Pull): 187.5cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 144-110-132
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 143.5-109-131 mm
Blister’s Measured Weight Per Ski: 2,191 grams & 2,204 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius: “3D”
Core Construction: Poplar/Beech/Paulownia + Fiberglass Laminate
Tip & Tail Splay: 64 / 55 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: 2 mm
Boots / Bindings: Rossignol Experience 130 / Marker Jester (DIN at 10)
Mount Location: Factory recommended
Days Skied: 9
Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley; Mammoth Mountain, California; Telluride, Colorado
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 Punisher, which was not changed for 13/14, 14/15, 15/16, or 16/17 except for the graphics.]
The punchline: the Scott Punisher is the best ski I’ve ever used in chop and crud, period.
I’d previously known Scott for their poles, goggles and apparel, and was interested to see what they were up to on the ski design and manufacturing front. And what I’ve found is that the Scott Punisher is a hard-charging, stable, and fun all-mountain performer.
Featuring the most rocker in Scott’s line, the Punisher is marketed as a versatile ski that can rip all-mountain crud and boost backcountry airs. Or as Scott puts it, “A ski that defines backcountry freestyle.”
While the ski does provide poppy takeoffs and stable landings when jumping, the biggest story here is the Punisher’s ability to blow through chop and carve variable hardpack.
Features / Design
The Punisher features a wood core and metal-free top and bottom laminate with traditional sandwich sidewall construction. It is an extremely well constructed, durable ski that doesn’t chatter in variable conditions.
It also features Scott’s 3Dimension Sidecut, a combination of two turn radii (one in the tip, one in the tail) and a 50cm straight section (no sidecut) underfoot for an improved pivot point, all of which is supposed to enable easy turn initiation, improved edge control, predictability, and power underfoot.
Unlike five-point dimension designs (like the Rossignol S7, Armada TST, or Atomic Bent Chetler), which feature a narrower tip profile, the Punisher has a wide shovel (144 mm) that is nearly spoon-shaped at the tip. I found this design helped the ski blow through chop with less tip deflection than skis with a narrower, five-point tip profile.
The Punisher has more rocker than any other ski in Scott’s line, and while it might be modest compared to skis like the K2 Hellbent or Rossignol S7, the tip rocker is substantial, similar to the Coreupt Slasher. (Compared to another crud buster, the Moment Belafonte, the Punisher features a similarly deep rocker line, but the Belafonte has less tip rise or splay.)
The tail rocker of this ski, however, is fairly subtle, and I was thrilled to find that the Punisher allowed me to load the tail without ever washing out while carving—though it also means that the Punisher isn’t that interested in smearing pow turns. In deeper snow, the tail prefers to engage for a longer, rounded turn rather than a quick smear.
Overall, the rocker profile of the Punisher allows for the entire edge to engage when turning on soft or firm snow.
The Punisher is 110mm underfoot (like the 2006 Dynastar Legend XXL—one of my all-time favorites) and features traditional camber through the middle and most of the tail of the ski. The flex on the Punisher is stout like the XXL, and gives the ski the ability to carve at high speed and hold an edge in firm conditions.
Unlike the XXL, however, the Punisher features wider shovels, a twinned tail, and tip and tail rocker. This all translates to a ski that can not only rip across nearly any type of snow or terrain, but also one that can pivot, float, and carve turns more easily.
Groomers / Chop / Windbuff
My first run on the Punisher was on Porcupine at Taos. Seven inches of fresh snow had been skied up into soft powder piles interspersed with machine-made hard pack. The Punisher allowed smooth transitions and edge hold, whether carving larger GS turns or pivoting smaller, short-swing turns.
On steeper terrain off Lift #2, the skis continued to provide excellent edge hold. For the remainder of the weekend, I charged through crud off the ridge, ripped bumps on Reforma, and was able to rail GS turns back to the lift.
After that first weekend at Taos, I tried the Punisher around Christmas at Mammoth Mountain, which had just received six feet of new on an eight-foot base. On the upper mountain, with a mix of powder, wind deposits, and avalanche debris, the ski permitted tight turns in the upper chutes, and race-style carves at various speeds and radii down the open bowls. The Punisher was able to charge, float, and transition through the various conditions, and its stability and edge hold allowed the ski to easily adapt to old, dry snow, chop, and wind deposits.
Wind buff was also a dream on the Punisher. When carving large GS turns on a previously slid avalanche track, then ripping through debris piles in the deposition zone below, the Punisher was the best big-mountain ski I’ve ridden since the Dynastar XXL. Even later in the season, skiing Kachina Peak back at Taos and the chutes off Gold Hill at Telluride, the Punisher again was able to carve amazing turns on firm wind deposits.
In short, the ski’s large size and twin tip rocker profile are effective in nearly all snow types. The design provides ample floatation in soft snow and chop, with easy turn initiation and full edge contact from tip to tail on firm snow. It can be skied aggressively forward for all-mountain charging, or neutral for controlled turns in steeps or when cruising groomers.