The Punisher performed well for me in deep powder (more than 20”), and planed and floated beautifully thanks to its big shovels.
On the upper mountain at Mammoth, I headed to some powder fields off Climax for waist-deep turns in four feet of blower. After dropping a small cliff, I initially sank before the large, rockered shovels quickly began to plane, and on the following turns surfaced to the top 16 inches. As I actually tried to dig the Punishers back under to take full advantage of the deep, I only briefly succeeded before being lifted back near the surface. Tip dive isn’t something you’re going to have a problem with on this ski.
In depths less than 20 inches, the Punisher is right at home. The ski’s wide shovels provide ample floatation, and the stiffer tail permits wide open GS turns at both fast and slower speeds. Its stiffer flex results in a ski that wants drive and carve, rather than smear and slarve. This was most apparent when skiing trees, but also became noticeable while skiing the Sauza Spine in the West Basin at Taos. While applying a light speed check above a rock, I found the tail sinking in deeply, rather than smearing lightly near the surface.
Skiing the trees on Castor and Pollux at Taos, I found the Punisher to pivot easily and maintain its edge when skiing fast and staying forward in choppy bumps, but it isn’t particularly forgiving or easy when skiing less aggressively. In the untracked trees above Lift Shack Chute, I found the skis to be very stable and floaty at speed, yet more difficult to make smaller, quicker turns on chunkier snow and moguls than a ski like the RMU Apostle.
Airs & Landings
I found the Punisher to be very stable in the air and on landings. High-speed straight airs felt natural, cliff drops were solid, and I was sending big 3s whenever the opportunity arose. The camber underfoot permitted easy speed control on approaches, a fair amount of pop on take offs, and great stability on runouts. The rockered shovel ensured cushy landings on the front half of the ski, while the stiff tail allowed for control while skiing away. This was evidenced after dropping the cornice in Kachina Bowl, landing comfortably on soft avalanche debris, planing above the chop, and skiing away solidly down chute.
On flatter landings, I didn’t find the tips to absorb drops off cliffs as comfortably as the Coreupt Slasher. Whether the result of the ski’s differences in construction, width, profile, weight—or a combination of all of the above—the Slasher has a more damp feel than the Punisher when landing on soft snow, while the Punisher is much more stable when landing in firm conditions.
In the terrain park, the Punisher was solid yet substantially heavier than the wider Coreupt Slasher. This provided a remarkably solid feel when popping single tricks and spins off jumps, but the swing weight became a limitation when attempting multiple-maneuver tricks and rotations. If you’re looking to use this ski for jibbing, I would suggest (unsurprisingly) a smaller size than the 189cm.
The Punisher’s edges also feature a large base edge angle of 1.6˚ to make the ski more forgiving on landings, boxes, and rails. It provides a more playful feel than a traditional 0 to 0.5˚ bevel, and I’m a fan.
The only downside I experienced with the Punisher in the park was in a 22-foot super pipe, when the rockered tip profile caused my edge hold to wash out on the vertical sections of the pipe walls. (Note to self: no tip rocker in the super pipe.)
The Punisher was equally stable and carved just as smoothly when skiing switch. The subtle tail rocker and substantial tail width easily initiated turns, while the gentle tip rocker enabled both speed control and an ability to carve while skiing backward. But since the ski is rather stiff underfoot and the tail rocker isn’t dramatic, I suspect the ski wouldn’t be ideal for switch landings in deep pow.
A Few More Comparisons: 189cm Scott Punisher vs. 187cm Moment Belafonte
The Punisher was most similar to the Belafonte in terms of stability. At high speeds, the Punisher was able to retain edge hold through variable types of snow and terrain. Scott’s remarkable construction is not remotely chattery or twitchy, maybe even less so than the Belafonte.
Probably the biggest difference between these two skis is in their respective sidecuts. With wider sections at both the tip and tail, the Punisher features more, the Belafonte less.
(189cm Punisher = 144-110-132mm; 187cm Belafonte = 135-106-124)
Even if these numbers don’t look much different, the Punisher definitely prefers to hook into (and finish) more rounded carves, and is less able to slither speed checks than the straighter Belafonte.
189cm Scott Punisher (144-110-128mm) vs. 187cm Coreupt Slasher (131-112-128mm)
Though marketed for similar applications (backcountry jibbing), the Punisher is much more versatile in variable conditions than the Slasher. I found the Punisher capable of charging and carving nearly all types of snow, while the Slasher performed best in softer conditions.
And the construction of the skis is significantly different. The Punisher features a traditional laminate and sandwich box construction around a wood core, producing a very durable and less chattery ski that is stable in all types of snow.
The Slasher also features a wood core with a similar, stiff flex, but is surrounded by a cap-like profile that is more prone to chatter and ricochet off harder snow. The Slasher’s lighter construction may be better in terms of swing weight for backcountry jibbing, but for skiing all-mountain terrain, the Punisher gets the nod in terms of construction, stability, and edge hold.
The Scott Punisher is an extremely stable and versatile all-mountain ski that excels at charging in variable conditions. While capable of jumping and jibbing, this ski is ideal for someone with a racing background, or advanced and expert skiers looking to transfer solid carving technique to conditions off piste.
The ski can rail turns on groomers and windbuff, rip stable GS turns through chop, and offers a variable turning radius for every other type of terrain on the mountain. The modest dual rocker profile allows for easy turn initiation and edge control in a ski that is relatively forgiving—for its size and stiffness.
But when the fresh tracks turn to chop by lunchtime, I’m not sure that you can find a better ski to float over and charge through afternoon chop better than the Punisher.
You can now read Johannes Simon’s 2nd Look of the Punisher.
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