Ski: 2013-2014 Surface One Time, 173cm
Dimensions (mm): 138-95-138
Turn Radius: 18 meters
Weight Per Ski: 1,859 grams / 4.1 lbs
Boots / Bindings: Scarpa TX pro / Rotefella Freeride
Mount Location: -5cm from recommended
Test Locations: Alta Ski Area, Utah Backcountry
Days Skied: 25+
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 One Time, which was not changed for 13/14, except for the graphics.]
The Surface One Time has been my go-to ski for more than a month now, and the big lesson I’ve learned from my experience with this ski is: don’t jump to conclusions.
The last few years, each new ski of mine has gotten softer, bigger, and fatter, so the One Time caught me off guard—it’s smaller and stiffer than my usual favorites. It also skis and looks much different, with a 95mm waist, fat tips and tails, and a subtle—but noticeable—3 stage rocker (or kink in the ski that creates a stark transition from stiff camber under foot to a fully rockered tip). By most industry standards, the ski looks a little crazy, and turns heads every time I take them out.
After my first day on the One Time, in eight inches of untracked snow outside Alta, I wasn’t sure they were going to work for me. To be brutally honest, the first few turns rocked me. I thought they were too stiff. I though they skied fairly short. When I initiated a turn, I was getting swiveled around faster than I expected. But there were other factors that contributed to my initial struggle.
First, I was skiing new boots and bindings. After years on Twenty-Two Designs Hammerheads and AXLs, I had just switched to NTN and a new (although familiar) Scarpa boot. I also had the skis mounted too far forward. After those first few runs, I brought them straight into the shop and had the bindings remounted 5cm back, which changed things most dramatically.
This brings me back to my main point: Do not judge a book by its cover, and do not judge a new ski—especially if it looks and feels different than your old skis—by your experience during a run or two, or even a day or two. Because while it took me some time getting bucked around by the ski, skidding out, and nearly breaking down, once I figured it out, I was sold.
For me, this ski came with a steep learning curve, but led to great rewards. With a little effort and patience, they have become one of my favorite skis of all time. In terms of shape and design, they are probably my top choice for a stab at a quiver of one. I’m not sure if I can go back to skis as soft as my old ones. Getting comfortable on the One Time was worth the trouble.
In fact, getting used to a stiffer ski may have been just what I needed. My floppy skis do fine most of the time, but certainly not all of the time. I sometimes buckle in bumps and chatter through chop and just dealt with it. But a stiffer ski handles these conditions so much better.
One amazing thing I found about the One Time was that it skied like a stiff ski when it had to, but was nimble and quick otherwise. Because of its drastic three-stage rocker and sidecut, simply throwing it on edge made it easy to maneuver through moguls and to snake around trees, something a stiff ski usually can’t do. The combination of the stiffness underfoot and the shorter skiing length complement each other perfectly.