2013-2014 ON3P Wrenegade

Crud Buster + Powder Charger Revisited, Part II: ON3P Wrenegade vs. DPS Wailer 112RPC

In my review of the 192cm DPS Wailer RPC Pure (144-115-127mm), I noted that the ski certainly is a good Powder Charger, but that the Pure construction model, at least, didn’t shine in chopped up, variable snow (we’ve yet to ski the RPC Hybrid). I have no reason to assume that the Wrenegade will best the RPC’s performance in straight up, untracked, consistent pow, but I think it’s got a shot to be excellent at carrying a whole lot of speed through good snow without tip diving or feeling like a sluggish ocean liner. And I think the Wrenegade has a significant shot at outperforming the RPC as the conditions get more and more variable.

[*** Yep, that was some good speculating. And to be both fair and clear, the true apples-to-apples comparison here would be to the ON3p Wrenegade and the DPS Wailer 112RPC Hybrid. But Wrenegade vs. RPC Pure, everything I wrote above is right. “Excellent at carrying a whole lot of speed through good snow without tip diving or feeling like a sluggish ocean liner,” very accurately describes my time so far on the 181 Wrenegade.]

Trees and Bumps

I opted to go shorter on this ski than I normally do for the sake of negotiating tight trees and bumps, and I had a lot of fun skiing Taos’ frontside trees and bumps—Spencer’s, Rhoda’s, Edelweiss Glade—far more fun, I’m sure, than if I was on the 191 Wrens. Admittedly, the tips of the Wrenegades are too wide to make them ideal for bumps, but the relatively short length, substantial tails, and slightly softer shovels all worked pretty well down Taos’ classic frontside trees and moguls, especially given how well the Wrenegade also works in pow.

Still, this isn’t the best tool for the job if you’re trying to wiggle at slow speeds through very tight trees or bramble. For that, a ski like the Armada JJ, DPS Wailer 112, or Rossignol Soul 7 will make a lot more sense.

So, What about Reforma?

This whole thing got started back when I thought the 181 Wrenegade might be perfect on Taos’ Reforma: big, steep-ish bumps at the top, a more mellow middle section that allows for some wider, sweeping turns that get interrupted by the need to negotiate a few more big, steep bumps, then a very fast straightline out the bottom. The 181 Wrenegades handled the top and middle sections perfectly. It was only on the bottom straightline once conditions had firmed up that I clearly felt that the Cochise, Katana, and Belafonte would be the better fit. Those three skis are all better at speed in firm, bumped up conditions, and definitely worse as the conditions start to get deep. (And keep in mind, too, that the Wrenegade is the fattest of the bunch.)


I’ve already said a good bit above about length, but just to reiterate, I would not caution bigger guys against going with the 191 Wrenegade. I’d really like to ski that length, too, though for where I tend to ski most at Taos, I can’t say that I would clearly prefer it. But actually, a 191 Wrenegade in the lighter, “Tour” layup that ON3P offers could probably make me stop wondering about that hypothetical 187cm Wrenegade. And strong skiers who are 10, 20, or 30 lbs. lighter than me will probably really like the 181s.

Bottom Line

Resort. Powder. Charger. That’s the ON3P Wrenegade to a T, and I can’t sum it up any better.



43 comments on “2013-2014 ON3P Wrenegade”

  1. I’d probably be more interested in a Billy Goat/Governor/GPO comparison. Billy Goat, because the GPO has a similar looking profile in the tip and tail. Can’t wait to hear what you think of the real snow test results on the Wren since a ski like that might be god for those wet-coast-crud-and-chunder afternoons.

  2. I have a pair of billy goats and they’re the most fun I’ve ever had on a ski. My friend has a pair of 2011 wrenegades and loves them, both in fresh snow and charging through crud. Your review seems pretty spot on, I’m jealous you have a pair to ski. Another thing you’ll notice overtime, hand-made skis are always the most durable

  3. I ski the 2012/2013 191 version with extra carbon to suit my tiny 203cm 130kg stature.

    These weigh in at left 2520g and right 2530g.. so the standard version will be a bit less.

    Awesome skis, bet you will have a blast on the baby 181 version!

          • Wondering if any of the Blister Ladies have been on the 181 Wrenegade and what their impressions are? Also wondering if any of the Blister Ladies have been on the 184 Exit World (I know you reviewed the 190 but wondering)? My wife is a big fan of the 174 Belafonte and is having trouble going from the stability that ski offers on firm days back to the 172 Bella on pow days (especially when that pow gets cut up). She’s heard me sing the praises of the 190 Bibby Pro and we both think something along the lines of the two skis I’ve mentioned above might do this well. Please let me know when you have a chance.

            Thank you!


  4. I have about as many days on last year’s 191 Wren, which is unchanged. Believe the hype. Despite a very broad mix of snow and conditions here Montana – from WROD ice pack death sheets to 2+ foot dumps – I have skied this pair the most of all nine pairs I currently ride. It is that fun and versatile. In fact, I haven’t even taken out my Legend Pro XXLs, which has long been a favorite. That’s saying something.

    I should also note that despite better judgement, I seldom follow speed limits and softer, turnier, funner (yes, that’s a word) skis just don’t seem to suit me as much. Me: 6’0″ 180 on RX 130 boots.

    Plus, Scott & Co are really, really good people and you’re buying a burly and thoughtfully manufactured ski from Portland, my home town. So there’s that.

      • I hear you. I was worried about overlap with the XXLs when I bought these but what’s a quiver without at least some overlap?

        I did notice that the near flat bases and ever-so-slight tail rocker really make this a pivoty ski, especially on the fall line. That’s what surprised me the most and it’s really nice to have on 191. Another angle for the Wren is that it could be a great trip ski where the conditions are going to variable or the weather outlook is unknown. There will be little it cannot handle.

        In the end, I’ll never dump the XXLs. Too much fun on days when you want get after the mountain like it owes you money and ski angry.

        • Ha. That totally makes sense, Ryan. And everything you say about the 191 Wrens is exactly why I was trying to make sure that people didn’t simply dismiss that length. I don’t at all have the sense that a 191 Wren is some unreasonable ski, just a different tool for different terrrain, etc. And like I said, I’d really, really like to check out a 191 Wren with a Tour layup. Thanks again for the great info.

  5. “But if it is a bit more pow-friendly, will the Wrenegade still destroy crud like the Katana? And will the Wrenegade’s camber make it feel a little more alive on groomers? ”

    You only answered the question about groomer performance. What about destroying crud/chop like the Katana? How do they fair? Hard pressed to tell the difference in which one is better, or is there an obvious winner?

    • Yes. Absolutely. Granted, there’s no metal in the Wren. But after skiing it several days off the Tram and Challenger at Big Sky, this ski destroys crud with reckless abandon. Now, it won’t be as damp since there is no metal, but the bamboo and the burly lay-up really make this a cud buster. The bonus is that is significantly cheaper than the Katana.

        • Hi, Brian, I’d answered the first part of the question earlier in the review: “But the flip side to this is that, while the 181 Wrenegade was easily a better pow ski than the 185 Cochise, 187 Belafonte, and 191 Katana, those other skis are better at raging down lines of firm, bumped up snow. Having said that, I have little doubt that the 191 Wrenegade would close that gap a bit.” The 181 Wrenegades excel in deep snow and soft chop, then (I’d say) become less good as things get firm / nasty. The Katana is one of my favorite skis in firm / nasty stuff with some soft, are still excellent in soft chop, and then start becoming less good the deeper things get. So the Wrenegade and Katana overlap in the middle portion of the spectrum, but shine at opposite ends of the spectrum. But again, I can only speak to the 181 Wrenegade.

          • What about if you take really firm conditions out of the picture, and focus only on soft chop on a late powder day, or a few days after? The powder I’d be skiing in the morning would be 6″-16″ of alpine wind affect in wide open, sending 20-40′ cliffs, with lots of soft choppy runouts (think Europe/Andes, but tracked out fast like the US).

            My dilemma is that I have an old 183cm Head m103 (love my battleship!) that I use for charging hard in firm conditions, up to a few inches of soft snow (powder or corn). I also have an ON3P Billygoat that I use for other resorts where I’m skiing mostly pillow lines and trees in deep fluff. So, on the spectrum of firm to soft and charge to slarve, I have a ski that overlaps the lower end of the Katana, and a ski that that overlaps the upper end of the Wrenegade. I want a tail that’s not as likely to smear out like the Billygoat, but enough rocker to avoid burying the tip in untracked like the Head m103. Solidity when maching through soft chop in runouts after a stomp is the ultimate goal, so the extra float of the Wrenegade isn’t exactly an obvious win over the extra charging of the Katana. Yeah.. first world problems… but what would you pick?

            (soft base material on the Katana is kind of a negative as well, as I do hit sharks from time to time)

  6. Hi guys!

    Jonathan, do you think the 181 Wrenegade could be a good addition to my 191 Caylor for non-deep days?
    Or should I look at the 186 Vicik for groomers, crud and chop?
    I’m 174 cm x 67 kg.


    • Given how well I thought the Wrenegade handled pow, pairing it with a Caylor would give you a big, fun, LOOSE pow ski (Caylor), and a more versatile pow ski (Wren) that will shine in soft chop, do pretty well in more firm crud, and not be a great tool for the job when groomers are ice and everything is super firm. So depends how and where you’re skiing. We haven’t yet skied the Tychoon or the Vicik – both are high on our list – but I would be inclined to pair either of those with the Caylor.

      • I can add some more color here. I own the 12/13 Vicik, which is 2mm narrower (@104mm) in the waist and has a slightly different tip profile, but otherwise the core and lay-up profile are the same.

        If you’re a big fan of traditional skis with just tip rocker and you are a very powerful and fast skier; the Vicik and Wren are terrific compliments. In fact, the Vicik is often referred to as a mini Wren.

        Of the many ON3P fans I’ve had a chance to meet or discuss their quivers, most witll do a combination of a Billy Goat or Caylor and a Vicik. While others with do a Wren and something narrower like a Jeronimo or Prester. In short – most do a directional charger ski and then a playful fun ski. I’m one of the few that has both the Wren and Vicik. The most popular combo I’ve heard of is the Billy Goat and Vicik.

      • Thank you very much!
        I will wait for a Vicik review.
        I was also looking at the 186 Jeffreys, but I’m afraid of the overlap with the 191 Caylors!

  7. Where is the recommended mount point on these? I’m guessing a traditional -10’ish with the flat tails.
    Ryan D, a question for you. I’m close to your size (6’1 x 170), and ski a mix of fast, wide open bowls and steep, narrow couloirs (see Blister’s various comments on the NZ clubfields). Am I kidding myself that the 181 would be enough ski?
    There’s a lot of bootpacking and semi-technical ridge hiking involved, so shorter skis definitely make things easier.

    • Maz, I’d say do it; for two reasons. One – the mount point isn’t nearly as far back as you’d think. The slight up turned tails really make this a very manageable ski in tight spots when the snow isn’t deep or if things are firm. That, coupled with the fact that these ski much shorter than the 191cm length would indicate, really make it versatile. I’d even go as far as to say that the Wren feels like it skis shorter than my 187 XXLs. The gentle, but gradual rocker up front really help its maneuverability in both deep and firm snow. The tip profile and shape are really dialed in here. It was one of my bigger surprises with this ski.
      Two – you combine those two aspects of the ski with its very minimal camber, the Wren almost pivots when you drive it from a center-ish position. I noticed with when I attacked the fall line and did big GS or huge, arcing turns – the Wrens really responded and turned very quickly. This was even true when doing quicker, shorter radius turns down the fall line. When you ski the Wren with some energy and down the fall line, it really responds and just seems to pivot or swivel like a reverse camber ski. It is really quite brilliant in that aspect. I remember this feeling searing into my brain on my first lap down Challenger a few weeks ago.

      As for the mount point; go with what Scott and co recommend. I don’t know the exact measurement, but ON3P puts a big slot in the sidewall to mark the mount point. Mount there and you’ll be loving it. I promise. They have done their homework.

      With the hiking/scrambling, that all depends on your pack set-up and how the ski are carried. You’ll have a little more tail poking down, but I can’t imagine it being any better or worse than any other ski.

      All in all … yes; the 181 would not be enough ski.

  8. I’ve been looking for a quiver ski to fill that “inbounds powder ski” slot, and I’ve been all hot and bothered to ride the Praxis Protest after reading your review. sounds like the Wrenegade fills the same niche, any quick comparative notes on the two?

  9. @Brian: I don’t know your height / weight, but since you say, “Solidity when maching through soft chop in runouts after a stomp is the ultimate goal,” for me the 191 Katana clearly beats the 181 Wrenegade. The 191 Wren will likely make it less clear. But as I mention, the fast runout stuff is where the shorter Wrenegade performed the worst – not bad, mind you – but that was not where it shined.

  10. Not the wrenegade, but I own the 186 Vicik, and that’s a ski I think you would like Johnathan.. Picture the Moment PB&J and Belafonte having a baby, and only the best characteristics from each made it into Vicik. I own the 188 PB&J as well, and I absolutely love them, but the Vicik is better everywhere else except big bumps and jibs. Its about the same flex as the pb&j, but bamboo so damp as all heck yet very snappy and playful. Its more forgiving than the belafonte, but doesn’t give up too much on the stability spectrum.

  11. Do you guys have any plans to review the new version of the Wren 112? On ON3P’s website is says they softened it up a bet and I am hoping they didn’t wussify it like so many others.

  12. I just picked up the Wren 102 for this season, and although I’ve been limited to the Northeast, it is a phenomenal ski. Holds an insane edge, stable at speed (and it likes speed) but I also find it really maneuverable and fun in the bumps, trees, steeps. I didn’t get a chance to demo, and bought sight unseen, but it was well worth it. LOVE this ski. Would love for one of you review/break it down for others.

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