Big, Firm Moguls
If you’re style is to carve turns around bumps at moderate speeds, you’ll probably do fine on the Cham 117, keeping in mind that they are fat and long—not the best option for bumps. In big bumps with deep troughs, if you’re assuming a faster, zipperline style, the stiffness underfoot and through the tails of the skis feels a bit at odds with how soft their shovels are; it’s easy to get back seat, though I still wouldn’t call these tails particularly punishing. Lighter skiers or less advanced bump skiers probably will, however.
There are two recommended mount points on the ski: the “0” / “standard line, and two centimeters behind that line, the “-2” / “freeride” line. At -1cm of the “standard” line, the Cham 117 still felt like it had a good bit of tail, but the ski felt pretty balanced. I might try backing up another centimeter to the freeride line, but overall, I’m pretty content with -1cm of “0” / standard.
2013-2014 / 2014-2015 Moment Governor, 186cm vs. 2014-2015 Dynastar Cham 117, 190cm
The Governor has less tip splay and a slightly deeper tip rocker line than the Cham 117. The Governor has more traditional camber underfoot, and the Governor’s tail is more twinned-up than the Cham 117s, and it has 2-3 times more splay.
As mentioned above, in variable, off-piste conditions, you can charge much harder on the 186 Governor than the 190 Cham 117. Some of this is likely due to the aspen/ash core of the Governor vs. the paulownia core of the Cham 117, and the Governor’s more substantial, progressive flex pattern in the tip and shovel.
On groomers, the Governor has been the best in the group; the Cham 117 might be the worst (I’m still playing with the tune on the Praxis GPO, but that ski has been quite unpredictable on groomers.)
2013-2014 Rossignol Squad 7, 190cm vs. 2014-2015 Dynastar Cham 117, 190cm
The Cham 117 has less tip splay and a shallower tip rocker line than the Rossi Squad 7. It also has less traditional camber underfoot. The Squad 7 also has a fairly substantial amount of tail rocker, while the Cham 117 has a flat tail with a tiny amount of “tail rocker”—so little that it doesn’t really qualify as tail rocker (see the rocker pics on the next page). The shovels of the Cham 117 are also softer-flexing than the Rossignol Squad 7; the tail of the Cham 117 is stiffer than those of the Squad 7.
The most noticeable thing to say right away is that the Rossignol Squad 7 is worlds better on groomers than the Cham 117. It’s not close, and of the ~116mm-underfoot pow skis that we are referencing, the Squad 7 is up at the top with the Moment Governor, so long as those groomers are smooth. If you don’t care how your fat pow ski handles groomers, feel free to disregard this, but it’s pretty remarkable how underwhelming the flat-tailed Cham 117 is in this area.
Their groomer performance aside, both the Squad 7 and the Cham 117 have shovels that, in my opinion, are simply too soft. Address that, and both of these skis would be significantly improved, I think.
The Squad 7 is a little more than 100 grams heavier per ski than the Cham 117, and I can’t say that the Squad 7 handled variable conditions much (if any) better than the Cham 117. Both skis are far behind the Moment Governor in this area. My review of the Squad 7 will be coming soon, and I’ll say more then.
2013-2014 Praxis GPO, 187cm vs. 2014-2015 Dynastar Cham 117, 190cm
The GPO has a small amount of traditional camber, less than half that of the Cham 117. But the GPO has a much deeper rocker line and a bit more splay than the Cham 117.
The Cham 117 feels like it has a bigger sweet spot than the 186cm Praxis GPO. The GPO feels like the more dynamic ski, with a powerful, substantial tail that will kick your ass if you’re not on top of your game. Both have shovels that are much twitchier / less substantial than the Moment Governor. The GPO feels like a ski looking for a really athletic driver. A strong, athletic skier will also be able to make the Cham 117 work, too, of course, but the ski feels more mellow, less dynamic than the GPO.
2013-2014 DOWN Skis Countdown 2, 190cm vs. 2014-2015 Dynastar Cham 117, 190cm
I’m getting more time right now on the DOWN Countdown 2, but I’ve spent the past three days at Alta in very similar conditions skiing the exact same runs. But I can already say this: the shovels of the Countdown 2 are less twitchy and prone to deflection than the Cham 117, despite the fact that the Countdown 2 actually weighs a little less than the Cham 117. So what do I chalk it up to?
The Countdown 2—just like the Moment Governor—has a more subtle “5-point” dimension shape than the Cham 117. I measured the widest point of the shovels of the Countdown 2 at 136mm, and the waist at 114mm. The Cham is 145.5mm, and narrows to 115.5mm at the waist. This definitely isn’t the sole factor, but it is a factor. If you want a ski to work really well in variable, don’t pull the widest point of the shovel quite so far away from the tip. And the wider that fattest point of the shovel is relative to the waist width, the more prone to deflection this ski is going to be as the going gets rough.
The Dynastar Cham 117 performed best in fresh pow, and will work well if your pow laps are in more open spaces. It is not a heavy, demanding beast of a ski, so I think it is best suited for those who aren’t looking for a burly charger, but want a predictable, smooth, fun ride in good snow. Having said that, the shape and flex of the Cham 117’s tail means it’s probably better suited for advanced and expert skiers who don’t want or need a ski to be super pivoty in deeper snow. The Cham 117 would not be my first choice for charging hard in bumped-up terrain, but in smoother terrain—even smoother terrain in variable snow conditions —this ski remains predictable, though again it isn’t some heavy crud buster and destroyer of soft chop. The Cham 117 is a pretty user-friendly, undemanding ski, especially if the terrain and your speeds are kept fairly mellow.
And for those who want a ski that provides a good bit of surface area (length and width) and doesn’t come with a big weight penalty, the Cham 117 could be a nice touring ski.
NEXT: ROCKER PROFILE PICS