2014-2015 Dynastar Cham 117

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.

Mount Location

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.


Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Dynastar Cham 117 for Blister Gear Review
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Dynastar Cham 117, Kachina, Taos Ski Valley.


Bottom Line

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.




20 comments on “2014-2015 Dynastar Cham 117”

  1. I would really like to hear more about the Praxis GPO. Is a review coming for the GPO as well? You guys do a great job of helping people understand the qualities of a ski and if they will work for a particular type of skier, keep up the good work!

  2. Why did Dynastar sell out to the masses and stop making race stock skis like the LP and XXL…it’s a true shame. Although understandable as a business :)

  3. The last good ski Dynastar made was the LP 105, great DD ski for the west! The Dynastar rep I talked to said they didn’t sell enough 105s (less than 100 pairs in the US) to make it another year. Now they have the Sham series..

  4. I’m always stunned at the ignorance feigning at expertise that makes up the reviews written by the trust-fund babies who comprise the gear review staff here.

    Mount “too far forward”? Uh, nearly everyone who complains about the mount location chosen by Dynastar is talking about it being too far rearward.

    Tips “too soft” and softer than a marshmallow (not your literal words, but the effect of them)?

    Not stable enough for a manly ripper like you, but maybe okay for a person who just got out of wedge tursn?

    Why don’t you just stop reviewing skis, and reduce the entire blog to this sentiment —

    WE AT BLISTER ARE BADASS. You, the reader, are not. No ski is burly enough for us. No bike is “aggressive” enough for us. Kayaks turn red when our boaters paddle them, because their chines are too soft, their lines too wimpy, their bow/stern volume too high for us Masters of the Wheel.

    It would be sorta funny as an April Fool’s joke for the 7th graders in your audience, and it would be completely honest otherwise.

    Gosh. I’m so humbled by your immense greatness and impeccable radness. I may have to kill myself.

  5. Mount these at the Freeride line..I have been skiing these 190cm the last 3 months and can say they are the best of the bunch for railing groomers, it’s not even close. Everyone that try’s mine all say the same thing…they ski “narrower” than a 117 and rip the groomers with a smooth even flex and pop out of the turn. Best in floatation and quick and nimble. Can’t say I ever agree really with any of Blister’s reviews. As a 220lb ex racer who has loads of experience in ski tuning, racing, and backcountry, I find that Blister favors bigger burly skis that are less about finesse and not in favor of dynamic high edge angles. The Moment Governor? Please, that thing couldn’t find a round flex pattern if it was put under a steam roller. The 117 is a game changer for me, and has made me realize what I was looking for in a fatter ski. Powerful, damp, smooth, and nimble. The shape is what makes this ski work…it can smear with the best of them but does not make you smear (ala Bentchetler, Soul 7, etc). Like all Dynastar’s, it favors high edge angles and dynamic, high energy skiing. The ore you put into it, the more you get out of it.

    • 1) You’re an ex-racer that has 40 lbs. on me, and you can’t bend the 2014-2015 Governor? (And I am talking about the 14/15 Governor, just to be clear, not the 12/13 or 11/12 Governor, right?)

      2) The Governor isn’t really a “bigger, burlier” ski than the Cham 117. They have very similar weights, and as I note, the Cham 117s are actually stiffer underfoot and through the tail than the Governor. But as I’ve A/B-ed these 2 skis this spring, there is no question that the 14/15 Governor is more damp than the Cham 117.

      3) Glad you’re psyched on this ski. I think a lot of people will like it, though calling the 117 a game changer makes me wonder what you’ve been skiing on the past 4-5 years?

  6. Jonathan-

    1. The Governor (and in my opinion, all Moments) have a unbalanced flex- they don’t necessarily bend around you evenly in the middle of the turn. I can bend anything fine, but its the flex pattern that gets me pumped on certain skis. The 117 bends smoothly throughout the arc, and you can feather the tip and tail release more quickly, let off the gas if need be, etc.

    2. See above.

    2. Volkl Shiro, Dynastar Big Dump, Atomic Automatic, Blizzard Bonafide

    • Thanks, AK. “It’s the flex pattern that gets me pumped on certain skis” – totally agree with you (see comments I’ve made about the LINE SFB, V-WERKS Katana, etc.), and I guess it wouldn’t be too surprising to me if, given our weight differences and perhaps our skiing styles, if you and I had different preferences in terms of what that flex pattern felt like. I want consistency in that flex pattern, but I want that consistency primarily for off-piste, variable performance. Evidently, that less consistent flex of the Cham (softer shovels, stiffer tails) feels better – “more rounded” – to you on groomers, but off-piste as well.

      Anyway, I’ll try to get back out on the 117s and play some more with that mount point. I’ll update if I get different results.

  7. Man, I was really looking forward to this ski and this is a huge letdown. :(
    It seems like a lot of the bigger companies are into making skis for people who don’t/can’t lean forward. Tips and tails should be rockered OR soft. Not both. And without a 185, this skis is either too short or too long for me, lol.
    Thanks for your always thorough review.
    It sounds like it’s more of a bc ski if it’s that fat and can’t be driven hard over tracked out powder or hold a solid edge with a flat tail, so it might work well for someone there. Especially since, i’m guessing it skis long so you can go with a shorter length for techy stuff and weight savings.
    Oh well.

  8. I like my Dynastar Cham 107 skis, and I think that I will like them even more now because I had them re-mounted at the -2cm spot behind the recommended line. I e-mailed Reine Barkered, and he explained that he, Aurlien Ducroz and all of the Dynastar Pro guys had them at this position. He says that they are just as quick, but more stable and balanced if you are a race boot forward pressure type of skier. You should try the Cham 117 at this position, and I’m sure that you will be surprised. I just wish that the Cham 117 had some metal in it to stiffen the front end up to charge through junk snow, crud, and melt-and- re-freeze with the same prowess that the Cham 107 has. When I get my skis back from the shop I’ll give you my two-bit review on the rearward mount. Can’t wait!!

  9. I use the Cham 117 for powder, and i think it is the best ski in the Cham line. I ski them 190 mounted -2 with Langes 130, it is the right position. It is stable, go pretty fast but turn easily very well balanced you can do pretty long arcs very clean and shorts turn pretty smooth and change the rythm as you want in function off the elements. The rocker is light, with a progressive shovel : just perfect floating and stability.
    The Cham 107 2.0 (mounted -2) and the Mythic shovels are not so progressive they are manoeuvrable but not stables… They are good skis for medium level and can be interesting for better skiers as touring skis…
    The Cham 117 is pretty easy but still a good ski for high level skiers action. But i think This Cham 117 need a bigger size for big guys who like tu go very fast…

  10. I bought this on clearance last year in the 180s. I’m 6’0′ and 165 lbs and I generally agree with your review. Solid in 1″+ pow, shaky on crud, but I’ve actually had great experiences carving with them. Totally counterintuitive, but once you find your center on these things and balance the initial wobbliness, they carve strong and hard. You also have to accept that you aren’t carving 8s on these things, you’r v cutting the mountain. They hold strong though.

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