2015-2016 Line Magnum Opus vs. 2015-2016 185cm Atomic Bent Chetler
There are a few conditions in which the Magnum Opus and the 185cm Bent Chetler are very, very similar, one of which is light, fresh powder. Both skis provide a whole lot of float in fresh snow, and I can’t say that one is clearly better in terms of flotation; they both provide plenty of it.
Obviously, both skis will better suit skiers with a creative, playful, more freestyle-oriented style than those who want to ski very fast, aggressive, fall-line routes down the mountain. Their recommended mount points are both quite far forward (the Bent Chetler’s factory mount point is -3cm from center), so both reward light, upright stances, and are very quick to pivot and smear out in fresh snow.
If anything, with respect to quickness and maneuverability, the Magnum Opus might be a touch quicker, and I attribute that difference to its slightly tighter side-cut radius (17m vs the 185cm Bent Chetler’s 19m), but also its swing weight, which is a bit lighter.
This is a very slight difference that I could only just discern in fresh snow – they’re still the two most playful powder skis I’ve reviewed.
The differences between the Opus and Bent Chetler become a little more apparent in the air, where the Magnum Opus does feel a little bit lighter (eerily light for its size and width, in fact). And for that reason, if you’re looking for a playful powder ski with the lightest, most-trick friendly feel in the air, I don’t know of a better ski than the Magnum Opus. (Still, the Bent Chetler isn’t super sluggish in the air, by any means). The flex of the Opus is also a bit firmer than the 185cm Bent Chetler, particularly in the tips and tails, and has less pronounced tip and tail rocker, so it’s a bit less likely to loop-out on you if you land backseat ski in deep snow. At the same time, though that means it’s a little harder to butter and press the tails of the Opus (to me, at least, at 160 lbs).
Perhaps the most significant (but still pretty minor) difference between the Bent Chetler and Magnum Opus has to do with how they both handle deep, soft chop—the kind I just covered in the section directly above.
I thought that maybe the Opus’ firmer tip and tail flex and the fact that it has a little more effective edge would mean that it could be skied harder in chop, but it seems that its lighter weight, slightly fatter waist, and tight turn radius affect its handling more.
Both skis feel most at home when you remain light on your feet and make more short, quick turns, popping from one soft pile of snow to the next, rather than trying to draw out longer, smearing turns, blasting through lots of piles and trenches. On the one hand, the Magnum Opus’ light feel means that making those snappy, poppy turns is very easy, and it might be a tiny bit quicker than the Bent Chetler in this respect. But I found that the Bent Chetler’s softer tips and tails and slightly more weighty feel meant that it is a little more forgiving if you happen to get back on the fat tails or too far over the shovels at slow to moderate speeds. As I mentioned in my initial review, the Opus “are just so light with so much surface area that they can get kicked around fairly easily,” and the ski’s firmer flex seems to contribute to this a bit. I noticed this most when skiing the Opus on the “Eric’s Choice” line, but also at -4 from center.
Again, I’m not going to be mobbing big, fast turns through chop on either the Bent Chetler or the Magnum Opus; both favor really exploring terrain on the way down, making more turns, looking for features to slash and smear around on. And when it comes to that kind of skiing in-resort, the Opus is the quickest and the lightest, but it also requires that you be a little more precise in how you play around on piles of powder and big bumps.
In sum, the Magnum Opus is a little more specialized than the Bent Chetler (which is also pretty specialized in its own right); it’s a bit more optimized for a quick, lightweight feel in the air and in fresh snow, but that means it’s a little harder to ski in really choppy conditions on the afternoon of a pow day.
And for the record, note that I am comparing the 188cm Magnum Opus to the 185cm Bent Chetler here, not the 192cm Bent Chetler. As I’ve said in my review of the 185cm Bent Chetler, the 192cm weighs FAR more than the 188cm Opus, I think it feels like a very different ski from the 185cm Bent Chetler, and is a ski that can be enjoyed by directional skiers who appreciate burlier, directional skis like the 186cm Blizzard Bodacious or the 190cm Bibby Pro. So if you are deciding between the Opus and the Bent Chetler as highly playful, freestyle oriented powder skis (which would make a lot of sense), I think you ought to be deciding between the 188 Opus and the 185 Bent Chetler. That’s just my sense of the skis, at least; Jason Hutchins will be getting on the 185cm and 192cm Bent Chetlers and the Magnum Opus soon, and we’ll see if he feels differently.
Though I’ve put more time on the ski now, I think the Bottom Line I wrote for the Magnum Opus in my initial review still stands:
If you’re looking for a powder ski to take out on deep days to search for natural features to spin, flip, and drag, I can’t think of a better ski for the job than the Line Magnum Opus.
NEXT: ROCKER PROFILE PICS