2015-2016 Romp Skis 106

Swingweight / Freestyle Performance

Next to the Rossignol Soul 7, the 106 is the lightest ski between 105-110mm wide that I’ve been on (lighter than the Blizzard Peacemaker, the current 14/15 Line Sir Francis Bacon and 190cm Salomon Rocker2 108, though the new, 2015-2016 Bacon will weigh in at a super light 1,760 grams per ski).

At -5cm from center, where Romp suggested I mount the skis, they aren’t very picky when it comes to the stance you take while skiing around the mountain; more traditional / forward or more upright, the skis have a pretty big sweet spot.

Mounted 5cm behind center, the 106’s feel well balanced in the air—even more so at -4, where I’ve also spent a fair amount of time on them—and their light swingweight makes them quite easy to spin. That was a big priority with this ski, and Romp nailed it.

My 106’s bendable, energetic flex makes loading up their tails and springing off them over knolls and rollers easy, yet the flex of the tips and tails isn’t so soft as too let them hinge or fold on off-balance landings. And the skis flat-underfoot profile makes them particularly easy to drift out, butter, and smear, which makes playing around on terrain features around the mountain especially fun.

Will Brown reviews the Romp Skis 106, Blister Gear Review.
Will Brown, Taos Ski Valley

Firm Hardpack

I haven’t talked about the 106 on really firm hardpack yet, partially because I haven’t spent a ton of time on them in those conditions (only firm moguls, where the ski does well). But what I have found so far hasn’t been too surprising given that ripping hardpack performance was the area I was least concerned with in building the ski.

On slick, very hard groomers, the 106’s edge hold isn’t great, though it is a little better than that of the Whitedot Director. While I didn’t expect them to be outstanding on very firm days, I do suppose the 106s don’t inspire quite as much confidence as I thought they might, given that there is still a decent amount of effective edge on the ski (see the Rocker Profile Pics below). It seems like my 106’s flat-underfoot profile is a big factor here and, to be fair, Caleb from Romp had suggested that we put some traditional camber in the ski, and I told him I wanted to go flat.

In really firm conditions, having traditional camber to press the edge of the ski into the snow does seem pretty important, especially on skis that are this light. While a ski like the old Cochise, with metal in its core construction, seems to get a bit more purchase out of a flat profile in really firm conditions.

Navigating a really firm groomer on my 106s is totally doable, I just can’t be carving turns too aggressively, and I need to shut down speed more gingerly than I would on a cambered ski. But again, if railing carves in really firm conditions was what I wanted to do on this ski, Caleb would have built me something with a very different flex and rocker profile.

Firm, Bumpy Conditions

Given what I’ve just said, it shouldn’t be too surprising to hear that, when it comes to skiing around in really firm, bumpy and roughed up conditions off piste, the 106’s also need to be skied with a pretty slow, more deliberate approach to terrain.

The Liberty Helix, even though it’s just as light and isn’t much stiffer than the 106, is more planted in firm, variable conditions, like the nasty, re-frozen snow you’ll encounter on a morning in late March, for example.

All in all, for the reasons just listed above, I probably wouldn’t use my 106s as a one-ski quiver. More playful all-mountain skis like the Moment PB&J or Blizzard Peacemaker (which are both a bit heavier and a little stiffer) are a little more appropriate in that way, though they’re far from outstanding on hardpack, too.

Having said that, on snow that’s just soft enough to let the edges sink in a bit so that they’re not riding on a super firm layer of hardpack, I’m completely comfortable on the Romp.

And when I want to go play around the mountain, from bumps to jibby groomer laps, as long as conditions are just a little soft, I don’t know of a ski that suits my skiing style better than my Romp 106’s.

Bottom Line

Julia and I both started with the same 106 ski mold from Romp, and ended up with two very different, one-off skis that we’re each very happy with.

If you have a good idea of what you want your ski to do well, or the kind of skiing you want to be doing, but you haven’t found a ski on the market that truly fits the bill, then I would absolutely call up the guys at Romp Skis. Via their semi-custom build process, I’d be surprised if they couldn’t build you a ski that shines where you want it to, and (quite importantly) at a price that isn’t much more expensive than an off-the-shelf model.




4 comments on “2015-2016 Romp Skis 106”

  1. I have the Blizzard Gunsmoke, which seems to do everything you describe above pretty well. I’d be curious to get a comparison. Thanks for review, it sounds like Romp is doing great things.

    • Hi Squawbomber,

      Apart from being notably wider, at 114 underfoot (so it probably floats a little better), the Gunsmoke is heavier in the air and has a considerably more damp, stable feel in crappy conditions, so it can be pushed harder. It’s still quite a playful ski, to be sure, but it’s one of the more substantial / aggressive skis in it’s class – much more so than the Salomon Rocker2 108, for example. By comparison, the Romp 106 I reviewed here is one of the lightest, most playful skis in it’s playful ~106mm underfoot class that I’ve been on.

      While it’s just a guess, I think the more comparable ski to the Gunsmoke is the ON3P Jeffrey 114, which we just started putting time on this week.

      Thanks for reading!


  2. I am a big fan of Caleb’s handiwork at ROMP. We tested a custom pair of 100s and the ripping little kid ski called the 140 over the last couple seasons and loved them. ROMP’s shop is able to crank out pretty much anything you want. Caleb has a great ability to tease information out of a customer to find out exactly what characteristics are wanted in a particular design and layup..which is what you want in a custom ski builder. I encourage anyone looking to get a custom-tailored ski to check out ROMP and talk with Caleb about building your own ride to the specs you want. Quality, fit and finish have been excellent on the skis we tried from ROMP, and it’s great to talk to the people who will build your skis from scratch just the way you want them. Thanks for getting a review of ROMP skis out there!

  3. I had a pair of 106s Caleb built with 25cm early rise in the tip and 20cm early rise in the tail, and found them to perform better than any ski I’ve tested, in soft snow, bumps, trees, even relatively hard pack. My go to ski here in VT and trips to Utah, Colorado and Austria.

    Then I had Caleb built a similar pair of 106s dialed in for my 28 year old son too, which he’s finding equally outstanding.

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