2013-2014 Atomic Automatic, 193cm
The Automatic feels much looser in resort chop than the Squad 7, but also gets deflected much easier. The Automatic is much easier to ski at slow speeds and in tight spaces, but the Squad 7 absolutely takes the cake at higher speeds, bigger lines, and stomping landings.
2013-2014 Atomic Bentchetler, 192cm
Personally I found the 192cm Bentchetler to handle fast skiing in deep resort powder and chop just as well as the Squad, but the Bentchetler is much more willing to break the tails free and smear in these difficult conditions. The bonus to the Bentchetler is the near center mount, which keeps it quick and much more playful at all speeds.
2013-2014 Moment Bibby Pro, 186cm
I have been thoroughly impressed by the new Bibby Pro. While the Moment Governor may be a more fitting comparison, the 120mm-underfoot Bibby has outperformed the Squad 7 in nearly every condition in which I have placed the two skis head to head. The only place I would take the Squad 7 first is to the top of a big mountain line with deep snow, where I knew I could just open up and fly down a steep, wide open face. The caveat here is that I have been on the 186 Bibby, which has a straight-tape-pull measurement of ~183, where the Squad 7 measures ~186cm. The Bibby is rock solid underfoot and has a very progressive tip flex, which has allowed me to go as fast as I have ever wanted over resort powder conditions.
Plans for the Near Future / Comparisons to Come
As I’ve stated, I’ve only spent a few days on the ski. I will definitely be moving the bindings forward to +1.5 as I did on the previous Squad 7, to see if it becomes more playful and / or manageable in difficult resort conditions.
As soon as the next storm rolls in I’ll be A/B’ing the Squad 7 against the Black Diamond Megawatt and the 13/14 Praxis GPO, so stay tuned for updates to this review.
Bottom Line (For Now)
It seems as though Rossignol has done much more than simply throw that Air Tip on the Squad 7. Where I (and Jonathan) found the previous version of the Squad 7 to be quite fun in a wide range of terrain and conditions, the new Squad 7 seems to be much more of a specialty tool. For someone around my size, with the bindings mounted behind the recommended line, the Squad 7 is suited best for directional, aggressive (including high speeds and cliff drops), big mountain powder skiing.
You can now read Jonathan’s 2nd Look of the Squad 7.
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