2017-2018 Atomic Bent Chetler, 185cm

Bumps

Most of what I’ve said above about the Bent Chetler’s performance in chop applies to its feel in bumps. The ski is easy to throw sideways, so it’s very fun to ski in low, soft bumps (the kind that often form on steeper groomers in the afternoon on a big pow day), or any bumps where you can keep the skis on the snow. But in big, firm bumps with tight, steep troughs, the 120mm underfoot ski feels clunky and out of its element.

Jibbing / Freestyle Performance

For how quick the Bent Chetlers are to pivot and smear in powder, I suppose they’re not quite as light as I expected they would be in the air. However, the skis aren’t too heavy to spin and throw shifties on by any means.

Will Brown reviews the Atomic Bent Chetler, Blister Gear Review.
Will Brown on the Atomic Bent Chetler, Taos Ski Valley.

They also ski switch very easily in soft snow, and feel well balanced in the air.

The Bent Chetler’s tails can loop out on you a bit if you land backseat in deep snow, but whenever I did, I was able to get the skis back under me pretty quickly. Because even though they are heavily rockered, the Bent’s tails have a medium-soft flex that gives back a nice amount of pop and rebound when loaded up, which makes tail presses and ollies a lot of fun.

Will Brown reviews the Atomic Bent Chetler, Blister Gear Review.
Will Brown on the Atomic Bent Chetler, Taos Ski Valley.

Groomers

While Atomic is explicit that the Bent Chetler is a specialized powder tool, I’ll throw in this section for those who are wondering how the Bent Chetler handles groomers on the way back to the chair lift.

As I’ve alluded to above, on nice, soft groomers at slow speeds, the ski is quite easy to ski and has a nice, balanced feel through smearing, skidded turns.

But when I worked up some speed and laid the skis over on edge into a clean carve, even on buttery, soft groomers, I was never that comfortable on them. On soft groomers, the Bent Chetler’s edge hold felt OK underfoot, but for some reason, the ski’s rockered shovels felt mushy and imprecise, and the ski didn’t seem to respond to any driving input. I felt the same way about the tails, which didn’t seem to help the ski finish turns much at all. (This isn’t very surprising, considering that much of those rockered tails is off of the snow.)

I’m pretty used to more center mounted, tip and tail rockered skis that require an upright, lateral move to be put on edge well in a carved turn, but for some reason I didn’t find the Bent Chetler to respond with much energy when I made that move. So ultimately, smearing and sliding around on soft groomers was a lot more fun on the ski than trying to force it into more cleanly carved turns. And to be clear, I’m not disappointed by the Bent Chetler’s groomer performance—carving up groomers is about the last thing this ski was designed for—but there are other skis of a similar width that have a lot more to offer in this department…

Comparisons:

• 185cm Atomic Bent Chetler vs. the 2014-2015 Moment Blister Pro / 2015-2016 Bibby Pro

The 185cm Bent Chetler is heavily geared toward a (very fun) surfy, smeary style of skiing in fresh powder, and has its limitations in chopped powder as a result. The 2014-2015 Moment Blister Pro (which is returning as the Bibby Pro for 2015-2016) doesn’t have such an immediately playful feel, but does provide more stability when things get tracked up.

The Bibby can be made to slash and smear like the Bent Chetler, but it takes a little more umph and encouragement to do so just as quickly. (I don’t have them in front of me, but I suspect that the 184cm Bibby Pro has more effective edge than the Bent Chetler, and less tip and tail splay—on snow, that’s certainly how it feels, anyway.)

And when things get chopped up, you don’t have to make as many turns in order to stay composed on the Bibby to keep the ski stable and under control.

In that way, the Bent Chetlers require more of a finesse feel in choppier conditions – a lighter, more turny touch – where the Bibby will put up with a more pedal-to-the-floor approach, doing more work to smooth out the ride if you choose to cut big turns through chop. That’s true of the 184cm Bibby Pro compared to the Bent Chetler, and much more true of the 190cm Bibby Pro.

The Bibby is also much more inspiring on groomers, and inspires much more confidence in firm and variable conditions. While I’ve basically stopped trying to carve the Bent Chetlers on groomers, and have instead resorted to smearing my way around, you can make big, lumbering, surprisingly stable carves on the Bibby Pros.

• 185cm Atomic Bent Chetler vs. the 188cm Line Magnum Opus

I don’t have a weight on our pair of 185cm Bent Chetlers, but I would bet that the slightly longer, 188cm Line Magnum Opus weighs a little less. The Magnum Opus weighs almost a pound less per ski than the 192cm Bent Chetler, and felt much easier to slash and spin in the air when I skied them both in New Zealand.

The Magnum Opus has a slightly tighter 17m sidecut radius, probably has a slightly lower swing weight (I’d be very, very surprised if the Opus felt heavier or slower than the Bent Chetler in any way).

The Opus also has (a) more effective edge, (b) tip and tail rocker that is considerably less dramatic / splayed-out, and (c) a slightly stiffer flex.

The Opus’ flex and rocker profile would suggest it will be more stable / be less of a balancing act in heavy chop than the Bent Chetler — but its lighter swing weight and tighter radius could make it about equal to the Bent Chetler in this respect. I’m going to get back out again tomorrow on the Magnum Opus, so will know the answer soon and will update ASAP.

Bottom Line

For those looking for a surfy, trickable pow ski, the 185cm Atomic Bent Chetler still very much fits the bill.

While it is a ski that calls for a centered, neutral stance, it has a pretty big (and easy) sweet spot, and its centered stance makes the ski quite quick in trees and uniform, soft bump lines.

We’ve also now posted our Deep Dive Comparisons of the Bent Chetler to a host of other playful powder skis, so become a Blister member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our comparisons.

DEEP DIVE COMPARISONS

Become a Blister member or Deep Dive subscriber to read how the Bent Chetler stacks up against a number of other playful powder skis, including the Armada ARV 116 JJ, Line Mordecai, ON3P Kartel 116, Moment Blister Pro, Atomic Bent Chetler, and K2 Catamaran.

 

25 thoughts on “2017-2018 Atomic Bent Chetler, 185cm

  1. Don’t know if you’ve skied the 2015 Automatics 117. But would you say if I was looking for something a little more directional but with a playful element I would prefer the Autos over the Chets?

    • I personally love the autos – I am a directional skier, and think they are plenty playful, but have a more stiff, less rockered tail which makes them very competent on the groomers. Great in pow too!

    • Hi Mark,

      Yep, I think you’re thinking about it in the right way. If you wanted something with a playful side, but that feels more directional in general, the Automatic would be a good ski to look at (though for what it’s worth, I haven’t skied it since the 13/14 model, which had a slightly softer tail than the current version.) The Salomon Q-115 is another option, and it has a slightly more directional feel than the Auto (but still has a smeary, loos character, too.)

      Thanks for reading!

      Will

  2. How does the Bent Chetler compare to Blizzard Spur or the new Blizzard Bodacious (the 2015-16 version with no metal) and will you be reviewing the Spur or new Bodacious?

    • Hey Matt,

      We’ve yet to ski the new Bodacious, but my hunch is that even though (apparently) it’s now a bit more accessible than the 14/15 version, it’s going to sit in a very different class of powder skis than the Bent Chetler. The Bodacious is a very directional, not at all very playful ski that is at home cutting big, fast turns through chop and crud (basically the opposite of what the Bent is designed to do).

      I haven’t skied the Spur yet, but Jonathan Ellsworth has, and my sense is that though it’s probably a bit looser and than the Bodacious, it’s still going to serve directional skiers with an aggressive fall-line style more than the freestyle-oriented Bent Chetler crowd. With that said, know that I’m thinking of the 185cm Bent Chetler here, and the 192cm version may be more appropriate to compare to the Spur. Jonathan will be posting an update on the 192 Bent Chetler soon, and I’m sure he’ll make mention of the Spur there.

      Hope this helps you!

      Will B

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for the review.
    Have you had a chance to get on the Salomon Rocker2 122, and if so how does it compare to the Bent Chetler?

    • Hi Willie,

      It seems fair to say the review’s a little more nuanced than that. As I’ve said in the Bottom Line, “For those looking for a surfy, trickable pow ski, the 185cm Atomic Bent Chetler still very much fits the bill.” So yes, if you’re looking to rage big turns through deep chop, you might think the Bent Chetler’s suck, but that’s not what Chris Benchetler spends his time doing, and that’s not what his ski is designed to do well.

      WB

  4. In the article you compare them to the Moment Blister/Bibby. Those are two different models now…was the comparison between the Bent and the Blister, or the Bent and the new Bibby? I have the 192 Bents, and while they float like canoes, they are heavy as lead. I may replace with something lighter next year and trying to narrow it down.

    • Hi Scott,

      Apologies for the lack of clarity there. I’m comparing the Bent Chetler to the 2014-2015 Blister Pro, which is the same ski as the “Bibby Pro” from the 10/11, 11/12, and 12/13 seasons. The current (14/15) Josh Bibby pro-model (same from last season – 13/14) is actually just called the “Bibby” (no “Pro” in the name).

      And, thankfully, as you may know, Moment is changing back the design of the ski to the older version (the one we got brought back with the Blister Pro this season).

      Hope that clears things up. And as for switching up your 192cm Bents, Jonathan will be posting his Update on the 192cm Bent Chetler soon, and he’ll definitely draw some comparisons between it and the Blister Pro.

      Cheers,

      Will

  5. Thanks Will! So Moment is changing the new Bibby back to the old Bibby? Can you tell me if its a lighter ski than the Bent? The Bent is great, but its weight is a real detriment to its maneuverability in my opinion. I love my Moment Deathwish 184’s (like they might be my favorite all around ski that Ive skied) so another Moment would be a welcome addition!

    • Hey Scott,

      Yes, that’s correct.

      As for weights, we’ve measured as follows:

      Our pair of 190cm Bibby/Blister Pros: 2,393 & 2,372 grams
      192cm Bent Chetlers: 2,509 & 2,455 grams

      So yes, on a scale, the Bibby Pro is a little lighter, but that’s not a huge difference. I haven’t put enough time on the 192cm Bent Chetler to say if the Bibby feels considerably lighter on your feet. Again, I’d wait for Jonathan’s Update on the 192cm Bent Chetler, where he’ll discuss that directly.

      Best,

      Will B

  6. How do the Benchetlers compare to the 2012 K2 Obsethed? I currently have a pair of 2014 Blizzard Bonafides and Im looking for a pair of fatter skis that I’ll mainly be skiing in the trees.

  7. Hi Will,
    I’m reading through all the reviews of skis you guys list as playful pow skis. I’ve been skiing the 185 Opus and the Blister Pro 184 for me they are two totally different skis. The Opus is the most playful ski I have ever been on, in fresh. It makes me try stupid things for an old guy. Get a too far forward in the steep and deep and it will hook and toss you. The Blister Pro is the absolute best in chopped up skied out pow. Perfect for resort day leftovers. Great control, but by lunch i am worked and get in the back seat and I’m off for a wild ride.
    Most of my days now are in a snow cat or touring (my touring set up is a 187 Moment Underworld w/ king pins). I use the Underworlds for most conditions (you guys need to review these things, nice even flex, great balance). I Ski Tahoe mostly and am looking for a playful ski that can handle the Cream cheese we call powder. I am looking at the Bent, the Salomon 122, Volkl one, Kastle XX110. I do not consider myself a charger in any way, I’m almost 60 and I want 20 more years out of my knees. I am looking for the most fun, playful, surfy, slasher ski. I think a powder 8 competition is more fun to watch, than a guy skiing an insane line with 2 turns, 100′ drop and a straight run out.
    Any insight would help, Thanks.

    • Hi, Jim – I’ll field this one.

      (1) The Opus & Blister Pro are definitely different skis, so I’d hope there was never any confusion about that.

      (2) I’d rule out the Kastle XX110 — I don’t think it best fits the criteria you’re looking for.

      (3) For fun, play, surfy (and pretty easy), I think the 185 Bent Chetler and the Salomon 122 are your best bets. Neither Will nor I have skied the 122, but you can read Paul Forward’s take on that ski in his ‘Deep Dive: Powder Skis’ article.

      But the Bent Chetler is certainly playful, surfy, and slashy — really, the only place I didn’t love it was in steep, moguled terrain, where I wanted less tail rocker. But that’s not the terrain you’re talking about, so I think you’ll really enjoy the ski. My only caveat is not to mount too far forward — I don’t know where you’ve mounted the Opus, but on the Bent Chetler I’d suggest getting something like at least -4 to and at most -6 cm back of true center. Mount more forward than that, and tip dive becomes more of an issue.

      Hope that helps a bit.

      • The 190 Moment Bibby is the best ski I’ve ever skied, and I also have the 192 Bent, which is too big and heavy for me. The 190 Bibby is really manageable and allows me to ski anything really confidently. Round out your quiver with the 186 Belafonte and you’re pretty well equipped!

  8. Thanks guys,
    So I’m narrowing down the list, the Salomon 122 stays on the list but the BC consistently gets a heavy comment any insight / comparison between the Volkl One and the BMT 122?

    • FWIW, the comments re: the weight of the Bent Chetler were specific to the 192 cm length, not the 185. And we don’t have specific comparisons between the One and the BMT 122, but our initial review of the BMT 122 will be posting Paul Forward’s review in the coming weeks. (I can’t say for certain, of course, but the One doesn’t sound to me like the ski you’re looking for – given all that you’ve said. The BMT 122? Maybe. Stay tuned…)

  9. Jonathan,
    Thanks for the reply,
    I have read Paul’s deep dive and most everything else related to pow ski’s you guys have written.
    Best site on the planet. Thanks.
    What’s your take on the Volkl One vs the BMT 122?
    I loved how playful the Opus was in fresh but Backcountry days always involve some “Variable” conditions. The Opus was not so good.
    These skis will be for Cat, Heli and sidecountry only.
    Any recommendations from the experts will help.
    5’11” 175 57 years young
    Thanks again

    • Thanks for the kind words, Jim. And see my comment above. I think the One will be heavier, have less sidecut, and less width than you might be looking for. Again, if the 184 cm Blister Pro is feeling like a bit more ski than you want, then I’m leaning toward the 185 cm Bent Chetler, and possibly the BMT 122. We’ll see what Paul has to say about the BMT 122 — and he is, BTW, in a position to say something about it vs. the Rocker2 122…

  10. The Blister Pro is the absolute best ski I have ever been on in leftovers, it’s just not nearly as much fun in 30″ of fresh as the Opus and it does work my old weak legs (but it’s skis great while kicking my Butt). I know, I just need to get in better shape and all would be good. It’s get skied 2 days for every one of the Opus.
    I look forward to reading Paul’s review of the BMT 122 and his comparisons to other skis.
    Thanks again for your help, You guys Rock.

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