Ski: 2016-2017 Moment Ghost Train, 186cm
Available Lengths: 168, 178, 186, and 194cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 140-123-135 (186cm length)
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 184.0 cm
Stated Sidecut Radius (185cm length): 27.5 meters
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2,068 and 2,079 grams
Mount Location: Recommended Line (~4.5cm from center; 87.5cm from tail)
Boots / Bindings: Fischer Ranger Pro 13 / Marker Jester Demo (DIN at 10)
Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley, NM; Telluride, CO
Days Skied: 2
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 15/16 Ghost Train, which was not changed for 16/17, apart from graphics.]
So far I’ve got two days on the Ghost Train – one in 2-3” of somewhat heavy, fresh powder, and the second in fairly soft slush and on nice, spring groomers.
As it’s Moment’s most powder-oriented ski, I haven’t skied the Ghost Train yet in an ideal set of conditions (the very deep), but I have been able to get general a feel for it. So I’ll update this review once the next big storm cycle rolls around—and I’m really looking forward to that….
2-3” of Heavy Spring Powder – Tight, Steep Terrain
So far, it seems that all the guesses I made in our preview (on the previous page) about how the Ghost Train would handle have been pretty on-the-mark.
First, I assumed that the Ghost Train’s dramatic rocker profile, forward, progressive mount point, and weight that’s quite light for it’s size and width (just over 2,000 grams per ski) would make it very easy to pivot and steer. That’s very much the case.
When the skis are sliding on snow with little angulation, close to bases-flat, the heavily rockered profile (which has no traditional camber underfoot) feels extremely loose and pivoty, almost as if you’re standing on a Lazy Susan or a doormat with marbles underneath it.
As I’ll say more about below, when you put the Ghost Train higher on edge, noticeably more of the ski’s length comes into play, but it is still very easy to maneuver and pivot back and forth across the fall line.
In this way, the Ghost Train’s light swing weight allows you to really take advantage of its already highly playful rocker profile, particularly when working the ski through shorter turns at slower speeds. Quick, smeary turns and hop-turns in at the narrow entrance to Thunderbird off Taos’ West Basin were very easy, as were tight, bobbing turns in fresh snow in the chute’s runout.
But what I’ve found really cool about the Ghost Train is also the predictability and stability it provides while making much larger, faster, sweeping turns, too.
2-3” of Heavy Powder – Wide Open Terrain
The wider, more open aprons of many of the chutes of Taos’ West Basin hadn’t been touched the day I was on the Ghost Train, so I had the chance to open things up and see how they handled at speed in fresh snow.
As I made bigger and faster turns in 2-3” of the fresh, slightly sticky powder, setting the skis at higher edge angles, I could feel more of the Ghost Train’s edge engage, and it felt quite settled and planted through those bigger turns, especially considering how maneuverable the ski had been in tighter spots.
I think this has to do with Ghost Train’s rocker profile, which is very, very deep, but not as splayed out as some skis this wide (so you can get a good amount of the ski in play when tipped on edge in soft snow), and it’s large, 27.5 meter sidecut radius.
When arced through a long, smearing turn, I never felt like I was fighting the ski; it didn’t want to hook up into a shorter turn as I was pushing it through a long, fast one.
In other words, the Ghost Train didn’t feel any less at home making big, fast sweeping turns than it did making quick hop-turns or, shorter, noodling turns at slower speeds—in this smooth, fresh snow, at least. I.e., the Ghost Train’s rocker profile seems to yield an effective edge that is highly variable; it can either feel very short or fairly long depending on the kind of turns you’re making.
But that super playful rocker profile that gives the Ghost Train it’s quick, maneuverable feel at slow speeds in fresh snow … how does it perform in shallower, more firm conditions?
Soft, Thawed-out Spring Groomers
I put the Ghost Trains on my kitchen counter to look at roughly how much of their edge was going to be in play when running flat in firm conditions. The flat section of the ski in contact with my counter was about 58cm long—that’s roughly 30% of the ski’s overall length, a pretty tiny amount of effective edge.
So with this in mind, it shouldn’t be too surprising that if you happen to hit a patch if very firm snow (we’re talking kitchen-counter-firm hardpack), that short ~60cm section of edge underfoot on the Ghost Train provides very little purchase if you’re carrying any real speed, even when you angle the ski higher on edge. That shouldn’t really matter, because we’re talking about a highly-playful, 123mm-underfoot pow ski here, but for what it’s worth, there are skis this wide that handle really firm conditions better than the Ghost Train. (I’ll say more about that below.)
However, if you get the Ghost Train on just a little bit of soft snow—soft enough to let the ski sink in about a half inch or so—and you tip it on edge, you’ll feel the “micro-camber” sections in front of and behind the binding area engage quickly and smoothly. And when that happens, the Ghost Train’s effective edge jumps up to roughly 115cm, and the cushier the snow surface is, the more grip you’ll get out of the ski when set on edge.
Considering how quick and surfy the Ghost Train can be in powder, I’ve been pretty impressed by how the ski handles firmer, shallower conditions. Again, with just an inch of soft snow to dig into, enough of the ski’s effective edge is engaged (stretching beyond the “micro-camber sections”) to let you not just slide / smear your way back to the lift comfortably, but actually make some nice turns on the ski.
I’ve had a good time making tight, snappy short-swing turns on the Ghost Train on soft, thawed-out spring groomers. The ski likes to be on edge, otherwise it feels a little unpredictable and washy, but it’s pretty incredible how natural and energetic quick turns feel on this ski with just a touch of soft snow to work with.
What might be more surprising, though, is that I’ve even been able to carve some big, sweeping turns on the Ghost Train on smooth, buttery groomers (the kind you’ll find on a powday if the snowcat got out the night before or the day after a storm).
See the first half of the video below for some simple footage of skiing the Ghost Train on slushy groomers. I felt pretty ridiculous shooting POV on a groomer on a 123mm-underfoot pow ski, but this illustrates what you can do on the Ghost Train on just a little soft snow (all for you, dear readers). The second portion of the video highlights skiing the fresh, smooth conditions I discussed above.
I’m still most excited to get on the Ghost Train on a deep pow day, where I think it’s mix of low-speed playfulness AND big-turn-stability will be a hell of a lot of fun. But I’ve still been very impressed with the Ghost Train’s performance on soft, groomed runs, too, even though I’m talking about “packed powder” here, not truly firm conditions.
Next: Some Comparisons…