Ski: 2017-2018 ON3P Kartel 108, 186 cm
Available Lengths (cm): 171, 176, 181, 186, 191
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 186.5 cm
Stated Dimensions (186 cm): 136-108-130 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 136-108-129.5
Stated Weight per Ski (186 cm): 2300 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius (186 cm): 22.2 meters
Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): 76 mm / 61 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: 4 mm
Recommended Line: -4.25 cm from center; 89 cm from tail
Mount Location: Recommended Line
Boots / Bindings: Roxa X Face 120 / Tyrolia Aaatack 13 demo
Test Location: Mt Bachelor, Oregon
Days Skied: 4
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 16/17 Kartel 108, which was not changed for 17/18, except for the graphics.]
Back in February when we released our “Blister’s Best Bets” for freestyle skiers I said that both the ON3P Kartel 108, and the K2 Marksman would probably be contenders in the 108mm-underfoot category. Earlier this month, I was able to get on both and swap between the two skis at Mt. Bachelor.
I went in with high expectations; the ON3P Jeffrey 114 was one of my favorite skis I spent time on this past winter, but it was just a bit overkill for the type of skiing I’d do day-to-day at a mountain like Grand Targhee or Mt. Bachelor. (For reference, at places like these, I get along very well with skis like the K2 Shreditor 112 and the old Atomic Blog.) So given all that, the more freestyle-oriented Kartel 108 looked very attractive.
ON3P has this to say about the new Kartel 108: “The Kartel 108 offers what we believe to be the best everyday ride for left coast skiers looking for a playful quiver-of-one. Park, pow, crud, hardpack – this ski will do it all. Incorporating years of design into one ski, this is the ski you will find ON3P employees skiing every day.”
Jonathan Ellsworth also spent some time on the Kartel 108 at Mt Bachelor, and his assessment of the 108 from a hand flex was as follows:
He also noted: “The Kartel 108 isn’t a stiff ski per se; when you start to bend the ski, it flexes easily. But it then ramps up nicely, kind of like the flex pattern of a good, progressive ski boot: easy to bend initially, but it then goes solid. You don’t continue to blow right through the ski.”
I’d agree with that assessment. The flex feels very symmetrical and smooth—there aren’t any real hinge points, and there is definitely a gradual ramp up. It’s easy to bounce into the tips or tails for an ollie or a butter, but I never found the skis folding up on me.
I found the Kartel 108 to be noticeably softer in the tips and tails than the Jeffrey 114. Where I had to put more effort into loading the Jeffrey’s tails to pop over obstacles, the Kartel 108 was much more responsive.
I got on the Kartel 108 after putting in time on the K2 Marksman. The Marksman’s asymmetrical sidecut creates a huge amount of tip taper on the outside edges, so when switching to the Kartel 108, it immediately looked like I had a lot more ski in front of me.
While the Kartel 108 is slightly more tapered than the Jeffrey 114, it is by no means a heavily tapered ski. There is plenty of shovel out front.
ON3P has recommends a mount point of -4.25 cm from true center. That felt just about right to me for all-mountain riding, and it would be hard to convince me to deviate much from that point. But if you are riding switch or intend to take this ski into the park frequently, then you may want to slide it forward a centimeter or two. However I never felt like I was too far back on the ski.
And if you’re not going to be hitting the park or spinning, Jonathan also thought the Kartel 108 worked well on the line—so long as you maintain a pretty centered stance. We think you’d be okay mounting back 1 or 2 cm on this ski, but the more of a directional skier you are, the more you might want to just consider a ski like the ON3P Wrenegade 108, or The Metal by J Skis.
My first day on the Kartel 108 was spent on some very “variable” groomers. It took me a second to adjust to the ski, mostly due to the morning spring conditions—melted slush patches mixed with ice. But once I did, the Kartel 108 felt very intuitive.
The K2 Marksman felt a little quicker edge-to-edge, and was more willing to make quick, short radius turns, but the difference wasn’t glaring. As the speed picked up, I was more comfortable on the Kartel 108 than the Marksman—the 108’s tips were less prone to deflecting, and it felt a touch less squirrely.
I’ll go deeper into the Marksman / Kartel 108 comparison in my upcoming Deep Dive Comparisons article, but on groomers, the Kartel 108 felt like it had a higher speed limit before things got scary.
NEXT: Crud, Park, Etc.