In the aftermath of those big storms I got to ski plenty of soft chop, and the Kartel 116 very quickly became my default ski for this type of tracked-out-but-still-soft skiing. It’s not the quickest ski in these conditions, but its width and weight make it very fun to mob around fast, and it’s still playful enough that airing and finding micro-tranys is a blast.
If that added tip taper compared to the Jeffrey 114 makes the Kartel 116 less stable and stompable, I didn’t notice in softer conditions. The Kartel 116 felt very similar to the Jeffrey 114 when hauling through soft chop; surprisingly stable and predictable.
In the Air
The Kartel 116 feels just a little lighter than the Jeffrey in the air. It feels like it has a lower swing weight compared to the Jeffrey, which makes spinning, shifties, and quick turns easier.
Right now I can say with certainty that in any kind of soft snow, the Kartel 116 blends the ability to jib and pop with confidence-inspiring stability better than any other ski of this width that I’ve been on. Having said that, I’ll be getting on several other similar skis soon — including the Moment Blister Pro — so keep your eyes peeled for our Deep Dive Comparisons article.
Firm Conditions / Groomers
This is a 116mm-underfoot jib-oriented powder ski. It’s not meant to charge in firm conditions. Still, it does an admirable job on groomers, and in the cold, dry weeks following a storm. It’s stable and predictable on edge, and feels quite damp for this category, it does a great job of mitigating chatter.
However, I think firm conditions might be the one place where I’d choose the old Jeffrey 114 shape over the Kartel 116’s. I felt like the Jeffrey ran a touch longer on edge in firm conditions, and thus was a little more stable. But given that charging in firm conditions isn’t the point of a ski like this, I think the added tip taper is a very good thing. It helps the Kartel 116 perform even better in the conditions it’s designed for, and sacrifices minimal performance in the conditions it isn’t.
Who’s It For?
The Kartel 116 is a very strong option for skiers looking for something they can spin and jib, that will be fun on backcountry booters and cliffs and side hits, but that still allows them to ski fast and provides a stable platform for big airs and chopped-up runouts. So if the current crop of jibby 112-116 mm underfoot skis leaves you wanting something a little more stable and damp that you can push harder, the Kartel 116 is very much worth a look.
When ON3P overhauled the Jeffrey 114 and created the Kartel 116, they ran the risk of messing up a very good thing. And sure, the Kartel 116 doesn’t feel quite as composed in firm conditions as the Jeffrey 114. But that sacrifice is minimal compared to the decrease in swing weight and increase in agility that the Kartel 116 gained. The Kartel 116 has a terrific blend of backbone and playfulness, and we’re excited to pit it against old favorites like the Blister Pro in our upcoming Deep Dive.
DEEP DIVE COMPARISONS
Become a Blister member or Deep Dive subscriber to read how the Kartel 116 stacks up against a number of other playful powder skis, including the Armada ARV 116 JJ, Line Mordecai, Moment Blister Pro, Atomic Bent Chetler, and K2 Catamaran.
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