In case you missed it, we published our 17/18 Winter Buyer’s Guide, where we wrote about 147 skis, plus a bunch of ski boots, outerwear, helmets, goggles, snowboard equipment, etc. One of the skis we wrote about was this ski, the Primary, and here is what we said:
“No ski in this guide could have potentially fit into as many sections as the Primary, thanks to Folsom’s ability to customize it and turn it into almost anything — a wider freestyle ski, a charger, a more forgiving or a more stable all-mountain ski. We’ll be saying more about the Primary soon on the site, but for now, know that the “SRC” Primary we’ve been reviewing (“Subtle Reverse Camber”), is, without question, the poppiest, most energetic reverse-camber ski we’ve ever been on. And if you took the same shape but chose a heavier core and a stiffer flex, you’d have a very stable all-mountain ski that would rage. For those who like the sound of the 4FRNT Devastator but feel caught between sizes, the Primary is the answer. Just pick how playful or stable you want it to be.”
So that’s the nutshell, and it’s true: I’ve never been on a reverse-camber ski that has this much pop. Of all the skis I’ve been on over the past 12-18 months, the SRC Primary and the 16/17 Black Crows Atris are the two skis that stood out in this regard. That was a fundamental design aspect that Mike wanted to show off — how much pop you could get out of his “SRC” design — and that mission was accomplished.
Primary SRC as a One-Ski Quiver
The other thing about the Primary is that it is truly supposed to be a one-ski quiver. But as we all know by now, every one-ski quiver is going to have its relative strengths and weaknesses.
So what sort of one-ski quiver is this version of the Primary that Folsom built for us?
A quick, light, lively & playful, soft-snow and deep-snow oriented ski. It is incredibly easy to ski, with enough pop out of the tail to make the ride far from boring. In conversations with Mike about this ski, he had used the expression, “user-friendly” quite a bit, and this is most definitely the case. I’d be hard-pressed to think of a 188cm-long, 108mm-wide ski that is this easy and quick in bumps. In fact, given the lack of tip and tail taper on this ski (this isn’t a Rossi Soul 7 or a DPS Wailer 112), I honestly couldn’t believe how quick and easy the Primary felt. Over the years, I’ve gotten to be pretty decent at estimating the weight of a ski from how it performs on snow, and I would say the Primary feels like it weighs about 2000 grams per ski (i.e., the weight of a 188 cm Soul 7) when the Primary actually weighs 2160+ g per ski.
Light, super easy to turn, and extremely poppy.
This Primary SRC is also super fun to carve. This is not a stiff ski at the tips and tails, so it is very easy to bend the shovels into clean arcs, and at least on soft groomers, the ski exhibits nice edge hold.
These are total pivot machines in moguls. They feel like cheating. Just pivot pivot pivot.
This photo gives you a pretty decent idea of what I’m talking about here — you can just slide and swing the tails of this ski around all day long:
The other big thing to say here — and I was not at all expecting this — is if you mounted this ski at -4 or so, you could turn it into an all-mountain ski that feels really good in the air. A versatile, trickable pow ski. Or keep it at -7 (where ours is mounted) and you’ve got an easy, intuitive, directional ski that can still be pushed relatively hard. But let’s talk a bit about that “relatively”.
Skiing fast down the wide open, bumped-up faces of A-Basin, the Primary showed less composure at speed than I was hoping for. I needed to maintain a very active, dynamic style to ski fast in variable conditions and bumped-up terrain — again, to be clear, I don’t mean straight-up mogul runs (where the ski shines), but skiing fast down bumped-up, open faces.
And really, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. The flex pattern of our Primary is quite similar to that of the 186 cm J Skis The Metal and the 184 cm (16/17) Black Crow Atris (the shovels of The Metal are actually a touch stiffer than the Primary’s), and on snow, the Primary felt about as inherently stable as those “fun” skis.
But our story is far from over here, so let me go ahead and offer some comparisons between this iteration of the Primary we’ve been skiing and the five skis I mentioned previously in my First Look. Except for the Rossignol Sickle, I A/B-ed all of these skis against the Primary this past spring:
This really isn’t much of a comparison between the Cochise and our Primary SRC. The Cochise is much heavier, has a much higher speed limit, and is much more of a variable-conditions charger than the Primary. On the other hand, in deep snow, the Primary is going to blow the Cochise out of the water. So those who love everything about the current Cochise will definitely feel like this version of the Primary is “too little” ski. And those who feel like the Cochise is too dead, or too much work, or too boring / unplayful will undoubtedly prefer the Primary. By a lot.
It’s been a long time (and getting longer) since I skied the Sickle, but I can’t say that the Primary rekindled Sickle memories for me. I do, however, think that if you reduced the tip and tail splay of the Primary — which Folsom can easily do — you would create a more Sickle-like feel. The Sickle has very subtle tip and tail splay (it’s practically a flat ski), and I don’t recall the Sickle going as soft at the tips and tails as our Primary does.
But really, I’d need to get my hands on a 186 cm Sickle again to do some A/B-ing. Anyway, moving on…
I had asked in my First Look whether the Primary could be a heavier Candide 3.0, and having A/B-ed them, I can now say that the Candide 3.0 is a relevant comparison. On snow, (probably because of its stiffer flex) it doesn’t feel significantly lighter than the Primary SRC, and aside from their weight and flex patterns, the rocker profiles & other specs look pretty similar. I’d also say that the Primary SRC is definitely more “user-friendly” than the Candide 3.0 — at least in the 186 cm length, the 3.0’s combination of low weight and a pretty solid flex pattern requires you to ski very dynamically in variable conditions or bumped-up terrain.
I’ve said that I think the 3.0 is best suited to advanced and expert skiers. Advanced and expert skiers could certainly have fun on the Primary SRC, too, but I think that intermediate and low-intermediate skiers could also (if anything, the tails of our skis might have more energy or pop — be more spring-loaded — than you’d ideally want to give to a brand new skier). But the Primary is more tolerant of mistakes than the 3.0, and it allows you to ski more laid back than the CT 3.0 does.
But anyone interested in a little-bit-easier-going, heavier (and therefore almost certainly more durable) Candide 3.0 to go beat up during everyday inbounds ski … consider this exact version of the Primary SRC.
The thing that stood out the most to me in terms of on-snow performance differences is just how much more stout the shovels of the Meridian felt. And that’s the thing I like most about the Meridian: for being a reverse-camber design (and quite splayed out), those shovels really hold up to very hard skiing in variable conditions and steep terrain. Here’s what I wrote in my First Look:
“I love how hard the Meridian can be pushed, but I have also been curious to see how the Meridian would perform if it had mellower tip and tail rocker lines and tip and tail splay, since I don’t care too much about the deep-snow performance of my ~107mm-wide ski; instead, I want to emphasize and enhance performance at speed in firm-snow and in moguled-up terrain. Once again, it seemed like this Primary SRC could fit the bill.” And I very much believe the Primary could, but our version has softer shovels and just a dead-easy flex pattern overall. But with a few tweaks…. Let’s hold that thought for a minute.
First off, our 188 cm Primary has nothing in common with the 194 cm, 2600+ g per ski Devastator. Nothing. But when running back-to-back-to-back-to-back laps on the Primary and the 184 cm Devastator, once I adjusted to them both, I felt like I could push them equally hard. But the 184 cm Devastator was a bit more composed, especially through the front half of the ski (the Primary’s tails are a touch stiffer than the 184 cm Devastator’s). It wasn’t a world of difference, but it was noticeable, and I found myself expending more energy to ski the lighter Primary as hard. But let’s imagine that you made the Primary a bit heavier, a bit stiffer, but kept its more subtle amount of splay compared to the 184 Devastator (or even reduced the Primary’s splay a bit). That could be pretty interesting.
I think a ton of skiers could get on the Primary and instantly love it. It’s super easy to ski without being boring (it has too much pop to be boring), it will make you a rockstar in moguls, and as a one-ski quiver, it is going to plane up and provide enough float to easily handle 1-2 feet of snow.
So those looking for something with the feel of a (not-short-shoveled) Black Crows Atris, or a lighter weight J Skis The Metal … or a more durable Candide 3.0 … or a more playful Meridian, etc. (see my notes above) — should take a serious look at this iteration of the Primary SRC.
And since so many of you expressed interest in this ski, Folsom has agreed to make this particular model of the Primary SRC available to Blister members for 30% off. (More on this below.)
Bottom Line + What’s Next
Given that this was the first Folsom ski I’d ever been on, Mike and I ended up talking so much about the potential of this particular shape and construction that we ended up focusing on a profile and construction that showed off just how easy and versatile this design could be. And in case this is somehow unclear from my review, I think a very broad range of skiers will love this ski.
But for me personally, I do tend to like a bit “more” ski. Some of that is because I do like to ski fast, some of it is because I’m too lazy to slow down. Mike specifically talked about how he often likes to make a ski with a soft flex but with solid torsional rigidity, because it makes for a user-friendly ride. And again, that is certainly true of the Primary SRC. But I personally tend to gravitate toward skis with stiffer shovels, because I spend a good bit of time skiing in steep, bumped-up terrain, where I want to be able to drive the shovels hard down into steep troughs and not have the shovels over-flex or fold up (a la the Meridian, Cochise, etc). Personally, I tend to value stiffness and stability over quickness; for inbounds skiing, I’ll opt for heavier over lighter; and I’ll give up playfulness and low-speed compliance for a bigger top end; and I’m willing to give up outstanding deep-snow performance to gain outstanding variable-conditions performance.
And to be honest, I suspect that most people will prefer the ski Mike built to the ski that I’m describing.
But now that Mike has demonstrated how fun and user-friendly the Primary can be, he now wants to build the other version of the Primary that I’m describing. And he is already referring to as, the Hammer. So stay tuned for more about that.
Exclusive Deals for Blister Members on Folsom Skis
As mentioned above (and since a number of you had asked), become a Blister member and you can order this exact Folsom Primary SRC for $850, which is 30% off the full price of a Folsom custom build.
Alternatively, Blister members now also get 15% off the going rate of a Folsom custom process and build — plus free shipping to the lower 48 states & Alaska.
NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics