Ski: 2017-2018 Line Honey Badger, 177 cm
Available Lengths: 155, 166, 172, 177 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 176.5 cm
Stated Weight per ski: 1650 grams
Stated Dimensions (mm): 120-92-116
Stated Sidecut Radius: 19.5 m (avg)
Core: Bamboo + Carbon Fiber Stringers + Fiberglass Laminate
Stated Factory Recommended Mount Point: -3 cm; 85.5 cm from tail
Tested Mount Location: -0 cm (true center)
Boots / Bindings: Full Tilt B&E / Marker Jester Pro
Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley, NM; Copper Mountain & Arapahoe Basin, CO; Whistler Blackcomb, BC
Days Tested: 45
Making its debut last season, the Honey Badger is one of Line’s price-point skis that they call “the best option for lapping the park, bashing urban features, and charging the whole mountain.”
Plenty of skis out there are said to have similar degrees of versatility, so I spent much of last season using the Honey Badger as my all-around ski for everything from park to pow in order to see exactly where this ski best performs.
Design / Flex Pattern
According to Line, the Honey Badger is rockered at both the tip and tail, but out of the box, my pair had minimal rocker, and very pronounced traditional camber underfoot. Its shape and sidecut is almost identical to the Line Chronic, but the Honey Badger has an entirely different flex and feel on the snow.
The first thing I noticed about the Honey Badger is its weight. They are very light. I mean dramatically, almost uncomfortably light. With a stated weight of only 1650 g per ski, these are some of the lightest park-oriented skis on the market, and I really noticed that during swaps, spins, and flips.
Now this isn’t to say that you can slap them on and immediately multiply your rotations. In fact, the first couple days I found their low weight to be a bit off-putting, possibly because I was used to the feeling of heavier tips and tails while spotting a landing or when reaching for a grab (I had previously been on a pair of the J Skis Allplay). Once I got used to the weight difference, however, I had no problem with how light the Honey Badger felt.
The second thing I noticed about the Honey Badger is that it’s a very flexible ski, so much so that my first couple presses washed out as I was getting used to them. Despite that flexibility, however, they also have a ton of pop, so although initiating a butter is easy, the rebound of the flex is really snappy. This can be great for certain tricks like butter hand plants where you’re trying to use the pop to get airborne or inverted, but on the Honey Badger it’s harder to find that press “sweet spot” that’s more prevalent on some soft park skis with more rocker (e.g. Line Blend and J Skis Allplay). What I mean is that, rather than being able to stall a press through a rotation or on a feature, the flex of the Honey Badger wants to snap you up and out.
That being said, when it comes to ollies and nollies, these are probably my favorite skis I’ve been on. One of my go-to tricks is the nollie front flip, and on the Honey Badger, I found myself able to flip quicker off of smaller features than on any other similarly flexible ski.
The Honey Badger is far from my favorite ski to take down the XL jump line. They aren’t so noodly that you’ll wash out on every big booter, but they are certainly not made for them.
I did find that the lighter weight made mid-air tweaks and grabs a little easier, and flips felt closer than ever to the trampoline. But when I needed high speed just to clear the knuckle, I would have preferred a more stable platform for both the in-run and the landing.
Jibs, Rails, and Other Features
Much of my time spent in the park consists of riding rails and jibs, and I found the Honey Badger to be perfect for that. If you’ve seen any of the Line Traveling Circus videos, this ski really embodies that playful style of riding. As I said before, the lightweight feel took some getting used to, but after about a day I found myself pushing for that extra bit of rotation in or out, and holding onto grabs a little bit longer.
Bonks and taps had never been easier, and swaps were downright effortless. However, as with my on-snow butters, the sweet spot was much smaller, making it harder to tip or tail press the length of a rail.
Nonetheless, the Honey Badger felt extremely responsive while jibbing and definitely promoted quicker, bigger spins on and off of features.
Outside the Park
Line claims these are “the best option for lapping the park, bashing urban features, and charging the whole mountain.” While I somewhat agree with the park and urban aspects, I can’t go along with the “all-mountain” charger part.
As long as you’re taking them out on groomers or in light chop or minor slush, they’ll do fine. But any amount of powder gave me trouble, as well as heavy, late-season slush — I’d prefer a ski with more rocker in these conditions.
They also don’t have the torsional stability to hold an edge well on ice, or at particularly high speeds, making flying down hardback pretty unnerving.
The only caveat here is that I’m 6’3”, 190 lbs, so shorter / lighter skiers might find these to provide more stability than I do.
Again, as a skier weighing in at almost 200 pounds and standing 6’3”, a season of smashing onto rails and pressing skis in half means that they rarely last the whole season. If I haven’t ripped out the edge or snapped the core somehow, my skis are usually so pressed-out that the camber is nonexistent, and pop is a fraction of what it was before.
I spent 45 days on the Honey Badger last season, so I feel I can attest to their durability. The edges on my pair have only a single crack (I do take care to detune underfoot). My last pair of Line Chronics with the Line’s beefier “Fatty Edges” went into my wall art collection with multiple tear-outs in half that time, so it might be that I’ve simply been lucky, but the fact is that the edges on my pair have held up.
The pop certainly isn’t the same as it was when new, but the skis don’t feel as much like a wet noodle as I would have expected. On the contrary, they feel more “broken in” than simply broken, and many of the issues I had holding onto butters earlier on are no longer a problem (though I’m sure this is partly due to simply getting used to the ski). It’s also worth noting that, after all the days of abuse, they seem to have visibly more rocker and less camber than they did originally.
Who’s It For?
I would recommend the Honey Badger to intermediate park skiers — particularly to those skiers who would rather jib than hit big jumps, and who’d appreciate the reasonable price of $500. But if you’re trying to advance in all aspects of park riding, I personally prefer something more along the lines of the Line Chronic or Scott Punisher 95, as they are also pretty light but have a more traditional flex pattern that I’ve found holds up better at speed. And if you’re looking to find a ski that’s similarly playful but still performs well for all-mountain use, I would lean more toward the Line Blend or J Skis Allplay.
The Line Honey Badger is a good ski for the jib-oriented skier. And if you’re looking for a ski that’s cheap, playful, and light without sacrificing pop, they can’t be beat. For someone looking to nail swaps and spins, but not take them off of any huge kickers or out of the park too often, the Honey Badger is an absolute blast. But if this is the one ski you intend to ride in every condition and on every type of feature, there are probably better options out there.