2018-2019 Atomic Bent Chetler 120

Sam Shaheen reviews the Atomic Bent Chetler 120
Atomic Bent Chetler 120

Ski: 2018-2019 Atomic Bent Chetler, 184 cm

Available Lengths: 176, 184, 190 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 182.6 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1710 & 1744 grams

Stated Dimensions: 143-120-134 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 142.4-119.5-132.7 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 19 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 61mm / 58 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm

Core: Karuba + Carbon Fiber Stringers + Fiberglass Laminate

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -2.9 cm from center; 88.4 cm from tail

Blister’s Recommended Mount Point: On the line

Boots / Bindings

Test Locations: Niseko, Japan; Front Range, CO; Teton Backcountry, WY; Sun Valley, ID

Days Skied (Total): ~25

[Editor’s Note: The brand-new Atomic Bent Chetler 120 is one of the most impressive new skis we got on last year, and is one of the only brand-new products for 18/19 that earned a “Best Of” award in our 18/19 Winter Buyer’s Guide. So, we figured it’d be a good time to take a look back at the ski, why it stands out so much, and why several of our reviewers have been fighting to get on it.]

Intro

Chris Benchetler’s pro model has been a staple in Atomic’s ski line for years, and while it’s gone through many subtle changes in shape, rocker profile, and construction, the Bent Chetler has always been clearly designed as a playful ski for deep powder. For the 2018-2019 season, Atomic again tweaked the Bent Chetler, and as you’ll see further down, there are some interesting changes. It’s also worth noting that Atomic introduced a Bent Chetler 100 — a narrower, slightly more directional version of the 120, and you can check out the full review of that ski here.

Shape and Rocker Profile

If you’re familiar with the previous iterations of the Bent Chetler, there won’t be much surprise here. The rocker profile of the new Bent Chetler 120 looks very similar to the last version we tested (albeit with slightly less tip / tail splay).

Flex Pattern

Tips 6-6.5
Shovels: 7-8
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-9.5
Underfoot: 10
Behind Heel Piece: 8-7
Tails: 5.5-5

The Bent Chetler 120’s flex pattern seems to match it’s playful rocker profile. The tips are fairly soft, and rather surprisingly, the tails are even softer. Or perhaps that isn’t surprising, given how frequently Chris Benchetler and Nick McNutt land switch in deep pow. We’re eager to see how those softer tails deal with landings / getting knocked backseat.

Blister reviewer Sam Shaheen is heading to Japan this Tuesday, where the conditions have been pretty epic — even by Japan’s standards. He’s going to be taking two skis with him: the new Bent Chetler 120 and the 17/18 / 18/19 Blizzard Spur (yes this is incredibly cool, and yes, we all hate him right now). When comparing the two skis, we were very surprised by how similar their flex patterns feel. The most noticeable difference is in the tails, where the Spur is stiffer. In the past, it would have seemed pretty crazy to talk about comparisons between the Blizzard Spur and the Atomic Bent Chetler, but that seems less crazy now. So, we’re looking forward to comparing these in their ideal testing grounds, as well as many other playful pow skis.

Mount Point

At 2.9 cm from center, the Bent Chetler 120’s mount point is definitely on the playful side, and is in line with previous generations of the ski. This is one of the major differences between the Bent Chetler 120 and Blizzard Spur, who’s mount point is 7.8 cm from center.

Weight

This is the most noticeable change between the new Bent Chetler 120 and the previous versions of the ski. At around ~1730 grams for the 184 cm, the Bent Chetler 120 is very light, especially considering it’s ~120 mm wide. This is even more interesting since the older versions of the ski were not very light — our pair of 192 cm 2014-2015 Bent Chetler’s weighed in at around 2500 grams, which made it one of the heaviest skis we’ve ever reviewed. The current 17/18 version of the ski has a stated weight of 2100 grams for the 185 cm, which is still nearly 400 grams heavier than our pair of 18/19 Bent Chetler 120’s. So, the new Bent Chetler 120 continues the trend of the ski getting lighter, but this time it’s a much bigger leap.

Atomic attributes the weight savings to a new lightweight Karuba core, and a redesigned version of the brand’s “HRZN Tech” inserts, which are beveled near the tips and tails in order to create more surface area and better float in deep snow. Previous skis like the old Bent Chetler and Backland FR 109 used a solid plastic tip spacer that spanned the whole width of the ski, but the new version of this technology is much smaller and molded directly into the ski. With the forward mount point, overall low weight of the ski, and the lighter HRZN Tech tips / tails, we expect the new Bent Chetler 120 to feel very light in the air.

For reference, here are a few of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for a few other notable skis in this category.

1710 & 1744 Atomic Bent Chetler 120, 184 cm
1970 & 1979 Atomic Backland FR 109, 189 cm
2083 & 2097 Line Magnum Opus, 188 cm
2103 & 2100 Moment Bibby / Blister Pro, 184 cm
2183 & 2190 Black Crows Anima, 188.4 cm
2212 & 2215 Armada ARV 116 JJ, 185 cm
2228 & 2231 Blizzard Spur, 192 cm
2297 & 2317 K2 Catamaran, 184 cm
2408 & 2421 ON3P Kartel 116, 186 cm

So, the Bent Chetler 120 is very light, especially compared to other skis in the same category. It’s even significantly lighter than the narrower Atomic Backland FR 109, which is actually marketed as a touring ski, while the Bent Chetler had never been specifically aimed toward touring. We’ve mounted the Bent Chetler 120 with the new Atomic / Salomon Shift MNC binding, and will be commenting on how it performs in and outside the resort.

And by the way, given that we’ll be comparing the Bent Chetler 120 to the Blizzard Spur, it’s worth noting that while the Spur is much heavier on the scale, that ski felt incredibly light to us on snow, so we’ll definitely be reporting back on how similar or different these two skis feel.

Bottom Line (For Now)

The new Atomic Bent Chetler 120 looks like it will still be a playful and surfy pow ski, and we’re very interested to see how it’s low weight affects its on-snow performance. Again, Sam leaves Tuesday for Japan, so we’ll be getting the ski on snow very soon. Stay tuned…

Flash Review: Atomic Bent Chetler 120

Blister members can now read our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review of the Bent Chetler 120.

(Learn more about Blister Member benefits, and Become a Blister member)

NEXT: The Full Review

18 thoughts on “2018-2019 Atomic Bent Chetler 120”

  1. Can’t wait for this review!!!!! I’m off to japan today with a pair of 191cm k2 catamarans. I’m hoping you guys will get a chance to get on this length also as it would be awesome to hear your thoughts on the ski compared to the 184cm.

  2. Hi guys

    Thanks for preview!

    Will these very light skis fit for heavy skiers with weight over 190 lbs or these skiers need to use more heavy skis?

    Best regards,
    Konstantin

  3. @Markus. I demoed the 100 today (180cm) and it was very light both physically and when skiing.

    Also skied the enforcer 100 (177cm) and kore 93 (180cm). The Chetler 100 felt similar in weight to the Kore 93, much lighter than the Enforcer 100. If i had to guess I would say ~1700 grams per ski. Though all 3 are very different skis, the Chetler 100 was the most stable out of the mix for me. Enforcer was nice ski too though. The Chetler also felt like it wanted to be in the air and would be super stable on landings. What was cool is that it carves remarkably well and i didnt see any signs of tip flap. Very fun ski overall.

    I have a few skis 105+ underwaist, so was looking for something ~100 underfoot. The Chetler seems to be a great option for me as a “do it all ski” aside from deep days. You can tell this ski would float very well too.

    Btw conditions were tough for the demo, heavy rain all day, some slush, alot of melting ice, but overall very hard ski surface in general. I felt most confident on the bent chetlers. Top speed was ~45

    • Ryan, must have been the conditions. Or the marketing BS is not BS afterall…you felt a ~1600g ski was more stable than a ski, with metal, weighing a pound+ per foot more.

  4. How much does the 192 weight? And how does the 184 and 192 feel compared to the Magnum opus Swing weight wise, especially in the air for rotations and flips

  5. Hi guys, what do you think about touring uphill with the Bent Chetler 100? As far as I could read it’s just about 1550-1600gr, so must be fine for that too, right? Any characteristics that speak against it? Thanks!

    • Hi Krys,

      We have actually been spending a good deal of time touring on the Bent Chetler 120, so we’ll definitely be talking about that in our full review, which will be dropping in the next few weeks.

      Cheers,

      Luke

  6. Thoughts on the Bent Chetler 120 vs. the Line Pescado as a 50/50 pow ski to throw a pair of shifts on next season?

    Would be used for pow touring and occasional inbounds pow days in the PNW (i.e. high moisture-content snow). Also probably slushy spring days. Looking for something very surfy and fun in pow that also isn’t too awful for skiing shitty snow on the way back to the trailhead or chopped-up crud in the afternoon at the resort.

    5’8, 165 lbs, directional skier. Would likely mount the BC at -2cm or -3cm.

  7. Hey guys, did you get a chance to test out the 192s alongside the 184s? I’m a fairly aggressive yet playful skier at 5’9” 170lbs, and I’m debating which size to go with. I’d go 184, but the shortness of it worries me for deeper stuff (such as my upcoming japan trip), and the weight drop for this years model makes the 192 seem much more of a viable option compared to previous years 192s. I already have a pair of the backlands 117s in 186 which are a blast, if that helps.

  8. Same question as MJones above. Would be interested in a comparison between 192 Bent Chetler vs 180 Pescado.
    6’0, 200 lbs directional skier. 50:50 use with shift bindings.
    How far do you guys think you can move back with the bindings on the Bent Chetler? Even 4-5 cm for directional use.

  9. Hi Blister,

    I’d be really excited to hear how the Bentchetler 120 compared to the ARV 116 JJ UL. They seem to have a comparable weight, and profile, but I think you only demo’d the ARV 116 JJ from last year? Did you demo the ARV 116 JJ UL and if so how did it compare to the Bentchetler 120?

    • Hey Mike,

      Internal communication from last week:

      Cy: “Hey, guys, I just checked out the ARV 116 JJ UL at my local shop, and it seems like it’s basically a Bentchetler 116? Can we get a comparison pair STAT!?”

      So, no guarantees, but it sure seems similar, and hopefully we’ll have a comparison up early this season!

      • Hey CY,

        Many thanks for getting back to me so quickly with that internal report. Yeah that’s awesome news, I look forward to your review. I was almost set on getting it, but I must admit that after reading your glowing appraisal of the Bent 120 and seeing how much weight it shed, I’m completely 50/50. I checked out the various stats from the JJ Zero last year with the guys from Sooth (engineer specialists that test skis) and if it’s similar, but lighter, it seem’s that this year’s JJ UL has real potential. I’ll check them out side by side in the store before making a decision on which one to buy and I eagerly await your report.

        Kind regards,

        Mike

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