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.]
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).
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-9.5
Behind Heel Piece: 8-7
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.
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.
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