2019-2020 Line Sakana

Ski: 2019-2020 Line Sakana, 174 cm

Available Lengths: 166, 174, 181 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 174.1 cm

Stated Weight per Ski: 1770 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1747 & 1766 grams

Stated Dimensions: 150-105-138 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 149.5-104.6-137.6 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 15 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 56 mm / 15 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm

Core: Paulownia/Maple + Carbon/Flax Stringers + Fiberglass Laminate

Base: Sintered 1.3 mm

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.75 cm from center; 76.3 cm from tail

Ski: 2019-2020 Line Sakana, 181 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 180.8 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1869 & 1873 grams

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 149-104.4-137.2

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 56 mm / 18 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~3 mm

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.9 cm from center; 79.5 cm from tail

Boots Used:

Bindings Used:

Test Locations: Crested ButteTelluride Ski Resort, CO

Days Skied (total): 20

[Note: Our review was conducted on the 18/19 Sakana, which returns unchanged for 19/20, apart from graphics and a new available 166 cm length, which we’ll be testing soon.]

Luke Koppa reviews the Line Sakana for Blister
2020 Line Sakana
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Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Full Review //  Touring Update //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

Two years ago, Line introduced the Pescado, a 125mm-underfoot powder ski from Eric Pollard. The Pescado was (and still is) unique, featuring a swallowtail design, lots of camber for a pow ski, a fairly low weight, and a mount point that was much more traditional than what we’d expect from Pollard. The result?

A unique ride, and a ski we really enjoyed in any sort of soft snow.

But at 125 mm underfoot, the Pescado is most definitely fat, and so for 18/19, Line is introducing the Sakana, a 105mm-wide swallowtail ski that features a lot of the Pescado’s design elements, but in a package that’s supposed to be more all-mountain-oriented.

Here’s what Line says about the Sakana:

“Bred from the Pescado’s DNA, Eric Pollard and LINE present an all-new creation, the Sakana. With an ever-versatile 105mm waist, Carbon/Flax reinforcements, and a shape that encourages a wide variety of turn shapes, the Sakana embraces a fluid, refined skiing experience unlike anything else.”

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the 174 cm Sakana:

Tips: 6-6.5
Shovels: 7-7.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-9
Underfoot: 9
Behind Heel Piece: 9-8.5
Tail: 8

And here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the 181 cm Sakana:

Tips: 7
Shovels: 7.5-8
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-9
Underfoot: 9
Behind Heel Piece: 9-8.5
Tail: 8.5

Compared to the Pescado, the Sakana’s tips and tails feel a bit stiffer, which makes sense since the Pescado is specifically designed to perform well and plane up in softer, deeper snow.

And Line has been very clear about this: the Sakana is supposed to be a hell of a lot of fun carving the crap out of groomers, and its accessible tips and significant sidecut should be conducive to bending the ski into quick turns.

When it comes to the two lengths of the Sakana, the 181 cm version is a bit stiffer at the tips and tails, and this difference is more noticeable in the tips.

Construction — Carbon / Flax Reinforcements

Apart from the narrower waist, one of the primary differences between the Pescado and Sakana is the addition of Carbon / Flax stringers to the Sakana’s core. We asked Line’s head ski designer, Jed Yeiser, to explain the idea behind this construction, and this was his response:

“The Carbon/Flax tape is a material we co-developed with BComp out of Switzerland. It’s essentially a 52 mm wide tape with alternating strands of carbon/flax. Flax has really interesting inherent damping properties that complement the high modulus of the carbon really well – you end up getting an energetic feeling at some frequencies with a calmer, more controlled feeling at others.”

That’s a pretty interesting description, and given the Sakana’s relatively low weight, we’re very eager to see how damp and / or energetic the Sakana feels in various snow conditions and speeds.

Shape / Rocker Profile

The Sakana’s shape is very similar to the Pescado, with a fat, minimally-tapered tip, no tail taper, and a swallowtail cutout at the end of the ski.

The swallowtail is definitely what makes the Sakana stand out most from other skis, and the Sakana’s tail is a bit less carved-out than the tail of the Pescado (i.e. there is less negative space). The Sakana also has a large metal reinforcement around the swallowtail cutout.

The Sakana’s rocker profile is less unusual, with fairly standard tip rocker / splay for a ski of this width (a bit less than the Line Sick Day 104), and very minimal tail rocker.

Compared to the Pescado, the Sakana has a bit less rocker and splay in both the tips and tails, which, again, makes sense given the Sakana’s intended purpose as an all-mountain ski.

Dimensions / Sidecut Radius

Though the Sakana’s waist is ~20 mm narrower than the Pescado’s, the Sakana’s tips and tails are still very wide. So, for a 105mm-underfoot ski, we suspect the Sakana to perform very well in powder.

The combination of a narrower waist and wider tips and tails is also reflected in the Sakana’s sidecut radius (15 meters for the 174 cm version). That’s a very tight radius, and it’s interesting that Line claims that the Sakana “encourages a wide variety of turn shapes.” This will be one of the main things we’ll be looking out for in our full review.

That said, based on the ski’s dimensions (and the Pescado’s own strong performance on spring groomers), we suspect the Sakana could be a lot of fun to carve on soft snow.

Length

While we will be getting time on the 181 cm version of the Sakana (which is the longest version Line is making) and tend to review skis that are significantly longer than the 174 cm Sakana, Line encouraged us to try the Sakana in its shortest length. We’re very interested to see how this shorter ski feels, and whether skiers that are accustomed to longer skis will still enjoy it.

It’s also worth noting that the shorter length, fat tips / tails, and swallowtail design of the Sakana (and Pescado) all mirror the short / fat trend in snowboard shapes. Our snowboard reviewers have really enjoyed the carvy / agile / surfy feel of boards like the K2 Cool Bean and Rossignol XV Sushi LF, so we’re very interested to see if we come away with similar impressions after skiing the Sakana.

Weight

At around 1750 grams for the 174 cm version, the Sakana is pretty light. While Line doesn’t mention anything about touring in their description, we suspect that the Sakana could be a very fun touring ski for powder and / or spring corn.

With a weight this light, a shorter length, and a very tight sidecut radius, we don’t expect the Sakana to feel like some sort of charger in variable snow, but we are curious to see whether Line’s Carbon / Flax reinforcements seem to help it feel more stable in difficult snow.

Here are a few of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some other notable skis. Keep in mind, however, the differences in length, since the 174 cm Sakana is significantly shorter than several of the skis listed here.

1629 & 1636 Line Sakana, 166 cm (19/20)
1629 & 1684 Elan Ripstick 96, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19)
1747 & 1766 Line Sakana, 174 cm (18/19–19/20)
1758 & 1774 Moment Commander 98, 178 cm (18/19)
1800 & 1824 Luke Koppa’s Romp Skis 100, 183 cm (18/19)
1807 & 1833 Fischer Ranger 98Ti, 180 cm (16/17–18/19)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–19/20)
1869 & 1873 Line Sakana, 181 cm (18/19–19/20)
1894 & 1980 Black Crows Daemon, 183.6 cm (17/18–19/20)
1896 & 1919 Dynastar Legend X96, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–18/19)
1994 & 2011 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, 181 cm (19/20)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–18/19)
2007 & 2029 Armada Invictus 99 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–19/20)
2050 & 2080 ON3P Wrenegade 96, 184 cm (18/19)
2053 & 2057 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–18/19)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20)

Bottom Line (For Now)

The Line Sakana looks like a very interesting offshoot of the Pescado, and seems like it should offer a lot of the Pescado’s fun, carvy personality in a narrower shape. We are getting the Sakana mounted right now, and testing begins in Telluride in a just a few days, so stay tuned…

Flash Review: Line Sakana

Blister members can now read our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review of the 174 cm Line Sakana.

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

FULL REVIEW

Jonathan Ellsworth, Sam Shaheen, and I have now all had a chance to spend some time on both lengths of the new Line Sakana. It’s an interesting ski, so let’s get right to it.

Clean, Smooth Groomers

Luke Koppa (5’8″, 155 lbs): I’ll start with the area where I’ve had the most fun on the Sakana — clean, edgeable groomers. The Sakana is very easy to bend into a turn, and immediately after getting on it, I had no problem getting it high on edge and driving it into deep, tight turns. The edge hold on smooth groomers felt very good, and I had an absolute blast carving quick turns down the wide groomers under Telluride’s Village Express lift. If I tried to open up my turns a bit more, I could still get the Sakana to make some medium-radius turns, but it definitely felt most comfortable when making smaller, sharper turns.

I spent my first few days skiing the 174 cm Sakana, and was surprised that I didn’t immediately feel like I should bump up to the 181. On smooth groomers, I wasn’t wishing for more stability or support than the 174 cm version offered, and I really enjoyed its combination of easy turn initiation, energy out of the turn, and edge-to-edge quickness. However, since it is so easy to bend into a turn, I can definitely see how bigger or more aggressive skiers would prefer the 181.

Blister reviews the Line Sakana
Luke Koppa on the Line Sakana, Telluride Ski Resort, CO.

Sam Shaheen (5’10”, 140 lbs): I’ll second most of what Luke said. The Sakana feels like a natural carver and easily initiates high-edge-angle turns — this ski just loves to turn. In contrast to Luke, however, I found the 174 cm length fairly easy to overpower. At high speeds, and especially when I pushed the ski hard, the 174 cm felt a bit mushy and lacked the energy that it provides on short, lower speed turns. I often wished I had the 181 cm version for high speeds and aggressive skiing.

As a carving ski, this is an easy ski to recommend to beginners as well as advanced skiers. If you’ve never put a ski on edge, the Sakana is an easy and forgiving option that is tons of fun at low speeds. And if you’re an advanced skier looking for a playful, super fun carving option, the Sakana is also hard to beat — it’s just a fun, undemanding carver.

Jonathan Ellsworth (5’10”, 175 lbs): I’ve only skied the 181 cm Sakana so far, but I agree with Sam’s comments — especially the fun, undemanding carver part. I wrote our review of the Sakana’s fatter, older brother, the 180 cm Pescado, and the Sakana very much feels like a narrower version of the Pescado that has been fortified a bit to (I presume) better withstand less deep / more variable snow conditions than the Pescado was designed for.

We talked about what a fun — and surprising — carver the Pescado was, and the same is true of the Sakana. I’m 5’10”, ~175 lbs, and on clean groomers I found that I could rally these really hard (even making big GS turns), but it’s a design that gravitates to making a slew of turn shapes as you tear down the mountain. Or lollygag down the mountain. Either way.

We’ve talked about playful chargers in the past, but I’m not sure that we’ve ever talked about “playful carvers” before? But the Sakana — and the Pescado — fit the bill.

Rough, End-of-Day Groomers

Luke: On groomers that weren’t as smooth and had some patches of pushed around snow, the Sakana felt less comfortable, and it’s short length and low weight was apparent. It would get knocked around if I tried to blast through denser piles of snow, but that’s not the point of this ski. Instead, if I focused on making more deliberate turns around the patches of snow — or better yet, popping over them — I could still have a lot of fun on rougher groomers, I just had to take a slightly slower approach.

And this experience was really a theme I noticed when spending time on the Sakana — it made me think about my line choice a lot more. Instead of being frustrated that I couldn’t blow through variable snow or make giant turns, I instead looked for ways to link small carved turns or throw in a quick slash or nollie on smaller features. I’m not proposing that this ski will drastically change the way every person approaches the mountain, but for me at least, it was a really nice change from all the other skis I’ve been spending time on.

Blister reviews the Line Sakana
Luke Koppa on the Line Sakana, Telluride Ski Resort, CO.

Sam: I agree with Luke here on the idea of the Sakana changing how I looked at the mountain. One of the first notes I made on the Sakana was “It would be awesome in a tranny park or a pump track“ — and I’ve never said that about another ski. This ski wants to bring out a little bit of your inner Bunch on each turn. It’s fun and unique.

Jonathan: The snow was still soft on the end-of-day groomers I skied the Sakana on, and on those runs, I was honestly just blasting GS turns down Telluride’s Telluride Trail and Misty Maiden, and given how light the Sakana is, I was impressed by how well it held up on edge. (But again, the snow was pretty soft.)

Moguls

Luke: The design of the Sakana is pretty much everything I don’t look for in a mogul ski. It has a really fat tip, a lot of sidecut, and an extremely short tail. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t love this ski in bumps. I was, however, pleasantly surprised that it did not feel very hooky, and its short length and low weight did make it very maneuverable. The Sakana definitely felt best in more spaced-out moguls where I could carve and pivot my way through the troughs.

While skiing the 174 cm Sakana in the steep and tight moguls off of Telluride’s Plunge lift, I was wishing for a longer and more substantial ski. The 181 cm version felt a bit better, though still not ideal. When trying to ski these types of moguls on the Sakana with a very forward stance, I felt like I didn’t have enough ski in front of me. At the same time, if I got backseat, it didn’t feel like there was enough tail to support me. As a result, I found that skiing with a fairly centered, or at least not very aggressive stance worked best on moguls. (The Sakana did, however, reward a forward stance on groomers where I was less likely to overpower it.)

So, if you spend a lot of time skiing steep, big bumps, the Sakana would not be my first recommendation. But if you split your time between groomers and moguls, or stick to more mellow bump runs, the Sakana is still manageable, it’s just not ideal for raging through tight moguls.

Jonathan: Yep, on lower-angle, well-spaced moguls, I think the Sakana is totally fine — and fun. But in firm or weirdly-spaced bumps, the skis are easy to slow down and work through the moguls, but for more aggressive skiing, those big shovels don’t really accommodate a feet-together, more zipperline style.

Steeps

Luke: We spent a lot of time skiing steep chalk off Telluride’s Prospect Express, and here I again would have preferred a more substantial ski than the Sakana. But I was still comfortable skiing it in these conditions as long as I took things a bit slower. The Sakana is very easy to flick around for hop turns, but was a bit scary when attempting to straightline runouts through fields of soft chop / variable snow.

Sam: Yep, the 174 cm length especially is not a very stable platform for driving a ski through the shovels in steep terrain on variable snow. Plus, the huge amount of sidecut on the Sakana doesn’t make it as predictable as other, straighter, heavier skis in these conditions.

Jonathan: My only caveat here is that, if those steeps are more open bowls or, even better, well-spaced trees, I would have much less hesitation on the Sakana. But yeah, for nuking around down steeps or dealing with steep, techy, variable terrain, well, that’s not the sort of terrain you should be buying the Sakana for.

Powder

Luke: I got the 174 cm Sakana into a mix of 6” of light, dry powder that had fallen the day after a 12” storm of wet, heavier snow. In untracked light pow, it did fine, though I was honestly hoping that it would somehow provide an extraordinary amount of float given its super fat tip and swallowtail. While I do think the Sakana performs above its width in pow, it is still only 105 mm underfoot, and I’d want a wider and longer ski for really deep days.

Jonathan: Yeah, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise, I suppose, but the Sakana is definitely not as surfy as the Pescado in deeper snow. But I think for areas that tend to get 6-12” storms — i.e., not bottomless powder days, but powder days where you’ll hit deeper and shallower pockets of pow, but also feel a firmer bottom quite a bit — this is where the Sakana would make good sense. And like the Pescado, I think it will be even more fun in such conditions as a tree ski.

Chop

Luke: If you hadn’t guessed already, the Sakana is not a great ski for riding fast through chop. It gets deflected pretty easily, and there’s not a lot of tail for support if you get knocked backseat.

But as I mentioned above, that’s not what the ski is for. The Sakana feels much better when carving around and over piles of snow, and it can still be a lot of fun doing this in soft chop. Find an open line, carve through it, head towards a pile of snow, pop off it, get back into another tight turn, repeat.

If you like to rage through chop and crud, this is obviously not your ski. And I’d also be more hesitant to recommend it to people that ski a lot of heavier / firmer chop. But if take a slower and more deliberate approach to chop / powder days, the Sakana can definitely do so.

Spring Slush

Jonathan: I’m adding this section in now really just as a placeholder, given HOW. MUCH. FUN. the Pescado proved to be as a spring slush ski. And given my time so far on the Sakana, I think there’s every reason to assume that we’ll be saying the same about it. So if you tend to get to places that have good spring skiing and lot of rolling terrain (e.g., Mt Bachelor, A-Basin), then you’ll have even more reason to consider the Sakana.

Blister reviews the Line Sakana
Luke Koppa on the Line Sakana, Telluride Ski Resort, CO.

Luke: After skiing the 181 cm Sakana in some slush at A-Basin, I can confirm what Jonathan had suspected — the Sakana is a super fun slush ski. Here, its lower weight is less noticeable as the snow provides more of the suspension, and laying down both carves and all sorts of slashes is a blast. It’s not the best ski for mobbing down the mountain once the slush has been pushed around into more solidified piles, but that’s where carving little turns between and around the piles is again where the Sakana shines.

In the Air

Luke: It took me a few days to get used to takeoffs on the Sakana as it has a very rearward mount point and, consequently, a very short tail (I kept coming off jumps backseat). However, I was eventually able to adapt to it, and once in the air, the Sakana is super easy to flick around. Despite it’s setback mount point, the low weight and short length (especially for the 174) of the Sakana make it very manageable in the air.

Sam: I found the Sakana to be surprisingly intuitive in the air. There isn’t a huge, or exceedingly stable platform to land on, but the tail is poppy and the ski feels more balanced than its mount point might suggest. As long as I wasn’t trying to go extremely fast or take huge airs, I thought the Sakana performed just fine in the air.

Playfulness

Luke: While there are plenty of skis that can carve small turns and are fun on groomers, those skis are often not very playful (e.g. typical frontside carvers). But despite the Sakana’s flat tail and traditional mount, it’s still super easy to slash and pivot, and has lots of energy for popping off little features. The setback mount and fairly soft shovels also make nollies really easy (just be wary of the ski’s fairly low tip).

The Sakana’s strong carving performance and playfulness is a fun combination — I found myself driving the ski into deep, tight turns on wide groomers and then seeking out any lips, walls, or rollers on the sides of the run to nollie off of or make big slashes. I can’t really think of a ski I’d rather use for mellow, slushy spring laps than the Sakana.

Sam: Yes, yes, yes. The combination of high energy, tight turns, propensity toward carving and being super playful is a really fun combo. It makes me want to leave my poles at the bottom and make hand drag carves, slashes on everything in sight, and pop into every transition I can find.

Jonathan: I know I’m not exactly known for my brevity, but again, two words: Playful Carver.

Length

Luke: After spending time on the 174 cm and 181 cm Sakana, both skis felt quite similar, and the differences are not surprising: the 181 cm is slightly more stable and supportive, and the 174 cm is a bit more maneuverable and noticeably easier to bend into tighter turns at slower speeds.

If I were to personally own the Sakana, it’d be as part of a quiver where I’d be breaking it out on days where I am specifically looking for a different feel than my other skis, and would therefore prefer the extremely easy turn initiation and low weight of the 174 cm version. (for reference, I normally prefer resort skis in the 184-188 cm range).

Yes, I’d be wishing for more ski than the 174 Sakana in steeps and big moguls, but I’d also be rewarded with a ski that is super fun at slow speeds and ridiculously easy to whip around and pop off little features.

That Tail

Luke: The most noticeable thing about the Sakana’s swallowtail is how many comments it gets in the lift line. Other than that, the only time I’ve noticed the tail is when trying to hop around in steep, variable snow where I felt it get hung up a bit more than skis with more rockered, non-swallowtailed back-ends. However, this sensation was minimal, and overall, I really haven’t noticed the tail (though it is fun to look at).

Sam: I also didn’t notice the tail on snow much. The only place I felt it was when really loading up the tail to ollie. I could definitely feel the tail digging into the snow when I was back on just those two narrow parts of the swallow tail at the peak of an ollie. Not a big deal, but noticeable.

Touring / Backcountry / 50/50 Update

After skiing it with alpine bindings at Telluride, I mounted the 174 cm Sakana with a pair of Dynafit Radical 2.0 bindings and spent some time touring on it around Colorado.

Based on my time on it in the resort, I had guessed that the Sakana would be a lot of fun on spring corn, and it did not disappoint.

Luke Koppa reviews the Line Sakana for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Line Sakana, Notchtop Couloir, Rocky Mountain National Park.

On mellow, wide-open slopes with soft-ish snow, the Sakana was a blast. I tend to dial back my skiing in the backcountry as I want to savor the turns a bit more (and to decrease the chance of an injury while I’m far from the trailhead). The Sakana works great for this approach. It allowed me to lay down lots of little carves, as well as slashes and slarves in smooth corn.

On steeper, more consequential lines in the backcountry, the Sakana felt a bit less comfortable (just as it did in this type of terrain in the resort). Sam Shaheen and I skied the Notchtop Couloir in Rocky Mountain National Park last spring, and I was on the 174 cm Sakana that day. The line is not extremely steep (around 40° at the steepest points), but it’s still not a place you want to make a mistake.

While the 174 cm Sakana was very easy to jump turn thanks to its low weight and short length, I was wishing for a more substantial, and less turn-y ski in the areas where I was able to open it up and make some linked turns. When picking up some speed and pressing into the shovels, the Sakana definitely felt like it wanted to hook up into turns more than I would’ve preferred (this is why I like skis with longer sidecuts for ski mountaineering). So, the Sakana wouldn’t be my top choice as a ski mountaineering option, and that shouldn’t be all that surprising. But for lower-angle, less consequential terrain, the Sakana was a ton of fun.

Luke Koppa reviews the Line Sakana for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Line Sakana, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO.

At around 1750 grams for the 174 version, the Sakana feels light on the skin track and kick turns were very easy.

One thing I did notice while skinning on the Sakana was that I seemed to catch the ski’s tails on each other more so than I do with other skis, which I attribute to the wide swallowtail. This wasn’t a huge issue, and I’d probably be able to adjust my skinning technique over time, but just something I noticed.

Outside of spring corn, I think the Sakana could be a fun all-around touring ski if you like to make lots of smaller turns. Based on my time in the resort, I think I could be happy on the Sakana for many of my touring days in Colorado. Its ability to make really quick turns is great for mid-winter in Colorado where we’re often limited to tighter trees due to avalanche conditions. And as I just touched on, the Sakana is a ton of fun for mellower corn laps. The Sakana is not the best ski for variable snow or steep terrain, so it wouldn’t be my choice for a 1-ski touring quiver, but I could see it as a fun addition to one or two other skis in a quiver.

Update 5.4.19

Luke: I stand by all of my comments on the Sakana, but I just wanted to add that I think it’s now my all-time favorite ski for skinning in the resort. I’ve started doing this a lot at Crested Butte before / after work, or before or after the resort opens / closes. The Sakana is basically perfect for this, at least for my style of skiing. If you’re primarily skinning in the resort for fitness and / or to bang out as many fast laps as possible, you could go with a lighter ski. But the 174 cm Sakana is plenty light for me, and it’s so much freaking fun on the way down.

Skinning in the resort usually means skiing mellow groomers on the way down. And if I’m touring, I typically like to take my time on the way down and make a lot of turns to justify the effort I just put in to get to the top of the line. The Sakana is both (1) a riot on otherwise boring groomers and (2) makes smaller turns a ton of fun. I can’t think of another ski that combines the Sakana’s pretty low weight with its ambiguous “fun factor” on groomed slopes. I know this is a bit of a niche category, but if you want a ski that makes skinning in the resort way more fun than most ultralight touring skis, the Sakana is worth a very good look.

Bottom Line

The Line Sakana feels about as unique as it looks. It’s a lot of fun when carving short turns on smooth groomers, and is also very easy to slash and pop off little features. It’s definitely not the best ski for raging through steep bumps or chop, so it wouldn’t be our first recommendation for a 1-ski quiver. But if you’re looking for something a little different and like the sound of high edge angle carves but also want to pop, slash, and slarve your way around the mountain, the Sakana is worth a look.

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39 comments on “2019-2020 Line Sakana”

  1. If it was any double rocker ski I wouldn’t even ask, but should someone just under 6′ and around 155lbs (aka me) go directly for the 181? Or would the 174 be “enough” ski for a daily driver, having a flat-ish tail and all.

    • Hi Fabhz,

      The answer to that question will have to wait until we get time on both lengths, but we’ll certainly be addressing it in our review.

      Cheers,

      Luke

  2. Looking forward to hearing more about this ski Luke. I’ve recently seen a line video on the Sakana and noticed a white top sheet pescado…
    I’m looking at the 2018 at the moment … do you know if there’s any changes for the 2019 pescado? If there are changes do you guys know what they are?These skis look like a ton of fun
    Cheers

    • Hey Aaron

      We are planning on touring on the Sakana as soon as we get enough time on it with alpine bindings. Should be quite soon.

  3. I’m really excited for this review as well. I have a pair of the older Armada Kufos that are mounted around -10 and it seems like this will ski very similar. I’ve loved that setup as an east coast touring ski and it manages variable to soft snow really well at a pretty low weight. I only wish the sakana came at around 115 underfoot, but maybe that’s more float than needed. Also really happy to see skis with tight turning radius and recommended in shorter lengths. This combo works well for east coast tight chutes and trees, and with the trend of straightening big mountain skis, has been harder to find!

  4. Where abouts did you measure length from on these skis, tip to the cut out? or tip to the end of the fork? I am really curious on sizing with these, they could make a really fun allmountain ski!

    • Hey Josh — our measured length is from the tip of the ski to the end of the fork since the whole tail is on snow when tipped on edge.

  5. Well for now I’m a little disappointed, I was expecting a much more enthusiastic review (but maybe I was hoping for one a little too much?). I’m interested to hear about how the Sakana tours though, because I wanted to mount the Atomic Shift on it for next season to make a true 50/50 ski. Wait and see.

  6. That’s the combo I’m looking at too

    I found this from Line global brand director calling $750…. hopefully that’s closer to the mark.

    Still unsure about the length I normally ski around 185 in my skis

    • I’m really unsure about the 181cm length for me as well at 6’2”. My skis are 192 with a 1360mm effective edge. I wonder how much effective edge the Sakana 181 rides? Can’t find any specs on it…

      I was also looking at the Salomon Shift MCN on them. But I have some Pivot 18’s which I will throw on instead.

      Shift bindings will go on some new G3 ROAMr skis…

  7. Nice review. just a little interested in al this talk about lenght on the sakana. Line states that the sakana would ski like a +10cm ski but I guess that is only if you compare it to a twintip ski and not a more directional ski!? isnt the sakana a ordinary directional ski, except for the cut out and huge showel? when you put the ski on edge I guess the taper is more relevant then rocker also when you compare it to other directional skis. I dont know if I have got everything wrong but the most interesting meassurment on a ski would be the effective edge to get a relevant lenght for performance on groomers?

  8. Looking forward for the touring section :-). I tried the Kore 99 & Movement 109 today at Verbier, Movement was pretty great in tracked pow and didn’t really find something nice about the Kore 99 (apart groomers but my Völkl RTM84 is way better in this situation)… Also realized you have to go rather fast to have fun with both. So maybe the Sakana can still be a good choice if you don’t want to destroy everything @mach 2 on the slope/chop.

  9. Thanks Luke! We’ll monitor the comments and answer any questions if we can add tot he conversation. Really gratified on how it came out!

  10. I have the pescados and love them for cat skiing and deep days.

    I’m considering getting the Sakana’a purely for groomer days and warm slush days @ deer valley, etc. Don’t need to be good at anything else. Anything else I should cross shop for a super fun groomer ski?

    I’m 5’9” / 170..would you get 174 or 180?

    • There are a ton of fun groomer skis out there, but I think the thing that sets the Sakana apart is how playful it feels, while also excelling at laying down hard carves. If you are looking for something that’s purely for groomers and warm slush days, the Sakana sounds just about perfect (especially since you like the Pescado). The Line Sick Day 104 has a pretty similar overall feeling to the Sakana, though the SD 104 isn’t quite as easy to bend into really tight turns and get super high on edge. But the SD 104 is a better all-mountain ski, so if you want something a bit more versatile, that’d be my recommendation.

      As for length, I think the 180 would probably make the most sense as I think you might overpower the 174.

      – Luke

  11. Gday Luke,
    it’s come to that time of year again and I’m already geeking out on gear for Jan.
    I’m looking at throwing Salomon shift bindings on the line sakana, pescado and SD104.
    The issue for me I have to buy online before I get out to the Usa as when I get there in Jan they’ll prob all be sold out.
    I don’t really want to buy 3 bindings if I can help it.
    Can you tell me if I could use the shift with binding freedom/ quiver killer inserts?
    I’m just unsure of the top centred screw in the mount at the front of the binding.
    Hope your well mate
    Cheers
    Paddy

    • Hey Paddy,

      Unfortunately I don’t know for certain whether there are any potential issues with the Shift and binding freedom / quiver killers. I think giving those companies a call would be the safest option, as I’m guessing they’ve probably tested it by now.

      – Luke

  12. Gday Guys

    Congrats to you all on the guide again this year… it’s a cracker

    Starting to geek out on the gear again getting ready for winter…. looking at the sakana and I have a couple of questions.

    I’ve pulled the trigger on the 181 for me

    How would the 174 go for the wife at 5’8 and 132lb?
    Intermediate to advanced
    She’s currently riding the sickday 95 (172cm) n loves em.

    Selfishly I also want to use the 174 sakana for groomer n slushy days when she is not

    Would you

    1. Go with a demo binding? Or

    2. Use inserts and drill the ski for her and me and move the binding for each of us when it’s needed?

    I suppose I’m asking how much flex /performance wiill you loose by choosing either one.

    Cheers
    Paddy

    • Hey Paddy,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Re: your question about length, I think the 174 cm Sakana would definitely work if your wife loves the 172 cm Sick Day 95.

      As for your question about bindings, I think that depends on how often you think you’ll be swapping the skis. If you want to be able to swap often or quickly, then a pair of demo bindings is probably the way to go. We spend a lot of time on demo bindings, and I think the ease of adjusting for different BSLs is worth the slight decrease in performance if you’re going to be swapping often.

      Inserts are nice in that you get all the performance of a standard alpine binding, but they do require a bit more time and effort to swap compared to most modern demo bindings.

      Hope that helps, and let me know about any other questions.

      – Luke

      • Hey Luke thanks for the speedy reply…
        The demo would def be more convenient for us sure… esp if we are switching through the day on slope…..
        but do you loose much flex with that demo binding ? is it significant and noticeable ?

        • Personally, I don’t notice much of a difference in terms of flex. I skied both lengths of the Sakana on demo bindings and I thought they felt great. I think some people are more sensitive to ski flex than others, but for me at least, I have no problem with skiing on demo bindings and find the difference in flex to be negligible.

  13. Hi,

    Great update. just interested in how the sakanas performance on ‘hard” groomers. I know they are a not Mantra style of ski but compared with for example Blizzard Rustler 10. Are about to replace my Line SFB (108mm under foot) and want something with little more energy in and out of the turn ön groomers.

    Cheers,
    Carl

  14. Hi,

    I want to know line sakana’s binding position.
    In this article, it is written that ” Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.75 cm from center; 76.3 cm from tail”.
    But, in LINE’s official HP, “stance: -80mm” is written.
    Which is right?

    I am japanese, so not good at writeing English.

  15. I own a pair of the Sakanas and I’ve skied them about 10 times now. This review is SPOT ON. Carving clean groomers on the Sakanas is off the charts, but I agree that the ski seems overwhelmed by tough snow days or in choppy/cut up snow.

  16. How long are the skins you’ve used on the 174’s? It’s remarkably hard to find information on this topic via Google.

    • I used them with a pair of size Medium G3 Alpinist skins that are supposedly compatible with skis 172-188 cm long. The fit was almost too long, but I was still able to get a solid, tight fit. And the G3 tip and tail hardware worked very well with the Sakana, and I imagine most skins will work well with it as the tail notch creates a very secure attachment point.

      • I’m looking at a pair of Kohla Multifit Vacuum Base 2.0 Mohair Mix size 170 cm (170-176 cm). They should be the right size for my skis then. If I size down I get the 163-169 cm model and they might be too short. I’m also looking at the G3 Alpinist since it’s ease of use seems to be just right for a beginner like me.

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