Ski: 2018-2019 Romp Skis 100, 183 cm
Available Lengths: 155, 164, 172, 183, 190 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 181.4 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1800 & 1824 grams
Stated Dimensions: 137-100-128 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 136.7-99.3-129.7 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (183 cm): 17 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 58 mm / 50 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Core: poplar + ¾-width carbon stringers above core + full-width carbon stringers below core + 22-oz triaxial fiberglass laminate
Base: Sintered Durasurf 4001
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -6 cm from center; 84.7 cm from tail
Romp is a custom-ski manufacturer based right here in Crested Butte, Colorado, that’s been building custom skis since 2010. You can listen to our conversation with Romp’s co-founders and brothers, Caleb & Morgan Weinberg, on our GEAR:30 podcast to hear about how they got started, their thoughts on the custom-ski-building process and ski design, and much more.
And this season, I’ve been working with Romp to design a custom ski of my own, and now that we have the ski in hand, we wanted to shed some more light on Romp’s custom process and how we arrived at the design we did.
Romp’s Custom Ski-Building Process
Like many good things, Romp’s custom process starts with a good conversation. And in my case, that conversation was with Romp co-founder, Caleb Weinberg. Caleb and I sat down in Romp’s HQ in downtown Crested Butte and discussed what I what I wanted this ski to do (more on those specifics below).
After I gave Caleb an idea of what I was looking for, he suggested a few different shape options. Romp has nine standard shapes to choose from, ranging from 75 mm underfoot all the way up to 120 mm. And since Blister readers seem to be pretty sharp cookies, you’ve probably already Sherlock-Holmes’d your way into figuring out (given the title of this review), that we ended up settling on the “100.”
After settling on a shape and specific length, you work with Romp to dial in the flex pattern, rocker profile, mount point, and graphics of the ski. Even if you aren’t familiar at all with ski design, the folks at Romp can use their experience to tailor those design elements to work well for you. Or if you’re a huge gear nerd like me, they’re equally happy to drill down and geek out on the details with you.
For the flex pattern, Romp will adjust the thickness of the wood core and the number, size, and placement of carbon stringers to make the ski softer or stiffer where you need it. You can choose a certain level of stiffness in the tip, tail, and middle of the ski.
For the rocker profile, you can choose from several different options, from no camber to full camber, and a bunch of rocker / camber / rocker profiles with varying tip and tail rocker lines and tail splay variations.
For the mount point, you can tailor it to your skiing style — go further back for a more traditional, directional feel, or go closer to center for a more playful, progressive style.
As for the art, Romp works with a number of designers to offer a very large selection of stock graphics. And if you want your own, fully custom graphic? Romp can also arrange that, for a slight bump up in price.
But enough about all that, let’s get back to talking about me, since there is nothing in the world that I love more than talking about myself.
[Editor’s Note: Jonathan Ellsworth may or may not have added the previous sentence.]
Building My Romp 100
I primarily wanted a ski that would be versatile. To be more specific, I wanted a ski that would work for the majority of my days skiing here at Crested Butte.
For me, that means a ski that will let me rail small and larger turns on steep groomers, allow me to nimbly hop around in the steep, techy terrain off the High lift and The North Face lift, and be able to float in some fresh snow — and all the while, remain playful.
In other words, I was basically trying to make a 1-ski quiver for how and where I like to ski at Crested Butte, with more of an emphasis on firm-snow performance, rather than deep snow.
I like to consider myself a fairly aggressive skier, but I’m also not a former racer. So I appreciate skis that can hold up to higher speeds while still letting me slash, slarve, and pop off of stuff at lower speeds. My typical day consists of a nearly equal mix of groomers, bumps, steeps, and trying to find as many drops and side hits as possible.
My favorite skis tend to be pretty damp but also pretty energetic. And if I have to choose between stability and playfulness / pop, I’d prefer to have something that skews toward more energetic than stable, rather than a ski that’s super damp and stable but that feels “dead” and sluggish. I don’t tend to love one-dimensional skis that are only designed to go fast, especially when it comes to a 1-ski quiver that I’ll be using in a wide range of conditions, and on days when I don’t necessarily feel like mobbing down everything.
Shape: The Romp 100
After Caleb and I had gone over my skiing style and what I wanted from this ski, he asked me if I had any shapes in mind. I was pretty confident that the 100 would be the right call. I had considered the 106 that Will and Julia reviewed a few years back, but I wanted something a bit quicker, and the narrower width and tighter sidecut radius (17 m for 183 cm) of the 100 sounded more appealing for what I had in mind. And as soon as I suggested the 100, Caleb said that was the shape that he would’ve recommended anyway.
The Romp 100 is available in 155, 164, 172, 183, and 190 cm lengths. Since I prioritize playfulness and maneuverability over high-speed stability, the 183 cm length was an easy choice. (For reference, I’m 5’8”, 155 lbs.)
The Romp 100 has a fairly traditional shape, with wide tips and tails. There is a bit of early taper in the tips, but pretty minimal taper in the tails. I was excited about the shape as an everyday ski since I primarily want something that’s intuitive and predictable, rather than going with some crazy shape that might be tricky to get used to or that would only perform well in specific conditions. Nothing about the 100’s shape makes me think it’ll be difficult to get used to. It just looks “good.”
The next thing to dial in was the rocker profile of my 100. I wanted this ski to float fairly well in a bit of fresh snow, and I also tend to like skis with more rocker than average, since it makes them easier to release from a turn when needed. So I ended up going with 20 cm of tip rocker and 12 cm of tail rocker. I also like to ski switch occasionally, so I opted for a more twinned-up tail profile.
The resulting ski has a nice, moderate rocker profile. My 100’s tip rocker line is pretty similar to the Nordica Enforcer 100’s (a ski that many of us at Blister really like). My 100’s 12 cm tail rocker line is a bit deeper than most directional skis in this class, but it is by no means super deep. And I really like having that twin at the back. Twin tails make me happy.
After dialing in the rocker profile, I worked with Caleb to figure out the best flex pattern for my ski. I appreciate skis that are strong enough that I can drive them pretty hard without folding up, but I’m definitely not someone who wants a super stiff ski that demands constant concentration to keep it from bucking me. I also tend to like skis with fairly round flex patterns, with the tips not being way softer than the tails.
We ended up settling on what Romp calls a “Medium-” flex for the tips, a “Medium+” flex for the middle, and a “Medium” flex for the tails.
Now that we have the ski in hand, here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of my Romp 100:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-9
Behind the Heel Piece: 9-8.5
I really like this flex pattern. The tips are pretty easy to bend, but they ramp up fairly quickly to a strong midsection, and the tails feel very similar to the tips. There are no hinge points in the flex, but rather a smooth, fairly quick ramp up as you move from the tips and tails to the middle of the ski.
After hand-flexing my Romp 100 against the Nordica Enforcer 100, the Enforcer 100 feels a tiny bit stiffer at the very ends (last ~5 cm) of its tips and tails, but the Romp 100 ramps up quicker at both ends of the ski.
Given the weight of the ski, I was very happy that my Romp 100 didn’t turn out crazy stiff, but it still feels strong where I want it to be.
I like skis that I can drive when I want to, but that still feel fairly balanced in the air. After discussing this with Caleb, we settled on a fairly progressive but not extremely forward mount point of -6 cm from center for my ski. That’s a mount point I’ve liked on a lot of skis in the past, so I figured it would feel intuitive for me.
My pair of the 183 cm Romp 100 comes in at just over 1800 grams per ski. That definitely puts it on the lighter end of the spectrum, and makes it fall in line with Will and Julia’s similarly light Romp 106’s.
If you’re looking for an even lighter ski, Romp can build it with a full carbon layup rather than fiberglass. And if you want a heavier ski, they can do that, too.
But as I mentioned above, if I have to choose, I’d prefer quickness and energy over maximum-speed stability due to how I ski. Based on my Romp 100’s lower weight, I highly doubt that it’s going to feel sluggish at all, and am eager to see how it fares in terms of stability.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. As always, pay close attention to the length differences to keep things more apples-to-apples.
1629 & 1684 Elan Ripstick 96, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19)
1758 & 1774 Moment Commander 98, 178 cm (18/19)
1800 & 1824 Luke Koppa’s Romp Skis 100, 183 cm (18/19)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1830 & 1852 Julia Van Raalte’s Romp Skis 106, 175 cm (14/15–18/19)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
1894 & 1980 Black Crows Daemon, 183.6 cm (17/18–19/20)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–18/19)
1998 & 2004 Will Brown’s Romp Skis 106, 185 cm (15/16–18/19)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–18/19)
1950 & 1977 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (17/18–18/19)
2007 & 2029 Armada Invictus 99 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2031 & 2038 Faction Candide 2.0, 184 cm (17/18–19/20)
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)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2111 & 2125 J Skis Vacation, 186 cm (18/19)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–18/19)
2118 & 2139 Nordica Soul Rider 97, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2133 & 2134 Faction Prodigy 3.0, 183 cm (18/19–19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20)
2344 & 2367 J Skis Masterblaster, 187 cm (16/17–18/19)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) Just how well will my Romp 100 perform across the very wide range of conditions and terrain we ski at Crested Butte?
(2) Given its low weight, how will my Romp 100 do at higher speeds and in rougher snow?
(3) With its twinned tail, round flex pattern, and fairly progressive mount point, I’m curious to see how well this Romp 100 will balance playfulness with the ability to still be driven when I want to.
(4) The Big One: how well will this ski line up with the performance envelope that I was looking for?
Bottom Line (For Now)
I’m excited about this Romp Skis 100. It’s got a shape, rocker profile, and flex pattern that all are very much in line with what I was looking for. And that’s exactly how a custom ski should be.
Now it’s time to see how well the design matches up with how I like to play around in the mountains. Stay tuned…
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Romp Skis 100 for our initial impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.