Ski: 2019-2020 Kye Shapes Metamorph, 185 cm
Available Length: 185 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 183.3 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 2100 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2125 & 2134 grams
Stated Dimensions: 137-114-130.3 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 137.6-114.5-130.6 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (185 cm): 23.5 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 66 mm / 58 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3-4 mm
Core: aspen/maple + fiberglass laminate
Base: sintered graphite
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -3.65 cm from center; 88.0 cm from tail
In my opinion (and many others’), Kye Petersen is one of the best big-mountain skiers out there right now. He’s been voted “Skier of the Year,” he’s been in tons of films, and if you don’t believe me, watch below his Chatter Creek segment from his film, Numinous. Oh, and then watch the entire film, cause it’s amazing.
In the past, Kye skied for a number of different brands, but now he’s doing something different — designing his own skis. Kye Shapes is his new ski brand, and we’ll be reviewing both of the skis currently in the line, the Numinous and the Metamorph.
Kye Shapes skis are built in Pemberton, British Columbia by Foon Skis, a company started by Johnny “Foon” Chilton, who has been making skis there for many years. Kye, Johnny, and another badass BC skier, Matty Richard, all helped to make the 19/20 Kye Shapes lineup.
So, even just with that backstory, many of us at Blister were extremely excited to see what Kye, Foon, & Matty came up with. Now that we have the skis in hand, we’re even more excited. We’ll be posting a video First Look ASAP, but in the meantime, let’s dive into the details of the Metamorph.
What Kye Shapes says about the Metamorph
“The Metamorph came out of what Kye wanted in a true all mountain ski. At 114mm under foot and 185 in length, this ski is designed to perform well in moderately deep powder yet is lighter and more manageable on long backcountry tours or days when you’re skiing mostly in resort and still want the option to duck the ropes to find secret powder stashes.
This ski has a slightly longer running surface than the Numinous (yet shorter overall length) with shorter blend curves, tighter radius rockers and a tighter sidecut. Kye finds this ski to be the most well rounded in his quiver. It’s his tool of choice for back to back days on the resort when there hasn’t been a whole lot of recent snow and for foot powered skiing on the most remote peaks. It is also a fun choice for getting tricky at any backcountry booter session where weight and size are optimally toned down.”
Now, I know some people are about to smash their keyboard and type out something along the lines of “a 114mm-wide ski is way too wide to be an all-mountain ski!!!!”
But let’s keep in mind that Kye predominantly skis in British Columbia, where they tend to get just a bit of snow. So this is Kye’s take on an all-mountain ski, and we’re very curious to see how it performs as such here in Crested Butte.
While the Metamorph is wider than many “all-mountain” skis, it’s still supposed to do the things that a lot of other brands talk about when referencing their all-mountain skis — float in moderately deep powder, handle days when it hasn’t snowed in a while, and the Metamorph, in particular, is also supposed to be light enough to haul around under your own power.
Given all the crazy materials and designs that have been put out in skis over the years, the Metamorph’s construction is fairly simple. It uses an aspen/maple wood core, fiberglass, a sintered base, and all of that is put together in a full-sidewall construction and pressed in Pemberton.
And you know what? I like that. While there are plenty of very good skis with wild tech that’s fun to talk about, there are also a ton of really good skis that keep things simple with time-tested materials.
What’s also cool is that Foon / Kye Shapes is a certified B-Corp, they source the vast majority of their materials from North America, their wood cores are all sustainably harvested in Canada, they recycle all excess base and edge materials, and the scraps of wood from the skis are used to heat Johnny’s house during the winter.
Shape / Rocker Profile
Kye Shapes talks about the Metamorph’s shorter blend curves and tighter-radius rockers [vs. the wider, 122mm-wide Kye Shapes Numinous], and that’s accurate. Compared to the very tapered Numinous, the Metamorph’s tips and tails don’t start tapering quite as early.
But the Metamorph is still far from a traditionally shaped ski — it’s much more tapered than something like the Volkl Confession, Liberty Origin 112, or Icelantic Nomad 115. Overall, the Metamorph’s shape is not all that far off from the Nordica Enforcer Free 115, Prior CBC, J Skis Friend, and Moment Wildcat, though there are still some differences between them.
For a 114mm-wide ski — and especially one that’s designed with freestyle performance in mind — the Metamorph’s rocker lines are fairly shallow. It has nearly symmetrical tip and tail rocker lines, but there are plenty of similarly wide skis in the “Powder Skis — More Playful” section and even the “All-Mountain Freestyle” section of our 19/20 Winter Buyer’s Guide that have much deeper rocker lines.
The Metamorph still looks like it’ll be a very playful ski and its tail seems high enough for skiing and landing switch in most conditions, but it’s by no means some super-rockered ski. We’re curious to see how that plays out in terms of how surfy and loose the Metamorph feels, and how solid it feels on edge when conditions aren’t ideal.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Metamorph:
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-8.5
The Metamorph has a nice, round flex pattern that’s pretty strong. There are lots of directional skis in this class that have stiffer tails and / or tips, but the Metamorph is stiffer overall than a good number of the more playful skis in this category.
On our pair of the Metamorph, the ends of its tails are actually ever-so-slightly softer than the tips, which is something we’ve seen on a few skis that are designed to land switch in deep snow (where a softer tail can plane up easier). But this difference is very subtle.
On a note of pure speculation — I think I’m really going to like the flex pattern of the Metamorph. The ends of the ski seem like they’ll be fairly easy to bend while still being supportive, and the middle of the ski feels nice and strong. And all the changes in the flex pattern of the Metamorph are nice and smooth — no hinge points or abrupt shifts.
The Metamorph has a line labeled “Kye’s Mount Point,” which on our pair is -3.65 cm from true center. Kye Shapes said they’ve also had positive feedback from people skiing the Metamorph a cm or so behind that line (around -4.5 cm from true center on our pair).
Both of those mount points are pretty far forward and are in line with the more freestyle-oriented skis in this class. But we’ll definitely be playing around with the mount point on the Metamorph to see how it responds — and if changing the mount point can alter how you can ski the Metamorph (e.g., forward vs. centered).
For its size, the Metamorph is a fairly light ski, but by no means crazy light. At an average weight of ~2130 grams per ski for the 185 cm length (the only currently available length), the Metamorph falls between hefty resort skis like the Nordica Enforcer Free 115 & J Skis Friend and much lighter, touring-oriented skis like the Moment Wildcat Tour, Atomic Bent Chetler 120, and Moment Deathwish Tour.
The Metamorph’s weight is fairly similar to the Moment Wildcat and Line Sick Day 114, two skis many of us really like — and that some of us would be very happy using for a mix of resort and backcountry skiing.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.
1660 & 1680 Moment Deathwish Tour, 184 cm (19/20)
1710 & 1744 Atomic Bent Chetler 120, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
1753 & 1756 Renoun Citadel 114, 186 cm (19/20)
1795 & 1817 Moment Wildcat Tour, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
1808 & 1809 Line Pescado, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
1910 & 1941 Scott Scrapper 115, 189 cm (17/18–19/20)
1959 & 1975 Volkl V-Werks Katana, 184 cm (15/16–19/20)
1964 & 1972 Moment Deathwish, 184 cm (19/20)
2006 & 2011 Rossignol Super 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2011 & 2028 Moment Wildcat 108, 184 cm (19/20)
2013 & 2099 Moment Wildcat, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2019 & 2051 K2 Mindbender 116C, 186 cm (19/20)
2024 & 2031 Line Outline, 186 cm (19/20)
2034 & 2052 Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2043 & 2046 4FRNT Inthayne, 188 cm (18/19-19/20)
2097 & 2103 Liberty Origin 112, 184 cm (17/18–19/20)
2102 & 2137 Line Sick Day 114, 190 cm (17/18–19/20)
2105 & 2185 Head Kore 117, 189 cm (19/20)
2125 & 2134 Kye Shapes Metamorph, 185 cm (19/20)
2126 & 2173 Rossignol Super 7 RD, 190 cm (17/18–19/20)
2147 & 2286 Prior CBC, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20)
2174 & 2187 Moment Wildcat, 190 cm (18/19–19/20)
2188 & 2190 Prior Northwest 110, 190 cm (19/20)
2212 & 2215 Armada ARV 116 JJ, 185 cm (17/18–19/20)
2220 & 2252 Faction Prodigy 4.0, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
2221 & 2245 ON3P Jeffrey 108, 186 cm (17/18–19/20)
2280 & 2286 Icelantic Nomad 115, 191 cm (19/20)
2343 & 2360 J Skis Friend, 189 cm (18/19–19/20)
2346 & 2351 Nordica Enforcer Free 115, 191 cm (17/18–19/20)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) For many people, a 114mm-wide ski is pretty wide for an “all-mountain” ski, so just how versatile will the Metamorph be across a wide range of conditions?
(2) Kye Shapes talks about the Metamorph’s performance in “moderately deep snow,” but could it serve as a dedicated pow ski for some people? How will it compare to similarly wide skis in terms of float?
(3) The Metamorph has a progressive mount point and a pretty symmetrical rocker profile and shape, so how playful and freestyle oriented will it feel?
(4) While it looks like it’ll be fun in the air, how stable will the Metamorph feel when skied with more of a directional style?
(5) The Metamorph isn’t super light, but it’s also not super heavy. So how will it perform in cruddy, challenging resort conditions, particularly compared to heavier, dedicated inbounds skis?
Bottom Line (For Now)
Given Kye Petersen’s skiing background, we have very high hopes for the Kye Shapes Metamorph. It looks like a playful, yet still pretty strong ski that could potentially work in a wide range of conditions and skiing scenarios, from lapping to the resort to skinning for good snow in the backcountry. We’ll be getting the Metamorph on snow ASAP, so stay tuned for updates.