Ski: 2020-2021 Salomon Stance 96, 182 cm
Available Lengths: 168, 176, 182, 188 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 181.0 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 1940 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1936 & 2013 grams
Stated Dimensions: 132-96-114 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 132.0-96.1-113.9 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (181 cm): 19.5 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 60 mm / 14 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3 mm
Core: poplar + titanal (2 layers) + CFX inserts + fiberglass laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10 cm from center; 80.5 cm from tail
It’s been a long time since Salomon has made very directional, metal-laminate all-mountain skis. They’ve always had race- and piste-oriented skis, and their more freeride-focused QST series has seen a lot of success. But it’s been a while since Salomon went after the stable, directional, metal-laminate market.
That changes for 20/21 with the introduction of the brand-new Stance series, which consists of the men’s Stance 90, 96, and 102, as well as the women’s Stance W 88 and W 94 (we’ll be reviewing the W 94). These skis serve as the more directional counterparts to the QST series, and we’re pretty dang excited about them.
So, how does the Stance 96’s design compare to the current market?
It’s worth quickly touching on the Stance skis’ construction, since they’re not exactly your typical metal-laminate skis.
The men’s Stance skis start with a full poplar wood core, and that wood core is sandwiched between two titanal layers and finished with a fiberglass laminate. But while the bottom titanal layer is pretty typical (runs nearly the entire length and width of the ski), the top layer features cutouts in front of and behind the bindings. Those cutouts are then filled with Salomon’s CFX fiber, which is essentially a blend of carbon and flax fibers. CFX was first introduced in Salomon’s touring skis, reportedly due to its ability to make for a more damp feel without adding much weight. Salomon then added it to their QST skis, and now the Stance skis are the latest to feature CFX.
The women’s Stance skis feature the same construction but with one change — a poplar / karuba wood core instead of full poplar, with the goal of creating slightly lighter women’s options.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Stance 96 has a fairly traditional shape, but it does not simply look like a carving ski. It’s less tapered (particularly in the shovel) than the Salomon QST 99, but more tapered than skis like the Volkl Mantra M5, Blizzard Bonafide, and Rossignol Experience 94 Ti. Overall, the shape of the Stance 96 isn’t super far off from the Nordica Enforcer 94, J Skis Masterblaster, K2 Mindbender 99Ti, and Fischer Ranger 99 Ti.
The Stance 96 has a similarly moderate rocker / camber / rocker profile. It has shallower rocker lines than the Mantra M5, ON3P Wrenegade 96, QST 99, and Masterblaster, but the Stance 96’s rocker lines aren’t quite as shallow as those on the Atomic Vantage 97 Ti and Rossignol Experience 94 Ti. Overall, the Stance 96’s rocker profile is fairly similar to the Fischer Ranger 99 Ti and Nordica Enforcer 94, though the Stance 96’s tail is a bit flatter / has lower tail splay.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Stance 96:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8-10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-9
Jonathan Ellsworth and I really like the feel of this flex pattern. It’s not crazy stiff, nor is it super soft, and the tails of the Stance 96 don’t feel drastically stiffer than the tips. While there are plenty of people who get along with skis with really stiff tails and soft tips, many of us at Blister find skis like the Stance 96 with more “round” flex patterns to feel more intuitive.
This is one area where the Stance 96 differs from much of its metal-laminate competition. The Mantra M5, Bonafide, Enforcer 94, Experience 94 Ti, Ranger 99 Ti, and Vantage 97 Ti all have much stiffer tails. Overall, the flex pattern of the Stance 96 feels pretty similar to the J Skis Masterblaster, and we’re not at all mad about that.
It’s pretty standard for a ski in this category — the Stance 96’s mount point measures exactly -10 cm from true center on our pair. That’s a pretty traditional mount point, and we’re curious to try it with the bindings a bit forward, especially given the round flex pattern of the ski.
The Stance 96 is a fairly heavy ski, though far from the heaviest in its class. At an average weight of ~1975 grams per ski for our 182 cm length, the Stance 96 is notably lighter than the Nordica Enforcer 94, J Skis Masterblaster, and Blizzard Bonafide, but it’s also notably heavier than some of the more playful options in this category like the Blizzard Rustler 9, Elan Ripstick 96, and Atomic Bent Chetler 100. Interestingly, our pair of the 182 cm Stance 96 is coming in a bit lighter than our pair of the 181 cm QST 99.
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.
1629 & 1684 Elan Ripstick 96, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
1758 & 1758 Head Kore 93, 180 cm (19/20–20/21)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–20/21)
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 (18/19–20/21)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–20/21)
1928 & 1933 Moment Commander 98, 178 cm (19/20)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
1936 & 2013 Salomon Stance 96, 182 cm (20/21)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
1947 & 2022 Liberty V92, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
1976 & 2028 Parlor Cardinal Pro, 182 cm (19/20–20/21)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–20/21)
1994 & 2011 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–20/21)
1999 & 2060 Line Blade, 181 cm (20/21)
2007 & 2029 Armada Invictus 99 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–20/21)
2050 & 2080 ON3P Wrenegade 96, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2053 & 2057 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
2055 & 2080 Salomon QST 99, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
2078 & 2138 Black Crows Justis, 183 cm (20/21)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–20/21)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2256 & 2284 Nordica Enforcer 94, 186 cm (20/21)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2324 & 2359 Kastle MX99, 184 cm (18/19-19/20)
2326 & 2336 Nordica Enforcer 100, 186 cm (20/21)
2344 & 2367 J Skis Masterblaster, 187 cm (16/17–20/21)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) The Stance 96 is a bit more tapered than some of the skis in its class, so how will it do on very firm, smooth snow?
(2) The Stance 96 is fairly heavy and doesn’t have super deep rocker lines, but it also has a pretty accessible flex pattern. So how demanding will it feel in tight terrain, and how technically proficient do you need to be to enjoy it?
(3) While their constructions are very different, the Stance 96 doesn’t look extremely different compared to the Salomon QST 99, so how will the two compare and what types of skiers will get along best with them?
(4) What about other reference points in this category like the Volkl Mantra M5, J Skis Masterblaster, and Nordica Enforcer 94? How does the Stance 96 compare to those skis?
(4) How damp and stable will the Stance 96 feel on really rough, firm, off-piste conditions, given its moderate weight?
Bottom Line (For Now)
We’re excited to see Salomon re-enter into the metal-laminate all-mountain category, and now having the Stance 96 in hand, we’re no less excited. It stands out, on paper at least, from its competition due to its moderate, fairly round flex pattern, middle-of-the-road weight, and slightly more modern, tapered shape. But it still has two sheets of metal and a pretty minimal rocker profile, so we’re eager to spend more time on it here in Crested Butte and see how it stacks up. Blister Members can check out our Flash Review for our initial on-snow impressions, then stay tuned for our full review.
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Stance 96 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.