2021-2022 Wagner Summit 97

Ski: 2021-2022 Wagner Summit 97, 182 cm

Test Location: Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado

Days Skied (so far): 6

Available Lengths: 161, 168, 175, 182 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 179.6 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2165 & 2186 grams

Stated Dimensions: 134-97-119 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 134.2-96.3-118.8 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (182 cm): 19 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 79.5 mm / 30 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3.5 mm

Core: Sugar Maple / White Ash + Titanal + 22-oz Fiberglass Laminate (custom available)

Base: sintered “extra thick”

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -9.9 cm from center; 79.9 cm from tail

Boots / Bindings: Tecnica Mach1 MV 130, Atomic Hawx Ultra 130, Head Raptor 140 RS / Salomon Warden MNC 13

Luke Koppa reviews the Wagner Summit 97 for Blister
Wagner Summit 97 — sample Top Sheet
Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Full Review //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics

Intro

Last year at our inaugural Blister Summit, Wagner Custom Skis made several skis specifically for the event in Crested Butte. Wagner has historically only made fully custom skis, but the four “Summit” skis served as a way for attendees (and our reviewers) to experience Wagner’s take on a do-it-all touring ski (the “Summit 105”), a 50/50 ski for touring and the resort (the “Summit 106”), a damp, stable, wider, resort-oriented ski (the “Summit 107”), and the ski we’re talking about today: the Summit 97, which is designed to be a versatile ski for lift-accessed skiing.

And now — for the first time in Wagner’s history — you can purchase these “factory” Summit skis from Wagner, either in exactly the same form that we skied them, or you can tweak the flex pattern and graphic to your liking. But these are the first “stock” skis Wagner has ever offered.

You can learn a whole bunch more about these skis and Wagner’s background in our GEAR:30 episode with Pete Wagner.

As for the Wagner 97 itself, our initial impressions at the Blister Summit were really positive, and we continued to be impressed as we spent more time on the ski after the event. So here we’ll let’s dive into what makes the Summit 97 stand out in the category of ~100mm-wide, do-everything skis.

What Wagner says about the Summit 97

“This daily driver is built to ski in all resort conditions and terrain. The 97 mm waist is the sweet spot for all-mountain versatility, wide enough to float in boot-top fluff and narrow enough to lay trenches on fresh corduroy. An early-rise tip makes turn initiation a breeze, and camber underfoot gives it plenty of edge-grip when the high pressure holds. Best of all, it has that beautiful buttery feel that is uniquely Wagner’s—the result of a hand-built ski with the highest end materials.”

This is all pretty standard stuff for a ski in this class. As for that construction…

Construction

If you were to go with Wagner’s classic, full-custom skis, you’d have a ton of construction variables to choose from (including Aspen sourced from the trees mowed down by Colorado’s historic 18/19 avalanche cycle). In the Summit 97, Wagner opted to prioritize good suspension and stability by going with a fairly heavy maple / ash wood core, a titanal laminate, and 22-oz fiberglass. It’s finished off with Wagner’s “extra thick” sintered bases and edges, and their textured top sheet.

Shape / Rocker Profile

All four of the Wagner Summit skis share a lot in common when it comes to shape. They have pretty long effective edges, with subtle tip and tail taper.

The Summit skis are also quite similar in terms of rocker profile, though it comes as no surprise that the narrowest Summit 97 has the shallowest rocker lines of the four skis. Still though, compared to skis like the Blizzard Bonafide 97 and Salomon Stance 96, the Wagner Summit 97 does have slightly deeper rocker lines and substantially more tip splay. However, while the Summit 97’s nearly 80 mm tip splay looks wild on paper, I wouldn’t say it’s a big factor on snow (at least, not in a negative way, since it only really rises at the very end of the tip).

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Summit 97:

Tips: 6-6.5
Shovels: 6.5-7
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-9.5
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8
Tails: 7.5-6.5

As we mentioned above, if you were to purchase any of the Summit skis, you could opt for a “standard” flex pattern or a softer or stiffer version. The standard Summit 97 we tested has, perhaps unsurprisingly, a pretty middle-of-the-road flex pattern. It’s fairly soft at the tips and tails, and then it slowly and smoothly stiffens as you move from the ends to the middle of the ski.

The Summit 97’s flex pattern is extremely similar overall to the Summit 106, with the 97 being just a hair stiffer near the ends of the ski.

Compared to other directional skis in its class, the Summit 97 isn’t wildly out of the ordinary, though its back-half is a bit softer than skis like the Blizzard Bonafide 97, K2 Mindbender 99Ti, and Nordica Enforcer 100.

2021-2022 Wagner Summit 97, BLISTER

Sidecut Radius

Nothing unusual here — at 19 meters for the 182 cm version we tested, the Summit 97’s stated sidecut radius is pretty much par for the course when it comes to this category of skis.

Mount Point

The Summit 97’s recommended mount point is right around -10 cm from true center, which puts it firmly in the directional category. That said, like the Summit 106, I also skied the Summit 97 with the bindings moved a couple centimeters in front of its recommended line, which I’ll discuss more below.

Weight

Our pair of the 182 cm Summit 97 came in at about 2175 grams per ski. That’s on the heavier end of the spectrum for a ski of this size, but it’s also a weight range we’d be looking for if a ski is supposed to offer nice suspension. There are heavier skis out there (most notably the Blizzard Bonafide 97 and K2 Mindbender 99Ti) and there are plenty of lighter alternatives. But as we’re about to get into, we’re pretty psyched about the weight of the Summit 97.

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.

1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19–20/21)
1758 & 1758 Head Kore 93, 180 cm (19/20–20/21)
1781 & 1795 Atomic Maverick 100 Ti, 180 cm (21/22)
1801 & 1839 Salomon Stance 90, 176 cm (20/21–21/22)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–21/22)
1810 & 1828 Armada Declivity 92 Ti, 180 cm (20/21–21/22)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–21/22)
1883 & 1906 Season Aero, 180 cm (20/21)
1900 & 1908 Atomic Maverick 95 Ti, 180 cm (21/22)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1925 & 1934 Black Crows Camox, 186.5 cm (19/20–21/22)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–21/22)
1936 & 2013 Salomon Stance 96, 182 cm (20/21–21/22)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20–21/22)
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 (19/20–21/22)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–21/22)
1999 & 2060 Line Blade, 181 cm (20/21–21/22)
2024 & 2112 Dynastar M-Free 99, 185 cm (21/22)
2043 & 2089 Volkl M6 Mantra, 177 cm (21/22)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–20/21)
2054 & 2063 Salomon QST 98, 189 cm (21/22)
2055 & 2080 Salomon QST 99, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2089 & 2105 Nordica Soul Rider 97, 185 cm (15/16–21/22)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–20/21)
2165 & 2186 Wagner Summit 97, 182 cm (21/22)
2178 & 2195 Volkl M6 Mantra, 184 cm (21/22)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20–21/22)
2256 & 2284 Nordica Enforcer 94, 186 cm (20/21–21/22)
2281 & 2284 Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm (20/21–21/22)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20–21/22)

Now, let’s talk about how the Summit 97 actually performs on snow:

2021-2022 Wagner Summit 97, BLISTER 2021-2022 Wagner Summit 97, BLISTER

FULL REVIEW

Groomers

For me, the standout feature of all the Wagner Summit skis is how well they carve given how maneuverable and easy they are off piste.

On groomed snow, the Summit 97 offers very quick turn initiation, excellent edge hold for its width, and still lets you easily release and feather its tail. Starting a carved turn requires little effort, thanks to the ski’s minimally tapered and fairly soft tips, but I also never felt like I was going to fold the ski, nor like it was more eager to cut across the fall line than I was (i.e., it’s not hooky).

There are a couple of similarly wide skis I can think of that might edge out the Summit 97 in terms of turn initiation and edge hold (the Atomic Maverick 95 Ti & Volkl M6 Mantra come to mind, respectively), but overall, it’s one of the better 95m+ carvers I’ve used. And the Summit 97 strikes a nice balance of allowing you to bend it into pretty tight turns, without feeling unpredictable when you open up your turns and start picking up speed.

Luke Koppa reviews the Wagner Summit 97 for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Wagner Summit 97, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

The stock Summit 97 wouldn’t be my top pick if you want the most energetic carver, but it outshines many more energetic skis when the groomers are cut up and inconsistent, where the Summit 97 offers a very smooth, composed ride.

Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain

In the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty easy to make a ski that’s fun on piste. What’s much more difficult is making a ski that’s both really fun on piste and enjoyable in tight, tricky, and variable off-piste terrain and conditions. With the Summit 97, I think Wagner has done an excellent job of striking a balance between the two.

In our view, a lot of this comes down to the Summit 97’s combination of shape, rocker profile, and flex pattern.

On groomed snow, the Summit 97’s minimally tapered tips and tails equate to great edge hold and turn initiation, but since it also has a notable amount of tip and tail rocker (and splay), this ski still feels pretty easy to release, pivot, and slide around in bumps and trees.

The Summit 97 definitely wouldn’t be my top pick if you want a super quick, super loose ski, but especially for how stable it is at speed and for how well it carves, it is surprisingly easy to ski in otherwise not easy off-piste terrain. And especially if you value good suspension and stability (and recognize the tradeoffs those bring in terms of weight), I highly doubt you’d find it to feel sluggish, even at slow speeds.

Luke Koppa reviews the Wagner Summit 97 for Blister
Dylan Wood making his way down Slot Rocks on the Wagner Summit 97, Mt. Crested Butte, CO

As for its tail, the Summit 97 in the standard flex isn’t you’re best choice if you very frequently ski from the backseat, but frankly, it’s still not a punishing ski. If you’re after a very forgiving ski, the “softer” flex pattern might be a better choice. But for most skiers, I think the standard flex pattern will work very well.

Soft Chop & Powder

The Summit 97 makes for a fun time in most soft conditions. Skis that have even more tip and tail rocker (and more tip and tail taper) will provide a looser ride and a bit more flotation if it’s snowed more than a foot. But in the ~6 in / 15 cm of fresh snow I used it in, the Summit 97 floats just fine, and as with firm off-piste terrain, it’s by no means difficult to slash through soft snow.

Where the Summit 97 really shines, though, is in the cut-up conditions that follow a few inches of fresh. Its fairly heavy weight and wider tips help it do a very good job of blasting through soft chop with little deflection. Stiffer, similarly heavy skis like the Blizzard Bonafide 97 and Volkl Mantra 102 offer a slightly more composed ride in heavier chop, but overall, the Summit 97 is one of the more stable skis around this width that I’ve used. And compared to those two skis, the Summit 97 is a good bit more forgiving of mistakes.

There are plenty of lighter skis out there that work better if you ski with a more dynamic, light-on-your-feet style (the Wagner Summit 106 being one of them). But if you prefer to keep your skis on the snow and want a ski that stays calm and planted in choppy conditions, the Summit 97 warrants strong consideration.

Firm Chop / Crud

Even more so than in freshly cut-up snow, the Summit 97 really sets itself apart from lighter skis when it hasn’t snowed in a while but you’re still seeking out off-piste terrain and the more variable conditions there.

Again, if you want the absolute smoothest suspension and absolute best stability, you’ve got a handful of options around this width that are better choices than the Summit 97. But compared to the all-mountain market as a whole, the Summit 97 is one of the better skis out there when it comes to making crappy conditions feel a bit less crappy.

And same as in other conditions and terrain, the Summit 97 is still happy to casually slide turns when you don’t feel like pushing your limits. This ski is really impressive in terms of how well it handles rough conditions and high speeds, given how generally easy it is to ski.

Mount Point

The Summit 97 works great when mounted on its recommended line of about -10 cm from true center. If you’re coming from skis with similar mount points and/or ski with a traditional, forward stance, that mount point will be perfect (and Jonathan Ellsworth concurs).

Luke Koppa reviews the Wagner Summit 97 for Blister
Jonathan Ellsworth skiing Banana on the Wagner Summit 97, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

Personally, I’m very often tempted to move the bindings forward on skis like the Summit 97, and while that’s often not a good call, the Summit 97 still works fine with the bindings moved +1 or +2 cm forward of its recommended line. Mounted at +2 cm, the ski allows for a slightly more centered stance and feels just a bit more balanced in the air. So again, most people should mount it on the line. But if you want to be able to ski it with a bit less pressure on the shovels and/or you like to frequently get in the air, mounting +1 or +2 cm forward of that line also works.

Who’s It For?

The Summit 97 is both quite stable and pretty accessible, and it performs really well on groomed snow while also being very capable off piste. Given that, it could work for a whole bunch of skiers.

It’s frankly easier to narrow it down to the people who would not be well served by the Summit 97. And I’d sum up those folks as (1) those who prioritize a really low swing weight and/or really energetic ride over good suspension and (2) those who want a very playful ski.

But if you’re not throwing tricks and would rather have a ski that feels composed and predictable in challenging conditions and terrain, the Summit 97 deserves a spot on your list. It is a particularly versatile ski, with excellent overall on-piste performance for a ~97mm-wide ski, while also not being difficult to pivot through tight bumps and trees or being punishing of mistakes in tricky terrain. And it does all of that while offering a really nice ride quality — even when it hasn’t snowed in weeks and soft snow is harder to find than affordable housing in a mountain town.

Bottom Line

After skiing the Wagner Summit 97, several of us came to a very similar conclusion as we did after skiing the Wagner Summit 106 — while these two skis are very different, they’re both extremely well-executed versions of a specific design concept.

In the case of the Summit 97, Wagner set out to make a versatile all-mountain ski that would be predictable and fun in a wide range of resort conditions — even less forgiving conditions. And we think they did a really impressive job of making a ski that accomplishes those goals.

The Summit 97 offers very nice suspension and can be skied hard and fast without losing its composure, yet it’s also not demanding to ski at more moderate speeds. It easily initiates carved turns and holds an edge well, yet it doesn’t require perfect technique to slide and pivot through funky off-piste terrain and conditions. If you’re a directional skier who’s in the market for a new all-mountain ski, we highly recommend giving it a look.

Deep Dive Comparisons

Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the Summit 97 to see how it compares to the Wagner Summit 107, Volkl M6 Mantra, Volkl Mantra 102, Blizzard Bonafide 97, Nordica Enforcer 94, J Skis Masterblaster, K2 Mindbender 99Ti, Salomon QST 98, Salomon Stance 96, Salomon QST 99, Fischer Ranger 102 FR, Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, Atomic Maverick 95 Ti, Armada Declivity 92 Ti, Moment Commander 98, Dynastar M-Pro 99, & 4FRNT MSP 99.

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Rocker Pics:

Full Profile
Tip Profile
Tail Profile
Top Sheet
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2021-2022 Wagner Summit 97, BLISTER

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