Ski: 2023-2024 Peak 98, 184 cm
Test Location: Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO; Taos Ski Valley, NM
Days Skied: 9
Available Lengths: 160, 168, 178, 184, 190 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 183.7 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 1978 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2034 & 2060 grams
Stated Dimensions: 128-98-116 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 128.5-97.2-116.5 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (184 cm): 25 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 55 mm / 19 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 7 mm
Core Materials: paulownia/ash + titanal (2 partial layers) + fiberglass laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.3 cm from center; 82 cm from tail
Boots / Bindings: Tecnica Mach1 MV 130, Fischer RC4 MV 105, Atomic Hawx Ultra 130 S, Lange RS 130 / Tyrolia Attack 13
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 177.5 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 1918 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1994 & 2001 grams
Stated Dimensions: 128-98-116 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 127.7-95.7-115.4 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (178 cm): 23.5 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 55 mm / 19 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 6 mm
Core Materials: paulownia/ash + titanal (2 partial layers) + fiberglass laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.3 cm from center / 78.5 cm from tail
Just over a year ago, Bode Miller announced that he had launched a brand-new ski company, Peak Skis. The brand unveiled their first collection at the start of the 2022-2023 season, including 6 different models that cover 4 waist widths and include 2 lighter, touring-friendly “SC” models.
If you want to get the whole story about the background of Peak Skis, their technology, and their athletes’ involvement in the brand, you should definitely check out these GEAR:30 and Blister Podcast conversations:
- GEAR:30 Ep.191: Bode Miller on his new ski company, Peak Skis
- Blister Podcast Ep.226: Chris Davenport on Joining Peak Skis
- Blister Podcast Ep.251: JT Holmes on Joining Peak Skis
We started spending time on every model in the Peak Skis lineup at Blister Summit 2023, and we’ve been continuing to test them throughout the rest of this season.
We’ll be saying more about all of their different skis, but to kick things off, we’re going to dive into the do-everything model in the lineup, the Peak 98.
What Peak says about the Peak 98
“Only want to own one pair of skis? You should reconsider that. But if forced, reach for the Peak 98. It leaves trenches on hardpack and blows up powder.
If you ask us, the Peak 98 is the ski that 80 percent of skiers should be piloting 80 percent of the time. It’s that versatile. Looking at nothing but groomers today? You can cruise at family speeds or blast super-G turns. Off-trail in powder, crud, chalk, or corn, it’s nimble and floaty enough for all but the deepest of resort days. The 98 defines the all-mountain category.
Like the sounds of the Peak 98 but looking for something lighter weight and suited for inbound hikes? Pop on over to our Peak 98SC skis. The slightly softer flex and weight savings make it a top pick for the backcountry crowd and women skiers too.”
The Peak 98 features a paulownia / ash wood core that’s sandwiched between two layers of titanal metal. The bottom layer of titanal does not span sidewall-to-sidewall, while the upper one does, but it features Peak’s signature “KeyHole” cutout.
The KeyHole concept stemmed from a really interesting experience that Bode (and later, a fellow racer) had on two particular pairs of GS skis that let both of them achieve significantly better results than on any other skis. Bode found that he could initiate turns easier through the forebody on those skis, but then still had excellent edge grip from just in front of the bindings back through the tail.
Bode later cut apart the skis and discovered that whoever constructed them had cut away a small patch of the upper metal layer to place a damping element there, but it was apparently that missing metal patch that made all the difference in terms of the longitudinal flex patterns of the skis.
So, in all the Peak ski models apart from the Peak 104 SC, there is a small oval cutaway in the upper metal layer to achieve a similar effect — easier turn initiation, without losing edge grip where you need it. For more on the story and rationale for KeyHole Technology, check out Ep. 191 of our GEAR:30 podcast with Bode Miller.
Shape & Rocker Profile
The Peak 98’s shape and rocker profile look pretty standard for this sort of model — a directional, ~100mm-wide all-mountain ski. It features a bit of early tapering at the tips and tails, but not a whole lot, and the tips and tails are fairly blunted / squared-off past the widest points.
The Peak 98 has a fairly deep tip rocker line for its width, but nothing out of the ordinary, and its tail rocker line is notably shallower. In between, the Peak 98 features a good bit of traditional camber (7 mm underfoot).
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Peak 98:
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-10
Behind the Heel Piece: 10-9
The main things that stand out with this flex pattern are that (1) it’s pretty soft from the tips to just in front of the bindings and (2) the back half is notably stronger than the front. That said, it’s a pretty accessible flex pattern.
On paper, the 184 cm Peak 98’s 25-meter sidecut radius looks pretty long, but Peak makes a point to call out that sidecut radii numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Here’s what they say about their skis’ sidecut radii:
“Our multi-radii sidecuts let you lay down a range of arcs because that’s how skiing works in the real world. This versatility all circles back to KeyHole Technology™. Because Peak skis are more compliant in the shovel we can elongate the sidecut radius by multiple meters ‘on paper.’ Note the ironic quote marks. Although our 98s, 104s, and 110s sport 25-meter radii in the longer lengths, in reality they execute easy short swing turns too. When you’re balanced on your skis, variations in terrain, snowpack, and turn shape feel more natural. And because the fatter Peak skis feature less sidecut, when you take them off-trail in powder, crust, and crud, they track better. They don’t get hooky.”
The Peak 98’s recommended mount point is about -10 cm from true center, which puts it firmly in the more directional / rearward side of the spectrum.
Our pair of the 184 cm Peak 98 weighs about 2050 grams per ski. That’s neither super light nor super heavy for its class; there are plenty of lighter skis around the same width, but there are also several that are heavier.
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.
1707 & 1752 4FRNT Switch, 184 cm (21/22–23/24)
1781 & 1795 Atomic Maverick 100 Ti, 180 cm (21/22–23/24)
1797 & 1839 Rossignol Rallybird 104 Ti, 171 cm (20/21–23/24)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent 100, 188 cm (18/19–23/24)
1816 & 1819 Head Kore 99, 184 cm (22/23–23/24)
1852 & 1866 Peak 88, 184 cm (22/23)
1880 & 1887 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (23/24)
1880 & 1916 Fischer Ranger 102, 176 cm (22/23–23/24)
1896 & 1942 K2 Reckoner 102, 184 cm (20/21–23/24)
1908 & 1930 Peak 104, 178 cm (22/23)
1925 & 1934 Black Crows Camox, 186.5 cm (19/20–22/23)
1929 & 1982 Faction Mana 2, 183 cm (22/23–23/24)
1933 & 1943 Norse Enduro, 188 cm (20/21–22/23)
1936 & 2013 Salomon Stance 96, 182 cm (20/21–22/23)
1938 & 2003 Nordica Unleashed 98, 186 cm (22/23–23/24)
1946 & 1968 Salomon Stance 96, 182 cm (23/24)
1960 & 1962 Majesty Dirty Bear XL, 186 cm (22/23–23/24)
1970 & 1993 Moment Deathwish 104, 184 cm (21/22–23/24)
1973 & 1997 Volkl Revolt 104, 188 cm (21/22–23/24)
1975 & 2028 Armada Declivity 102 Ti, 180 cm (20/21–23/24)
1976 & 2028 Parlor Cardinal Pro, 182 cm (19/20–21/22)
1981 & 1991 Faction Dancer 2, 182 cm (22/23–23/24)
1994 & 2001 Peak 98, 178 cm (22/23–23/24)
1990 & 2045 Peak 104, 184 cm (22/23–23/24)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–23/24)
2008 & 2043 ZAG Harfang 96, 182 cm (21/22–22/23)
2009 & 2010 Rossignol Sender 104 Ti, 186 cm (22/23–23/24)
2010 & 2023 Moment Commander 98, 182 cm (20/21–22/23)
2022 & 2046 DPS Foundation Koala 103, 184 cm (21/22–22/23)
2024 & 2112 Dynastar M-Free 99, 185 cm (21/22–23/24)
2034 & 2060 Peak 98, 184 cm (22/23–23/24)
2042 & 2062 Dynastar M-Pro 99, 186 cm (20/21–23/24)
2043 & 2089 Volkl M6 Mantra, 177 cm (21/22–23/24)
2054 & 2063 Salomon QST 98, 189 cm (21/22–23/24)
2057 & 2061 Fischer Ranger 102, 183 cm (22/23–23/24)
2074 & 2088 Line Blade Optic 104, 178 cm (22/23–23/24)
2077 & 2096 Line Blade Optic 96, 184 cm (22/23–23/24)
2078 & 2138 Black Crows Justis, 183 cm (18/19–22/23)
2085 & 2120 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (22/23–23/24)
2128 & 2186 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (21/22)
2138 & 2172 Rossignol Sender 106 Ti+, 187 cm (22/23–23/24)
2165 & 2186 Wagner Summit 97, 182 cm (21/22–22/23)
2178 & 2195 Volkl M6 Mantra, 184 cm (21/22–23/24)
2166 & 2237 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (22/23–23/24)
2230 & 2290 Line Blade Optic 104, 185 cm (22/23–23/24)
2281 & 2284 Blizzard Bonafide 97, 177 cm (20/21–23/24)
2326 & 2336 Nordica Enforcer 100, 186 cm (20/21–23/24)
So, how does all of that translate on snow? Let’s get right to it:
It’s always exciting when we try something from a new brand for the first time, especially one with as much star power and experience behind it, as is the case with Peak Skis. Going into this review, we didn’t quite know what to expect. Would these be extremely precise, stable, and demanding skis that only a World Cup racer could appreciate? Would their KeyHole technology make them super soft and accessible? How different would they feel compared to established models on the market?
Well, after many days and getting several reviewers on two different lengths, the Peak 98 proved to surprise us in more ways than one.
Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg): Let’s get right to it: the Peak 98 is a very good carver.
Thanks to its fairly soft and minimally tapered shovels, it’s easy to initiate carved turns on the Peak 98, and it feels much more versatile in terms of turn shapes / sizes than its 25-meter sidecut radius would suggest. From tight GS turns to big Super-G-sized arcs, the Peak 98 feels comfortable making a wide variety of turns on piste.
This ski also offers very good edge hold for its width. As Peak claims, the front of the ski is pretty easy to bend (even at moderate speeds), but the middle and back half feel notably stronger and more precise, allowing me to carve high-edge-angle turns on even very firm slopes. And when you do bend it into a turn, the Peak 98 produces a nice amount of energy and pop coming out of the apex.
The Peak 98 wouldn’t be my first pick for carving super low-angle slopes due to its longer sidecut radius, and it’s obviously not as quick edge-to-edge as a much narrower ski. But aside from those two points, and keeping in mind that we’re talking about a 98mm-wide all-mountain ski, I really can’t find any nits to pick when it comes to its on-piste performance.
Kara Williard (5’9”, 167 lbs / 175 cm, 75.7 kg): Yep. Luke and I are in total agreement, especially when he describes the difference between the front half vs. back half of the ski. The shovels of the Peak 98 are easy to initiate and overall, the ski is very adaptable to different turn sizes. But to balance this is a back half / tail of the ski that feels quite precise and stable, but not in a demanding way.
(I’ve been skiing the 178 cm length, while our other reviewers have been on the 184 cm.)
Overall, the Peak 98 is an excellent carving ski and one that I found myself feeling very comfortable on, regardless of groomer pitch or snow condition because of the support and stability offered, even at high speeds.
Dylan Wood (5’10.5”, 155 lbs / 179 cm, 70 kg): I didn’t get as much time aboard the Peak 98 on groomers as Kara and Luke, but I am also in agreement. The Peak 98 is an intuitive carver. At slower speeds and lower edge angles, it doesn’t immediately want to take you across the fall line, but the more force put into its shovels, the tighter the turn it will make.
Jonathan Ellsworth (5’10”, ~180 lbs / 178 cm, ~81.6 kg): Yes, very intuitive carver.
Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain
Luke: The Peak 98’s accessible nature on groomers mostly translates over to tight off-piste terrain. This is not a super surfy, extremely quick, or ultra-forgiving ski when looking at the whole market, but for how hard you can push it and how well it carves, the Peak 98 is generally pretty easy to pilot through tight bumps and trees.
Across the board, the Peak 98 has a preference for a forward stance, which isn’t surprising — from its flex pattern to its mount point and rocker profile, it’s clearly a directional ski. That said, I found it surprisingly forgiving when I did get a bit too far backseat; you don’t have to be on your A-game 100% of the time to have a good time on the Peak 98.
If you want the absolute easiest ski for venturing off piste, I’d look for something more rockered, softer, and/or lighter. But especially among skis with similar mount points and weights, the Peak 98 is pretty accessible. There were a few instances where I felt like I could’ve benefited from a bit more support from the front of this ski, though all of them were on low-visibility days when I was accidentally ramming it into the faces of moguls. In better visibility, I never had the same issue, but this might be worth keeping in mind if you tend to ski with a very forward, driving stance in bumps and typically prefer pretty stiff skis.
Kara: I opted to take the 178 cm Peak 98 to Taos Ski Valley for their closing weekend, partially because, while we often describe Mt. Crested Butte as having really tight terrain, some of the zones at Taos feel even a little tighter and more committing, especially West Basin. Conditions were far from soft, but overall quite grippy and chalky.
The Peak 98 felt like a solid choice for this weekend because of its blend of maneuverability and accessibility + really impressive stability and suspension. Its forgiving shovels kept me from feeling hesitant when dipping them into committed fall-line turns, and while the tail is definitely supportive and not the easiest to release and pivot, it isn’t as demanding as some other stiff, directional skis (e.g., Blizzard Black Pearl 97), allowing me to feel reasonably comfortable in this very tight terrain.
As Luke said, among skis in this directional class, the Peak 98 is pretty accessible, especially when driving it from a forward stance.
Dylan: I definitely agree that the Peak 98 is easier to ski off-piste than I expected, given its on-piste performance. That said, I’d definitely classify it as a more precise ski, rather than a loose one that’s super easy to release and pivot around off piste. It does not feel very demanding, but it likes to be on edge.
Jonathan: Hmmm, I guess I’ll be the one to say that I think this is an extremely easy ski in moguls, and a ski that I like quite a bit in moguls. If you are looking for a burly ski to absolutely mob moguls on — think comp skier nuking moguls — well, as Luke hinted at, I think you will prefer a ski with stiffer front half and a higher top end. But for more precise work in moguls (even at high speeds) on down to picking your way through moguls at rather low speeds, I think intermediate to expert skiers will be able to appreciate how intuitive — and unpunishing — this ski is in bumps.
Powder & Soft Chop
Luke: I was on the Peak 98 on a day when I encountered a fair bit of soft, light chop as well as some deep, untracked, but very sun-warmed pow. For a 98mm-wide ski, I thought it performed pretty well. It’s far from the loosest, surfiest ski in this class, but its fairly soft, minimally tapered shovels and rearward mount point equate to pretty good flotation for its width. And if you stay over those shovels, it’s still pretty easy to throw sideways when needed. In the heavy, hot pow, I was definitely wishing for something wider and more tail rockered, but especially when I could keep some speed / momentum going, I thought the Peak 98’s maneuverability was totally respectable for a directional all-mountain ski of this width.
As for its stability in chop, it stayed pretty composed when hitting low-density piles of cut-up snow at high speeds, but there are many (heavier) skis in this class that get knocked around less, especially in denser snow. But the Peak 98 does a good job of feeling pretty calm and composed in soft chop while also being quicker and more lively than many of the more stable alternatives in its class.
Kara: Not much to add here, though I will say that after quite a bit of time on the Peak 104 in comparable conditions, the Peak 104 is better suited for powder and soft chop, in that it feels a bit looser and surfier, and it also provides better flotation (no big surprise there).
Dylan: I was only able to ski the Peak 98 in firm and chalky conditions, so I can’t comment here.
Firm Chop & Crud
Luke: For its weight (~2050 g per ski @ 184 cm), I think the Peak 98’s suspension is quite good. It’s definitely not the monster truck that, say, the much heavier Blizzard Bonafide 97 is, but for me, the Peak 98 does a good enough job of muting out harsh-feeling snow that I won’t hesitate to bring it out on days when I know I’ll be encountering some pretty rough conditions. And unlike some of the skis that do offer top-class suspension and stability in these conditions, the Peak 98 is pretty easy to ski at slower speeds.
This isn’t what I’d pick for making really big, high-speed turns in nasty snow, but I think a whole lot of skiers out there will enjoy the Peak 98’s combination of suspension, quickness, and accessibility.
Kara: I have been consistently impressed by the suspension offered by the Peak 98. There are skis that take it to another level (e.g., the 23/24 Volkl Secret 102), but the Peak 98 still offers nice suspension while also feeling a bit more forgiving, quicker, and more adaptable for a skier who doesn’t need the best crud-busting ski in the world, and who is willing to give up a bit of suspension in exchange for a quicker, livelier, and more maneuverable ski.
Even in some pretty rough spring refreeze, I found the Peak 98 to offer a smooth ride that wasn’t overly demanding or punishing when making some slower turns, or when I found myself in a less-than-ideal body position over the ski.
Dylan: Definitely. The Peak 98 offers good enough suspension in firm crud for it to be enjoyable in these conditions. Skiers who want to charge hard and/or frequently encounter these conditions might want a heavier, more damp ski, but for everyone else, I think the Peak 98 leaves little to be desired when it comes to its suspension in firm crud.
Who’s It For?
Luke: Short answer: lots of people. Of the many 98mm-wide all-mountain skis on the market, the Peak 98 is a ski that we think could work well for a good number of intermediate, advanced, and expert skiers. The main caveat is that, if you know you prefer a more symmetrical, more center-mounted ski, the Peak 98 isn’t your best bet. It’s definitely a directional ski that responds best to a forward stance and doesn’t feel all that playful, apart from its energetic flex pattern.
But that still lives a massive range of people who will get along very well with the Peak 98, since its versatility across nearly all conditions and terrain makes it a strong contender for a 1-ski quiver, and its balance of accessibility and stability means that less experienced and expert skiers alike could have a good time on it.
Don’t get it if you want an exceptionally strong and stable ski, and there are even easier, more maneuverable, more forgiving options on the market. But the Peak 98 does a great job of occupying a middle ground with mass appeal.
Kara: Yeah, the Peak 98 is a good option for many folks, especially directional skiers who desire some good suspension and stability, but don’t want a demanding ski. The overall predictability and versatility of the Peak 98 mean that many people will get along with it, and perhaps especially those in the market for a 1-ski quiver. I wrote in my Flash Review of the Peak 104 that it could also make a lot of sense as a 1-ski quiver, but depending on where you live, this also could be true of the Peak 98.
The Peak 98 is a great example of a well-executed, do-everything all-mountain ski. It’s by no means some burly charger, so don’t let the name “Bode” on the ski scare you into thinking that it’s a demanding ski or that you’ll need a racing background to be able to enjoy it. Not true. Still, the Peak 98 can be pushed pretty hard if and when you feel like it, and it does an impressive job of handling a wide variety of conditions and terrain.
Deep Dive Comparisons
Become a Blister Member to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the Peak 98 to see how it compares to the Peak 88, Peak 98SC, Peak 104, K2 Mindbender 99Ti, Blizzard Bonafide 97, Volkl M6 Mantra, Salomon Stance 96, Nordica Enforcer 100, Black Crows Justis, Rossignol Sender 104 Ti, Blizzard Rustler 9, Moment Commander 98, Fischer Ranger 102, Fischer Ranger 102 FR, Faction Dancer 2, Atomic Maverick 100 Ti, Armada Declivity 102 Ti, Dynastar M-Pro 99, Volkl Mantra 102, ZAG Harfang 96, Wagner Summit 97, Head Kore 99, J Skis Masterblaster, Salomon QST 98, & 4FRNT MSP 99.