2nd Look: 2015-2016 Salomon Rocker2 108

Will Brown reviews the Salomon Rocker2 108 for Blister Gear Review
2015-2016 Salomon Rocker2 108

Ski: 2015-2016 Salomon Rocker2 108, 190cm

Dimensions (mm): 137-111-130

(Note: The 182cm, 174cm, and 166cm models are all 108mm underfoot, with narrower tip and tail dimensions in the shorter lengths)

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 188.9cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2159 & 2349 grams

Sidecut Radius: 19.7 meters

Boots / Bindings: Salomon Falcon Pro CS / Marker Jester Demo (DIN at 10)

Mount Location: “Recommended” (-3 from center)

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley; Summit County, Colorado

Days Skied: 6

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 12/13 Rocker2 108, which was not changed for 13/14, 14/15, or 15/16 except for the graphics.]

 

If this is your first time looking into the Salomon Rocker2 108, you should read Jason Hutchins’ First Look on the 108 before you read my thoughts, since what I have to say is related to what Jason has already outlined. The Rocker2 108 is a really interesting, seriously fun ski, and while we still need to get it in true, untracked powder, there are some aspects of its versatile performance that deserve to be underscored.

Groomers / Hardpack

Like Jason, I love how easy this ski is to work through a variety of turn shapes. Even at low speeds, short, scrubbed turns are very easy to make, and you can open the turn radius into a bit longer, skidded arc with just a little more speed. When really carrying speed, it’s a blast to release the skis’ edges through the tail and move into a long and fast surf-like turn.

Through any shape of scrubbed turn, the 108 remains well balanced from tip to tail with a nice feeling of stability underfoot that extends part way into the shovel and tail of the ski. It’s very easy to notice this shorter effective edge on groomers and firm snow, but as long as you’re not on boilerplate/hardpack ice (where the ski is likely to slip an edge), it still provides a surprisingly stable and—importantly—a super predictable feel.

Will Brown on the Salomon Rocker2 108, Taos Ski Valley.

Stance

I’ve found that the Rocker2 108 responds best to a balanced, light, and more centered position, which, by the way, is exactly the way Jason skis. (Seriously, the guy is the smoothest, most balanced person on skis that I know or have probably ever seen. He once spent a whole season skiing Taos only on a pair of Hellbents, with no poles. That’s not easy to do, especially if you’re driving your skis like you’re on a Super-G course.)

I, on the other hand, basically learned to ski on a race team, and don’t assume such an upright stance. Until recent seasons, I’ve generally preferred stiff skis with flat tails that I can really lean on and charge. If you try to do this on the 108, you’re pretty well guaranteed to overpower the ski and wash the tail out. Maintain a more upright, light position, and you’ll be able to use the effective edge of the ski to its fullest through stable, fun, smeared turns.

As I mentioned briefly above, on very firm, frozen groomers, the 108 won’t provide much bite underfoot—or at least not enough to inspire enough confidence to try and set a carve—but can still carve surprisingly well so long as the snow is remotely soft. (To this end I would only recommend the 108 as a one-ski quiver to someone on the West coast.)

The 108 rails arcs across the fall-line very nicely so long as I set the ski up on edge with an upright, more lateral move and don’t pressure the shovels too heavily. Even through fairly high-angle carves, the edge hold underfoot was comfortable, with a noticeable amount of pop and energy from one turn to the other. The 108 is no slalom ski, and takes a little speed to achieve this, but you can have a lot of fun making fast, aggressive carves on it. When conditions were particularly firm, I didn’t feel as comfortable laying the ski over as far in a strictly carved turn. However, resorting to a dynamic, constant mix of long-radius scrubbed turns and light carves was equally fun. I’ve found that to be a big part of what makes the 108 such an interesting, entertaining ski to play around on.

 

4 comments on “2nd Look: 2015-2016 Salomon Rocker2 108”

  1. Hey,
    Just picked up a pair of these and wanted to knowif I should mount them true center or -1 or -2 back? I primarily ski the east coast (60% park and 40% all mountain). I also want to take these skis out west and wasn’t sure if mounting the skis true center or near to true center will decrease their preformance in deeper and lighter snow.

    • Hi Jim,

      I’ve already replied to your post over on my Update, but here it is again in case other folks run across your question here.

      Yep, it seems like there’s a good chance that a more forward mount would make it harder to keep the tips planing and tracking well in powder. I think -2 could be ok if you wanted to get an even more balanced feel out of the ski, but I’d worry about going with a full center mount, or even -1. I can’t be sure, but that’s my feeling. For what it’s worth, at -3, the 108 feels nice and balanced, and skis switch very well – better than I initially expected, actually.

      Cheers,

      Will

  2. I’m looking at the Rocker2 108 and Line SFB. Thoughts on the 2? I’m 6′ 175-180. 44, so not as athletic as back in the day, but still fairly aggressive. East Coast with a a trip out west every year. Am very drawn to the SFB for versatility and playfulness + more edge hold than might be expected. But wonder if it would be too park oriented for a totally non-park skier, such as myself. Like trees, bumps, increasingly like larger turns in steep open spaces, but generally go for more tight stuff.

    • Hi Dave,

      Very sorry I missed your comment earlier this spring. I suspect you’ve already made a decision, but if not, check out Jason Hutchin’s review of the 190cm SFB. He makes some comparisons to the Rocker2 108 on the second page. With a slightly narrower width, the SFB is going to be a bit more versatile and perform better on hard snow, but if you’re really looking for the jibby, playdul side of the Rocker2, its slightly poorer hardpack performance would be worth putting up with.

      Cheers,

      WB

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