2nd Look: Moment Night Train

Let me pause for a moment and briefly talk a bit more about detuning. While this is not a forum on detuning and ski setup, it’s worth mentioning because it greatly changed how the Night Trains rode.

My notes on day one end with, “Needs to be detuned. A lot.” Much of the unforgiving feeling on the first day stemmed from very sharp edges at the tip and tail. After first detuning 6-8 inches at each end, the ski got noticeably more forgiving. After detuning an additional 1-2 inches, the skis again responded in a positive way, with fewer hang-ups and an even more forgiving feel. And the skis improved yet again after adding a 1° base bevel, becoming much easier to break free and “slarve” in firmer snow.

Sam Shaheen on the Moment Night Train, Taos Ski Valley.
Sam Shaheen, Niños Heroes, Taos Ski Valley.

I strongly believe in detuning, that all skis should be detuned at the tips and tails. (On rockered skis, that means detuning through the contact point.) The bigger the ski, the more they should be detuned.

On the Night Train, I would detune the entire length of the ski to a degree, slowly taking off more edge until they lost their “edginess.” I don’t necessarily recommend this to everyone, however, for obvious reasons: If this was your only ski, say, you would need better firm-snow performance than if it was part of a larger quiver, so detune accordingly.

(And while we’re talking about ski prep, let me add that I also find that a handy trick is to file the edges of your top sheets to avoid chipping, which is especially helpful on skis like the Night Train that have sidewall—rather than cap—construction.)

As Jonathan noted in his review, the Night Train prefers to be ridden from a pretty neutral stance. Because of the wideness in the tail and the camber profile, I felt that I was skiing very upright. In difficult terrain, I found myself hunching over slightly to compensate. This allowed my lower body to “pretend” that it was in an aggressive stance without changing my center of gravity with respect to the skis. I was also able to maintain readiness for adverse conditions without changing my overall stance.

Generally, this didn’t work too well. It changed some of the mechanics of my skiing, and I didn’t adjust quickly to the neutral, centered stance. Part of my difficulty in adjusting probably stems from the fact that I’ve spent a decent amount of time on the RMU Professor, a ski with relatively similar dimensions to the Night Train (Professor  = 146-120-136mm) that does respond well to a more agressive stance.

The Night Train isn’t the best choice for hard crud. As soon as I would try to drive a turn, I would end up off balance with my weight over the tips. In addition, I’m pretty light (130 lbs.) and the Night Train is not that soft, so it was often difficult to regain balance after attempting to drive a turn.

The Night Train is a ski with a playful shape and a less playful flex profile—a very interesting combination. I didn’t find the ski to be all that forgiving, and it required a lot of finesse and a gentle touch from me to coax it out to play.

The Night Train really does excel in deep blower, though, and fortunately, I got the chance to really push them at Breck.

Given all this, the Night Train would be perfect for a person who needs a backcountry jump ski. The ski is very balanced, it is easy to initiate spins, lands very solidly, and is extremely stable going switch.

This would also be a good ski for someone who skis park 95 percent of the time and wants their powder days to be more airborne than terrestrial. And as far as Moment’s claim of big mountain prowess, I’d agree, especially when those big mountains have a decent amount of deep snow. But if those big lines are covered in variable conditions, the Night Train will feel less at home.

You can now read Andrew Gregovich’s 3rd Look of the Night Train.



4 comments on “2nd Look: Moment Night Train”

  1. I would have to totally disagree with your review, maybe the night train is too much ski for you. My son who is 5″-6″ and 145lbs just picked up a pair of 186’s and I took them out for a spin. Now I ride 2012 Hellbents and 2010 E.P pro’s as my everyday skis and found the Night Trains to be an awesome every day ski, they railed hard icy groomers with no problem and had no speed limit, once it softens up you could just turn them sideways all over, They were not as playful as the bents or ep pro’s but where super stable with no speed limit with no catching or hooking at all, I think they could easily be a everyday ski for the Tahoe area.

  2. Willie, I definitely agree with your sentiments. The hooking up I discussed was a function of the snow conditions and attempting to drive the ski hard. The main qualms I have with the ski revolve around their crud/variable snow performance — because they are difficult to drive, they are difficult in those conditions. I certainly agree that the ski can rail on icy groomers and is quite stable at speed. Unfortunately I have never skied in the Tahoe area and can’t comment there.

  3. Im interested in these skis.. Definitely need a new pow jib ski to replace my old JJs haha. But anyways about the crud performance, I find this review unreliable because of your size and the size of the ski. I don’t know your ski background, but I’ve had a competitive racing background as well as weighing 175 lbs. Most advanced skiers weigh more than 130 lbs so this ski will perform completely different for them than it would for you.

    • Hi Adam,

      I definitely agree, I am a smaller guy and the ski can/will ski differently with a heavier skier. I feel however that much of crud performance was due to the shape of the ski (rather than the flex) which contributes to the neutral stance that the NT favors. This ski will plow and float with the best of them, but when it comes to driving the ski in variable conditions, the shape gets in the way.

      Jonathan Ellsworth also wrote a bit on this ski. He is much closer to your weight and had this to say in his review/comparison with the Bibby’s: “The Bibby is a fairly burly ski, very stable, yet still remarkably playful. The Night Train feels lighter, is more center mounted, has a super balanced swing weight, and wants to spin and air. You can drive the shovels of the Bibby; you’re better off staying more centered on the NT. The Bibby charges, the NT, not nearly as much.” You can find the rest of that review here: http://blistergearreview.com/gear-reviews/2011-2012-moment-night-train-186cm.

      The main issue I had with these skis is that you can’t drive them. It is hard to ski tough snow conditions (ie, crud) when you can’t really drive the ski. That being said, as a pure jib ski, I would go to the NT’s almost every time.

      Hope that clears things up for you Adam!

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