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.
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.
NEXT: ROCKER PROFILE PHOTOS