2018-2019 Line Pescado

Jonthan elssworth reviews the Line Pescado for Blister Gear Review
Line Pescado

Ski: 2018-2019 Line Pescado, 180 cm

Available Lengths: 180 cm

Actual Length (straight tape pull): 178.9 cm

  • (166.2 cm from the tip to the start of the tail cutout)

Stated Dimensions (mm): 158-125-147

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 157.5-124-144.5

Stated Weight per Ski: 1950 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1808 & 1809 grams

Stated Sidecut Radius: 19 meters

Core: Maple/Paulownia (Line calls it, “Partly Cloudy”)

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 66 mm / 22 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~5 mm

Recommended Line: -9.85 from center; 79.6 cm from tail

Test Location: Mount Bachelor, Oregon; Arapahoe Basin, CO

Days Skied: 6

[Note: Our review was conducted on the 16/17 Pescado, which is was not changed for 17/18 or 18/19, apart from graphics.]

Note: We’ve been waiting to update our First Look and Flash Review of the Pescado once we got to ski it in some legit, deep pow. Well, that happened today. Mount Bachelor received 50+ inches of snow in the past week, and it snowed all day and night yesterday. So today was a full-on pow day, and it’s time to update our thoughts on the Pescado. But to start at the beginning…

Intro

Here’s what Line has to say about the new Pescado:

“/pes.’ka.do/1. A fish that has been caught. This ski is a fish out of water! A directional surfy ski has been in the mind of EP for years. With bamboo sidewalls, Partly Cloudy Core™, a veneer topsheet with a timeless graphic, the Pescado fuses the best of surfing, art and skiing.”

Line and Eric Pollard made quite a splash at SIA with their new Pescado, which features bamboo sidewalls, a veneer topsheet, and a swallowtail cutout in the tail.

But let’s back up for a minute:

Weird Thing #1: Pollard made a Directional Ski?

Pollard describes the Pescado as his ultimate directional ski.

Huh?

Pollard is one of the pioneers of the switch pow skiing movement, and is pretty much the poster boy for non-directional skiing.

Pollard’s explanation in this video about his motives are quite interesting, and this is worth watching:


In sum, this is a radical departure from Pollard’s other skis. And yet, Pollard explains that there is actually a deep underlying commonality with this directional ski and his very non-directional skis: “The Pescado follows that same approach to ski design: creating skis that are playful and allow for different maneuvers.”

Weird Thing #2: 180 cm

It’s pretty uncommon (though again, not unheard of) for a ski to be built in only one length. In this case, that stated length is “180 cm,” and a straight-tape, tip-to-tail measurement of this ski is 178.9.

(Interesting aside: when Pollard began to dream up this ski, he envisioned it coming in at 178 cm. So there you go.)

Weird Thing #3: That Tail

Swallow-tailed skis are extremely uncommon these days, though again, not entirely unheard of. The inspiration, here, is derived from surfboards and snowboards, and so one of the huge questions, here, is how this swallowtail will actually affect on-snow feel and performance?

Jonthan elssworth reviews the Line Pescado for Blister Gear Review
Line Pescado Tails

We’ll come back to the tail and its performance in a minute….

Weird Thing #4: That Sidecut

We’ve seen swallow-tailed skis in the past—DPS made one back in the day, and many of you may remember the swallow-tailed Volkl Katana and Sanouk from back in the day. But in each of those cases, those swallow-tailed skis came with a big-to-huge sidecut radius, in the neighborhood of 30-45 meters.

The Pescado is a swallow tail in a relative short length and (by comparison) a tight sidecut radius. In other words, this ski looks like it will want to turn rather than powerslide it’s way down the fall line.

Weird Thing #5: That Camber

So this is supposed to be a surfy ski … but most “surfy” skis don’t come with this much traditional camber underfoot – about 5 mm.

If that tells us anything, it’s that the Pescado is not supposed to be some super drifty ski (like the DPS Spoon). The Pesado is supposed to surf and carve soft snow.

Good Question #1: Flex Pattern (Is the Pescado a Powder Noodle?)

Not really. The Pescado is quite light (some of you may have seen an advertised weight of “3900 grams per pair” (i.e., 1950 g per ski), but our skis are coming in just over 1800 grams.

But the flex pattern of this ski isn’t super soft. I’d break it down this way:

Tips: 5 or 6 out of 10

Underfoot: 9

Tails: 7

Good Question #2: What’s All of This Supposed to Add Up to?

Let’s parse out Pollard’s own claims about the performance characteristics of the Pescado:

“The swallowtail allows the ski to have both more effective edge when you need it…”

So what does that mean? Well, “more” effective edge is good for carving. “Less” effective edge is good for drifting and smearing. I.e., it seems that this ski is supposed to carve soft snow well, but this is not likely to be a very “loose” ski – a smeary, drifty ski. That is indeed different for a pow ski this wide.

“…and less tail in the form of a cutout when you don’t need it.”

Hmmm, when “don’t” you want a tail? Well, when you’re trying to get the tails of your skis to sink in deep snow, in order to keep your tips up and planing in deep snow.

Jonthan elssworth reviews the Line Pescado for Blister Gear Review
Eric Pollard with the Line Pescado.

And you might be thinking … wait, isn’t that what pintail skis are supposed to do? Reduce the surface area of the tails so that the tails sink a bit and help the tips plane up?

Yep, exactly. Only other thing here, though:

Swallow Tails vs Pin Tails

Pin-tailed skis are also heavily tapered to keep the tails from getting hung up or “stuck” in deep snow. I.e., pintails are supposed to make it easier to turn in tight spaces — in addition to reducing surface area so that the tails sink in deep snow and the tips stay up in deep snow.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Line Pescado for Blister Gear Review.
The tails of the Line Pescado

But swallow-tailed skis keep that effective edge, so that the ski will (allegedly) still carve that deeper snow. Swallow tails aren’t trying to loosen things up as much as a pintail design does…

Good Question #3: Swallow Tails vs. Pin Tails – Can you Really Tell the Difference?

We have no idea. But we’re going to go find out soon.

Ok, back to Pollard on the Pescado:

“Creating a tail shape like a swallow gives these skis a very unique feel because it changes the torsional rigidity. And basically, that affects the way a ski flexes in a turn and the way it rebounds when you exit a turn.”

It definitely makes sense that the tail will affect the torsional rigidity of the ski. But exactly what that affect is — and how it feels on snow … we’ll have to go find out.

Finally, this is how Pollard closes:

“Admittedly, [the Pescado] is not for everyone. But there are people who are going to fall in love with this ski. It’s going to change their approach to skiing, and open doors for them.”

Good Questions #4 – 14

#4: What skiing style (and stance) feels most natural for the Pescado?

#5: How specialized is this ski?

#6-7: What does it feel like on groomers? Do you notice the swallowtail?

#8: Does the Pescado suck in everything that isn’t deep pow?

#9: Exactly how different does the Pescado actually feel from other ~125mm-wide skis in perfect pow?

#10: Is it a good slush / deep-slush ski?

#11: What happens if you get too backseat?

#12: How easy is it to snap / break that tail?

#13: What size skier will appreciate a 180 cm ski with minimal taper?

#14: What happens if I try to go skin on these?

Note: Become a Blister member to read our Flash Review of the Pescado

NEXT: The Review

20 comments on “2018-2019 Line Pescado”

    • Seriously? They only show him skiing twin tips when he’s actually talking about his other skis. 90% of the skiing he’s on the Pescados.

  1. Sounds like Eric got on a pair of Moment Comi’s, loved them, saw how great they are in powder and crud, and came up with his own spin on them.

  2. Dang, could this be a good “big” ski for a 195 pound guy who worships his 185 Hell & Backs?

    It sure sounds awfully similar. Please build a 190 next year!

    Oh, and killer review, as always!

  3. #13 Always an issue for me.

    I can’t be the only guy in the 230-250# range who wants to have fun skiing, can I? Just because I’m a big dude (for a skier) doesn’t mean I want to charge all the time. Pollard is tiny compared to me. There’s no way in hell his ski — or most skis in this niche — are going to work for me. Which leaves me feeling once again like the fat kid in gym.

    • Just wanted to chime in that I have a friend who’s 300+ and loves the Pescados. If you’re not looking to charge through heavy crud you can still have so much fun it’ll feel unfair to everyone else around you. Few skis actually have as much surface area as these do, and the tips hold up surprisingly well.

      If you’re looking for a ski to ski pow, it’s damn hard to top. They’re insanely quick and very confidence inspiring. If you’re not landing switch or dropping 50 footers, they’re serve you damn well. I’ve never had as much fun in 12-60″ of powder as the Pescados.

  4. Regarding skinning on this ski:
    In the video you see him skinning up and he has indeed clipped the skin to the cutout in the tail, I think of it as a super deep tail notch.

  5. What up boys? Thanks for the review. I’ve always been a Bibby/ Governor/ OG Squad 7 guy but I just ordered a set of Pescados today. I figured a light and maneuverable ski might be a good idea to have in the quiver too. And we’re getting loads of super light snow here, so a surfy ski is going to be fun.
    I have a quick question: I might put a Marker demo binding on it, which is not my style, but I want my wife who is a Fernie pro patroller to take the ski out too. Do you guys at Blister use Marker demos so you can swap skis around? If you think there is too much slop in those then I will just put some Pivots on the ski and keep it to myself!!
    THANKS

  6. Thanks for the review. Just out of curiosity – how do you feel this compares to other Pollard’s skis e.g. the Magnum Opus (which I currently ski)? Also, based on the review it seems like it could be a one ski quiver for all powder skiing (soft conditions, regardless of how deep)? It is certainly quite light ski so with a light binding (e.g. Marker Kingpin) it seems like it could fit everything from lift accessed powder in the Alps to heliskiing in Sweden to day-touring in Norway?

  7. Saw 2 pair of these side by side at Kiroro, Otaru a couple of weeks ago. i thought they were custom from a Japanese ski builder, didn’t realise they were from a mainstream company. They looked beautiful and I wanted a pair. 180 is too small though.

    • I’ve broken three skis on three seperate occasions now. The first time I somehow got a delamination in the tail. The second ski I hit a rock on a take-off on a cliff, which snapped the whole ski under the binding, and the same thing happened with my new pair when I hit a tree-stump in a landing. I love the ski so much, but it’s just to flimsy for me.

  8. Been looking at this, and the new Spur after your early review/brief comparison … I’m 6’2″ 230# though. I love the way this sounds, playful, but can ski fast. I don’t care at all about groomers or heavy chop. Basically, trying to figure out what might behave as this does for you for someone my size/weight.

    I’ve got billygoats for charging heavy/chopped up/inbounds afternoon and day after the storm. Don’t need this to extend even to those days. I was writing these off until I saw the comment above about the 300# skier digging these. Do I go ahead, or will I fold them up/lose the stability?

    • Hi, Jeff — I know Skadi (above) is saying that his 300 lb friend is having a blast on these — and that is awesome.

      But I can’t say that I can confidently recommend these to you at 6’2″, 230 lbs, in part because these are only 180s, but the other big thing is that these are a *really* light construction. You hit anything hard on these, and there could be trouble. And gun to my head, I think I would have to recommend the new Spur over these for you – just a bit more surface area.

      So if you are really really intrigued, you could try them, but I am at least 55 lbs lighter than you … and I just can’t say with confidence that you’ll be just fine on these. I’d think a 187 Praxis Protest or the 189 Spur, or a DPS Lotus 124 or Lotus 138 would be a safer bet. But I could be wrong…. Sorry that I’m terribly unhelpful on this one.

  9. Love these boards, so stoked I took a chance on them. Pretty unique shape in the market, and although way different, to me these fill a similar role to my old 185 JJs – killer float and maneuverability in pow, yet still playful and carve-y on resort groomers, and light enough to pop airs and spin on with confidence. I’m 5’9″, 165ish so 180cm length wasn’t an issue, and don’t miss the twin tip at all on a pow ski. It’s refreshing to ride a traditionally mounted ski again… forgot how fun that shit is!

    It feels more versatile and effortless than a 187 Protest. While those are super legit in fresh snow and bigger terrain, I found them too big, heavy and straight to really shine as a resort powder ski. Nothing against the ski, it’s just the nature of someone my size on a ski that big. But will definitely bust those out for the best of days and and potential cat / heli trips that I can’t afford.

    Cheers to Pollard and Line crew for mixing it up a bit. There’s plenty more design elements to be borrowed from surfboards… hope they make an asymm version next \m/

  10. I’m looking at these I”m 200lbs 6′ I would love to hear some feedback directly from any of the bigger guys trying these skis. As an east coast skier, 180 doesnt bother me, short helps for trees etc, but I do worry about being flimsy. I know they’re going to feel noodly compared to my race skis (I still coach) but that’s what I want them for!

  11. Thanks for this review. I appreciate it was sometime ago but I’m doing some research for my next ski and considering the Pescado/Sakana and DPS Wailer 112 Alchemist. Probably a very broad question, thoughts appreciated. I’m relatively light at 150lbs and 5”8, skiing mostly in Japan so love Pow :)

  12. I’d also like to know how this might ski for somebody in the 5’8″ and 150 lbs range. Does it really ski that much shorter? I’m looking at this and some of the lighter armadas for something playful.

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