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…
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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