Ski: 2016-2017 Scott Punisher, 189cm and 183cm
Available Lengths: 157, 163, 173, 183, 189 cm
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull):
* 189cm model = 187.5cm
* 183cm model = 181.5cm
* 189cm = 144-110-132
* 183cm = 142-108-130
Measured Weight Per Ski:
* 189cm = 2,190 & 2,194 grams
* 183cm = ~2,075 grams each
Sidecut Radius: “3D”
Core Construction: Poplar/Beech/Paulownia + Fiberglass Laminate
Boots / Bindings: Salomon Quest 120 (27.5) with molded Shell and foamed liner from Austrian Ski Boot Manufacturer Strolz / Marker Baron 13 (189) and Marker Baron EPF (183) / (DIN at 10)
* 189cm = Factory recommended
* 183cm = -1cm of the line
Test Locations: Hintertux, Austria; Stubai Valley, Austria; Eggalm, Austria
Skier: 5’9″ (176cm), 190 lbs. (87kg)
Days Skied: 7 (189) and 4 (183)
[Editor’s Note: BLISTER reader Johannes Simon wrote this review of the Scott Punisher (for more information about our Reader Reviews, click here). This review was conducted on the 12/13 Punisher, which was not changed for 13/14, 14/15, 15/16, or 16/17, except for the graphics.]
The first tip and tail rockered ski in my quiver was the 2010-2011 Scott Mega Dozer in 185cm, and I am still a fan. But technology has evolved, and in 2014 the Mega Dozer will be replaced with the “Scrapper” as Scott’s widest powder ski.
What I noticed with the Mega Dozer was its very good edge grip on hard pack for a ski this wide (119mm in the 185 length) due to the straight line under foot.
But in my opinion, the Mega Dozer had too much camber between the quite moderate tip and tail rocker. I also found the rocker to be a little too subtle, particularly in the tail, in order for the ski to release easily in soft snow. In other words, I thought there was some room for improvement.
So when Scott released its second generation tip and tail rockered powder ski—the Punisher—I was keen to get on a pair.
I first tried the 189 Punisher on the “Hintertux Glacier” in Tirol, Austria, the only resort in Austria open year round. It had snowed quite a lot in the first half of November, and when I arrived, it was the first warm and sunny days after a storm cycle.
During the first warm-up runs on groomers, the Punisher exhibited very good edge grip. Even with the reduced camber, the Punisher locked in better than the Mega Dozer.
The Punisher’s tip and tail rocker was noticeable only on hard pack and only at higher speeds, but even then, it was minimal with very little tip flap. Since the contact points are moved up toward the tip and tail, almost the whole length of the ski is engaged when putting the ski on edge, increasing hardpack stability.
So while the Mega Dozer provides a similar level of stability under foot, its tips and tails feel more “floppy” than the Punisher, and less stable than the Punisher through the whole turn.
There was enough snow on the upper part of the glacier between the “Gefrorene Wand” and the “Tuxer Ferner Haus” to get into the upper sidecountry. The first turns off trail were on the Gefrorene Wand Tram Face, which is a pretty wide face that starts quite mellow and then in the middle gets quite steep, somewhere in the 35–40-degree range.
The snow was wind and sun affected, but very predictable (the snow was consistent and not crusty on top), and I soon realized that I was going much faster than I should on the first runs of the season. The Punisher was so confidence inspiring that it felt natural and comfortable to let it run, and it was easy to make all kinds of turn shapes as long as I was skiing pretty aggressively.
We then got on the south side of the glacier into the “Schlegeis Sidecountry,” where the snow was softer from sun exposure. The terrain here is playful and, whereas the upper part after the entry into the run is pretty wide, it splits into numerous chutes and couloirs after about hundred-and-fifty metres.
The very steep and narrow chutes did not have a lot of snow, so we took the mellower runs with rollers and wind lips in it, and here I found that the Punisher does have a nimble and playful side—I could release the tails every once in awhile for some slides and spray turns. There are better skis for playing around, but given what a potent big-mountain ski the Punisher can be, it is quite nimble.
We then skied the sidecountry of the “Sonnenhang” run from the Kaserer Peak, which has some of the steepest lift-accessed terrain on the glacier that I’ve skied. I pointed the Punishers down the fall line, then felt comfortable making all types of turn shapes.
Over the next few days with our mountain guide, we continued to explore some shorter side country runs with the same conditions and my initial impressions were confirmed.
Back when I’d first held the Punisher in my hands, I worried that its bulky tip and tail would feel hooky in soft snow or on steeps, but I have not experienced any hookiness on the Punisher.