Ski: 2020-2021 J Skis Slacker, 188 cm
Available Lengths: 176, 182, 188 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 185.4 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 1920 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1905 & 1919 grams
Stated Dimensions: 136-110-128 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 135.0-109.2-127.1 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (188 cm): 21.2 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 80 mm / 39 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 2 mm
Core: aspen/maple + titanal binding reinforcement + carbon stringers + fiberglass laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.7 cm from center; 85.0 cm from tail
The last time we had J Skis founder, Jason Levinthal, on our GEAR:30 podcast to answer your questions, many of you asked him about when J Skis was going to make a touring ski. A lightweight, backcountry-oriented option was missing from their line in the past, but that all changes for 20/21 with the introduction of the brand-new Slacker.
The 110mm-wide Slacker is what J Skis calls “the least nerdy touring ski on the market,” featuring a lighter construction than their other models and designed to make the uphill easier without seriously compromising downhill performance and general skiing fun.
The Slacker doesn’t look all that similar to most of the touring skis on the market, and we’re not even talking about the “Uphill Both Ways” graphic of this ski. So let’s take a closer look at this “non-nerdy” touring ski:
What J Skis says about the Slacker
“The least nerdy touring ski on the market!! This all-terrain freestyle ski is designed for uphill efficiency, while maintaining the reliable, intuitive downhill performance J skis are known for. Built with the backcountry in mind, its weight-conscious construction coupled with a subtle tail notch for reliable skin clip retention makes touring a cakewalk without looking like a skimo nerd. This ski dominates the downhill, leaving traditional uphill specific skis behind. Smash, surf, play and have more fun adventuring off the beaten path. Go earn ‘em!”
One of the big things that sets the Slacker apart from most other touring-oriented skis is the fact that J Skis calls it an “all-terrain freestyle ski.” We’ve noticed a fairly small trend of more companies making more playful touring skis, but that’s still very much a small subsection of the touring market, and personally, I’m super excited about another addition to this emerging category. Other than that, J is definitely targeting the Slacker at people who place a priority on downhill performance, rather than maximum uphill efficiency.
It’s also worth highlighting that the Slacker features a tail notch for better compatibility with skin tail clips, and when the Slacker is released, J Skis will also be offering pre-cut Pomoca Climb 2.0 skins. The tail notch on the pre-production pair we had was super subtle but the production version’s notch is more defined.
The Slacker’s construction is fairly similar to J’s other skis, but while many of their other skis use predominantly maple wood cores, the Slacker’s core is primarily aspen with smaller maple stringers next to the edges in an effort to save some weight. The ski also features carbon stringers but maintains a fiberglass laminate, and still uses J Skis’ standard base material, thick edges, and full sidewall construction.
[Update 10.8.20: J decided to tweak the Slacker’s construction slightly, compared to the pre-production pair we first skied. That pair had a section of maple underfoot for binding retention, while the production version uses lighter aspen underfoot but pairs it with a titanal binding-retention plate. The rest of the core remains the same, but that change helped J cut more than 100 grams out of each ski, all of which was underfoot. We now have a production pair of the Slacker, so we’ve updated this First Look with the specs from that ski.]
Shape / Rocker Profile
In terms of shape, most of the skis in J’s lineup look pretty similar, and the Slacker doesn’t stray from that trend. The Slacker looks very much like a wider J Skis Vacation or like a narrower J Skis Friend, with smooth curves from tip to tail and a notable, but not crazy amount of tip and tail taper.
The shape of the Slacker isn’t super far off from the Line Vision 108 and Moment Wildcat Tour 108, falling between the two when it comes to tip and tail taper. Overall, the Slacker’s shape looks pretty similar to the Armada Tracer 108.
The rocker profile of the Slacker is fairly similar to the J Skis Vacation, though the Slacker has a notably shallower tail rocker line and less tail splay. The Slacker still has a very deep tip rocker line but that rocker line is pretty subtle and low-slung until you get near the shovels of the ski. Then the Slacker also has a moderate ~3 mm of camber underfoot.
As with its shape, the rocker profile of the Slacker is fairly similar to the Line Vision 108, though the Vision 108 has a deeper tail rocker line. The Slacker has a much deeper tip rocker line and more tail splay than most touring-oriented skis like the Atomic Backland 107, Black Crows Corvus Freebird, and Volkl BMT 109.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Slacker:
In Front of Toe Piece: 7-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8
Like many of J Skis’ other models, the Slacker has a pretty accessible flex pattern with soft tips and tails and a slow-and-smooth increase in stiffness as you move from the ends to the middle of the ski. The Slacker’s flex pattern is also pretty round / symmetrical, though the area behind the bindings is a bit stiffer than the area in front of the bindings. Overall, the flex pattern of the Slacker is pretty similar to the Vision 108 and Tracer 108.
At -7 cm from true center, the Slacker’s mount point is closer to center than many touring-oriented skis. If you’ve read a lot of our reviews, you’ll know many of us at Blister tend to be fans of mount points around -6 to -7 cm from true center as they often allow skiers to ski both from a forward and centered stance, and we suspect that to be true of the Slacker.
For a touring ski, the Slacker is on the heavier end of the spectrum. But compared to the majority of inbounds skis, it’s very light.
Our pair of the 188 cm production version is coming in at an average weight of 1912 grams per ski. That’s drastically lighter than the J Skis Hotshot and Friend, but also heavier than most dedicated touring skis like the Vision 108, Wildcat Tour 108, and Volkl BMT 109.
The 188 cm Slacker is quite similar in terms of weight compared to the 186 cm Line Sick Day 104 and 187 cm Sego Condor 108, and a bit lighter than some of our other favorite “50/50” skis like the Liberty Origin 106 and Moment Wildcat 108.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.
1476 & 1490 K2 Wayback 106, 179 cm (18/19–20/21)
1547 & 1551 Black Diamond Helio 105 Carbon, 185 cm (17/18–19/20)
1605 & 1630 Line Vision 108, 183 cm (19/20–20/21)
1606 & 1641 Blizzard Zero G 105, 188 cm (19/20–20/21)
1642 & 1651 Renoun Citadel 106, 185 cm, (18/19–19/20)
1642 & 1662 Atomic Backland 107, 182 cm (18/19–20/21)
1660 & 1680 Moment Deathwish Tour, 184 cm (19/20)
1692 & 1715 Moment Wildcat Tour 108, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
1706 & 1715 Volkl BMT 109, 186 cm (17/18–20/21)
1725 & 1774 Faction Agent 3.0, 180 cm (20/21)
1745 & 1747 4FRNT Raven, 184 cm (16/17–19/20)
1752 & 1771 Amplid Facelift 108, 189 cm (18/19–20/21)
1784 & 1790 Volkl Blaze 106, 186 cm (20/21)
1787 & 1793 Fauna Pioneer, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
1787 & 1806 WNDR Alpine Intention 110 – Cambered, 185 cm (19/20)
1806 & 1862 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (19/20–20/21)
1818 & 1823 Folsom Cash 106 Carbon, 184 cm (20/21)
1828 & 1842 Elan Ripstick 106 Black Edition, 188 cm (19/20)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–20/21)
1905 & 1919 J Skis Slacker, 188 cm (20/21)
1918 & 1931 Sego Condor 108, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
1951 & 1953 Elan Ripstick 106, 188 cm (20/21)
1993 & 2026 Black Crows Atris, 184.2 cm (17/18–20/21)
2005 & 2035 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
2006 & 2065 Head Kore 105, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2010 & 2018 J Skis Vacation, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
2011 & 2028 Moment Wildcat 108, 184 cm (19/20)
2027 & 2052 K2 Reckoner 112, 184 cm (20/21)
2030 & 2039 Rossignol Soul 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2041 & 2059 J Skis Slacker (pre-production version), 188 cm (20/21)
2047 & 2049 Moment Deathwish, 190 cm (19/20–20/21)
2079 & 2105 Kastle FX106 HP, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2097 & 2113 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106 C2, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–20/21)
2110 & 2119 Moment Wildcat 108, 190 cm (19/20)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
2120 & 2134 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (19/20–20/21)
2153 & 2184 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 187 cm (20/21)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20–20/21)
2170 & 2180 Dynastar M-Free 108, 182 cm (20/21)
2177 & 2180 Moment Commander 108, 188 cm (19/20)
2182 & 2218 Nordica Enforcer 110 Free, 185 cm (17/18–20/21)
2188 & 2190 Prior Northwest 110, 190 cm (19/20–20/21)
2190 & 2268 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2202 & 2209 Shaggy’s Ahmeek 105, 186 cm (19/20)
2232 & 2244 ON3P Woodsman 108, 187 cm (19/20)
2318 & 2341 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (16/17–19/20)
2343 & 2360 J Skis Friend, 189 cm (18/19–19/20)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) The Slacker is fairly light but there are a lot of lighter touring skis out there, so how much more damp and stable will it feel vs. lighter skis, and how comfortable will it feel in rough conditions in the resort?
(2) J Skis calls the Slacker an “all-terrain freestyle ski,” so how playful will it feel? And if you have no interest in spinning or flipping, should it still be on your list?
(3) How will the Slacker compare to J’s other skis, such as the Vacation and Friend?
Bottom Line (For Now)
Well, at least on paper, J Skis’ new Slacker looks anything but nerdy (though I’m still not exactly sure what a “nerdy” ski looks like…). The Slacker is a pretty lightweight ski with a flex pattern, mount point, and rocker profile that seem much better suited to playful skiing than many of the lighter touring skis out there. Blister Members can check out our Flash Review linked below for our initial impressions, then stay tuned for our full review once we’re able to put a substantial amount of time on it.
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Slacker for our initial impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.