Ski: 2016-2017 Line Supernatural 108, 186 cm
Available Lengths: 172, 179, 186 cm
Blister’s Measured Length (Straight Tape Pull): 184.1 cm
Stated Dimensions: 137-108-126 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 137-107-125 mm
Blister’s Measured Weight Per Ski: 2335 & 2399 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius: 24.4 meters
Core Construction: Maple/Aspen + Titanal Metal + Fiberglass Laminate
Tip / Tail Splay ( ski decambered): 58 mm / 25 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: 2-3 mm
Boots / Bindings: Tecnica Cochise 130 Pro / Marker Jester (DIN at 11)
Mount Location: Factory Recommended Line
Test Location: Alta Ski Area, Snowbird
Days Skied: 7
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Supernatural 108 which was not changed for 15/16 or 16/17, except for the graphics.]
The Supernatural 108 is part of Line’s Supernatural series, which is new for the 2014-2015 season. Jonathan posted his review of the Supernatural 108 back in January, and his findings immediately grabbed my attention. He described a ski that was substantial yet energetic, fairly stiff yet playful, capable of charging hard yet willing to let you “dial it back.”
I have spent this season riding and reviewing skis that fall loosely into the “all-mountain charger” category—the Line Supernatural 100, the Line Influence 105, and the similarly-shaped Nordica El Capo—and I couldn’t wait to see how the Supernatural 108 stacked up.
Line Supernatural 108 vs. Nordica El Capo
As far as width, sidecut, and camber/rocker profile goes, the Supernatural 108 and El Capo are nearly identical. The 108 comes in with (measured) dimensions of 137-107-125, exactly the same as the El Capo: 137-107-125. The sidecut radii differ between the two models by 0.6m (24.4m for the Supernatural 108, and 25m for the El Capo).
As for their camber/rocker profiles, the 108’s contact points are 40cm from the tip and 22cm from the tail, with 11cm of splay in the tip and 5cm in the tail. The El Capo’s contact points are 33cm from the tip and 18cm from the tail, with 8 and 5cm of splay, respectively.
Besides these similarities in dimensions and measurements, however, the flex patterns of the Supernatural 108 and El Capo are significantly different. The Supernatural 108 is stiff underfoot, and gradually transitions to a softer but still relatively stiff tip and tail. The El Capo is also fairly stiff underfoot (though less stiff than the 108), but abruptly transitions to a softer tip and much softer tail.
And as I’ll explain below, this difference in flex seems to have a lot to do with how each of the skis handle.
Line Supernatural 108 vs. Line Influence 105
Unlike the El Capo, the Influence 105’s shape is quite different from that of the Supernatural 108. The 105 is 3mm narrower underfoot than the 108 and is 4mm wider in the tip and tail, giving it a turn radius that is 4.6m tighter than that of the 108.
The 105’s contact point is about 10cm closer to the tip than the 108, and the ski has no tail rocker.
However, despite these apparent differences on paper, I found the Influence 105’s performance to be far more similar to the Supernatural 108’s than to the El Capo’s.
The Supernatural 108 feels slightly stiffer than the Influence 105 at all points along the ski, yet the flex of both consistently and gradually transitions from stiffest underfoot to slightly softer tips and tails. Again, I think the skis’ consistent, progressive flex patterns have a lot to do with their similarities on snow.
Line Supernatural 108 vs. Line Supernatural 100
Though these two skis are part of the same series, the Supernatural 108 is not simply a wider version of the Supernatural 100. The 108 is just 6mm wider at the tip and tail, giving the 108 a sidecut of 24.4m compared to the 100’s 23m radius. The 108 also has deeper rocker lines in both the tip and the tail.
The Supernatural 100 does share a similar flex pattern with the Supernatural 108 and Influence 105, with a flex that’s slightly softer than either at all points along the ski. But the Supernatural 100 still employs that same gradual transition from stiff underfoot to slightly softer tips and tails.
I’ve put a lot of time on the Supernatural 108 lapping groomers this spring at Alta and Snowbird and, like Jonathan, am very impressed by the 108’s performance.
I am most impressed by the Supernatural 108’s ability to comfortably make a variety of turn shapes. When it comes to pure, cleanly carved turns where the skier rolls the ski on edge at the top of the turn and lets its camber and sidecut complete the turn, the 108’s sidecut yields moderate GS-sized turns (although with a little more effort to bend the ski I was able to coax them into shorter GS / longer slalom turns). But if you’re willing to break out of that perfect arc and smear and feather the edges out slightly, then the Supernatural 108 can smoothly and comfortably make just about any turn shape.
This versatility in turn shape is a good example of what Jonathan means when he describes the Supernatural 108 as being “playful and substantial.” When working the skis into quick, scrubbed slalom turns they felt poppy and energetic. But when I opened things up and made high speed GS/Super-G turns on chopped up groomers, they felt stiff, damp, and stable.
The Supernatural 108 feels considerably more versatile in this respect than the Influence 105, which prefers to primarily rail GS turns and does not feel as comfortable breaking the tails free to smear/feather a turn. That being said, I would put more faith in the Influence 105 to hold an edge on very firm groomers, given its greater effective edge and lack of tail rocker.
The Supernatural 108 feels more damp and stable at speed on chopped up groomers than the Supernatural 100. But the 100 is preferable over the 108 in that it feels a little poppier and more energetic in short-radius turns (thanks to its narrower waist width) and seems to hold an edge a bit better in very firm conditions.
The Nordica El Capo felt similarly versatile compared to the Supernatural 108 on groomers with respect to turn shape and dampness, but lacked the 108’s energy when making short-radius turns.
All and all, while it may not have the edge hold or energy of a dedicated carver, the Supernatural 108 performs very well skiing and carving on groomers for its category.
Jonathan praised the Supernatural 108’s ability to both bash through bumps and also slow things down with more precise turns, and I’d loudly echo that praise.
I made a few laps down Alta’s High Boy (Alf’s/High Rustler) just as the spring sun was starting to soften the frozen bumps, and used the entire 1500 foot run as a testing ground for the Supernatural 108. Each lap I would make quick, precise turns through the bumps at the top; draw out some longer, smeared (but still pretty fast) turns through the smaller bumps in the middle section; then bash through the larger bumps at the bottom.
Despite the Supernatural 108 being a relatively heavy ski on the scale (it comes in right around the weight of the 14/15 Blizzard Cochise), it still feels remarkably quick and nimble when making short, precise turns through steeper bump lines. I am also impressed by how energetic the ski feels, providing enough pop at the end of each turn to feel playful. It’s performance here somewhat similar to that of the Influence 105, although the 105 doesn’t feel quite as poppy or playful.
While the Supernatural 108 is relatively quick and poppy in it’s own right, the Supernatural 100 still feels a touch quicker and poppier when making these short, precise turns. The El Capo is capable of making these quick turns, but feels a little dead compared to the 108.
I again found the Supernatural 108 to exhibit that unique combination of feeling both substantial and playful when I opened it up and made some large, high speed, smeared turns through the smaller bumps in the middle of High Boy. Here I really enjoyed that same versatility of turn shape that I described on groomers, as it felt nearly effortless to break the tails free and smear any sized turn I wanted. But while making these large, fast turns, the Supernatural 108 was also stiff and damp enough to absorb the energy from plowing over small bumps without deflecting or getting bounced around.
In these more spacious (but still bumped up) conditions the Supernatural 108 feels more comfortable breaking the tails free and making a wider variety of turns than either the Supernatural 100 or the Influence 105. The ski’s extra width and stiffness also makes it feel a bit more stable than the 100, and about equally as stable as the 105.