Words by Alex Greenwood
With the season all but over except for the lucky ones who are heading down to the Southern Hemisphere, thoughts will inevitable drift towards the new setup during those long, sunny summer days. With ideas of what could be landed next season, what spin could be brought around just that extra 180 degrees and that epic line that had been scoped but you never hit; ALL of this will be done on next season’s set up. One company that will always have your back is Line. Line are less concerned with podium finishes and big name comp skiers. They are more concerned with you having fun, because let’s face it; Skiing. Is. Fun. Whether you aspire to perfect your butters like Max Hill, rail wizardry like Andy Parry or think that hitting a moving jump is a great idea, Line skis will probably be able to help you out.
Freestyle skis have come a long way since the first twin tips were made by boiling the end on an old ski and creating a second tip by lifting it up when wedged under a door. Fast forward to the present day and this is Line’s 2014 freestyle collection. Whether you’re a park rat or enjoy throwing rodeo 5s into pow, there’s something for you.
Need a ski that’s going to slay park. Check. Need a ski that’s going to slay powder. Check. Need a ski that’s going to slay everything in between. Check. The skis in this range are versatile enough to hit just about anything you can throw at them next season. The legendary Chronic is back again this year. With a profile of 121-92-117, it will provide the width underfoot to be stable and responsive in the park but still give that float in the soft stuff. The psychedelic graphics design has to be seen to be believed, a written description will never do it justice! The Chronic slays. Fact.
For those that want something slightly wider underfoot, the Blend measures in at 132-100-122. The Blend is light, nimble and super flexi. The graphics are slightly more modest than last year’s but have been penned by Eric Pollard himself. Last year’s model picked up a Skier’s Choice award from Powder Mag so there’s no excuse for not perfecting those pow butter 360s with these at your feet.
Completing the range is the Mastermind and new for this season the Future Spin. Both are narrow underfoot with the Future Spin’s profile of 112-86-109 and the Mastermind at 115-85-112. They have both been designed with swing weight in mind and the Mastermind, due to its 100% Aspen design, is incredibly light at just 3,140g for the pair. Like the Chronic’s, the Future Spin’s graphics are going to be pretty recognisable on the hill next season.
Line have been making park skis pretty much since skiers first started venturing into terrain parks so they should know what they’re doing. There are two offerings this year, the completely different looking Afterbang and The Line Travelling Circus. Interestingly the Step-Up has been dropped from the range but for fans of the Step-Up (myself included), the Chronic was dropped a few years ago and has since made a return in a big way.
The Afterbang (115-88-115) looks a world away from the unruly and rowdy designs of the past few seasons. This year’s incarnation seems a much more modest design but with all the same components under the bonnet. The symmetrical geometry makes skiing switch feel much more natural and the Butter Zones once again make an appearance to ensure that nose and tail pressing are effortless. Skate Deck construction means the ski is built up in layers, just like a skateboard so that the flex of the ski will stay the same right from the moment you take it out of the wrapper to the end of the season. If going huge in the air is your thing, the Afterbang may not be for you but for jibbing, it’s a lethal tool to have in the arsenal. Last season’s Afterbang won not only a Skier’s Choice award from Powder Mag but also an Editor’s Pick from Freeskier.
The Line Travelling Circus is back for a second year, the reincarnation of the popular Anthem, it is a wider, symmetrically designed ski (119-93-119) which is as fun to ride as the LTC crew are to watch. Much of the same technology in the Afterbang is used in the LTC including Carbon Ollie Bands, to give huge amounts of pop and Butter Zones so you can get super creative and smother everything in buttery goodness. Early rise has been added to the LTC this year, similar to the Armada Halo, which should make buttering and pressing easier, whilst making it harder to catch an edge when switching up on rails.
Eric Pollard Range
The two skis in this range are designed for back country freestyle. Stomping tricks in powder, buttered turns and carving powder like it was hard pack is what Eric Pollard is all about and so too are these skis. Freestyle has continued to expand into the backcountry in recent years, with more and more events and edits showcasing what can be done off natural hits. So who better to design skis specifically for this, than a man who has been doing it for years. It’s good to see that Eric is back on his feet after a horrific injury at the beginning of this season and hopefully back on a pair of these next season.
The Mr Pollard’s Opus is a ski entirely designed by the man himself. With a profile of 144-118-141 and early rise and taper, these skis are going to give some serious float. As the ski has gone through over 100 prototypes before development, it is little wonder that last year these skis were awarded a Freeskier’s Editor’s Choice award, a Powder Mag Skiers Choice award as well as being selected for the Backcountry Magazine’s Gear Guide. If they’re good enough for Eric Pollard, they’re probably good enough for you…
The Sir Francis Bacon is a little narrower than the Opus (140-108-136) which makes it a little lighter and also with a little more flex to it. Like the Opus the SFB has a longer active edge, which means edge control will be improved on harder surfaces. In the past the SFB has picked up gongs from both Skiing Magazine and Powder Mag. This year it has been revamped with more stunning art work from Eric Pollard.
The women’s range from Line seems to have had a bit of a shakeup this year. The Shadow has been replaced by the Tease, which will hold up the women specific freestyle offering from Line this time round. The Tease (112-86-109) has a slightly wider waist but narrower tip and tail than the Shadow but with a much lighter weight than the average freestyle ski such as the Chronic by using 100% Aspen in the design.