I took a detour on my way home last night to try out my new Rossi BC X8 boots with a pair brand new 170cm Atomic Rainier & not-so new 169cm Fischer Rebounds.
To be sure, the X8 is way to the left on the touring<===>turns spectrum. But despite it's power limitations, on skinny enough skis it's possible to have fun in tele mode with them, and in parallel mode survival-skiing headwalls is possible. But it is way sub-ideal as a touring-for-turns boot, even with the relative turny Rebound/Rainier type skis. It's easy toe & ankle flex make seems like it would make a great kick'n'glide boot though, possibly even better than the SNS-BC/Raid boots which are slightly stiffer flexing at the toe and are relying on the free hinging of the toe bar for freeing up kick'n'glide. The durometer of the bumper on the SNS-BC bindings + toe flex of the boot seems like a heavier load than the BC- X8 in a Voile 3-pin, but I've yet to test them side by side.
But back to the skis: The Rainier & Atomics are REMARKABLY similar by almost any measure- more like twin sisters than close-cousins. That said, there are discernable differences. In climb mode they both rather suck- they start giving up at about the same low ~10-12 degree angle.
But in kick'n'glide mode the stiffer, higher-camber Rebound is perceptibly smoother with possibly better glide.(It was hard to tell for sure, since the surface was dirty & rough, and not flat enough in distances to get a good rhythm going. Maybe I'll try it with one Rainier, one Rebound this evening.)
Pointing them down, both make nice round turns as one would expect of a shaped XC ski. The Atomics seemed a bit smoother overall, but the Rebounds are more positive in the turn initiation and perceptibly grippier through the turn. The difference wasn't huge- not even the difference between Premium Vanilla and French Vanilla ice cream, but it was there, probably attributable to the differences in camber & flex.
Of the two, on the dirty firm old snow w/ bits of smoother corn conditions I slightly preferred the Rebound, but that might be different were I comparing the longer 179cm Rebound against the 180cm Rainier. I suspect in softer stuff the Rainier would ski sweeter too, at any lenth, but I may have to wait until November/December to test that thesis.
Other factors that may affect the comparison: The Rebounds are mounted pins on balance point, the Rainiers mounted pins 1.5cm ahead of balance point. (Curiously, balance point was less than 1mm away from chord center on the Rainier- perhaps by design?) Also the Rainiers are mounted with Voile 201 lightest-duty telemark 3-pins, whereas the Rebounds have the heavier-duty 3-pin + cable binding (but I have yet to ski 'em with the cables. It might be curious to see if the cable helps out the X8 boot enough to make a difference, but that's another test).
I haven't weighed 'em yet, but hefted in the hand I can't say with any confidence which setup is lighter- they're probably within 100 grams of each other, are very light with a great performance per gram ratio.
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