Icelantic Oracles — Ski Review


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

While the market for women’s skis has grown substantially, many hard charging women find women’s models to be too noodly, too soft, and too wimpy to hold up to speed, air, and other tricks of the trade. So many of us ski men’s models instead. As an alternative to those pesky male branded planks, try taking a run on Icelantic’s new women’s ski, the Oracle.

Icelantic is a Colorado company that was started by a few friends who went to high school together and skied at Loveland resort on the Colorado Front Range. Company founder Ben Anderson had the idea for building skis, and dropped out of college to pursue it, recruiting Annelise Loevlie to do marketing and Travis Parr to do graphics. They launched at SIA in 2005, and have been growing ever since.

Oracle skis for backcountry skiing.

Icelantic Oracle skis, click image to enlarge.

Icelantic is headquartered in Denver in the art district on Santa Fe, and has an art show every first Friday of the month to showcase Parr’s unique designs, which change every year based on concepts the group comes up with in the spring. For the 2010-2011 line, the company chose music as its theme; the Oracles are designated “Soul,” and feature a sultry female singer near the tips.

Icelantic also has its skis made in Colorado at the Never Summer snowboard factory, and stands behind its skis with a two-year warranty.

Sidecut for the Oracles is hefty, with a 138mm tip, 100mm waist, and 120mm tail. An early tip rise helps the ski float more in powder and it has a moderate twin tip tail for switch riding and playing in the park. The combination makes the ski nimble. They are available in lengths of 155cm, 165cm, and 175cm; the turning radius of each is 13 meters, 16 meters, and 18 meters.

The Oracles employ a “fly-weight” core, a combination of aspen and poplar, using the same design as the men’s models, but shaving weight for a women’s frame. Backcountry chargers will appreciate the weight, which is 6.2 pounds for the 155, 6.5 pounds for the 165, and 6.75 pounds for the 175.

I put the Oracles through the wringer, testing them on every kind of terrain, including deep powder on a heli-drop at Silverton, hard-packed groomers at the resort after two weeks of no snow, a powder cat tour at Chicago Ridge, park skiing at Echo Mountain, and the Telemark Extreme Freeskiing Championships at Crested Butte. I also popped on some skins and did some climbing in them.

While a twin tip, even a moderate one like the Oracles, might not be the first choice for skinning, I had no trouble getting the Black Diamond Clip Fix over the back part of my skis for the uphill climb. I definitely appreciated the lighter weight of the Oracles on the skin track.

In powder, the Oracles skied like a dream. The early tip rise kept the ski up on the snow. A 100mm waist may not be the most popular for the deep these days, but for a quiver of one, it is close to ideal.

On hard pack, I wasn’t sure how I liked the Oracles at first. The early tip rise that was nice in powder seemed to make the ski chatter when I opened it up on long radius GS turns. However, I found that if I shifted my weight a little forward on the ski, that chatter tender to disappear, and the skis held a nice edge. In short, you have to ski aggressively on the Oracle to get the most out of it on the groomers. The tip is still a little chattery, but it is significantly reduced when you ski aggressively. If you prefer to sit back a little and let the ski do the work on piste, you won’t like the Oracles.

One thing that really impressed me was the Durasurf 4001 sintered p-tex base on the Oracles. The base of a ski may seem an afterthought to many people, but between Arapahoe Basin in a low snow year and Crested Butte’s all-too-available chunks of the Rocky Mountains, I found rocks constantly. My K2s and my G3s have often needed 3-4 stone grinds a year; the Oracles probably need one after the last six weeks, but the bases still are in good shape, and a few times after hearing the skis go over a rock on the North Face extreme terrain at the Butte, I took them off expecting to see core shots, but instead saw minor gouges.

For most of the skiing I do, the Oracles would be one of my go-to skis. I might prefer something a little stiff for long radius turns, but for skiing in powder or tight, technical terrain, the Oracles were great, and I’ll be sorry to see them go.

Oracles will be available at most shops in September 2010.

Shop for Icelantic skis.

Comments

11 Responses to “Icelantic Oracles — Ski Review”

  1. John Dough April 9th, 2010 7:57 am

    Now, if they would just make it in a men’s ski….

    I wish they would put out a rockered nomad. I’ve skied the keeper but it’s a little much as an everyday board. A tip rockered nomad would be a perfect one ski quiver.

    Congrats ladies! They are finally realizing that you can ski something besides groomers! Great review Candace

  2. Pierce April 9th, 2010 8:49 am

    LOVE my shamans! They’re all I ski in bounds anymore, pow or groomers, and they rock on both. Go Icelantic!

  3. Larry G April 9th, 2010 10:11 pm

    Thanks for a great review, Candace. I’ll certainly tell my lady ski buddies about the Icelantic.

    The review did bring up a question, though. I was resort skiing last week with a friend and his wife. She was breaking in a brand new pair of Volkl Aura’s (she’s an expert skier and she loved her new Auras). While riding up the lift, her husband and I couldn’t help but notice the hot chick graphic on her skis, which brought up the question as to why a mfg. would put a hot chick graphic on a woman’s ski? I guess it’s the same question for the Icelantic with the female jazz singer?

  4. nikki April 9th, 2010 11:11 pm

    Larry G, us women can appreciate how beautiful we are as well, especially when we’re depicted as talented and strong, which is certainly the case with both the Geisha on the Auras and the Jazz singer on the Oracles.

  5. Larry G April 10th, 2010 8:51 am

    Well said, nikki. Thanks.

  6. Hamish Gowans April 15th, 2010 12:25 pm

    Candace,
    Wonder what length you chose for your height/weight/skier type? Also, do you think they would chatter less if skied alpine due to more centered skier weight?

  7. Candace April 17th, 2010 4:19 pm

    I’m 5’11 and 144. I like to go longer, even though Icelantic often says go shorter. I tend to make lots of long GS turns. They might chatter less if mounted alpine. Icelantic is more into just making skis, and you can mount them however you want, but most people on them are using alpine or AT bindings.

  8. Hamish Gowans April 17th, 2010 7:38 pm

    So what length are you on?

  9. Candace Horgan April 23rd, 2010 11:06 am

    175s

  10. Sarah March 7th, 2011 8:08 pm

    Thanks to this review bought my Oracles in November. I have them mounted with Fritschi Freerides. I love this ski. I used to alpine race, and love to open up on groomers. I actually found it to chatter less than my last pair of skis at high speed, and the turns are much more fun. It is a ton of fun in the backcountry too. I do wish it was as light as the Dynafit on the uptrack, but that’s all forgotten on the way down. Everyone keeps commenting on how much more I charge through stuff this year, I’ll tell you a secret… it’s not me, it’s the ski. Thanks Candace for the review and convincing me to get this ski.

  11. Katrina November 16th, 2011 10:19 pm

    Has anyone skied these in the Pacific Northwest in our PNW ‘pow’ and occasional skating rinks? How’d they float in heavier snow?

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