4FRNT Raven — Ski Review

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 20, 2019      

Jamie Caudill

For the last four years, my go-to backcountry-powder-hunting weapon of choice has been a pair of 2013 4FRNT Hojis. This year, I decided to get with the times and hocked my old Hojis so I could snag myself the lighter, more technologically advanced, and slightly narrower 4FRNT Raven.

4FRNT Raven proved to be terrific for soft snow.

4FRNT Raven proved to be terrific for soft snow and saved weight on the uphill.

My first impression was that these new shred sticks, with a stated weight of 1600 grams per ski, were far lighter than the 2000+ gram Hojis, and noticeably stiffer. At 5’10” and roughly 150 lbs, I opted for the 177, hoping to make these an all-around backcountry powder–to–spring–couloir quiver of one; and I felt that shaving off 100 grams per ski was more important than the extra seven centimeters of fun (more on that later).

I mounted the Ravens with G3 Ion LTs and took them for a spin on the resort, testing both the uphill and the downhill. While putting on skins, I admired the low rocker and plastic block on the tails. These allow the skis to be easily stuck in the snow, unlike their twin-tip counterparts, and eases the attachment of tail clips while holding them securely in place. I started up the hill and was grinning from ear to ear, receiving waves of pleasure with each breezy stride. Most skis that feature 104 underfoot easily push 2000 grams per ski, the Raven’s 400+ gram reduction is easily felt. Even so, these planks still have noticeable weight, but the word on the street is they rip the downhill. If I found that to be true, then they are a welterweight fighting for a heavyweight title.

I ripped skins at the top, and prepared myself to be escorted into that blissful state of being that only a well machined tool of snow slaying can take you. As I picked up speed and leaned into my first turns, the Ravens began to chatter uncontrollably and felt squirrelly. I quickly realized that these were not my go-to ski for spring conditions. Unlike the Raven’s, the arc of the Hoji sidecut mirrors the reverse camber, dubbed Reflecttech by 4FRNT, which creates much more edge to snow contact than is expected in a reverse camber ski; this pays off on the hardpack and carves surprisingly well. Remembering how well my old Hojis carved, I leaned left, my skis went straight, I caught myself and forgave the Ravens, while hoping we would communicate better in the future.

Several days later, snow fell. Happily, I drove far from the resort to backcountry access in the west Elk mountains. My first turns in fresh snow swept away any regrets from the first test. The Ravens topped out the fun-scale in powder. The reverse camber allows the skis to be driven from under the boot instead of from tip pressure as with traditionally cambered skis. This allows for long buttery sideways surfing turns — technically speaking. I’m not much of a synchronized hip swivel skier and love making fast long surfy turns, and these skis did not disappoint. I did find myself wishing I would have sacrificed those hundred grams for the seven extra centimeters of the 184. The reverse camber of the 177 makes the effective edge much shorter than a traditionally cambered ski. I suggest sizing up to anyone interested in a reverse camber ski.

The stiffness that I initially felt dissipated in the softer snow, likely due to the aspen core reinforced by carbon stringers on the tips and tails, while the underfoot construction includes maple stringers for binding retention. The maple makes the ski stiffer in the middle. Aspen is a much softer wood, introducing more flex in the tip and tail which adds up to a responsive ski that you can rip through tight trees just as well as big open bowls.

The word “HOJI” is stamped in big block letters on the left ski. These four letters are becoming a brand in the ski-industry, with Dynafit’s new Hoji boots, 4FRNT’s Hoji skis, and Matchstick Productions’ Hoji movie, starring none other than, you guessed it, Hoji, AKA Eric Hjorleifson. Eric is possibly the best big-mountain skier in the world. On top of this, he is a bit of an engineering genius who works hand-in-hand with brands such as Dynafit and 4FRNT to design gear that he uses in the field. The Ravens are one of three skis in the Hoji line engineered with the help of Hjorleifson.

Anyone who has seen Hoji rip pillow lines and spines and deep backcountry pow might wonder why I even bothered trying these for anything but hunting freshies. My response: why did 4FRNT see the need to make a slightly lighter, slightly narrower ski that doesn’t float quite as well as the other skis in the Hoji line, and doesn’t charge quite as well, but then isn’t light enough or stable enough on difficult conditions to be a solid spring ski? In the end, these are lightweight powder skis. I don’t want them for big demanding lines, and I don’t want them for spring couloirs, but I’ll ski hippie pow with them until the end of my days.

2018/2019 4FRNT Raven specs

  • MSRP: $599
  • Length: 177
  • Dimensions: 119-104-111
  • Weight: 1600 g
  • Length: 184
  • Dimensions: 121-104-112
  • Weight: 1700 g
  • Length: 190
  • Dimensions: 121-104-113
  • Weight: 1850 g
  • (Jamie Caudill is a climbing guide, ski instructor, and photographer based in Carbondale, Colorado. To see more adventures on snow and stone, check out his instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jam.caudill)


    Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


    3 Responses to “4FRNT Raven — Ski Review”

    1. Dan February 21st, 2019 7:39 pm

      I had a pair of Ravens, but never gelled with them. I could never really stay in the sweet spot on that ski. Maybe I just need better balance, but I don’t miss mine after selling them onwards.

      Moment are making some great skis in this weight and performance class. Buy Wildcats and profit.

    2. Eric Steig February 21st, 2019 9:47 pm

      Voile V8 is just as light, probably better all around ski.

    3. Phil Harvey February 22nd, 2019 12:21 am

      Apologies for being a bit off subject of this post but an interesting article on avalanche search by drone by the Czech Mountain Rescue appeared on the BBC website this morning – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47309085
      Should be of interest to Wildsnow

    Anti-Spam Quiz:

    While you can subscribe to comment notification by checking the box above, you must leave a brief comment to do so, which records your email and requires you to use our anti-spam challange. If you don't like leaving substantive comments that's fine, just leave a simple comment that says something like "thanks, subscribed" with a made-up name. Check the comment subscription checkbox BEFORE you submit. NOTE: BY SUBSCRIBING TO COMMENTS YOU GIVE US PERMISSION TO STORE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS INDEFINITLY. YOU MAY REQUEST REMOVAL AND WE WILL REMOVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS WITHIN 72 HOURS. To request removal of personal information, please contact us using the comment link in our site menu.
    If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.

    :D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
    Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.

      Your Comments

      Recent Posts

    Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version