Overall: Four Stars for an incredible ratio of surface area to weight, with float in unconsolidated snow far above (both literally and figuratively?) what would be expected from the 89mm waist. But minus a star short of perfect for firm-snow carving that is less than what I had hoped – perhaps unrealistically, especially given my alpine racing background (and given all the other entirely positive reviews), but I feel like the Response-X skis like a much wider ski, for both better and worse.
Background on product familiarity: I skied on the 2013-14 version in a 169cm for almost 43,000 earned vertical plus several lift-served runs, mounted with Dynafit Speed Superlite bindings, driven by Scarpa Alien 1.0 boots. Conditions ranged from nearly perfect to nearly indescribably bad. Somewhat similar skis I have used include the Hagan Y Flow (173cm, 87mm waist with significant rocker), Dynafit Manaslu (169cm, 92mm with early rise tip), Movement Logic-X (168cm, 88mm waist with traditional camber and geometry), and Dynafit Mustagh Ata Superlight (169cm, 89mm with traditional camber and geometry).
First, the first impressions out of the box: I had been an early adopter of the Movement X-Series for the 2010-11 season, both their skimo Fish-X and the all-around Logic-X (reviewed here: https://www.wildsnow.com/4181/movement-logic-x-series-review/). I was hoping that the Response-X would retain all of the firm-snow carving ability of the Logic-X, while improving the performance even more in unconsolidated snow by the addition of tip rocker (plus another 1mm of width throughout). Side-by-side with the Logic-X, the tip geometry of the Response-X is far different, both the early rise and the shape. (And the Response-X ditches the Logic-X’s final ~2cm of upturned tail, which had been utterly pointless except for hampering the ability to jam the tails straight into the snow.)
All 14 binding holes drilled out very nicely with the screws seated securely – except for one that I botched by foolishly and lazily trying to force in a screw that started crooked. Fortunately the helicoil went in very well. Overall, an impressively secure mount for such a light ski. (And note that unlike some other light high-carbon skis, the profile is of normal thickness, so no need to compromise retention by filing down screw lengths.)
Second impressions, in use: Overall, the Response-X excelled in all sorts of unconsolidated snow. In untracked powder that had formed a slight crust at the lower elevations, the Response-X skied better that the Manaslu had the prior day in the same location. In a varying combination of sheltered powder and potentially tricky windslab, the Response-X easily handled the constant transitions. Returning from Mount Hood’s Hogsback through the Palmer snowfield (which had been open to lift-served skier traffic early in the day), the Response-X plowed through the rapidly setting up piles of loose corn, which would usually have me thinking mainly about my ACL.
Exiting through a lower-elevation gully on Mount Saint Helens, the Response-X was so much fun in overly ripe corn (probably more so than the twice-as-heavy skis of my four partners, whom I’d arranged to meet at summit, which is a nice arrangement when on a ski this light). Probably so much fun as to even encourage unsafe habits with regard to danger from wet slides and rockfall! In breakable crust, it managed as well as pretty much anything could. In heavy isothermal almost bottomless mank – well, that one outing was really pushing it, but at least both the skis and I survived.
But on nice lift-served groomed corn, I had to get my skis way out from underneath me, drawing on all my gs racer and race coach angulation skills, to produce the true two-footed carve I would have expected to come far more easily from the Response-X, especially given my experience with the Logic-X. Ditto for some brief experience with a groomer.
I could even feel this to some extent when deskinning as I pushed off against one deskinned ski while messing with the other. I suspect the culprit could be the relationship between the sidecut position versus the tip rocker?
Fortunately, in “firm” “snow” more typical of a ski mountaineering situation, the Response-X was fine when having to put them sideways and not being concerned about race-precision carving. Coming down twice from just below Mount Hood’s Hogsback in mid April, the uneven frozen surface sparkled beautifully, but skied ugly – I knew it wasn’t just me since other skiers were downhiking (and not just telemark skiers, but skiers on AT gear, even sporting technical ice tools from their summit bids).
Third impressions, for long-term durability: I can’t pass judgment on that yet given my usage. And my similarly constructed Logic-X are still relatively low usage. However, my similarly constructed Movement Fish-X rando race skis are in excellent condition despite logging almost 386,000 of earned vertical feet, plus a bit of lift-served, and also sporting three sets of holes in the heel area.
Jonathan, thanks for the review. Can you compare edge hold of Response X to the Manaslu on steep/firm/icy? (Are your Manaslus of the 2010-2013 variety? Use Alien 1.0 also in Manaslu?)
Ever use a stiffer boot on the Response X? I skimo in Alien 1.0 too, but prefer TLT-5 P for the kind of skiing you've described here.
Hard for me to compare the two, since they seem so different to me in so many ways. My Manaslu is the original generation, which continued on until recently as the women’s version (while the men’s/unisex became a bit stiffer). And note that the new 2014-15 version is entirely unrelated (but for the name).
I’ve used my Manaslu almost exclusively for backcountry powder. During my one run on a relatively steep groomer, I thought it held fine, but not much of a carver since the sidecut is so straight.
By contrast, the Response-X is a much more responsive and precise carver once it’s highly angulated since the sidecut is much more pronounced, and stiffer too (as least compared to my retroactively deemed women’s Manaslu).
I’ve used the Response-X exclusively with the Alien 1.0, and the Manaslu exclusively with the original-generation DyNA and then the TLT5p. I don’t think that’s a factor though, given that both boots are very stiff laterally.
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