A wider version of the Ultimate race ski, the 78 is an elite mountaineering ski made by Atomic. Inspired by Kilian’s transition from racer to extreme alpinist, the Ultimate 78 is designed to go high and fast. An all-mountain rocker and innovative sidewall give confidence when you need it. The light wood core and carbon laminates keep your legs fresh for when you need them. Good luck talking yourself out of needing these skis.
- 78mm width is great for ski mountaineering in unknown conditions.
- 16m radius and 15% tip rocker turns quickly and overcomes obstacles.
- Step Down sidewall is thickest under the binding to improve dampening and edge grip.
- Half-cap construction near the tip and tail is lightweight yet resistant to damage.
- Wood core is made from Karuba Paulownia and poplar, making it light and lively.
- Core is laminated with carbon fiber which is the light way to make a rigid ski.
|Lengths (cm)||158, 164, 170, 176|
|Weight (pair)||1890g 
|Turn Radius||15m 
|Skin Fix||Tip notch, flat recessed tail|
|Profile||15% rocker, 85% camber|
|Shape||Round tip, steep-ish sidecut, flat pintail|
|Construction||Step down sidewall w/ carbon laminates|
|Core||Karuba Paulownia + poplar|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Usage||High level ski mountaineering|
|Notes||Wide "rockered" parallel skins available|
|Bottom Line||Competitive all around|
Questions & Reviews
In late winter, even though we were still skiing 1-2ft storms every couple of days, I knew I needed to find a mountaineering ski for the spring. As an employee of the store, the selection at Skimo Co wasn’t making it easy for me to decide. Constantly nagging my co-workers about their likes and dislikes of every ski on the wall wasn’t really getting me anywhere because each ski I asked about someone loved and someone else was lukewarm about. I happened to demo a ski with very very similar dimensions to the Ultimate 78, and realized that this was the dimension I was looking for but not the flex.
After hand flexing the Ultimate 78 and checking the price, I decided that I needed a ski and this one seemed decent. I purchased the 170cm length, mounted it, and headed out.
On the skin track, it felt as I would expect from a 1000g, 170cm ski. I barely noticed it. The one thing I guess I did notice was that even with a Hagan ZR race binding mounted on it, the weight distribution was such that the tail dropped very nicely enabling effortless kick turns.
My first descent with the ski was a 55+ entrance to a committing chute remaining above 45 until the apron. I side slipped in a couple feet until I was committed. I made a ski cut, stability assessed, I got to turning and was BLOWN AWAY. The first series of 5-6 hop turns above a rock rib were automatic. I needed no adjustment, the skis just did as I wished. With the technical difficulties behind me, I opened up into more flowing carves and the Ultimate 78 continued to respond. I felt like I had been skiing these skis for years.
When I cut across the apron, the aspect changed and the snow turned to buffed powder. I was sure that a ski so skinny and light was going to give me trouble. To my surprise, I was impressed. As long as I did my part by keeping the turns a little shorter the ski responded by staying on top. It bounced from turn to turn with tons of energy.
With many more days on the Ultimate 78 since that first run, my positive experience has continued. I’ve since skied every condition imaginable and had 100% positive experiences. On the occasional resort groomer heading back in from a tour I have pushed this ski very hard to see if I can find its limit. I have not. It stays engaged, stable, and energetic. In breakable crust, which no ski truly can excel, it’s the one I want to be on because the low swing weight keeps it from running away and enables me to muscle over the crust. It’s as fun in corn as anything I’ve ever skied, but light enough to give me a few more laps over the others. The same low swing weight and stable personality make it my #1 choice any time I know I’m skiing something steep.
This ski is a real keeper and is going to be staying in my quiver for as long as it lasts. Then I’ll probably buy it again!
I'm wondering about the difference between these skis and the Atomic Backland UL 78 Skis. They are compareable in camber, weight and cut... what is the differences that i cannot see from the pictures?
I've used this ski for ski mountaineering, training, and traverses, but it has also become my go-to ski for everyday touring when there's less than overhead powder. The tip notch is a great touch, as putting a skin on this ski that requires a heavy tip loop would be close to criminal. Set it up with a race-style skin attachment and some european mohair and it's a damn light pair of matchsticks that punch way above their weight.
This is my desert island ski.
Earn store credit by writing reviews. Learn more.