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Reverse Camber Skis: Hype or Here to Stay?

With so many new ski shapes coming out, it’s hard to know if it’s all just a gimmick or if they really are legitimately better. Most of these condition specific skis are pricey and for the average skier it’s too costly to buy a pair without knowing exactly what to expect. Especially considering the average skier probably doesn’t own more than one pair of skis, so it might make more sense to go with an all-around ski when they don’t know what they’re getting.

In the ‘07 – ‘08 season they were a handful of companies that designed powder specific or reverse camber skis. Reverse camber is just that, instead of the traditional ski curving to touch the snow, reverse camber bends away from the snow. The idea in theory is simple, in powder your tips won’t sink, therefore making it much easier to ski the deep stuff. The concept isn’t entirely new, similar ideas such as swallow tails and over-sized tips have surfaced in the past. The original reverse camber ski was the Volant Spatula. Although it had a cult-like following, other manufacturers never caught on and the idea faded away for a while. That’s until Shane McConkey switched to K2 and they released the Pontoon. The idea seemed to spread like wild fire but, the question still remains, do they really help you ski powder better or not?

If you are familiar with water skiing this concept has been around for many years. Water skis are banana shaped (reverse camber) in order to float the tips. The same thing exists with pontoon planes (hence the ski name Pontoon) so they can land on water.

Being somewhat of a skeptic myself, I decided to give them a try and let me tell you it was the best ski decision I’ve ever made. Skiing a reverse camber ski in the powder is what I would describe as like floating on a cloud. It is its own little niche of the ski world and the difference is amazing. Not all that ski them will love them, but those that don’t are few and far between. But don’t take my word for it, talk to others that have skied them or demo a pair for yourself before you plunk down the dough.

Some of this year’s reverse camber skis are; Armada ARG, K2 Pontoon, K2 Hellbent, K2 Seth, Line EP PRO, Drake, DPS Lotus, and the Salomon Rocker.

Posted by Derek on Friday, February 8th, 2008 in Snow.

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3 Responses to “Reverse Camber Skis: Hype or Here to Stay?”

  • Ken Says:

    There is a difference between a rockered ski (Pontoon, Hellbent, Seth, Salomon) and reverse camber

  • Derek Says:

    Yes, the rockered is a more poppy feel to it. Like a wakeboard that has a flat section in the middle and both ends have a more specific point were they bend up. The reverse camber is more like a banana shape and is not quite so poppy. If you are considering buying check out the specs on individual skis and try before you buy. I ski the Hellbent and they are awesome but have a little too much pop for some people, I love’em though.

  • Red Says:

    You are correct with the distinction between the two types of skis, but the Hell Bents are reverse camber, only a small bit under foot is not. The Czars and Lords from Salomon are a good choice, the Czars take the cake. K2 makes the Seth, which is just bad a**! Hell Bents are killer in the pow, but not so good on groomers. Pontoons are perfect for 20+ inch days in the pow and even hold an edge on the pack, but they are huge boards and not for the faint at heart. Lib Tech just started putting out the Recurve NAS that are reverse camber, they rock and even come with the signature Mervin Magna-Traction edge as well. Moment skis in Reno have the Bibby Pros, Volkl and Volant make good rockers. Just decide if you want the sticks to hang in the closet until the pow is dick-deep or get something that you might be able to shred a little more often. Rockered, more versatile more often, reverse camber for mostly big pow days. Check em out at your local shop. Good Luck

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