Here at Unofficial Networks, we like to feature skis from some lesser-known brands. It’s always fun to root for the little guy and there are some great smaller ski manufacturers producing tremendous products.
Today, we will look at a redesigned ski from J-Skis, a brand out of Burlington, Vermont owned by Lines Skis founder Jason Levinthal. When Line and Full Tilt were purchased by K2, Levinthal started J-Skis.
The Vacation Ski receives a major update for the upcoming winter. The outgoing Vacation ski was known to be a poppy, playful, and buttery ski that was at-home bouncing down tree lines and jumping around in soft snow.
“It’s gonna be the shit for east coast tree skiing, on the west coast this is an everyday ski.” – Jason Levinthal
The old ski had some pretty serious sidecut with a 135-106-124mm profile and 17-meter turn radius. In an email blast and new Blog Post, Levinthal explains the highlights of this years redesign.
The 2018/2019 Vacation ski sees very important tweaks.
The new version uses a softer flex pattern. While some skis have flex patterns that “ramp-up” by having softer tips and tails with a stiffer flex underfoot, this ski distributes the softer flex relatively evenly. This attribute serves to emphasize the buttery and playful aspect of the ski. It is easy to bend and smear a softer ski. We think this ski should be more fun than a barrel of monkeys in the right setting.
The downside? While we all love buttery and poppy skis, sometimes you need some stiffness and power. It is a safe bet that we will see some diminished performance on groomers and hardpack. While this ski is clearly not built for laying trenches in corduroy, you do need to get back to the lifts after a shredding your favorite tree line.
The new ski uses a more modest sidecut with a alot more taper. The old version had tips that were 8mm wider than the newest iteration. According to Levinthal, this will increase your ability to smear turns or butter your way down the hill compared to the wider and more “hooky” tips on the previous version. The waist width also shrinks from 106mm to 104mm. The combination of all of this reworked geometry is a slightly longer (1.5-meter longer to be exact) turn radius. Nobody likes hooking their tips when trying to push a turn around a turn that you can’t carve. Chalk this was up as a win.
The Vacation receives slightly higher tip and tail rocker. We are talking five millimeters more rise in the tips and tails. In addition, the camber underfoot grows ever so slightly by one millimeter. That added camber adds a little but of suspension to the ski that could be beneficial on a softer ski.
Here is an explanation of the updates to the Vacation straight from the horse’s mouth:
Levinthal calls this a great every day ski for the western crowd and backs the statement up by calling it a “no-brainer”. In addition, he states that it is an excellent East Coast tree ski. Lets break this down:
This ski does seem like it would be an excellent East Coast tree slayer. Back East, the speeds are slower and the turns are tighter. As a result, a softer, “smeary” ski can be very beneficial. Most folks aren’t blasting through these tree lines with enough speed to experience serious deflection when the snow gets cut up. The Vacation definitely slots in as part of a quiver. Based on what we know, this would not be an enjoyable ski on icy days on groomers.
-Calling it a daily driver for skiers out west seems like it comes down to style. Jibby and park skiers could have a good time on this ski. In addition, it would be loads of fun in softer, spring conditions as well as fluffy pow. Given its soft flex pattern, this would not be a good choice for skiing cut up chop when it hasn’t snowed in a weak. There is a great likelihood that this ski would get kicked around a fair bit when driven at speed through choppy snow.
There you have it. This should give you some sort of idea as to whether or not the J Skis Vacation ski is right for you. We always recommend trying to demo skis prior to pulling the trigger whenever possible. No amount of regurgitated specifications or reviews are an substitute for actually trying a pair of skis.
Find out more here: J Skis Vacation