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Line

Line has come a long way in its brief history without straying very far from home. We can’t think of another well-distributed ski brand that began life crafting handmade skiboards, which in case you’ve forgotten, were the super-shorties barely long enough to contain a boot and a rudimentary, non-releasable binding. But Line wouldn’t be here today if Jason Levinthal hadn’t first decided to make a sliding device that was as easy to point backwards as forwards. All Levinthal had to do was elongate his platform and a ski brand married to the twin-tip concept was born.

If the idea of carving every inch of every turn remained as popular as it was in the hey-day of super-shaped skis in the 90’s, Line probably would have gone the way of the dodo. Despite being a fairly diverse brand today, they still don’t make anything one could seriously call a Technical ski.  Happily for Line, the market shifted its emphasis to skis with better performance in soft snow and crud, which moved a good deal of the market right into Line’s wheelhouse. 

Line is owned by the same people that bring you K2, yet the feel of the two brands on the snow couldn’t be more different. Lines always feel light and playful, like puppies that can’t wait to chase a stick. They’re less interested in promoting technical proficiency than they are in permitting shenanigans like pivoting off your shovels; what other brand has a “Butter Zone” fore and aft of the binding? If all the company made were spiffy Pipe & Park skis, you would find no mention of them here as that is not our domain, but Line makes some directional All-Mountain models that have a definite place in the mainstream market and their Powder skis are so much fun, kids shouldn’t be the only ones allowed to have them. Because Line tends to make thin-profile skis that are lightweight and easy to bend with minimal effort, their women’s models are well suited to the fairer sex.

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2016 Addendum

As we noted in this space last year, Line communicates to its New School youth audience as if they’d just taken a collective bong hit, but behind this “we’re just kids, too!” insouciance is a serious ski maker with considerable market share.  

Their focus remains on two families of skis, twin-tipped Pipe & Park models and smeary, fat powder skis.

These domains share a common concern with light weight and pivoting action, themes which carry over to the Supernatural series, their lighter-than-usual collection of directional, all-mountain skis for the (slightly) more mature male.  

For 2016 Line redecorated every ski in their catalog except the Magnum Opus, as it’s adorned with Eric Pollard’s artistry.  Underneath their refreshed facades, almost every ski in the 2016 men’s collection is a returning model. The exceptions are the Supernatural 102, plugging a whole in that collection, and two more models from Pollard, a revamped Sir Francis Bacon and the new Mordecai (114mm underfoot).  

Line has realigned their two main women’s models to fit into the Supernatural family; the new Soulmate 92 even shares a mold with the Supernatural 92.  The Pandora 110 returns unchanged, but she has a new little sister, the Pandora 95. 

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In-depth reviews of 14 models—with key performance ratings ( ? ) and genre model comparisons ( ? ) —are in our member section

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Supernatural 100

early rise

Power:  A-

Finesse:  A-

Sidecut:  132/100/121
Radius:  21.3m
Lengths:  172,179,186
Weight:  2,068g @ 179cm
MSRP:  $810

supernatural 100

For the Finesse skier who skis most of the time in an upright stance, the issue with this category is that it can take too much effort to tilt the ski to a high edge angle where it will ride a clean edge instead of smudging its way through a perpetual drift.  The Line Supernatural 100 solves this conundrum by finding the edge early and letting itself be steered even if there’s only a few mm’s of ski in the snow.

Line began by making the mini-skis known as skiboards, branched out to twin-tip Pipe & Park skis and gradually infiltrated the all-mountain segment without ever losing their allegiance to the youth market.   Based on their history and reputation, you’d expect all Lines to be center-mounted and smear every turn like a butter knife.  Yet Line has been making directional, cambered all-mountain skis for years and anyone whose nickname isn’t Mongo should consider them a viable option.

“Smooth like aged Scotch,” muses Eric from Footloose, putting his finger on the attribute that best defines the Line Supernatural experience. The Supernatural 100 is so supple it feels like it would wrap around an ice sculpture, yet when given full throttle it holds its own.  As another Footloose tester, Michael, proclaimed, “Fun, stable and responsive.  Can do quick chute turns, straight line or carve on edge.”  That’s a testament to virtuosity that’s hard to beat whether you’re part of the youth market or partly responsible for the youth market. 

Scored on 1.00 to 10.00 scale:

early to edge
continuous, accurate carve
rebound/turn finish
stable and accurate at speed
short-radius turns
low speed turns
drift and scrub
off-piste performance
forgiveness/ease
finesse vs. power balance
race
technical ( ♂ ~ ♀ )
frontside ( ♂ ~ ♀ )
all-mountain east ( ♂ ~ ♀ )
all-mountain west ( ♂ ~ ♀ )
big mountain ( ♂ ~ ♀ )
powder