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Skilogik

What do you do for an encore after elevating a tiny, exotic brand like touring ski maker Scotty Bob to cult status in the most niche-like niche in skiing?

If you're Dave Mazzerella, you cash out, pack up the Breckenridge kit and move lock-stock-and-barrel-stave to Hainan Island, a tropical resort sitting in the South China Sea midway between Macau and Viet Nam, itself imbued with cult status and definitely not your grandfather's ski company setting. There you establish house and home, invest a decade setting up a full-blown, advancing-the-state-of-the-art ski factory and commence building handmade skis that perform at top-tier level and, moreover, are near-collectible works of art. You call the adventure Skilogik.

Who?

If you've never heard of Skilogik, let alone blasted about the hill astride one of their more outstanding models (we do like some better than others) or caressed a silky, inlaid-mother-of-pearl Skilogik topskin, no worries; you likely will before long.

Adolescent Skilogik, against daunting odds, has made it this far and appears to be among the faster growing brands in the U.S. It's not all that difficult to grow at a fevered pace when baseline share is all but immeasurable, but Skilogik shows serious signs of staying power. Company growing pains notwithstanding, and there have been some, Mazz quite simply makes some great skis.

Skilogik first caught our attention in 2010 when we skied the Ullr's Chariot, which may be the most versatile ski ever to taste bottomless powder or New England ice. Since then, models like the Front Burner, Occam's Razor, Rave, Iris and Goddess TT versions and the Rock Star have tested extremely well and garnered strong praise from those skiers who have found them out.
And you can order any of them with custom specs and cosmetics.

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2016 Addendum

What’s old is new again, as Skilogik returns several of our testers’ favorites, including Ullr’s Chariot TT and its sister ski, Goddess TT, to their official catalog. Since Skilogik is in the business of custom manufacturing, these models remained available even when seemingly in absentia, so in a way nothing’s really changed.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Every major manufacturer changes their cosmetics every year whether the ski underneath is altered or not, so Skilogik’s adherence to core technologies and shapes is in line with industry norms. What makes Skilogik special, aside from Mariella’s extraordinary artwork, is the use of sophisticated synthetic materials such as their house carbon/fiberglass blend, Vektor 8™, and carefully selected natural components, like the Black Locust Sidewalls of Ullr’s Chariot.

All small brands brag about their craftsmanship whether it bears close inspection or not.  Dave Mazzerella and Mariella bring actual engineering and true artistry to the ski making endeavor, and it shows in every ski they make.

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In-depth reviews of 17 models—with key performance ratings ( ? ) and genre model comparisons ( ? ) —are in our member section

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new for 2016Ice Pick

traditional

Power:  A

Finesse:  B

Sidecut:  122/66/100
Radius:  12m @ 165cm
Lengths:  165cm
Weight:  1775g @ 165cm
MSRP:  $850

ice-pick

The Skilogik Ice Pick is an anomaly in this line-up for several reasons. It’s a race-ready, world-class slalom ski that’s also an elegant piece of art.  It doesn’t use any metal laminates, yet if anything the prototype is too stiff.  Yes, we said prototype, for the Ice Pick, designer Dave Mazzarella’s latest gem, is so new the ski we tested was still in the last stages of gestation.

The Ice Pick isn’t made with a built-in plate, but that doesn’t mean a plate isn’t a required appendage.  (Mazz may include a plate on the final product.  We’ll keep you posted.) Without the elevation a plate provides, the skier wielding an Ice Pick will discover the unpleasant meaning of the term, “boot-out.” 

As you may have surmised from this inside scoop, realskiers enjoys a special relationship with Skilogik through our site’s Founder, who has provided direction and feedback to Mazz during the Ice Pick’s development.  (Realskiers’ Founder, Peter Keelty, plays no current role in organizing our product testing and evaluation methods.)

The inspiration for the Ice Pick was an early version of Head’s race slalom ski, and the Ice Pick’s shares its avatar’s craving for the high edge angles that are only achieved with total commitment to the turn, a move that only strong, talented skiers can execute.  If you know how to throw yourself into a short-radius turn, the Ice Pick knows how to catch you.

No matter how Mazz may modify the flex of the Ice Pick before he goes into production, the Ice Pick you ski can be the Ice Pick you pick: anyone can special order a customized flex pattern.

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Occam's Razor

traditional

Power:  A

Finesse:  B

Sidecut:  132/76/113
Radius:  11.5m
Lengths:  162,172
Weight:  1795g @ 162
MSRP:  $850

This review is based on 2014 test results; the ski is unchanged.

occam's razor

Occam’s Razor’s voluptuous sidecut (note the 56mm drop in tip to waist dimensions) was created for the express purpose of executing high edge-angle arcs.  Its baseline more closely resembles that of a race slalom than a slightly sloppy Frontside ride, meaning it starts to dig into the turn as close to the tip as is feasible and its square tail ensures continued edge hold until the last centimeter. 

Made torsionally rigid so the edge won’t wobble, the Razor slashes into any surface on its cat-quick, 11.5m sidecut, maintaining an even load all along the edge until it sends you on a silken trajectory into the next turn.

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Front Burner

traditional

Power:  A+

Finesse:  A+

Sidecut:  138/84/120
Radius:  14m @ 178cm
Lengths:  158,168,178,188
Weight:  2275g @ 178cm
MSRP:  $850

This review is based on 2014 test results; the ski is unchanged.

front burner

If you want to build a brilliant Frontside carver, it makes sense to start with a fairly tight turning radius, for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, nothing hooks up as instantly as a ski with a big drop in width from forward contact point to waist.  Second, it’s easier to coax a long arc out of short-radius sidecut than it is to force a short turn out of a big-radius ski, making the former a more versatile stick.

Despite sporting a classic camber line bereft of any of the purported benefits of a long early rise in the tip, Skilogik’s Front Burner is one of those rare skis that is so well balanced that we could list among our Finesse winners (as we did last year) or slide it into the Power posse as it appears here, as this position is slightly more indicative of the Burner’s appetite for slicing hard snow to ribbons.

While any torsionally stiff ski with a fat tip and skinny waist will hook up, the problem with most of this species is they tend at the same time to lock up, meaning they won’t release the edge even if you beg. The Front Burner somehow manages to be at once water-bug quick, silky smooth and willing to go with the flow however you choose to turn it.  Its standout features are a light-footed fluidity that masks an avenger’s attitude. 

The Front Burner is more indifferent to irregular terrain than the average Frontside ski, so it’s a better candidate as a one-ski quiver.   Responsive, purposeful and supple, the Burners feel likes dancing shoes when on the feet of an elite skier, but they’re open-hearted enough to serve as game improvement skis for those less talented.

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Ullr's Chariot TT

traditional

Power:  A+

Finesse:  A+

Sidecut:  145/101/131
Radius:  15m @ 178cm
Lengths:  168,178,188
Weight:  2205g in 178cm
MSRP:  $850

ullrs chariot tt

SkiLogik’s Ullr’s Chariot TT is a bundle of delightful surprises, the first of which comes the moment you lay eyes on them.  Their gorgeous, exquisitely crafted woodwork makes the mere “cosmetics” of other skis appear drab and sterile.  Can skis that rise to the level of actual art be any good to ski on?  And wouldn’t it be almost sacrilegious, like using the statue of David as a coatrack?

Au contraire, Dear Reader, the crime would be not skiing a model as remarkable as the original Ullr’s Chariot TT, back in the line this year by popular demand. Returning to our list of surprises, the TT stands for Twin Tip, which often signals a limp Pipe & Park personality.  The Chariot is the exact opposite, cambered end to end and strong as a lumberjack.   It’s precision on edge is the same league as Kästle and Stöckli, two other brands known for their craftsmanship.

The next surprise is even more remarkable: a ski that measures a sliver over 100mm underfoot feels relatively quick to the edge.  You’d suspect a wide twin to smear more readily than it carves, but this mid-fat is disposed in the opposite direction, hooking up as a matter of course and smearing only as a last resort. Although the Chariot doesn’t use metal laminates, its combination of wood, glass and carbon achieves a sturdy construction that holds on hard snow and busts up crud into little bits on contact.

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new for 2016Adrenaline

early rise

Power:  B+

Finesse:  A-

Sidecut:  124/100/118
Radius:  22m @ 176cm
Lengths:  166,176,186
Weight:  1735g in 176cm
MSRP:  $870

xxx

SkiLogik’s Adrenaline is a hard charger with a soft heart.  A sidecut this shallow in an all-mountain ski hasn’t been seen since Monica Lewinski was in the headlines.   This straight a ski should send the Adrenaline jockey on a headlong lunge to the base lodge, but the Adrenaline is supple enough along its length to carve out round, medium-radius turns on demand.

If the Adrenaline could write its own prescription, it would ask for liberal doses of powder (who wouldn’t?), a rider with a fighter pilot’s taste for speed and world peace.  It will turn at low speeds if you insist, but it’s like asking Bode Miller if he wouldn’t mind demonstrating a snowplow turn for the rest of the class. It prefers to go fast, stivot (a half-drift, half-carve hybrid turn) through the top of the turn, blast through the middle, skip the next two turns just for grins, then haul butt to the bottom, not of the turn, but of the mountain.

If this doesn’t sound much like a Finesse ski, the Adrenaline isn’t your typical ride.   It’s actually easy to guide as long as you don’t ask it to stray too far from the fall line.  The Adrenaline expects you to take it off-trail and gradually accelerate until you and the mountain are one.

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Powderball

rocker

Power:  A

Finesse:  A+

Sidecut:  139/112/128
Radius:  14m
Lengths:  178,188
Weight:  1900g @ 178cm
MSRP:  $890

This review is based on 2014 test results; the ski is unchanged.

powderball

Skilogik’s Powderball isn’t a stab at an all-mountain ski on a big platform; it’s an unadulterated powder slat, period. Fully rockered at tip and tail, the Powderball presents a lot of surface area to the snow yet steers, or smears, as if it were much smaller. 

The Powderball is all about making its favorite condition easier for skiers of any skill level, although its particularly kind to the skier who likes to link short, controlled turns together. Its pintail shape releases the turn readily, setting the skier up for the next smooth tilt and lilt into another tight-radius turn.

If all you want to do is see who gets to the bottom first, there are plenty of other options in the Big Mountain genre to chose from. If you prefer to linger longer in the arc and savor the sensation of powder sliding slowly over and around you, the Powderball is your kind of ride.

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Howitzer

early rise

Power:  A

Finesse:  B

Sidecut:  134/110/128
Radius:  22m @ 176
Lengths:  166,176,186,194
Weight:  1860g @ 176cm
MSRP:  $870

This review is based on 2014 test results; the ski is unchanged.

howitzer

Like frontline military service, the Howitzer is not for the meek. While the twin-tipped Howitzer from Skilogik looks as New School as an online university, it succeeds the good, old-fashioned way, with conventional camber underfoot. 

Two sheets of carbon give it the backbone to blast through debris like its namesake.  The clever craftsman who creates all that is Skilogik, Dave Mazzerella, usually concocts sidecuts that yield tight radius turns, even in fat configurations, so the Howitzer is a bit out of character in preferring its arcs on the longer side. 

Attitudinally, the Howitzer is a fall line slasher that imagines you’d prefer your powder served in plumes it can pitch shoulder-high, in the process administering a dose of adrenaline to ensure you have the requisite energy to dive back into the white churn. What it lacks in subtlety it compensates for with enthusiasm.  While one might characterize the Howitzer as at heart a cruiser, it’s not a casual cruiser but the kind that bristles with big guns.    

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Rock Star

rocker

Power:  A+

Finesse:  A

Sidecut:  142/117/141
Radius:  14m @ 178cm
Lengths:  168,178,188
Weight:  1960g @ 178cm
MSRP:  $890

rock star

The Skilogik Rock Star possesses the smallest meter-radius sidecut measurement in the category, meaning if it were a narrower ski it would cut a tidy little arc. 

But the Rock Star isn’t a little ski and short turns don’t mean as much to it as the glamor of the spotlight as it torches the fall line. It doesn’t have an especially pronounced shape in the forebody, which is heavily rockered and paddle-shaped to help absorb landings in powder, but its tail is nearly as wide as the tip, an unusual shape in any genre and unknown elsewhere in the Powder universe.

Overall, the Rock Star doesn’t demand highly proficient skiing to be appreciated, as its high score for scrub-ability attests.  The capacity to smear while maintaining its orientation in the fall line is what makes the Rock Star one of the top Powder Power Picks.

We’d be remiss not to mention that the Rock Star provides Skilogik’s artist-in-residence, Mariella, with a huge canvas on which to create her interesting and arresting art.  In a world of ho-hum cosmetics, the Rock Star steals the show for creativity and craftsmanship.

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