REVIEWS AND TESTS
Ski Tests & Reviews
Ogasaka E-Turn 8.6 2020-2021
Ogasaka Ski Co., Ltd.
653 Kurita, Nagano-shi, Nagano, 380-0921, Japan
Fast Ski Sports
437 Old Mammoth Rd #120
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
Phone +1 760-934-4447
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
$899.99 usd (no binding)
"Mountain" according to Ogasaka, catalog and website show backcountry freeride images for the E-Turn models (118, 108, 98 and 86mm widths available. For us, the E-Turn 8.6 felt like a gentle all-mountain frontside resort ski rather than freeride. Wider models in the E-Turn line appear to have more freeride-oriented geometries and seem like a different category of ski than the E-Turn 8.6.
Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
8-9 for novice to intermediate skiers on resort frontside terrain.
7 for advanced skiers due to soft-ish nature of this model
Ogasaka ski company started making skis in 1912...so as of 2020, it is a 109 years old and still making skis...perhaps the largest ski company in Japan...so they must be doing something right. Ogasaka is relatively unknown in North America, even if they make a full range of very modern, high-quality racing, technical carving, recreational and junior models (nearly 60 models by a count of their catalog in 2020).
"ET-8.6 offers excellent turning performance and stability at on-piste as well as the outstanding versatility at off-piste. Light woodcore enhanced maneuverability to enjoy all mountain to the fullest." New cosmetics and light woodcore promise the ultimate maneuverability and all-mountain performance.
Technical Ski Data:
"NF Light Wood Core" rumored to be a blend of Chinese paulownia, Japanese wing nut, North American poplar, North Americanm Maple and Japanese beech depending on the model...exact core specs not available. Proprietary core curing techniques are used...some sources indicate cores are dried in a controlled environment for 3 years before assembly. Fibre-Reinforced Polymer (F.R.P)
Textured full-cap topsheet.
Base edge angle = 1.5°, side edge angle = 1.0 ° - diagonal cross base structure from the factory
Bindings, Boots & Wax Used:
Marker Griffon demo
Salomon S-Max 130 Carbon boots
Green Ice Waxes
Like the other Ogasaka ski models we tested, this pair was stunningly assembled, superbly finished, precisely tuned and given a nice base grind pattern and even waxed out of the box. These skis gave the impression of high quality craftsmanship and precision rarely found in other brands. Soft flex and gentle rebound with mild-to-moderate torsional strength gives the impression of an intermediate-level, well-rounded all-mountain ski. Warmly colored topsheet with somewhat subdued graphics do not have impressive "rack-appeal". Ogasaka's catalog images for the E-Turn model line show backcountry freeride scenes and their wider offerings (118, 108 or 98mm widths) and much different geometries than the E-Turn 8.6. It feels like the E-Turn 8.6 is an orphan in the model lineup compared to their other offerings, but read-on or our impression of how it skis. .
Eastern U.S. hardpacked artificial snow, perfect, dry packed powder corduroy, boot-deep powder, yellow boilerplate, cold granular sugar with death-cookie ice chunks, cold, skied-out early season granular on top of boilerplate.
All too often, we get caught up in reviewing only the fanciest, top-of-the-line, exotic, high-tech ski designs from lesser-known ski companies and we forget the majority of skiers are not candidates for those types of skis. The world of skiers is vast and varied, and the biggest segment of the market often falls to intermediate-level skiers who go out on weekends for pure fun, not intense performance, so we wanted to sample a ski for this mainstream market from Ogasaka to see their interpretation of what such a ski should be. The Ogasaka E-Turn 8.6 (86mm underfoot) is a great example of a ski for novice-to-intermediate (or just senior) skiers who don't want a narrow-waisted, "front-side carver" type of ski, but more of a friendly, playful, all-mountain frontside resort ski for all-day pleasure skiing.
The Ogasaka E-Turn 8.6 has a mild sidecut, traditional camber profile with a hint of rocker in the tip and a relatively flat-ish tail supporting a soft-ish, but energetic-response flex pattern. The E-Turn 8.6 is an instantly-friendly, but not wishy-washy recreational all-mountain ski with low-demand turn initiation and management behaviors so it never intimidates the skier, but instead instills a sense of stability and responsiveness at low to moderate speeds. Higher speeds are well-behaved with a nicely dampened, controlled ride with no hint of unwanted darty behavior or instability except for a bit of tip flap at high speeds unlikely achieved by the target audience. Really icy or boilerplate conditions show the ski's default tune of 1.5 degree base and 1 degree side angles is a bit slippery and does not engage the ski seriously into the hardest surfaces, prefering to deliver an easy-turn ("E-Turn") feel and driftability over secure bite and the attention a tighter tune spec requires from the skier. Tuning the E-Turn 8.6 to a tighter spec of <1 degree base bevel delivers a much better bite on hard surfaces without sacrificing too much friendly feel underfoot. Bumps and irregular surface conditions are absorbed easily with no unexpecte deflections at low and moderate speeds, while speeds outside its design specs in rough surfaces produces a little predictable weakness under high-pressure, but never a wholesale wash-away, which is a nice feature for the target audience. This is the kind of ski you would recommend to a new or intermediate skier wanting something wider than 75mm underfoot for ocassional soft-snow and fresh-snow adventures all over the resort. What the E-Turn 8.6 lacks in laser-like, intense hard snow edge grip, it makes up for with super-pleasant all-condition personality and sporty agility in a really wide range of conditions. This is the kind of ski you would put under your intermediate-level parents or grandparents and they would thank you for it because of its ease of handling, predictable behavior and stability without feeling demanding. If you want a ski targeted at this segment of the market, Ogasaka has a high quality product with the right personality and performance. If only it had a bit more zing in the graphics department....
Hardpack and Boilerplate:
The Ogasaka E-Turn 8.6 comes from the factory with a base bevel of 1.5 degrees and side bevel of 1 degree, so it never feels grabby or hooky on hard surfaces, but it feels a bit over-beveled and never delivers the kind of edgehold on boilerplate surfaces many skier expect. Japan is said to have few icy conditions at its resorts, so this may be one of the factors leading to this kind of edge bevel spec for this model. The chassis of the E-Turn 8.6 can handle a tighter tune for hard surfaces nicely, so if it feels over-beveled, a quick pass through a nice base grind machine for a less-beveled edge can brighten up this skis's hardpack behavior. On surfaces slightly softer than ice or boilerplate, the E-Turn 8.6 sets a nicely controlled, but never intimidating edge, and remains quiet across hardpack surfaces at low to moderate speeds, gradually becoming slightly more unsettled on hardest snow at higher speeds unlikely for its target audience. The energy level of the E-Turn 8.6 is moderate, and delivered gradually, so it never darts unexpectedly or feels nervous on hard surfaces. Vibration control on hard snow is generally very good and the ski stays fairly quiet on hardest snow unless you push it too hard or exceed its speed limit, and even then, it never gets unsettled to the point of spooking the skier...it just feels like it wants to slow down a bit to calm the vibrations underfoot. While the E-Turn 8.6 is no race-carver, it's hard snow prowess is fairly good if you tighten the tuning spec a bit and ski it like an intermediate all-mountain ski. When conditions are densely-packed powder or dense corduroy, the E-Turn 8.6 sets up nice turns with friendly, yet energetic agility and security underfoot when carving a turn or just gliding along with a bit of drift and pop here and there, so it should make a large population of intermediate groomer fans nice and happy.
Mixed Surface & Variable Conditions:
The E-Turn 8.6 has a nicely balanced 126-86-110 geometry with decent float-factor and mild tip rocker to deliver a compliant, friendly and predictable ride in mixed snow conditions. This is really where the E-Turn 8.6 shines. You can go out to get first tracks at the resort with a few inches of fresh snow and the ski floats and drifts intuitively and without effort, so the skier never feels trapped "in the snow", but surfs across the surface nicely. You can make big turns, medium turns or even quick, short-swing-like turns at a variety of speeds with very little effort, and that hits the mark nicely. The tips are relatively compliant, so pounding across cut-up or bumpy surfaces is never rude, but instead results in a nicely absorbed feeling underfoot without deflection. The E-Turn 8.6 is energetic, eager and easy to pop up and over piles of snow, bumps and irregularities, only becoming slightly flappy at high speeds where a stiffer, heavier ski with more mass and damping would be appropriate.
We only got boot-deep powder conditions for the E-Turn 8.6, but it's soft flex and easy demeanor made cruising at low to moderate speeds totally easy, fun and intuitive. Higher-than-normal speeds for this class of ski resulted in the softish tips creating a slightly darty, shorter-than-expected ski feel, but always controlled. Advanced intermediates would be unlikely to reach the upper speed limit of the E-Turn 8.6 in powder conditions. The 8.6 responds quickly and easily to hints from the skier in powdery conditions, and it could be a nice choice for new-ish and intermediate skiers looking to try fresh snow conditions at the resort.
Turn Initiation, Apex & Finish:
The Ogasaka E-Turn 8.6 initiates turns with very little effort, never hesitating or resisting a slight tip-in, bank or sideways movement in different conditions, making it a nice choice for people with developing technical skills who don't want to be intimidated by a ski's demand for technical excellence. The moderate sidecut results in a naturally-evolving turn shape with a pretty intuitive feel for where the ski wants to be and how it wants to be pressured, yet never feels like it's taking the skier for a ride of its own accord or pulling the skier in an unwanted direction...so it builds confidence. When you get to the apex of your turns with the E-Turn 8.6, it feels natural and lets you round-off the turn with some tail pressure without throwing you into the backseat. You can feather the turn finish or change radius without protest, so skiers never feel locked-in. Expert skiers with overzealous ambitions of pressuring the E-Turn 8.6 into race-like turn sequences at high speeds will find the intermediate nature of this model exhibiting some wash-away in a predictable manner at the peak of apex pressure as the torsionally-compliant chassis releases its grip. Novice to advancing intermediate skiers will find the variety and friendliness of the E-Turn's turn behavior suitable for pretty much any non-extreme conditions at the resort. Packed powder is the material of choice for the E-Turn 8.6 turn shapes.
Manufacturer's Mounting Position:
Factory-specified mount with the Marker Griffon Demos. Adjusting position fore and aft resulted in us returning to the factory mark for best performance and behaviors.
Analogies: ("This ski is like...")
The Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic of the ski world. Totally comfortable, totally capable, intuitive and pleasing to a huge swath of the population looking for a refined, civilized, high-quality ride for years to come.
This is the ski to put your Mom on if she skis only 5 days a year, but loves to cruise around the resort in a few inches of fresh snow, groomed packed powder and some mixed conditions and doesn't want to think about her skis under her.
Things I Would Change About This Ski:
Not much...maybe a slightly stronger torsional forebody to improve hardpack grip, or simply send them out of the factory with a 1 degree base bevel instead of 1.5 degrees.
Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":
The Ogasaka E-Turn 8.6 is a model sitting in-between the groomer,carving-oriented line and freeride-oriented line of skis for Ogasaka...seemingly trying to be a crowd-pleasing all-mountain design without a bias toward hard or soft snow.
What kind of skier is this ski good for and not suitable for?
Aspiring novices up to strong intermediates will like the easy, friendly nature of the E-Turn 8.6. Experts, speed-loving types or muscle-skiers will overpower the E-Turn 8.6. Retirees looking to get back into skiing after many years off might find the E-Turn 8.6 an ideal re-entry model.
Advice To People Considering This Ski:
If you ski on firm surfaces at your favorite resorts, you may want to specify a 1 degree or 0.75 degree base bevel to increase edge grip without sacrificing friendly, versatile handling traits.
Left-to-Right: Ogasaka TC-SK, TC-MK, TC-LK, Triun SL, Triun GS, E-Turn 8.6
Ogasaka E-Turn 8.6 tip detail
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