REVIEWS AND TESTS
Ski Tests & Reviews
Anton Gliders Skis
Anton Gliders Advance 5.5, Carbon FS, GT, EX
Advance 5.5, Carbon FS, Carbon GT, Carbon EX
Chord length = 130cm
Waist size= 55 mm
Radius = 7.7 m
Chord length = 145cm
Waist size= 38 mm
Radius = 8.5 m
Chord length = 145cm
Waist size= 52 mm
Radius = 8.5 m
Chord length = 154cm
Waist size= 64 mm
Radius = 11.1 m
(L-R = Advance 5.5, Carbon FS, Carbon GT, Carbon GT, Wagner Custom Ski [Carbon EX not pictured)
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
$ 4,400 for Limited Edition Carbon models
$1,895 estimated cost for mass-produced models in 2008-2009
Advance 5.5 = New skier
Carbon FS = Beginner to advanced, hard snow only
Carbon GT = Beginner to advanced, more snow conditions (no powder)
Carbon EX = Intermediate to expert, even more snow conditions just short of powder.
Your Rating (with comments): (1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
Wow...hard to say.
I would have to see a beginner use the beginner ski with proper "Anton Glider" technique instruction to really judge the beginner skis...but here goes...
Advance 5.5 = 5
(for me a miniski...not targeted to me, but very easy to handle, a newbie might really get confident on these, terrain must be perfect for them)
Carbon FS = 5
(again, not targeted to me, but a beginner on hardpack would be very secure on these skinny waists)
Carbon GT = 8
(really fun for me, just a little shy of higher speeds and sinks a little in softer patches of snow)
Carbon EX = 10
(I had a blast on these with the tension dialed up to max, great carving toys...slalom cheaters)
My first reaction upon seeing them was "Oh boy, another Franken-ski designed by a machinist with too much time on his hands." After seeing many skis come and go with various gimmick doo dads like Marker SelectControl, extensible extra edges, fins, "the Claw", Salomon PowerLink, K2 Piezo-electric blinkie dots, Nordica X-balance, NavaSki binding system, Burt and Spademan bindings, plates of every shape and configuration...etc...etc., I was very skeptical. I see tons of really scary designs while keeping the ExoticSkis.com list of 175+ ski builders up to date, and these fell right into the "please not again..." category. Jay Frischman of Anton Gliders sent an email and said "Where and when can we meet up to show you the new production models?" I carefully reviewed the Anton Gliders website, watched the videos and said "OK, I try them."
These are NOT cobbed-together, Rube Goldberg skis. These are extremely finely machined and meticulously assembled "ski devices" where every component is carefully designed and fitted with highest-quality aerospace elastomers, stainless fasteners, CNC-machined mounting inserts in the ski body, high-quality aircraft-grade aluminum chassis with high-precision elastomer position adjusters, highest-quality leaf spring technology borrowed from premium bow hunting engineering, anodized finishes all combined with custom carbon/wood core skis made by Pete Wagner at Wagner Custom Skis in Colorado. (entry level model skis not made by Wagner). They are really, really cool to hold and examine up close. A real high-tech work of art. Tech junkies will drool over them, but at $4,400 per pair...you better be ready to pay a small fortune for them.
Bottom line - these skis really demand firm, consistent surfaces to work their magic. The beginner ski and the ultra-narrow (38mm waist like a nordic skating ski) ski more so than the GT or EX models. If you put a beginner on these skis, make sure they conditions are a perfect combination of slope surface and pitch. Othewise, they might sink a little and not give the new skier a fun ride. If the conditions are optimal, a beginner would find themselves definitely in control much more than conventional skis.
I skied all the models.
The Advance 5.5 beginner ski was tiny at 138cm with 55mm waist, but it never washed out, steered right where you wanted to go with very little effort, never felt squirrely and gave great feedback through your feet. Ski it like a beginner and it works as advertised. Very cool little ski. I think a never-ever skier might just have a really good day on these things and not give up after an hour of struggling and becoming uncomfortable like they so often do with typical skis.
The Carbon FS is a really radical ski shape being only 38mm underfoot (looks like a nordic skating ski in the middle) so your boot soles overhang the ski body, then the ski flares out to its "normal" tip and tail taper over its 138cm length. This ski demands a non-sinkable, firm surface. Push down in anything remotely soft, and it will sink down, slowing you waaaayyy down. Turns on firm surfaces are super easy and require you to forget your normal technique and merely unweight a pinkie toe on the outside ski to immediately set both skis into a turn. No roll of the ankle, no roll of the knee, no shift of the hips, no shift of your shoulders, no shift of your hands...just tip your toe or merely put a pound more weight on one ski than the other to start a turn. Cool, but very sensitive to snow surface conditions. They are quick little buggers, but totally controlled. No feeling of being on "railed" skis or locked into a carve. They will smear and smarve just fine at any time in your turn sequence, start, middle or end. Just watch your surface if it's at all variable. Perfectly stable at speed and extremely obedient and responsive. Just depth-sensitive. A beginner on a firm packed surface could learn carving in no time flat.
The Carbon GT model was a different animal at 52mm underfoot at 145cm length. This is what I would call a very friendly "extreme carver". You could put your Grandmother on these and she would love them on the groomers. No effort, no sinking underfoot (still keep to the groomed slopes folks), just turn, turn, turn on demand. No speed requirements or limitations. Great grip, great turns. Don't be fooled, however. Grandma might like them just fine, but a rowdy frontside skier will cut some great arcs with these things simply by turning up the tension adjustments. Even the experts will find the GTs really really FUN. You can run these at any speed you might use a "normal" ski. Stable, responsive, unlimited edging power (depending on your tension settings) and a blast to carve tracks with.
The Carbon EX is the high-performance, widest ski in the Anton Glider lineup. I tried them first with the elastomer settings set on 10 out of of 20 clicks (max). They turned extremely easy, held and edge and ripped nice turns much better than I thought they would, and the initial "better be a little careful on these things at speed" hesitation disappeared immediately. The front end seemed to wash a little, but a very slight weigh bias to the rear and zoom...they hooked up and rocketed into the next turn like Richochet Rabbit. My co-tester Jeff and I were fairly impressed when we got the tails to hook up on the sketchy test surfaces we had. Jay Frischman then had us crank the elastomer adjusters up. We maxed-them out at 20 clicks (see "Flex Adjustments" below) and took another run. We both found the EX had suddenly changed its personality into a serious GS-like race carver that just ripped. We both were laughing and grinning at the end of the run and immediately had to get another one in using these settings. Very cool ride. Complete personality change. These are the first "adjustable flex" skis I have every tried that really change when you twiddle the adjusters! Finally. It only took 20 years for someone to pull it off. We decided to take a bumpier trail down to swap skis, and the "full race" settings made the EX Gliders feel like 210cm GS skis. Tough as nails in the bumps. We backed the settings from 20 down to zero and continued down the trail, this time with compliant, freindly, perky, soft-flexing fun skis instead of unforginving GS skis. Very cool. I would own a pair of these if they didn't cost $4,400. Really cool toys for expert carvers, but adjustable so anyone could really enjoy them. I think the world has its first "real" adjustable ski.
My reservations about the Anton Gliders are:
- Very expensive Limited Edition models.
- Extremely surface-sensitive beginner models (great if the snow is perfect, but it may spoil their fun if they find a soft spot unexpectedly)
- Initial reaction by many industry veterans = "Oh no, not another Franken-ski." (before they even try them).
- Not sure how beginners trained with Anton Gliders might transition to "normal skis" if they ever wanted to.
I do think this concept is sound and Anton Gliders mechanism may be the first step toward the next-generation binding-ski integration. The first attempts by other manufacturers up to this point have not lived up to their hype yet. This system is truly adjustable and has a profound effect upon the ski's behavior and works as advertised. There have been plenty of great inventions out there that never made it past inital production stage due to fickle consumers and market pressures. The Anton Gliders may fade into history, or make history. It's up to the company to see what they can do with their invention. Definitely cool. I don't know if they can or should compete for market share, or instead try to bring their patented technology into the mainstream through the major manufacturers. Hard to say. In any case. American ingenuity strikes again (at a price)!
The independent leaf springs have little rubber baby bumpers suspended under the chassis above the ski topsheet. You can adjust them up or down to change the "travel" or how much the spring is loading the ski before you get "full contact" which essentially means you are stiffening the flex of the ski. Raise the bumper up, you get a soft flex. Lower the bumper down, you get a stiff flex. You get 20 different settings - on the forebody and the tail section! That means you can tune the behavior of these things like nothing else I have ever seen...and I have seen pretty much all the gimmicks in the ski industry over the last 40 years. Jay said he's already got his personal "race kits" of various elastomer materials, lengths, adjusters...etc. to trick out the flex of the skis for serious hard-core extreme carving.
Ski Designer (if known):
Anton Wilson / Jay Frischman
Technical Ski Data (if known):
- Proprietary flex pattern with zero-camber
- Wood core/triax fiberglass sandwich w/o metal
- CNC machined mounting point inserts
- Stainless Steel mounting hardware
- Aircraft-alloy anodized aluminum chassis
- CNC machined from custom extrusions
- Waterjet-cut, unidirectional composite main leaf springs
- High performance polyurethane elastomer chassis springs and Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene bearing material
- 360 degree-wrap edge, 2+ millimeter,
- Dura Jet carbon racing base (US made, like PTEX 4000 but more
durable and claimed to be faster)
- Rossignol Axium bindings
The skis are designed to have no camber (you read right). The suspension system provides the camber and tension of that camber. Take the skis off the suspension, they would lay flat on the bench. Bolt the suspension system and they are "cambered" for action. Odd, but cool.
Machinist's work of art. Really odd, but very cool looking. Hardware junkies will love these. High precision product. Really fun to flex the chassis and see the system work. Completely unable to predict performance just by feeling them.
Foggy, really poor visibility, near-misting 40 degree F. semi corn with sticky paste spots over yellow frozen base. Really unfortunate. The only video we could get was in the only semi-visible section of the hill way down on the flats (too flat to really show you how the skis can work...but it was the best video condition we could get).
Analogies: (this ski is like...)
Nothing I have skied before...you just have to try them...can't really describe it well.
After Skiing These, I Want To...
Have someone buy me the Carbon EX Limited Edition model
Self-Description of Skiing Style, Ability, Experience, Preferences (be honest):
Expert groomed-surface carver, "old-style" race inspired, "foot steerer" with fairly sensitive edging feel. Loves to hold long arcs with lots of pressure on the downhill ski (you know the type), but also loves the feel of both skis on-edge leaving tiny railroad track edge tracks. Not an instructor, but 10 year coach for youth race team in New England (bulletproof is the norm).
Carbon GT (52mm) (left) Carbon FS (38mm) (right)
Small video of the Anton Glider Carbon EX skis in action here:
Another review over at MainCoastNow.com by someone who tried the Gliders.
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