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SkiLogik Rave RL "DarkSide" 174cm 2014-2015

2014-2015 SkiLogik Rave RL
Darkside Graphic

130-92-120 r=15m @ 174

Manufacturer Info:

SkiLogik LLC
P.O. Box 9480
Breckenridge, CO 80424 USA
+1 970-453-8000 voice
+1 970-368-4400 fax

Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):

$800 usd retail

Usage Class:

All-Mountain Midsize

Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")

8+ for a directional powder ski (not smeary-surfy)
8+ for packed powder groomers
9 for mixed conditions
8-9 for hardpack in 92mm waisted class

Ski Designer(s):

David Mazzarella

Manufacturer's Description:

"The Rave RL is a high performance versatile Rocker Logik ski that is adept at everything from steep to deep.

Like all of SKILOGIK’s Rocker Logik skis, the Rave RL features positive camber and SKILOGIK's trademark Vektor 8™ Carbon Fiber/Fiberglass construction. The Rave RL was designed to have superior edge hold and carving on a design that most would consider only for powder. The Rave RL is ideal for those looking for a rocker ski that performs across the spectrum of snow surfaces.

- website 2014


The description Dave "Mazz" Mazzarella puts on the Rave TT is accurate.  The Rave RL does indeed seem like a powder-oriented design,and is playful and fun in powder and cut-up powder conditions, but has a remarkable ability to carve strong and quick lines on packed surfaces better than nearly every other ski in this category.   This model from SkiLogik has received many awards from many different test groups over the last several years, and with the new finishing process at the factory, the Rave RL, along with the other SkiLogiks we tested this season, are probably the best SkiLogiks we've have been on.  The Rave RL is confident and fun to ski in nearly every condition except for super high-speed conditions, and makes it one of the best one-quiver choices we have seen for those who spend a lot of time in fresh snow at the first chair in the morning and skied-out surfaces right up to last-chair and prefer a quick, nimble ski.  We predict the 14-15 Rave RL will grab more awards from more test organizations this coming season because it is a great all-mountain ski with great handling personality and a huge fun factor wrapped in a totally gorgeous wood marquetry topsheet.  The Rave "Rocker Logic" is more loose-feeling and soft-snow oriented than its Rave "Twin Tip (TT)" version which has a more carving-oriented, higher-octane personality.

Technical Ski Data:

Dave Mazzarella ("Mazz") creates an unusual, and somewhat exotic construction of his skis by using a proprietary hardwood core (we think Paulownia wood may be involved...but can't confirm this) with extremely hard black walnut sidewall/edge supports.  This creates a torsionally strong ski with good transfer of energy to the edges (SkiLogiks often have pretty impressive edge hold compared to other skis in the same category). The "Vector 8" composite fabric is a mix of fiberglass and carbon laid above and below the wood core.  The "Black Magik" bases are carbon-infused, sintered material sourced from Germany. Ski manufactured in China.

SkiLogik construction details (click for larger version)

Bindings and Boots Used:

Tyrolia PowerRail PRD12 Demo Bindings
Salomon S-Max 120 boots.

Pre-Skiing Impression:

SkiLogik makes some of the most attractive skis in the business, with gorgeous, hand-made inlaid wood topsheet artwork.  This "Darkside" graphic stopped everyone who saw it dead in their tracks.  The fit and finish was very, very good (essentially flawless).  A new finishing process with new machines has been put into the production line at SkiLogik in 2015, and we skied it "out of the box" as-is and found it was the best finish yet on a pair of SkiLogik skis with excellent base structure and edge preparation.   The hand flex on the Rave RL is failrly soft in the forebody, medium-stiff in the midbody and tail, and torsionally strong.  The ski feels damp and resistant to vibrations.  Mounting bindings found the screws to tighten firmly and securely in the wood core and laminates, locking down with authority...more than many other skis we have mounted.  The forebody has a long-taper, early-rise design with an essentially flat tail and considerable camber (see photos).  Geometry is moderately curvy, but not radical.  The "Rocker Logic" design seems more like a cambered ski with a long-taper, early-rise tip rather than a "rockered tip" most people would recognize today.

Test Conditions:

Eastern corduroy, packed powder and hardpack groomers, boilerplate, ungroomed packed powder with small bumps, shin-deep to knee-deep powder conditions, both smooth and bumpy. Chalky wind buff, fresh and old powder..

Hardpack and Boilerplate:

The Skilogik Rave RL is surprisingly athletic and grippy on hardpack, beating out most other skis in this rockered-forebody midsize class. The Rave RL can jam out quick, highly controlled darting changes in direction on hardpack with very little effort, as well as dig some confidence-inspiring GS-style trenches when layed over in high-angle, high-pressure carves.  Turn initiation on hardpack starts early in the early-rise forebody, and engages its cambered midbody and tail crisply with very little effort, allowing the pilot to pressure the tail and jet out of the turn, or disengage and pivot to scrub speed without any protest or sketchy behavior.  Carving behavior of the Raver RL is impressive, yet it feels easy to ski.  The transmission of energy through the hardwood core to the black walnut sidewalls to the edges feels rock-solid, yet damp without buzz or vibration annoyance on boilerplate.  The only downside to the RL design is a bit of unsettled behavior at very high speeds on hardpack due to the shorter effective edge and moderate forebody rocker.  This can probably be greatly reduced by sizing up to a longer length.  The 174cm version we tested was a little short for my 5-foot, 11-inch frame, even in the New England terrain we used for reviewing this ski.  I would buy the 182 to use this ski as a daily driver for a person my size.

Mixed Conditions:

The Rave RL loves to play in mixed surface conditions, preferring to be a directional, deliberate ride rather than a surfy-floaty type of ski, tackling wacked-out materials with control and composure.  The Rave RL keeps a solid grip on the surface throughout most of its cambered length, allowing the early-rise, long-taper forebody to float up and over humps, clumps, troughs and piles so you can grip them with the midbody.  The energetic chassis convinces you to pop and launch off nearly everything you can find because it's so much fun.  If you try to overpower the Rave RL, it does not "fold up" in protest and wash away, it merely cranks a tighter, quicker change of direction.  Muscle-skiers who are used to planky, damp freight train skis might find the Rave RL to be somewhat :"darty" when pushed hard in three dimensional snow, while most people will find it super reponsive and sporty.  The Rave RL is one of those skis that encourages you to go faster than you might on other skis because it is energetic and confidence-inspiring with lots of control and no odd behaviors except a little nervousness at very high speeds.  Fun is the best way to describe the Rave RL in mixed snow conditions.


The Rave RL, having a fair amount of camber and moderately strong flex in the midbody, can transmit some energy to the skier when pushed in bumpy terrain, but never seems to hang-up in tight terain other than the squeeky-narrow tree lines under 10 miles per hour due to its relatively flat tail.  As soon as you get the speed up a little, this feeling disappears.  Due to its energetic nature, the Rave RL likes to be driven in a sporty fashion through the bumps, rather than passively ridden, and can deliver a great pop up and out of the bumps when you need it.  This is more of a "point-it-and-drive-it" bumpy terrain ski rather than a "snaky-smeary" bump tool.


The Rave RL is 130-92-120, so it's not a dedicated powder ski when compared to fatter designs. It's behavior in powder is what some people would call a "directional" powder ski, prefering to be pointed and tipped instead of smeared and surfed.  One of the nice things about the Rave RL in powder is it is a precision ride, allowing you to accurately set a line in the snow through trees and stay on it without tip dive, trajectory deviation or deflection from subsurface anomalies.  High speed runs in powder in open terrain reveals the Rave RL is a bit darty and quick due to its cambered design, but also very responsive and agile.  The flex and geometry keeps the Rave RL well balanced in powder conditions, with no hint of front or rear bias, unwanted rise or tip dive...just predictable travel with little effort.  Cutting through somewhat windpacked or dense snow is easy and effective with the long tapered nose and stable torsional strength, making the Rave RL a ski with the ability to ride through many kinds of surfaces.  Again, I would pick the 182cm length to slow down the quick handling in soft snow because I am just under 6 feet tall.

Analogies: ("This ski is like...")

An athletic Swiss army knife with an effective tool for nearly every condition from hardpack to powder.

Quick Comments:

  • Surfy nose, with solid gripping midbody and tail
  • Surprisingly quick and effectively strong grip underfoot on hardpack
  • Capable of unusually good carving ability on packed powder or corduroy surfaces.
  • Ignores mixed snow conditions
  • Directional behavior in powdery situations with zero deflection from subsurface materials.
  • Fun, athletic and unusually wide performance envelope

Things I Would Change About This Ski:
Probably nothing, except offer a longer size than 182cm.  Great as-is for what it's intended for.

Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":

Great all-mountain ski for those who want a 90mm-waisted class ski with a bias toward soft snow, but shines as a first-chair-to-last-chair tool one-ski quiver.  This ski has won many awards for a reason.  It works great and looks even better.

Advice To People Considering This Ski:

Consider upsizing one size if you like to ski somewhat faster or with a more athletic vigor. Expect adoring comments when other skiers see the handmade woodwork up close.

Pics: (click for larger versions)


The tiny flecks seen here on the left ski are not flaws, but tiny inlaid mother-of-perl star accents. (See one near the bottom of the pic below for more detail)



By: e.edelstein  Posted: Monday, April 13, 2015 5:56:02 AM
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