Updated: Jan 25
Best Price: evo $749.95
Available Lengths: 174, 181
Under Foot: 105
Turning Radius: ~15m
Testing Locations: Vail Colorado, Revelstoke British Columbia
Days Tested: 60+
Binding: Marker Griffon
Technical Terrain: 9
Less Than Ideal Conditions: 8
A quick glance at the Line Sakana leaves bypassers with a look of confusion that quickly turns to a big grin. This emotion is caused by the unique fish tail incorporated in the ski. If you didn’t already know, fish tails are often incorporated into surfboards, and more recently in snowboards. The purpose of the fish tail in a snowboard is to decrease the surface area behind the riders back foot allowing the tip to more easily float in the powder. Eric Pollard, professional skier and former designer for line skies had the crazy idea to incorporate this unique shape into skis in 2017 when he created a powder specific version, the pescado, in 2017. In 2018, Eric Pollard is back with the new Line Sakana, the younger brother and all mountain version of the pescado. While many critics think the bizarre shape is a gimmick, what pollard created by incorporating the fish tail on the Sakana is truly amazing.
The first time you put the Sakanas on your feet, you will immediately notice several things. First off, these things are fat. Secondly, they feel light, this is due to the carbon stringers and weight distribution geared toward the foot to make rotations easier. Once you start ripping it down the mountain, you will notice several things, the edges lock in like a pair of slalom skis, but the flex pattern allows you to easily pop and get big air off of nulls in the trail. These are two characteristics that make the ski unbeatable. In addition, the shape plays a large role in the way these skis feel. One of the main things that you will notice with the shape is that the rocker is very late in this ski. This is why it is only offered in two lengths, 181 and 174. Given this long profile, the ski will feel longer than it actually is by about 5-10cm.
So the conditions are not the best today, rather than having to pull out your park skis or your 70 underfoot carvers, grab you 105 sakanas, that’s right 105. So if you are just quickly skimming this, you may have missed something, these skis are 105 underfoot and have a 15m turning radius. This is something often unheard of in a ski this wide. However, the massive shovel and wide tail that tapers in at the foot creates an edge shape that easily cuts into the side of a mountain and provides quick snappy turns.
I have found the Sakana to be the most fun ski I have ever had the chance to try. This is for the following reasons. First, I absolutely love skis that I can arc deep turns and quickly snap carves on. The Line sakana does all of this and more, it carves like a slalom ski without any of the stiffness. This has contributed to the second part of why I love them so much. These skis are so easy to pop, this has really elevated my skiing style as its allowed me to connect deep carves into jumps which is an unbelievable sensation. When I’m ripping it down the hill you will often see me my hands drag against the snow as I’m able to carve so deeply that I’m almost parallel with the slope. The fish tail also adds a unique component to them as its steel reinforcement really allows the skis to finish out the turns nicely, and provide a stiffer platform to pop from. These skis are an A+ for your average groomer on any given day.
Personally, I’m not a mogul guy. Unless I can’t avoid it, I rarely put myself in a situation where I have to ski moguls, unless there is fresh snow on top. Despite this I have taken the Sakanas down plenty of mogul runs. What I would say is that due to the longer edge profile associated with these skis, it makes moguls a bit more difficult. I own the 181 length, while I really enjoy the stability and power it gives me on the groomers and in the powder, this length is a bit of a detriment in the moguls. So, if you want to buy these skis and ski a lot of moguls, definitely go with the shorter length option.
For an all mountain ski, these are an absolute rockstar in deeper conditions. As I mentioned before, the Sakana’s tips are absolutely massive, which floats these skis up in the powder super well. The tail creates a unique sensation in the powder unlike any other ski. Similar to how this technology works in a snowboard, the decreased surface area in the tail pops the tips up ever so slightly, allowing you to easily slash through the powder without having to change your weight distribution to compensate for the deeper snow. The tail as its buried almost acts as a rudder and easily allows you to connect tight fast turns through the pow. Overall, these skis are fantastic for a powder day at the resort, and the unique shape helps with your weight distribution allowing you to keep skiing all day.
Overall, the line Sakana is an excellent all mountain choice for an advanced skier. This ski will put a huge smile on your face and you will be able to rely on it in a plethora of conditions. I think for an advanced skier who really enjoys carving and taking advantage of natural features the Sakana is your best bet.