Updated: Jan 25
By Greg Gardner and Skyler Davis
Best Price: evo $599
Length Tested: 172
Width Tested: 100
Test Bindings: Marker Griffons
Test Locations: Park City UT, Sun Valley ID, Winter Park CO, Stowe VT, Mad River Glen VT, Jay Peak VT, Hunter Mountain NY
Technical Terrain: 9
Less than ideal conditions: 8
The Atomic Bentchetler 100 made its debut for the 2018 season, and immediately took the all mountain segment by storm due to its versatility. The Bent Chelter 100 is a slimmer version of its older sibling the Bent Chetler 120, which has been around for over a decade. These skis are the brain child and pro model for one of the most progressive backcountry skiers of our time, Chris Benchetler. Benchetler is a phenomenal skier who truly turns big mountain lines into his own canvas. In creating the Bent Chetler series, he wanted to help you do the same by providing the tools to paint your own canvas. The original 120 model was intended to attack big lines and provide plenty of float in deep conditions for advanced skiers. However, the new 100 model prides itself in versatility and suitability for a large variety of skier types. The Atomic Bent Chelter is the perfect ski, for skiers of all levels who are looking for one ski they can bring anywhere without sacrifice.
When it comes to hardback performance, the Bent Chetler is satisfactory, however it falls short of some competitors like the Icelantic Pioneer 96 that we have previously reviewed. While our tester, Skyler, really enjoys his Bent Chetlers, his primary complaint is a result of the 18m turning radius for the 172 length. This radius, and the ski shape in general, is more suitable for longer drawn out turns, and in turn requires quite a bit of speed to engage the edge. However, due to the flex pattern of the skis, they can get a bit chattery once a high speed is reached. This results in underperformance when compared to some of their competitors on hardback. One possible remedy for these issues, suggested by Skyler, could be to mount the binding a few centimeters forward from the factory location to help drive the tips down. If you are a beginner or intermediate skier, these skis may pose some challenges in developing fundamental carving technique, so it may be better to opt for a more beginner friendly ski, like the K2 Mindbender 90.
In the moguls, the Bent Chetlers perform quite well. This is due to their lightweight construction, and medium width that promotes quick maneuverability between bumps. Not to mention, the Bent Chetler has a rocker-camber-rocker profile, and in turn, the effective edge is less significant than skis without exit rocker making maneuverability much easier. Additionally, the flex pattern in these skis is perfect for jumping from bump to bump and having an overall good time.
Despite its width of only 100mm, the Bent Chetler 100 performs quite well on a typical resort powder day. This is a result of the increased surface area due to the large tips and tails which are roughly 130mm and 120mm respectively depending on your chosen length. If there's 6-8 inches of fresh snow, the Bent Chetler will have your flotation needs covered, but if its any deeper you may struggle. If you ski a lot of powder days and are looking for a one ski quiver, we might suggest the Elan Ripstick or the Line Sakana which come in around 105mm underfoot. However, the reality is that powder days and deep conditions on piste are becoming increasingly rare, so the slightly thinner profile of the Bent Chetlers is advantageous for everyday use.
According to Skyler, the Bent Chetler's performance in technical terrain was what surprised him the most. This was in large part due to the easy maneuverability between obstacles associated with the weight and shape of the ski. This, in conjunction with the versatility of the ski as a whole allows for high performance in tough terrain regardless of condition.
Less Than Ideal Conditions
Another highlight of the Bent Chetler 100 is its ability to handle variable conditions. The shape of the ski, in conjunction with its effective edge, busts through chop and crud with ease. Additionally, the edge retention provides a lot of stability in icy conditions. However, similar to its hardback performance, the ski struggles in variable conditions at high speed, and provides a slightly less stable ride which would be expected for an all mountain ski anyway. Overall, if you want a ski that will be confidence inspiring in variable conditions, or to handle the icey conditions on the east coast the Bent Chetler 100 is a very safe choice.
While the Bent Chetler 100 is by no means a freestyle specific ski, it can handle freestyle applications fairly easily. The skis are great in the air and provide a low swing weight. Additionally, they are soft enough to get some butter and pop action throughout the mountain. If you are into jibbing, you should be able to handle the occasional rain, especially if you mount the bindings forward a few centimeters. One thing to note is that the Bent Chetler is not a traditional twin tip in the sense that it is a directional ski. As a result, it will be a bit more difficult to ski switch on these than some park specific models. However, if you are in a pinch the exit rocker is substantial enough to prevent you from tripping.
If you are looking for one ski to do it all, the Bent Chetler is an excellent choice for skiers of all ability levels that will prove to be a great companion regardless of how fast your skiing progresses. While the Bent Chetler does not provide 'outstanding' performance in any one category, it delivers satisfactory performance through all categories without compromise, something few other models are able to accomplish. The Bent Chetler is a very popular ski and widely accessible for purchase online and in retail stores nation wide. Additionally, despite underperforming competitors like the Icelantic Pioneer 96 ($569), the ski is currently selling for $449 from Utah Skis which is an absolute steal. The Bent Chetler 100 is a ski that suitable for a ton of skier types, and as a result it leaves a lot of room for your skiing abilities to grow and develop. Not to mention its a great bargain this time of the year!