Expert Review: 2023 Atomic Maven 86 Skis [with Video]
Ski Experts Jessica Whittam and Sara Beeken tested the 2023 Atomic Maven 86 skis at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Ski Experts Jessica Whittam and Sara Beeken tested the 2023 Atomic Maven 86 this spring at Powder Mountain in Utah. Check out how it performed, but consider the fact that each and every skier is different. If you have any questions about the Maven 86 or need recommendations on which ski would be best for you, reach out to a Ski Expert here on Curated.
One final point before we dive in: It's worth noting that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands. All of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does Atomic claim about this ski? [Sara] Atomic claims that these are a beginner, intermediate groomer ski. Yeah. Groomer ski, they might say these are all-mountain, actually.
What is your overall impression of this ski? [Jessica] They're definitely going to be a groomer-oriented ski. I did take them a little bit in these trees, and they held up fine. We do have a little bit of powder here, and I think that if it was really, really crusty in the trees right now that these wouldn't be that great. But the fact that we have a little bit of powder in that little half an inch to an inch, again, these are 86s. So any more powder, these will be sluggish like a wet sponge. But yeah, these could rip up groomers. They held great edges. I felt super great making some GS turns. And you go as slow or fast on the groomers as you want in these things. I think if you get going really fast on these in the crud, that they will be a bit chattery, but I don't think that's what they're meant for.
[Sara] My opinion on these skis is that they were really easy to ski. They're definitely going to be a good ski for somebody who's spending most of their time on the groomers, maybe progressing in their skiing, going from beginner to intermediate.
What is the profile of the ski? [Sara] These have camber underfoot and some rocker in the tip. That rocker right there on the tip is going to make it a little bit easier for you to initiate your turns, and the camber keeps you feeling stable and a little bit poppy on the groomers.
How is the shape of the ski and the ski profile? And how does it impact the ride? [Jessica] These skis are built with a Dura Cap Sidewall, which can really help you dig into your turns. As you can see, they are rockered at the tip and a little bit camber underneath the foot. These skis are definitely built for groomers.
How does it turn? [Jessica] You do short turns, short slalom turns, wide GS turns. These skis carve very well. I highly recommend these skis to somebody who is mostly carving.
[Sara] These are definitely going to be a good carving ski if you're learning to really get on your edge and start to carve–or even going from kind of a wedged parallel stance.
How would it be in powder? [Jessica] These skis are definitely built for groomers. They are 86 underfoot, which means these are a narrow ski. I was able to take them in the trees, and luckily, we did have a bit of light powder today, about an inch and a half to two inches. These skis did hold up pretty well in that, but we did have light powder, so if it's anything heavier on the East Coast or the West Coast, these skis will be tough to control if you're really trying to get through heavier snow conditions.
These skis do not do that well in powder. They are 86 underfoot, so if you are skiing powder, I would recommend something a little bit wider.
How is its maneuverability riding in the trees? [Sara] These were definitely going to do better on the groomers than anywhere else on the mountain. A lot of people who are going to be using these skis are mostly going to be sticking to groomers, but if you did want to take them into the trees, we tested them out in there, and they held their own as long as it's not too deep of snow.
What kind of terrain does it not perform as well on? [Jessica] I was having a blast with them in this light powder right now. But they are not powder skis. And the fact that I almost fell over my skis because I hit a patch of a little bit too deep of snow and a little bit of crud, that's not what you want to be skiing with these skis in.
What would be the best location for it? [Jessica] This ski could honestly go anywhere in the country, probably majority East Coast, West Coast, people who are skiing less snowy conditions, because they are 86 underfoot. These are going to excel on groomers, so if you do ski in the west and you ski mostly groomers, then you could absolutely rip these. Another thing that I love about these skis is I think the graphics of this year's design are really sick.
[Sara] I'd probably recommend these to somebody skiing mostly on the East Coast, or even if you're on the West Coast, but you just don't really hop into the trees. You're sticking mostly to groomers, and you're not necessarily hunting out powder.
What is your favorite thing about this ski? [Jessica] My favorite thing about the Maven 86 is how well they ripped up groomers. They just turned very well. They were really responsive to everything.
Who would you recommend this ski to? [Jessica] This ski is going to be for the growing beginner or intermediate skiers. You can definitely ski these if you are an advanced skier, but I would say this is a more casual ski for more advanced skiers.
[Sara] The ski is made for beginner and intermediate women's skiers. I definitely agree with that. I think that this is a great ski for somebody that's progressing their ability.
Who should avoid this ski?piste [Sara] If you're an intermediate, advanced, expert skier, I would maybe look at something a little more aggressive. Intermediates, if you're kind of a cruise-y skier, you're not really trying to get too wild out there, these would also be a good option for you. But if you're trying to get some really high speeds, or you're trying to go off-piste, you're going to want something a little bit different from this ski.
Skis work differently for different types of people. If you want help finding the best skis for your needs, reach out to Jessica, Sara, or any other Ski Expert here on Curated. They’ll help you find the right skis for you.