Expert Review: 2023 Atomic Bent Chetler 120 Skis [with Video]
Ski Experts Daryl Morrison and Brandon Westburg tested the 2023 Atomic Bent Chetler 120 skis on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Ski Experts Brandon Westburg and Daryl Morrison tested the Atomic Bent Chetler 120 skis at Powder Mountain in Utah this past spring. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but don’t forget, every skier is different and what works for one may not work for all. If you have any questions on the Bent Chetler 120 or would like recommendations on what skis would be ideal for your needs, reach out to a Ski Expert here on Curated.
A quick note that we're not sponsored by any brands, so all of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What is your overall impression of the ski? [Brandon] I was on the 100 and the 110 this week, and I was quite surprised by how much backbone this thing has compared to both skis. I had fun on groomers, catching air, almost everything in between, and surfed a couple of inches of powder as well. I had an awesome time out there on this ski. It has great edge hold, especially on the firmer groomers as well.
[Daryl] This is absolutely a powder ski. I just want to preface this review by saying I did not ski this in ideal conditions. So I'm going to extrapolate a little bit based on my experience with similar skis in the past. But my first impressions are that this is a ski that would do really, really well in deep snow and was not meant for the conditions I'm skiing in today.
That being said, I think it's really important to ski skis outside of what they're recommended for just to see what they can do. So there are a couple of things that I find distinctive about these from other skis in the class. One is that they are extremely light for what they are, and the softness to some degree comes with that, but that, combined with the really generous rocker profile, means they're really maneuverable. The stoke is high. The visibility is low. And I just got off the Bent Chetler 120 and a 184, and significant improvement in edge hold from the 100s for sure. So they're definitely a stiffer, more aggressive ski compared to the 100. But that being said, these are wicked soft fast skis. They're very light, which is awesome, but they are definitely not something I would take in anything but champagne. Definitely no conditions that are going to be hard underfoot. Not when it's bony. Not when it's kind of cruddy and messed up.
What is the profile of the ski? [Brandon] On the Atomic Bent Chetler 120 this year, we have a 30% rocker at the tip, 40% camber underfoot, and 30% at the tail. The horizon tech on the tip, which is specific to Atomic, gives the ski 10% more surface area on the tip. So that really gives me confidence that this would be an amazing ski in the powder, and it would float very well in any snow depth.
[Daryl] They're a heavily rockered ski. They are meant to be skied in deep snow. They don't have a ton of camber underfoot. They just have a little bit. And when you press that out, you can see that the rocker in the tip at least starts right here. So I would say probably a quarter of the ski is fully rockered, and that's also true for the tails. Definitely a powder ski.
What is its flex? [Daryl] As far as flex is concerned, these are going to be just like the other Bent Chetlers in the lineup. They are fairly soft. They are a little bit poppy. Definitely something that you need to be a little bit loose on to absorb the nuances of the ski.
What is your favorite thing about these skis? [Brandon]: I really enjoyed the Atomic Bent Chetler 120 overall. Coming off of the Atomic Bent Chetler 110, which is brand new for this year, I did expect a very similar build and similar performance from this ski, and I was quite surprised after a couple of runs. The Bent Chetler 120 does definitely have a stiffer backbone than its brother, the 110, the brand new ski for this year in the Bent Chetler line-up. I was surprised just how stable these were and how confident I was when landing, catching air, and overall just having fun surfing these around. I'm a freestyle skier at heart, so this is a great ski for me to get out there on, have fun, surf around, pop, spin switch, and spin some threes. Overall, I really just enjoyed its playful nature, as well it being stable and supportive – so super fun ski to get out there on.
Can you speak about this ski's carving ability? [Brandon] The Atomic Bent Chetler 120 is definitely not designed to be a groomer-specific ski. Sure, you can take it on the groomers and have tons of fun. It has a 19-meter turning radius, so you can get nimble and surfy with these things. I was able to smear these around and have some fun turns here this morning at Powder Mountain. I was impressed with the groomer capabilities. I got to ski the 110 in the Bent Chetler line, and these are definitely more solid and a little bit more fun on the groomers. I didn't experience any sort of chatter whatsoever. Overall, surfy and fun ski that has enough backbone to remain stable.
[Daryl] I was mainly on groomers today. I dipped into the trees a little bit, into the chunder, and I will say, just like the other Atomic Bent Chetlers, this definitely gets thrown around a little bit when you hit ice chunks and chundery snow. Sometimes the tip would catch a little bit on the uphill ski. I was centered on my skis, and yet I was having trouble controlling that uphill ski. So one thing just generally to keep in mind with a wider ski is it's a lot more surface area to control, and it's going to be harder regardless of the flex pattern. So compared to the Bent Chetler 100s, for example, this is a better ski for me because it's a stronger ski that I can drive a little bit harder.
What is the edge hold like? [Daryl] I actually lost my edge while carving a couple of times. I hit a little patch, and my outside ski got pushed completely out, and I was on my inside edge. That was fine, but not what I would want in a carving ski or something I'm skiing fully on the front side. And then I got bucked a couple of times just hitting little things that on other skis would be absorbed underneath my foot so I wouldn't lose my balance.
How is this ski on the freestyle front? [Brandon] I had a lot of fun jibbing and jumping around on the Atomic Bent Chetler 120. Caught some bigger air, and did some threes and some switch spins as well. I thought they were a pretty light way to nimble. We have a lightweight wood core on this ski, and I really felt that when in the air. Again, it was a pretty stable ski when landing. I didn't experience some of the chatter with the Bent Chetler 110. So I was quite excited when putting these things back down on the ground to have a nice stable and supportive ski under my feet.
How is it skiing switch? [Daryl] They're capable of skiing switch. I did not ski these switch. I was a little scared to do that this morning on the hard pack, to be totally honest with you. They do have a full twin on them, so you can ski them backward if you want to. They're definitely not a park ski. If you want to ski a 120-pow ski in the park, power to you, but it's not what I would choose.
How is it on jumps? [Daryl] Off jumps, they're going to be similar to the other Bent Chetlers, just a little bit more cumbersome, so you got more ski under you. Just be aware of that.
What would the ski be in powder? [Brandon] Out here at Powder Mountain today in Utah, there's about two inches of snow on the ground. I had a ton of fun smearing these around and getting into a bit of powder. If you're looking to ski the Atomic Bent Chetler 120 on the biggest of pow days, definitely pull it out. These are going to have great float and be amazing powder skis for any depth of snow. I wish we had a little bit more snow out here at Powder today, but I can imagine how sweet these things really are in any sort of big mountain pow or significant snowfall.
[Daryl] I would really like to ski these on a deep day here. I think that they're so light, they're so maneuverable for a ski of this width that they would be extremely fun on a two or three-foot powder day.
How is the maneuverability in the trees? [Daryl] In the trees, this was very maneuverable and fun. I liked it actually in the trees. I thought it was fun. Again, I'd really love to ski this on a powder day. I would love to take this tree skiing on a powder day; that's probably the best use of these, in my opinion. I'd back these for a tree skiing day here in Utah when we've got a lot of snow. I think they'd be super fun for that. I think that's probably the ideal condition for these, in my opinion. So I skied them in a 184 and was just popping them around in the trees, no problem. So that's really nice for tighter areas, for sure. And I definitely don't think that every wide ski can do that. For example, things like the Mana 3.0, which is even only 112 underfoot, are much harder to maneuver in trees because it's such a stiff, strong, heavy ski.
What type of terrain should you avoid with this ski? [Daryl] These are definitely not something I would recommend if you're on the East Coast or somewhere with lower snowfall. It's just not going to be a great time for you.
How is it as a powder touring option? [Daryl] It would be a good powder touring option. Again, if you wanted to dedicate it to just skiing those untouched days and if you're trying to get one ski to tour all season, I'd go for something different for those hard and crummy days that you have a lot of variability in the terrain, in the snow.
Who would you recommend this ski to? [Daryl] I would recommend these skis to someone who is looking for a pow-dedicated ski. If you are looking for something that you can do more than powder skiing, I think there are definitely better options for you. Even if you like this particular ski, there are narrower waist-width skis that would be more appropriate for all-mountain and inbound front-side resort skiing. These can definitely be used to tour, which is cool. They are really light. So if you want a backcountry, powder-dedicated touring setup, this is also a really good option for that. It’s definitely something to consider for people who are looking for a lighter ski for powder days, something that's very capable, very maneuverable, good options.
Who would you not recommend this ski to? [Daryl] As far as people that I would not recommend this ski to, people who are just starting out, this is way too wide of a ski for you. I personally think that a 120 is overkill for a lot of snow conditions, even if there's powder. I think that a lot of people can get away with something that's 105 or lower for basically everything. So if you are not a strong skier, I would not go with this ski or any other super wide ski.
Skis work differently for different types of skiers. If you want help finding the right skis for you, reach out to Brandon, Daryl, or any other Ski Expert here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations.