Expert Review: Line SakanaPublished on 03/08/2023 · 6 min readThis review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in December 2019.
Photo courtesy of Robbie M.
About this review This review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in December 2019. I was not paid by the manufacturer to write this review.
The Line Sakana skis are a do-it-all ski for intermediate to advanced skiers. I use them as my daily driver in Minnesota on groomers but have also taken them down powder-filled chutes in Canada, in both scenarios very happy to have the “fish” designed by Eric Pollard under my feet. They're a very distinctive ski, an eye-catcher and a conversation starter in the lift line, with their dramatic tail and beautiful artwork.
- Height: 6’2”
- Weight: 195 lbs
- Model: 2018 Line Sakanas
- Size: 181 cm
- Boots: Tecnica Mach 90 Flex
- Boot Size: 28.5
- Bindings: Look SPX 12 (demo)
- Experience: 10 years of skiing
What Line says about the skis
"Award-winning and head-turning, the LINE Sakana is a versatile all-mountain ski like no other. Utilizing a unique swallowtail shape and camber through the majority of the ski, the Sakana can rail turns on hard snow, while an early rise tip, back-mounted stance, and wide shovel allow the skis to surf through deeper snow. A ski that floats on fresh and carves better than your Dad on Thanksgiving dinner, experience the game-changing Sakana."
|Available Lengths (cm)||166, 174, 181|
|Dimensions (mm)||150-105-138 (tip-waist-tail)|
|Weight (g/ski)||1770 (in 174cm length)|
|Sidecut Radius (m)||15.0 (in 174cm length)|
|Core||"Cloudy Core" Paulownia/Maple + Carbon Flax Tape + Fiberglass Laminate|
|Sidewall||Ultra-High Density Polyethylene Vertical Walls|
How it performs
- When I bought these: December 2019
- Days tested: 20 days
- Where I’ve used it: Minnesota, Lake Louise, Jackson Hole, Copper Mountain
- Terrain: Everything but the park; groomers, bumps, steeps (including Corbet’s Couloir), and powder
What I was looking for
I was looking for a directional ski that I could use in the Midwest as well as take out West. Looked for something that could carve short turns but still float well in powder.
Why I chose this gear
I ended up buying the Line Sakana skis because I was very interested in how they would perform on groomers as well as if the swallowtail would help in powder. It was the best decision I made (over buying the Line Sir Francis Bacons), as I had more float than my other 108mm-waisted ski and could still carve better than my friend’s carving skis on Minnesota hardpack!
What I love about it
- Edge hold: The Sakanas have great edge hold thanks to the ski's sidecut, reduced rocker profile, and subsequent short turn radius. I’ve had days where they held a better edge than my friends’ carving skis!
- Turns: Turns on the Sakanas are short and snappy with an intuitive feel because of the 15m turn radius, carbon stringers, and stiff/flat tail. Line uses the geometry of their "5Cut Multi-Radius Sidecut" to make it easy to carve a wide variety of turn shapes by utilizing different radiuses and a variety of contact points to engage even the farthest reaches of the effective edge in turns.
- Groomers: Probably the ski's best strength is on groomers when they’re fresh in the morning; you can make short snappy turns or longer GS turns with powerful energy transmission. Piles of snow on skied-out groomers at the end of the day don't work as well with these skis if you're trying to smash through them.
- Powder: For a 105mm waist-width ski, the Sakanas hold up really well in deeper snow with their large shovel and swallowtail design providing ample flotation. These two features allow you to “carve” through powder, which is an epic feeling.
- Trees: The short turn radius makes carving through trees a blast.
- Durability: The swallowtail has held up just fine even after dropping some smaller lips and cliffs. Line is known to make skis that hold up over time.
- Weight: The roughly 1850g weight for the 181cm size is light thanks to the blend of lightweight paulownia in the core, so you don't feel like they are dragging you down by the end of the day. One downside of their light weight though is that they get bucked around in variable snow.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Speed: The softer tip floats well in deep snow, but doesn't provide good stability at or high-speed control. The tips will start to chatter from the vibrations and the short turn radius makes them feel a little skittish, especially compared to other skis with more stiffness.
- Moguls: The “fish” can ski moguls, but the flat stiffer tail and long effective edge can take some getting used to, especially if you’re coming from skis with more tail lift and commonly end up in the backseat. Moguls are best skied in a neutral skiing stance, with your weight over the center of the ski.
- Park: Not the ski to take through the park if you’re looking to slide some rails or land big jumps switch.
- Switch riding: The flat forked tail of the ski won’t help you win a race skiing switch, but it can be done and the ski still carves surprisingly well backward.
- Length: The Sakana has a unique shape, with a directional flex and a stiff short tail. Many people are not accustomed to the absence of material behind them when skiing. For this reason, Line encourages people to try the shorter lengths of the ski.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment skiing the Line Sakanas was in Lake Louise. We were the first people let into the back bowls after a big storm and had first tracks down a double black diamond chute full of two feet of snow. Flying down the chute felt like surfing a giant white wave and thanks to the wide shovels and swallow tail I carved the whole way down. Needless to say, we made several more laps!
Value for the money vs. other options
The Line Sakana isn't the cheapest ski at $749.96, but in my opinion, they are 100% worth the price. Because you can ski them on hardpack and in soft snow, you’re essentially getting the performance of two skis in one. I’ve taken mine through some pretty rough terrain and found some rock monsters, but they continue to ski very well with a fresh edge sharpening.
The Line Sakana is a lightweight ski that can carve with the best of the carving skis but also float with the best of wider all-mountain skis. They're also one of the prettiest pieces of eye candy you can have on your feet in a resort.