Expert Review: 2024 Atomic Maven 86 C Skis [with Video]Published on 11/04/2023 · 11 min readSkiing Experts Charlotte H. and Sara Beeken tested the 2024 Atomic Maven 86 C skis in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories.
Curated Skiing Experts Charlotte H. and Sara Beeken got their hands on the 2024 Atomic Maven 86 C this spring. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but consider the fact that each and every skier is different; if you have any questions about the Atomic Maven 86 C or need recommendations on which ski would be best for you, reach out to a Skiing Expert here on Curated.
Before we get started, 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? [Charlotte] & [Sara] Atomic claims that this is an all mountain, intermediate to advanced women’s ski.
What is your overall impression of the ski? [Charlotte] Overall, I had a lot of fun on the Atomic Maven 86. I felt like they were a really responsive ski. Right when I clicked into them, we hopped into a mogul field and then some light trees, and they were really responsive and agile in a tighter environment like that.
[Sara] My overall impression of these skiers was that they're a little bit of a step up from a more beginner - intermediate ski because of that carbon construction. They're really easy to maneuver, even though they are a little bit longer than what I usually ski. And, I definitely felt like they like long turns better than short turns.
How does the shape of the ski affect the way it rides? [Charlotte] The Mavens have a bit of rocker in the tip which is going to help ease into turn initiation. But, I think most notably they boast a good amount of camber underfoot which really adds a bit of pop into your turns and helps you move from turn to turn whether that's in tighter spaces like moguls or you're cruising down groomers. The camber underfoot is going to get you from one turn to the next.
[Sara] This ski has camber underfoot and some rocker in the tip. It has a tiny bit of rocker in the tail as well, which helps with the shorter turns.
What is the flex like? [Charlotte] They're a moderate flex, which means that they're going to be decently easy to lay into and get turning for you. But, they're not going to buck you out of turns and they're not going to feel unapproachable for someone who's not consistently over the tips of their skis.
[Sara] This ski is stiffer than some of the other Mavens. However, it's not as stiff as some skis that are made with titanal. Carbon is a lightweight material that gives you that added stiffness, but without the extra weight.
How does the ski turn? [Charlotte] I felt like these skis were really easy to turn. They turned on a dime for me because they're 86 underfoot. They're really maneuverable and if you're in a more uncomfortable position and need to get yourself to the next turn, you can almost lift them up and move into that next turn. When you're on a groomer and you want to be starting and completing your turns, they're easy to get moving from one turn to the next.
[Sara] It was really easy to initiate turns on the ski. Although, I did feel like it was better at the longer swooping turns than the quick short turns.
What is the edge hold like? [Charlotte] In terms of edge hold, these skis did a pretty good job while cruising down groomers. They weren't the stiffest ski out there, so there was a bit to be desired in terms of rigidity and toughness if you're really pushing on the tips of your skis. But the pro of that is that they're going to feel really approachable for a really wide range of skiers.
[Sara] I wasn't totally washing out on these skis, but it didn't feel like the most firm edge hole on any of the skis that I've been demoing.
What about dampness? Any chatter in the skis? [Charlotte] They're not the most damp skis and there was a bit of chatter.
[Sara] I felt some chatter underfoot whenever I was on uneven, choppy terrain.
How does it feel in terms of speed? [Charlotte] When I got into chunkier snow, they felt a little unstable for me but that was when moving at a higher speed. When I slowed down a bit, I felt really in control on these skis and I could maneuver them regardless of what snow was underneath me.
[Sara] The ski felt pretty good at speed thanks to the carbon. I will say that in uneven terrain, it wasn't the most stable.
How is its energy/acceleration? [Charlotte] Because these skis have carbon in them, they pack a lot of energy. I felt like they were pushing me from one turn to the next turn when I was powering through them.
[Sara] I wouldn't say this ski has a need for speed, but it can definitely hold up pretty well.
How is it for freestyle skiing? [Charlotte] Personally, these would not be the skis that I would take into the park.
[Sara] This is not a park ski. So if you're looking for something that's going to do well in the park on a regular basis, I wouldn't go with this one.
Could you speak about playfulness and pop? [Charlotte] I felt like these skis were really playful. I was really happy on them. These skis are pretty poppy. They're pretty fun, energetic, and lively. They sit really nicely in the middle to upper spectrum of pop versus dampness. So, they kind of give you a little bit of both. They're a really nice crowd pleaser ski.
[Sara] This ski is more playful than some that are made with titanal but it's not going to be as soft as something that doesn’t have any carbon in it. Also, this ski does have some good energy, but it's not going to take you for a ride and feel overbearing.
Is it good for skiing switch? [Sara] This ski is not what I would recommend for skiing switch or taking into the park. It's really a directional ski for somebody who wants to stick mostly to the groomers (maybe a little bit off trail) and keep skiing forward.
How is the ski with jumps? [Charlotte] I was able to go off some jumps on the sides of trails and catch some air off some lips of a groomer leading onto a steeper trail, and they landed pretty well. Would I completely send it on these skis? Probably not. It’s not the sendy-est of skis but they held their own in an environment that I felt comfortable putting them in.
[Sara] You can take this ski on jumps, but it's not necessarily where it excels. I did some jumps and I felt like I had really good stable landings.
Can it handle the park and what features is it best for/should avoid? [Charlotte] I wouldn't be riding rails on them. I wouldn't be sending them off of big jumps in the park.
[Sara] Because it is a fairly narrow ski, I wouldn't go on a lot of big mountain jumps on it.
How is it in powder? [Charlotte] The Mavens are 86 millimeters underfoot, so if you're looking to ski a lot of powder, these aren't your guys. We could set you up with skis that are a bit lighter and maybe a bit floatier for an environment like that. But in a couple fresh inches, they felt fine.
[Sara] At 86 underfoot, this is an all mountain category, but it's not necessarily going to be a powder ski. It can handle a few inches of soft snow, but I wouldn't take it out there on a day where you've got a foot of powder.
How is it in uneven terrain and chunder? [Charlotte] I notice that these skis feel lighter underfoot for me, so when the terrain got a little bit choppier they felt a little less stable for me. I needed to slow down, really regroup, and make sure that they were still under my feet, ready to be there for me. So, these wouldn't be my number one choice for going at high speeds through choppy, uneven terrain.
[Sara] This ski was better than a lot of narrower, groomer oriented skis in chunder and uneven conditions. But, it's definitely on the narrower side and something that I would prefer to stick to groomers on.
How is it skiing in the trees? How is its maneuverability? [Charlotte] The tighter the spots I got into, the more comfortable I felt on them. Whereas if you're skiing a ski that's 10-15 millimeters underfoot wider, you might feel a little bit nervous and like it's hard to get your skis around in time for whatever obstacle you're approaching. No issues with that here! They are super playful and very responsive to the point where I felt more confident skiing on them.
What terrain is this ski good for? [Charlotte] They link turns really well and carving is pretty intuitive on them. Then, hopping into the trees they're going to be fun. They tackled moguls for me and did really well just across the board on the mountain.
[Sara] These skis are going to be great for somebody who's on the East Coast and wants an all mountain daily driver, and can handle a little bit of speed, but isn't necessarily the fastest, hardest charging person on the mountain.
What terrain should skiers avoid with it? [Charlotte] These aren't your top skis for someone who is on the West Coast or out West, like Colorado, Utah, and Montana, because you're going to want something a bit wider to handle more frequent big dumps.
[Sara] I wouldn't take this in deep powder. If you're looking for something out West that's going to handle all the conditions, this isn't your ski. I would look at something a little bit wider.
Who would you recommend these skis to? [Charlotte] I love these skis for someone who's cruising at moderate speeds, wants to see a bit of the whole mountain on any given day, and starts nice and easy on a groomer.
[Sara] I would recommend this ski to somebody who's trying to progress on groomers and get into the trees a little bit. They’re for somebody who's looking for something that's not going to overpower them, but wants a little bit of extra support from their ski when they're at speed or when they're in the trees.
Who should avoid these skis, there are better options out there for them? [Charlotte] These aren't my number one pick for someone who is really hard charging and really over the front of their skis. I'm 5’ 5” personally and typically I ski anywhere in the 163 to 167 range. I was skiing a 169 ski and I didn't feel like these skis were too long for me. They almost felt like they skied a bit short for me because of how much softer, lighter, and narrower underfoot they are. So, someone who's really driving through the front of their boots is going to wish that these skis packed more power than they do.
[Sara] If you're somebody who likes going in the terrain Park or likes finding little side hits off of the side of the trail, this is probably not the best option for you. Or, if you're a total beginner and you want something that's going to be just really easy going when starting out skiing, you can definitely find something a little bit softer and more approachable than these.
If you could take these skis anywhere in the world, where would you take them? [Charlotte] I would take these skis to the East Coast. I think they’d do really well on a day to day basis when you're not getting huge dumps of snow. They'll cruise really easily on some man made snow and some fresh flakes. When you do get a bit of a fresh coating on the mountain, they'll be really fine. They'll feel smooth on top of that fresh new snow.
[Sara] If I could pack these skis for anywhere in the world, I would take them probably to the East Coast, either in the Southeast or the Northeast somewhere that's got a lot of groomers but also some little mellow trees that I could cruise through.
Skis work differently for different types of skiers. If you are wondering whether the Maven 86 C is the right ski for you, chat with Charlotte, Sara, or any other Skiing Experts here on Curated, and they’ll put together free, personalized ski recommendations on the best skis for your needs.