16m@160cm (125-98-119)Design: All New
20m*@191cm (129-98-123) *estimated
20m*@191cm (129-98-123) *estimated
Much has been written about the Renoun Endurance 98 since its original incarnation two or so years ago. Back then, it was bordering on being a short-wheelbase twin tip; Version 2.0 kept the same 121-98-115 dimensions and 20.5m turn radius but had somewhat less rise in the tip and significantly less in the tail. And now we will be talking about Version 3.0. Yes, the Endurance 98 is still evolving, with a new shape, flex, profile, and scaled sizing for 2019.
While I liked the first two versions of the Endurance 98, I wasn’t smitten with them like I am with the Z-90. Not that the ski was bad, it just wasn’t for me. I prefer less taper and more traditional shape than a five-point-ish sidecut delivers. I liked the Endurance better than some of the reference skis in the category such as the Kästle FX95, but not as much as the Blizzard Bonafide or Nordica Enforcer. With the type of feedback that we (and I am sure others) have given Cyrus over the years, we are seeing a new Endurance.
How it started. A few months ago, a box from Renoun arrived at the door. It contained two pairs of Endurances, and since we didn’t have any in the test fleet, I assumed they were sent to fill the holes. I took them out of the box and stood them against the wall and didn’t think much about it. As I walked past them a few times, though, I realized something was different with the one pair: the tip had a different shape. Then I noticed the tail did, too. Not only was one pair different, they both were. I immediately started to smile and said to myself, Thank you, Cyrus.
We will call the first pair V2.5; they were the same mold as the original but with less tip and tail rise. That was better, but it was the second pair that was the real eye-opener. Version 3.0 had much more flare in the tip and tail and, like V2.5, much less rise in the tail, for a better connection on snow. Just looking at the new shape (127-98-121 with an 18m radius) and all of the attributes, I just knew this would be the one I liked. But I also knew I would have to give V2.5 a fair shake on snow.
Tuning. Because they were pre-production skis, I didn’t want the tune to sway any perceptions of the design, so I sent them to @smoothrides before I even put them on snow. Coop set both skis up with a 1°/2° tune and a nice "bell" base structure.
Cosmetics. The pair I have just has the V2.0 graphics with the semi-cap and matte finish for durability. I am told that the production graphics will be an evolution and that there will be a white special edition but with even more limited numbers than in the past.
On snow. I took V2.5 out first because I wanted to experience the evolution of the Endurance design. Simply put, it is better than V2.0. With a lower tip and tail, V2.5 has a much better connection to the snow without losing V2.0’s best attribute, its 3D snow performance. If Cyrus had stopped here, I would have been satisfied, but just being satisfied is not what Renoun is about.
I can usually touch, feel, and smell a ski and have a pretty good idea if it will work or not. Sure, I have been surprised, but after being on hundreds of skis over the years, it just comes with experience. Looking at the shape of the new V3.0, I immediately saw a few skis in it that I know work well. I saw some Bonafide, some Enforcer, and a few others in the design -- which is good. I am not saying there was blatant copying, more like similar design philosophies. Flexing the V3.0 was a pleasant surprise, as it was extremely balanced and a bit softer (per Cyrus, 6% softer). All of this translates to a more balanced on-snow experience over the V2.0 or even V2.5. V3.0 is a much more versatile ski, especially when the ski is on the snow and not just in it.
Where the earlier skis released easily out of a turn and had to be held on firmer snow, V3.0 holds much better on hard snow and windpack; with the tail following the tip smoothly, it can be released at will and do what the previous versions could yet not be as susceptible to wheelieing out of a turn. The Endurance 98 V3.0 could be that Western one-ski quiver that many believe the Z-90 is for the East.
What about HDT? Like any technology, the more transparent it is, the better it is doing its job. Yes, due to Renoun’s Hyper Damping Technology, the Endurance 98 V3.0 is one of the smoothest skis in the category.
So far I have at least a dozen days on the new Endurances, and while the 178 ski is a tad short for me, I never felt that I was over-skiing the length. I do look forward to trying it in a 184.
I will be looking to get other members and reviewers out on these, so stay tuned.
- Who is it for? Chargers (this ski will run); those who want a 98ish one-ski quiver.
- Who is it not for? Like most premium boutique skis, the price of entry is high.
- Other skis in class: DPS Alchemist Cassiar 94, Kästle FX95 HP, Kästle MX99, Stöckli Stormrider 97.