The Raptor is the best high end ski you have never seen. Designed by many time German National champion and coach, Willi Ellermeier, the Raptor is different. It is fast. It turns very sharp. It is not for the faint of heart.
The ski is available in 65.75” and 67.5”. The below review reflects the 67.5”.
General Feel: The Raptor wants to follow an early line as opposed to other skis that work best with a less aggressive path from ball to ball. The ski turns extremely hard and makes a lot of speed, but it is also relatively forgiving to skier mistakes.
Many of the best skis on the market in the last 10 years require the skier to temper aggression. Conversely, the Raptor will accommodate skiers who ski with a style that is more “hammer down”. The ski will accommodate calm technical skiers as well.
Toe Side (Off Side) Turn: Off Side Turns on the Raptor are extraordinary. When the skier is in the center of the ski and rolls the ski in at apex, the Raptor feels like no other ski. The ski turns hard and fast but without the feeling of tail slide. The tip stays down and the ski carries more speed than expected back toward the wakes. These turns are dependable and consistent. The ski is relatively forgiving to skier weight distribution. If this ski has one trademark attribute it is the Off Side turn.
Heel Side (On Side) Turn: Heel side turns on the Raptor are also sharp and fast. Much of the review period was spent searching for fin settings to make the On Side turns as good as the Off Side. With the final settings used for this review, as the rope got shorter On Side turns became less flowing and often resulted in a moderate amount of slack at the hookup. I am hesitant to further criticize the On Side turns because I suspect better settings could make a world of difference. At just less than 185 pounds, I am at the bottom of the practical weight chart for this ski.
From Ball to Second Wake: The Raptor seems to always leave the ball with a lot of angle and hold it to the wakes. This ski makes as much speed toward the wakes as any ski on the market.
From Second Wake to the ball: The caveats noted above about how the ski performs at On Side should perhaps be addressed as how the ski casts out and then slows down. This ski carries a lot of speed all the way to the ball. At Off Side this extra speed is manageable and even to the skiers advantage. At On Side this means it takes a little more finesse to get the ski to arc back in on the ball. As noted above this may simply be a matter of fin settings or perhaps the ski is best for skiers weighing in at 190 pounds or more.
Conclusion: This ski is marketed as a 67.5”, but with the front binding at 30.5”, I would find it comparable to a full 68 inch ski. It is a big fast ski that turns on a rail. If this was the ski I was to ride for the rest of the year, I feel confident I would find better settings and put up scores equal to my best.
Best Settings as of the end of this review 30.5 / 2.515 / 6.895 / .830
The 2017 Radar Senate Lithium is an easy to ride mid-range ski with all the technical prowess of an elite high end ski. Radar took their top of the line Vapor and widened it two tenths of an inch to make the Senate. The result is a ski with the technical wizardry of the Vapor but even more forgiving and better suited for slower boat speeds.
During the review period I rode the Senate at 30, 32 and 34 MPH. At 34 MPH, I was able to run 32 and 35 off, but when I slowed the boat down to 32 and 30 MPH, I discovered this ski’s sweet spot.
The Senate is a surprisingly fast ski. In this case “Fast” means that the ski makes speed without a lot of effort by the skier and it also means the the ski carries that speed through the the turn. The result is more skiing with less muscle fatigue.
The Senate turns very well on both sides, and the off side turns are remarkably fun. The Senate delivers long flowing pre-turns followed by snappy turns without requiring perfect technical skills from the skier. The extra width of this ski just makes everything easier.
For a day on open water or casual buoy chasing, there is no better ski on the market then the Radar Lithium Senate
I cannot express how impressed I am with this ski. The trick with skis like this is to not ski them beyond their sweet spot. In my opinion the Carbon V peaks at 32 off 34 mph.
To get some perspective, after I rode the Carbon V for a few rides, I rode one of my favorite high end skis for a set.
Compared to a high end ski the Carbon V is very stable and forgiving. The skills required to run a perfect pass on the Carbon V are the same as on a high end ski. The difference is forgiveness. The fact is that a ski that I would use to run into 39 off is harder to ride.
The Carbon V turns great on both sides and makes a surprising amount of speed across course. It just might be faster than a high end ski. If I had to complain about something, I would say that I struggled a little to keep the tip down at the end of the turn. This is partly just my bad habits and the fact that I was taking the ski to the top of its performance envelope. If you watch the below video you will see plenty of dumb mistakes but you will also see that I am early to every ball.
The unexpected difference was the strength required. The high end ski clearly requires much more strength per pass. I can ski about 25% more passes per day on the Carbon V.
If you are dreaming of 39 off but are still working on 28 off the Carbon V should be a ski that you consider.