Jump to content

Butterfield’s Denali Review


Recommended Posts

  • Baller_

I have been riding various versions of the Denali prototypes since last fall and have many favorable impressions of the prototypes.

 

Initial review is here

 

I received a production version of the ski about 2 weeks ago and have 7 sets so far. I’m still dialing in on settings, but thought I would post my impressions of the production ski for anyone interested.

 

The protos were in 65, 66 and 67” lengths. The production version comes in ¾” increments: 65, 65.75, 66.5 and 67.25” lengths. I’m 190 lbs and normally ride a 68” ski, but can get by with a shorter ski depending on its total surface area and design characteristics. I rode 67 and 66” versions of the prototype. The 67 was comparable to a more traditional 68 and the 66 was skiable, but definitely on the small side for me. The production ski I am riding now is the 66.5” and feels “about the right size”, but I think the larger ski may provide more margin for mistakes and varying water conditions. I’ll update after I get a chance to try the larger ski.

 

The prototypes were amazing skis with many unique characteristics and a few quirks that could be tricky to manage. The production ski is definitely refined. It maintains the good characteristics and the quirks have disappeared. I’ve tried a fairly large range of fin/binding settings and the ski is definitely tolerant to setup.

 

Across the range of setups, the ski is consistently generates great angle and is very controllable. It allows skier mistakes and keeps going. The offside turns and angle generated are equal to or better than any ski I’ve ridden. Stability through the wakes is rock solid. As I dial in the settings, the turns are very tight on both sides and the tolerance to skier mistakes has improved. The last set I took, the best description I can come up with is “confidence that the ski will stay with me and I can do almost anything and keep going”.

 

I’ve ridden many skis over the years, but haven’t been this enthusiastic about a ski in a long time. No kool-aid required.

 

If it was easy, they would call it Wakeboarding

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller

@Horton the ski we sent you is the same size as what @Bruce_Butterfield is currently riding, a 66.5. The skis ride like a bigger ski than the sizing number would suggest. The sizing label for each size is what you get when you measure straight from tip to tail. Because these skis have a blunt nose on them they don't measure as long as they would if they were pointy.

 

Last season we were testing with 3 different sizes, currently we have 4 2016 sizes. The new skis have a different perimeter shape, concave shape, bevel, rocker, flex, and the sizing has changed....so it's a lot different! @Than_Bogan the 2015 66 you have is closest to the 65.75" 2016 ski.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller
The biggest question I have on the Denali is if an average joe will be able to get the settings correct. I have very little, lets call it zero, experience fin tuning/setting a ski up. With my current ski (HO A3) I just got everything as close to factory as I could, actually Trent F. set my fin up. Its unlikely that I will get to a tournament or coaching opportunity with someone who knows how to dial in a ski. So given that how hard will it be for someone like me to dial in the Denali? Is it just a matter of filming sets, sending video and getting tips on what to do and then trying myself to make the adjustments?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Gold Member

@Omland You will get more fin setting support than you ever have before.

 

Or you can just ask Caldwell to set it up for you and never touch it again.

 

But incrementally-free access to master fine tuners is something you might not want to pass up! A sufficient caliper is pretty cheap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller

@Omland I have to be honest with you. If you are chasing buoys and trying to improve, you are doing yourself a disservice by not learning some basics on fins. You don't need to be a master of fin tuning, but owning a pair of calipers and some angle gauges are a good start. If you haven't already I highly recommend getting a copy of @jayski's book Fin Whispering.

 

As far as the Denali we will send out the ski with our recommended settings for you. That being said, there will always be room to make a ski work better with proper adjustment. We set up the Denali forum so that you can post about what you're feeling on the water, post videos, etc. and we can provide you with help on ski setup. All you need is the right tools and the basic knowledge about how to adjust a fin. We also try to explain why you should make a certain fin move so that you can learn as we go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller
I did not find either my "beta ski" or the current v3.4 production ski to be particularly finicky, but I'm sort of a brute on a ski, so maybe that explains it. In any event, the v3.4 has been a treat to ride thus far, and I'm getting close on fin settings. Fast, casts out really wide, turns consistently on both sides.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller
@AdamCord @Than_Bogan @disland thanks for the input. I guess maybe I should spend some time tinkering with my fin this summer and get a copy of the fin whisperer book. I've been working off the idea that for most people you should put the fin at factory settings and forget it. It seems to be working for me but maybe it's time to play around a bit.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller

I have no idea what the settings are on the prototype Denali @Razorskier1 is allowing me to sample...but it was easy to ride even though it was not set up for me. Will figure out settings at such time as I feel like there is need for a change.

 

I'd be curious to run the 66.5 production version but want to get some more time on the 66 proto. It doesn't ski small like a 66 usually would (I didn't even like 66 skis when I was M2 and 36 mph)...maybe seems just a tidge small for me but reserving judgement til I can work down the line. Right now I'm just breaking myself in this spring. Like Butterfield I go about 190 lbs and typically ski a 68 in other brands...was on a 67 when I skied 36 mph. If this thing rocks when I move down the line my checking account will take a hit on the production version. Need some cooperation from MN weather.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller

Just some impressions not really a review. I've not skied much yet this season.

 

Ran a set of 28's and second set all at 32 off. Really carries speed in the glide...adjusted my gate pull out to just a little earlier. Gets silly wide at gate pull out without much effort.

 

Very stable at the wake for a short ski.

 

Really creates space and carries outbound well if I stay connected. If it seems a little hot coming into the ball it's not...just carves, backsides, and off we go.

 

It's a very mobile ski...like it's tiny underneath me and turns on a dime in small radius if asked. Will roll hard to inside edge if desired but then doesn't throw a parachute behind just keeps carving at speed. I tend to roll too soon and deeply on my on-side resulting in a slam dunk style turn...I have not dunked one yet on this ski though only 3 sets in the balls on it.

 

My other skis have seemed to like a certain speed for an optimal turn...this ski turns well at a variety of speeds. The turns seem to be of tighter radius than I'm used to and it doesn't approach a buoy...approach...and then suddenly make a finish. It just carves all the way. My Razor got over there early, wait for it...wait for it...wham and go.

 

Pretty user friendly and the first pass today I was for some reason all arms and legs chaotic and it bailed me out. Very recoverable it that's a term. I came off the wake a couple of times too far back and it worked out fine.

 

Looking forward to figuring out how best to work together with the ski because it would seem there may be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow here. Will be fun to try some blue and purple lines and see what's up.

 

Too early to say for me with certainty...but possibly a game changer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...