One of my favorite new skis that have come out in recent years is the Atomic Bent Chetler 120. That’s simply because I love to ski powder. This is, without a doubt, a powder ski, and if you live for the deep stuff it’s worth trying out. There are a lot of skis for a beginner to handle, but if chasing storms is in your blood, you need a ski that can take advantage of perfect days out on the mountain.
- Where to buy: Amazon
- Best for: Powder. This is a big ski intended to plow through the deep stuff.
- Pros: An excellent powder ski that delivers superior float and excellent performance in deep snow. A lot of fun to ski on when conditions are right, and a top option for powder dedicated skiers.
- Cons: Not a ski for beginners. It’s also too much ski for most skiers when there isn’t an ample amount of powder. Limited versatility.
- Alternatives: Volkl Revolt 121, Icelantic Nomad 115, Armada ARV 116 JJ
Why Trust Me
Born and raised in the mountains of Colorado, I’ve been skiing almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. I’ve skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I was lucky enough to take the Atomic Bent Chetler 120 out on a few epic powder days in the Rockies, and below you will find my detailed review of how the powder monsters held up.
In my humble opinion, powder skiing is the ultimate experience. In order to truly charge through deep snow and take advantage of skiing at its finest, you need a powerful ski that keeps going no matter how much piles up. The Atomic Bent Chetler 120 are some of the best powder focused skis on the market, and they are great to have in your arsenal when the flakes start to fly.
Let’s start with the meat and potatoes of this review. How do these skis hold up in powder? Like they’re supposed to. The Bent Chetler 120 is fully built and designed to plow through deep snow while you enjoy commanding the beasts any way you wish. They are a lot, as the 120mm waist width certainly indicates, but that’s a necessity for a powder-focused ski meant to be able to handle deep snow.
Even though these skis are built for expert skiers in demanding conditions, if you’re up for the task they will provide you with a playful-but-powerful experience that will have you lapping free refills as long as your legs can handle it. They are a fairly light powder ski with the 184 length weighing in at 1800 grams/ski, but the strong construction (which we’ll dissect in a bit) leads to solid performance underfoot and a floaty feel.
These are some of the most surf-like powder skis I’ve been on recently. Their lightweight build combined with a heavily rockered profile gives you serious slide and glide. They also seem to get better as the snow gets deeper. Powder skiing is fun all of the time, but with these sticks underfoot, you’ll be smiling from ear to ear when you realize what they can do. If you have the chance, give these skis a try on the next powder day and you’ll see what I mean.
I love their performance too. You can have fun at low speeds and on gentler slopes where other skis would get hung up in powder. That means you’re able to find fresh tracks and take full advantage of them all day long. It’s rare for me to want to search and destroy a mellow blue or tree run, but these skis give you such a fun run when there’s powder that it’s hard to go wrong.
You can’t deny the abilities of the Bent Chetler 120 in deep snow, but what about other conditions? First things first, these aren’t a go-to all-mountain option. If you’re lucky enough to be in an area that sees consistent snowfall, the skis are more than worth having around. However, if you want a versatile option that can handle a bit of everything, you’ll want to look for something in the all-mountain category.
That doesn’t mean these skis aren’t capable of tackling different types of snow conditions, they just don’t really excel in another category beyond powder. I would say the second-best condition to use these skis in is soft or chopped up snow.
At high speed on packed snow, you’re going to be disappointed. It’s just not what the Bent Chetler was built for. Sure, you can ski them on groomers, but they are difficult to wrangle and will chatter if you hit any considerable level of speed. Is this really a downside? In my opinion, no. If you want a speed demon, put the powder skis away and get something better suited for the task.
These skis can work for the backcountry and will perform well if you’re out hunting for powder or hitting big features. Being lightweight for a large powder ski, you can equip them with a touring binding and be just fine. They definitely aren’t an ultralight sort of option, but if you want peak performance and the ability to land in control off of a cliff or cornice, they’re going to give you what you’re seeking.
Construction and Style
It’s worth taking a look at the Bent Chetler’s construction because that plays a critical role in their performance. They feature a wood core made from poplar wood that keeps the ounces down without losing strength and stability. The construction also has a lot of shock absorption that adds to the float and surf-like play. They even have a carbon insert that goes through the entire ski and provides another layer of lightweight stability.
Another design element that gives these skis serious performance in powder is the HRXN Tech Tip and Tail. That unique feature, which Atomic always uses, blends a strong sidewall with a side-to-side rocker profile that increases the area of the ski that touches the snow. That increased ski material in the tip and tail gives unparalleled powder performance and helps you carve or cut on any deep slope.
The Bent Chetler 120’s also utilize a powder rocker profile that further enhances performance in, you guessed it, powder. A pronounced rocker on the tip and tail is ideal in deep powder and these skis are designed with such conditions in mind. Even so, they still have enough camber underfoot to allow you to punch into turns and get rapid response. The design also helps the skis deal with chop and crud because not every day can be a powder day.
These skis have a lot of style too. I enjoy the simple-but-beautiful mountain mixed with a subtle wave design. It’s a backcountry adventure scene if you look at it closely, and it might just inspire you to take these bad boys out into the wild.
Price and Value
The Atomic Bent Chetler 120 is a decently priced powder ski. Taking in everything they can do, they give you great value for their price. They definitely aren’t cheap, but powder skis can often get expensive and Atomic has kept these modestly priced. If you can afford to have multiple skis in your quiver, I would highly recommend this option. They will more than prove their worth in the first storm that comes your way.
What I Like
I like powder skiing, and I like skis that can tear up powder like the glory days of Studio 54. The Bent Chetler 120 is easily one of the best powder skis around, and if you live for the deep stuff, they’re definitely worth exploring. The pair is light enough to take on a backcountry tour, but strong enough to obey your every command.
I also like these skis because they provide you with the ability to eat up powder all over the mountain. When your favorite run gets tracked out you can take these into the trees and bounce around without any issues. They also have the unique ability to stay fun and floaty even when you’re not on a steep slope – something that I find to be truly amazing in a big ol’ powder hound. That makes them versatile, in powder at least, and fun to be on whenever there’s fresh snow.
Powder skiing is pretty fun no matter what ski you’re on. However, these make it even better. If you want a fun, surfy feel that makes powder seem like butter, the Bent Chetler 120’s are amazing.
What I Don’t Like
These skis are great in powder, but will leave you wanting more in many other conditions. If you don’t have at least a few inches of fresh snow, it’s best to leave these monsters in the garage. In a pinch, the Bent Chetler 120’s will get you around, but I wouldn’t recommend them in non-powder conditions.
That’s especially true at high speeds on packed snow. They are just too big to be a speed ski. It’s also worth noting they aren’t going to give you the versatility of an all-mountain ski if you want to explore all areas of the resort when it’s not snowing.
If you’re looking for an alternative powder ski to the Atomic Bent Chetler 120, check out these options:
- Volkl Revolt 121 – These are another big and wide powder ski from a brand that excels at making that style. A full powder rocker profile and solid design makes these a great for deep snow.
- Icelantic Nomad 115 – These are the widest skis in the Nomad model from Colorado-based Icelantic and they are a dream in powder. Some of the most playful and versatile powder skis you’ll find on the market.
- Armada ARV 116 JJ – These are a hard-charging powder ski from a brand that’s more known for their freestyle and park options. However, they deliver quality powder performance and let you float across anything without worry.
Do you really need a powder-specific ski?
Technically, no. But if you love skiing powder and have the means to have several skis in your quiver, I would certainly recommend it. A powder ski will allow you to truly experience that type of skiing in the best way.
Are the Atomic Bent Chetler 120 too wide for non-powder skiing?
These skis are a powder-focused option that performs best in deep snow. While you can take them on other areas of the mountain or use them in other conditions, they won’t provide as good of performance as they will in powder.
Is there a big difference between the current model of the Atomic Bent Chetler 120 and other versions of the ski?
The current version is arguably the best, but you can go with a previous year’s model and expect similar performance and attributes.
The Atomic Bent Chetler 120 is an awesome powder ski. There’s no denying their abilities in deep snow. If you are a fan of this type of skiing, these skis come highly recommended. Their lightweight build combined with stable-but-surfy characteristics make them a highly sought after option for both seasoned skiers and those who have just experienced their first powder day.