If you’re looking for a ski that’s meant to be pushed fast and hard in-bounds and excels at high speeds on groomers and hardpack, these are hard to beat. They aren’t a very forgiving option and they are stiff.
As such, they aren’t a great choice for beginners or anyone who likes freestyle flow in the snow.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of this ski, who it is best for, and other similar alternatives to consider.
- Where to buy: Amazon
- Best for: Resort skiers who want a dynamic ski that’s good for going fast and staying in control while at speed.
- Pros: Excellent edge control at high speeds. Plenty of pop and response when going full throttle. This is an aggressive ski perfect for those who know what they’re after.
- Cons: You really need to stay engaged and focused when pushing these skis or they can lose a bit of control. Not a great beginner ski due to their stiff flex and aggressive nature. Not as playful as I personally like.
- Alternatives: Atomic Vantage 97 C, Solomon QST 99, K2 Mindbender 99Ti
Why Trust Me
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 heavily researched the Atomic Vantage 97 Ti to learn about its on-snow performance and various characteristics. Below is my detailed review.
The Atomic Vantage 97 Ti is a great resort ski that’s versatile enough to get you just about anywhere on the mountain, and it especially excels when you want to hit the throttle and cruise. These skis are stiff and offer great edge control at speeds as well, but that translates into a slightly aggressive nature that makes them a bit too much to handle for the everyday skier. Not a true all-mountain option, but solid all around.
These skis stand out at higher speeds. They, in fact, excel under demanding conditions when you point them downhill and really want to let it rip. If you’re a fan of going as fast as your skis will allow (safely, of course) these will give you a thrilling ride that will deliver excellent performance on groomed snow and harder pack conditions where you have plenty of room to make powerful turns.
The stiff flex comes into play here and gives the skis the ability to grip harder snow so they can remain in full control of your edges as you increase speed. The transition from turn to turn is easy and efficient. You will feel their bite as you lean in from inner to outer edge and back around again. That makes the skis a recommended choice for inbounds skiers who go fast and need something that can fully keep up.
Their excellent edge control at speed does require the skier to stay active and engaged at all times. If you sit back in the saddle or don’t anticipate an active turn, it’s fairly easy to lose control. You’re not going to yard sale if you lag on a single turn or anything, but these are the type of skis that demand full attention, especially at speed.
The Vantage 97 Ti is fairly capable in a wide range of other conditions as well. Even so, I wouldn’t quite call them an all-mountain ski. They have a width and shape that will allow you to tackle deeper snow and actually do pretty well in powder. However, the same stiff flex that makes them awesome at speeds makes them lag a bit and not quite feel as bouncy when you find yourself in really deep conditions.
One aspect that keeps me from recommending these skis as a reliable all-mountain model is that they don’t do well at transitioning from different parts of the mountain. If you bomb fresh groomers all morning and then head to the backside later in the day, you’re going to notice that they will demand an almost entirely different set of controls when trying to bust through crud or slop. They just aren’t that dependable.
If you’re a capable and confident skier, you’ll be able to take any sort of ski and make them perform alright in changing conditions. If you’re not that experienced, these won’t give you the versatility you need to experience a variety of conditions. Their demanding nature is best suited for hard charging lines of packed snow.
Construction and Style
The construction and profile of the Vantage 97 Ti makes them a bit more capable than a standard parabolic or racing focused model. Even though I personally don’t call them an all-mountain ski, they are designed to handle a bit of everything. The All-Mountain rocker profile puts that on display and gives a bit of rocker in both the tip and tail to stay afloat in powder and soft, deeper snow.
The skis also have some unique design features that add to their stiffer flex and powerful bite. Prolite construction uses reinforced materials to add strength without adding too much weight, and these come with what’s called an ‘energy backbone’ that helps you make the most out of decent amounts of camber underfoot. The directional shape gives the skis added speed and stability, but hinders any leaning towards freestyle elements.
Overall, the skis are durable and reliable. They utilize key construction elements to make them stand out in terms of performance, even if they don’t utilize the most innovative design and construction methods available. Atomic delivers a pretty quality option overall, so long as the skis are actually what you’re after.
Price and Value
These skis are moderately priced. That gives them a pretty decent value, even if they are a pretty particular model that won’t meet the needs of every skier. If you’re looking for a versatile, all-mountain option this isn’t it. However, if you want a ski that can keep up with even the fastest skiers and know what you’re getting into, they can provide a lot of fun running laps at the resort.
What I Like
I like to ski fast and the 97 Ti’s more than deliver in that regard. They are fully intended to allow you to take them to full throttle and enjoy every second at top speed. I like a ski that gives you that ability without losing edge control. They stay stable and in contact with the snow at a range of different speeds. That’s great because when you know you’re in control, you can push your limits even further.
I also like the skis’ design and the way it helps further their general speed. A directional shape usually isn’t my preference, and I wouldn’t want that to be my only option, but here it allows these skis to be front focused and aggressive. The heavy camber underfoot is also something speed demons will surely enjoy because it gives you the power and pop needed to stay engaged when really hauling.
The subtle rocker in the tip and tail is also nice as it gives these a little extra versatility than some slimmer directional options. That allows you to be able to go over powder and other softer snow conditions pretty comfortably. While the ski doesn’t have a ton of lift on either end, it provides enough float and cushion for you to navigate different situations in search of those wide open runs you can straight line.
What I Don’t Like
I don’t really like how limited in scope these skis are, especially because they somewhat claim to be an all-mountain option. They are perfect for hitting high speeds, but anything other than that will leave you wanting more. The all-mountain niche has really progressed over the last decade and I feel like these skis are somewhat antiquated and dated in what they have to offer.
That dislike bleeds over into a lack of versatility as well when you’re on anything other than hardpack or groomers. They aren’t that easy to navigate from a straight up perspective. That doesn’t mean they aren’t capable, but you will often need to change your skiing style or focus of movement when you bounce through varying conditions with these underfoot.
These skis aren’t a good beginner option at all. They are far too demanding and have too many variable performance traits to be anything close to forgiving. If you try to use these before you are ready to handle them, you’re going to be left in a challenging situation. If you want to go fast, work you way up to it before buying skis that are above your ability level.
If the Atomic Vantage 97 Ti isn’t quite what you are looking for, take a look at some of these other recommended options that offer a more varied performance.
- Atomic Vantage 97 C – These are a similar offering by the same brand as the Ti but have a bit more versatility. They aren’t as dedicated to speed, but they will get you all over the mountain as long as you’re in the resort boundaries. Well built and fairly lightweight, while still having a performance flex, these can be seen as a more intermediate version of their sister skis reviewed above.
- Solomon QST 99 – These are a fun and versatile all-mountain option that utilizes a somewhat directional shape to allow you to cruise to your heart’s content in all sorts of on-snow conditions. The 99 width keeps them mobile and maneuverable while still being wide enough to bounce into the powder and take on freestyle pursuits as well.
- K2 Mindbender 99Ti – The Mindbender 99Ti is a slimmed down approach to a big mountain destroyer that will allow you to explore challenging lines and push your limits. They have serious edge control that rivals the Vantage Ti, but are more versatile overall. They are still capable of holding true at high speeds, however.
Are the latest versions of the Atomic Vantage 97 Ti any different than last year’s model?
The only noticeable change here is the top sheet graphics. The design, construction, shape, and profile all remain the same from the previous year.
Is this a good ski for beginners?
No. These skis are aggressive by nature and have a stiffer flex that requires you to have at least intermediate skiing skills. They are more geared towards experienced skiers.
Do these skis make for a good backcountry or touring ski?
I wouldn’t suggest these as a backcountry or touring ski because they perform best on hardpack snow and groomed conditions. They have a somewhat rockered profile that can handle powder, but they don’t excel in those types of situations.
The Atomic Vantage 97 Ti is a capable and effective ski that sits in a particular niche that might not work for every skier. They are very much suited to go fast and deliver excellent edge control when you need them to respond on groomed and packed conditions, but they lack the versatility to be classified as a true all-mountain option. For the experienced skier who has a need for speed they’ll work well. Everyone else might want to explore other options.