These days, companies seem to be selling skis branded as “all-mountain quiver-killers,” or something similar. But let’s face it, there is no one ski that is truly perfect for all conditions—especially in Montana. What is on the market, however, are versatile skis that will ride well and enjoyably most days; a ski to use 95-percent of the time. On paper, the Line Blade Optic 104 certainly fits the bill of everything a versatile ski should be. But how do they perform on snow?
The first thing that jumps out is the stability. When slicing through choppy crud, the skis absorb all the harsh vibrations. They want to run fast, straight down the fall line. This can be attributed to the ski's Titanal metal spine. Instead of jamming a bunch of metal into a ski and calling it a day like a lot of companies, Line tapers the metal and stops it short of both the tip and the tail. The result is a burley-feeling ski that still maintains playfulness. In the 178cm length, they weigh in at 1890 grams per ski, hitting the perfect sweet spot of where a versatile ski should land.
The fairly pronounced rocker profile also adds to the playfulness of the metal-free tip and tail. These things float on the deeper days, keeping the tips on top of the snow and allowing the tails to break free for tight turns and slashes. Line lists the Blade Optic 104 as a directional ski, but the tails maintain enough rocker to ride switch—for those who value showboating under the lift line.
When the time comes for the midday (or sometimes early morning) beer break, the skis are just as enjoyable on the smooth corduroy leading into the lodge. The stated sidecut radius is 19 meters, which is on the shorter side of things. While they are not exactly made for long Super-G turns, they lay over onto their edges just fine. And for a ski with a rocker profile, they are surprisingly fun to carve with on piste and hold an edge well at higher speeds.
You don’t have to just take my word for it, though. Local ripper and four-time Kings and Queens of Corbet’s competitor Jake Hopfinger provided a lot of input when Line was prototyping the skis. Here’s what he has to say about the final product: “The Blade Optic 104 is the daily driver for skiing all over the place, hitting jumps, skiing groomers, and riding pow. 104 is the ideal width for everyday skiing. We built the Optic 104 with Gas Pedal Metal so it holds stiff when you want, but will still get loose and jibby when it comes time. Easily the most fun ski I’ve ever used.” If they are good enough for this guy, they are certainly good enough for me.