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Reverse Camber: Not Just For Pow Days

A tribute to the Nomad 125
By Rachel Croft

Photo: Sam Watson

The other day a kid pointed at my Nomad 125s as I was walking through the base area, and I heard his dad say "it's not possible to carve a ski with that much rocker, you just skid around." It's not the first time I've heard the sentiment that skis with reverse camber/full rocker aren't good for anything beyond skiing deep snow. I've grown accustomed to comments like "you must be feeling optimistic," or "did you forget to read the snow report?" when I ski my 125s on days with little to no fresh snow. I've heard people say that rocker is a crutch for people who don't know how to ski, and that it makes people ski like they're sitting on the toilet. So here are the reasons I ski a reverse camber ski nearly every day, regardless of conditions, and why I think everyone should give full rocker a try, regardless of skill level.

Reverse camber skis do, in fact, carve. Icelantic matches the rocker profile to the side cut so the ski is already bent exactly as a ski with traditional camber would be while carving a turn. Tilting the reverse camber ski on its edge engages the entire edge, and shapes the turn the same way a traditional camber ski does. While the reverse camber ski does not store energy in the flex to rebound the skier into the next turn the way the traditional ski does, it also doesn't store the energy that causes major rebound during chattering. The absence of the pressure in the tails created by traditional camber also makes it easier to break the them loose to scrub speed. At the same time, when the reverse camber ski is not tilted far enough to engage the entire edge, less of the ski is in contact with the snow, so it maintains the maneuverability of a much shorter ski. 

Photo: Hywell Williams

The biggest difference I noticed when I started regularly skiing a fully rockered was my confidence. On my old skis I had always felt the need to keep my weight back slightly to keep my tips from diving in deep snow or from stabbing into a mogul in firmer conditions. On a reverse camber ski, the knowledge that my tips were curved upwards helped me become comfortable with keeping my weight centered and pressuring the fronts of my boots. I also became more comfortable in the air because it's significantly easier to ollie. Since the ski is already slightly bent, the slightest shift in weight loads the tails enough to pop off the snow with little to no effort.

I bought my Nomad 125s with the intention of skiing them on powder days only, but they soon became my daily driver. They added playfulness to my skiing, but also helped me learn how to charge. I'm so sad to see them be retired, but can't wait for the Saba and Nia Pro models, coming in 20/21. Both will have reflective rocker: their rocker profiles will match their sidecut, like the Nomad 125. Keep your eye out and snag a pair before they're gone!
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