The 2017 4FRNT Renegade. PHOTO: Erme Catino
The 2017 4FRNT Renegade. PHOTO: Erme Catino

New 4FRNT Renegade is a Big Ski for Deep Days

Hoji's signature powder ski sheds weight but still delivers

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Details Details

Price: $824.99

Lengths: 186, 196cm

Dimensions: 137-122-131mm

Weight: 2,200g @ 196cm

Radius: 35m

Features: ReflectTech, VibeVeil dampening, Reverse Camber, Semi-Cap Construction.

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During the year, I base most decisions around a very simple premise: Ski powder and lots of it. This obsession has led to testing a variety of skis designed for this purpose: From pintails, convex shovels, full reverse skis, to long rockered shovels with flat tails. So when I learned Eric Hjorleifson's cult classic Renegade was revamped for 2016-17, I jumped at the chance to see what this iconic powder shape was all about.

For good reason, Hjorleifson is regarded as one of the most balanced, technically sound skiers in the game. His ability to launch from pillow to pillow is mesmerizing, and he's taken this technique and framed it around three pro-model skis in the 4FRNT lineup, which are manufactured in Salt Lake City. The Renegade, the widest among the collection, is 122 millimeters underfoot and made the for the deepest days—quite perfect for the winter that we've been experiencing across the West.

Available in two lengths, 186 and 196 centimeters, the Renegade is a fully rockered ski yet has the best edge grip tip-to-tail of any reverse cambered ski I've tested. Utilizing ReflectTech, the 35-meter sidecut matches the reverse camber radius. This design concept allows the ski to engage throughout the rockered portion of the ski, providing maximum effective edge and stability in variable snow. It's incredibly smooth through chop, windbuff, and for navigating long traverses like Alta's High-T. However, for 2016-17 the Renegade goes on a diet, making it 400 grams lighter than its predecessor. This is achieved by using a lighter wood core and carbon stringers with a fiberglass laminate. The result is ski that sheds weight without the pingy reflective nature of full carbon touring skis.

The leaner Renegade is perfectly suited as a backcountry ski or daily driver—assuming you like big skis. Make no mistake though, this ski charges and wants to go fast. The mount line is progressive and is designed to porpoise in and out of the snow at high speeds, almost spearing into the snow and re-emerging rather than floating above it. It took a few runs to get used to the balance of the board, but once you find the sweet spot–which is skiing very centered–the ability to pivot and slash with so much speed and stability is amazing.

At 2,200 grams, the 196cm never felt too heavy or stiff. However, if I were planning on touring with this ski, I would opt for the 186cm for ease in skinning and tight spots. At 196cm, the way the ski is designed to perform and be mounted (92cm from the tail), the length of the tail was somewhat cumbersome in the tight trees while sniffing out stashes. And since the 186cm has been said to have the same top-end speed limit, a shorter length seems to be the best route for touring or resorts that have a mix of open terrain and powder nooks. Apparently, the man himself, Hoji, tours on the 186cm.

Regardless of length, the Renegade has a very smooth flex and one of the highest thresholds for speed and stability out of a reverse camber/reverse sidecut shape. It's a full-throttle ski to maximize pow laps before the resort gets thrashed.