Icelantic Skis was founded in 2005 and they’re currently sold in over 14 countries on 4 continents. Each pair of Icelantic Skis is handcrafted in the Never Summer Factory in Denver Colorado and sports a unique top sheet designed by artist and co-founder Travis Parr. Founder and CEO, Ben Anderson was obsessed with making the perfect pair of skis from a young age and started the company in his parent's garage. Today their product range includes Freeride, All Mountain, Backcountry, Women’s and Youth specific skis as well as a line of men’s and women’s clothing. In their backcountry line, they have the Nomad Lite, the women’s Mystic 97 and 107 and their flagship touring ski—the Natural 101 and 111. We chose to review the Natural 101 due to its all-round appeal and lighter weight compared to the powder loving 111.
Icelantic skis have a very unique top sheet aesthetic thanks to the custom artwork that artist Travis Parr creates each year for the company.
The Icelantic Natural 101 Skis are almost 20% lighter than the previous version thanks to their featherweight wood core which makes them efficient on the way up and confident on the way down. This 100% Paulownia wood core keeps the skis light while the use of Unilateral Fibreglass keeps them stiff and a Carbonium top sheet material makes them some of the most durable ski on the market.
The Natural 101’s are a lightweight touring ski with a generous amount of tip rocker for float in deep snow (31cm to be exact), 5mm of camber underfoot to keep them responsive and snappy and slightly less rocker in the tail. This Freeride Rocker is a combination of rocker/camber/rocker and when combined with a 23m turn radius it enables the skis to surf and yet still be easy enough to pivot in tight trees. If you want extra float and aren’t afraid of a little extra weight on the skin track then the Natural 111 is also available.
The stiffer flex profile of the Natural 101 Skis ensures they can charge with confidence on groomers, while still being at home in deep pow and even taking on crud. This makes them an ideal daily driver ski for resort and backcountry.
The relatively flat tail provides stability and longer edge contact on the snow while the subtle kick at the end keeps things playful
Feather-Weight Core: 100% Paulownia wood, Unilateral Fiberglass, ETXL 2200 Tri-Axe Fiberglass, 20mm Rubber Foil, Carbonium top sheet material
Sidewalls: Durasurf 2001 P-Tex Sidewall
Base: Durasurf 4001 Sintered P-Tex Base
Edges: 2.2 mm Steel Edges
Matte Fibreglass Mounting Plate
The ideal touring ski is easy to create, make it light with 105mm underfoot and plenty of rocker in the tips and flat tails for easy kick turns. The Icelantic Natural 101 Skis are really none of these things other than the ample rocker upfront and yet it does all of them remarkably well.
At 3,606g / 7lb 8oz for the185cm length, the Natural 101’s aren’t going to set any weight records for skis of these dimensions. But they aren’t heavy either. They hit that sweet spot of just the right amount of weight to not get pushed around too much when things get spicy and yet still close enough to that ever so popular three-kilogram weight that seems to define a ski as ‘lightweight’.
With two widths to choose from, the 101 and 111, neither are what I consider to be hitting that sweet spot of 105 underfoot for touring. Wide enough to ski pow with ease and just as easy to lug uphill on the skin track. While the Natural 101’s are off this mark by 4mm, they float surprisingly well. It’s a combination of their aggressive early rise tips and just the right overall dimensions to keep them up on top. They come in at 132/101/117 and that big fat shovel does wonders to pull the ski up on top of pow and float it there. The 101’s work and if they don’t there is always the Natural 111’s, you just have to deal with some additional weight on the up-track.
I tested the Icelantic Natural 101 Skis in and around Whitewater Ski Resort over the months of January and most of February this year. These two months couldn’t have been more diverse, 3 metres of snow in January and a freezing rain right to the top of the mountains followed by high pressure and sunny skies in February. It provided the ideal extremes in which to test the Icelantic Natural 101 Skis.
On the deep days, the Natural 101’s performed exceptionally well give their width underfoot. While a little extra girth would be appreciated I’m not sure the additional weight of the 111’s would have kept me smiling as long. The early ride and fat tip shape made easy work of days that were over the top of the boots and at just 101mm underfoot they were equally fun in bounds as well.
In broken pow and crud, you have to really stay on top of the Natural 101’s as they tend to get pushed around a little given their lightweight construction. Their overall stability diminishes a little as get deflected easily and they’re just not as responsive as they are in the untracked pow. You have to really stay on them when the snow gets challenging as they are fairly stiff and will bounce you around if you’re not in charge.
On resort groomers, they were solid carvers, with a damp, predictable ride thanks to their full wood core. There was no tip chatter even with the aggressive early rise and they felt fairly responsive and powerful going from edge to edge with fluid transitions but I wouldn’t call them snappy or full of rebound.
These are fun skis on groomers, with short, lower radius turns easy to link up—but given how much early rise there is in the tips it’s no surprise that they don’t rail GS turns that effectively. Since there is just less effective edge to carve with they can get a little skittish, especially on the icy conditions as they struggled to bite into the snow. But put 10cm of fresh underfoot and now you’re talking!
The other thing to note is that Icelantic makes super durable skis, they’re hard to scratch or chip the top sheet given its bomber construction. And speaking of top sheets, while the artwork is beautiful I prefer a less illustrative and a more graphic top sheet design, but hey, that’s just me. Most people I hear love the Icelantic's artwork.
Overall I’d say that the Icelantic Natural 101 Skis are designed for pow and are more than competent on soft groomers. When things get more challenging stay on them and drive with confidence to ensure they don’t get away from you.
Price: $879CAN / $779US
Lengths: 171, 178, 185cm
Weight: 3,606g / 7lb 8oz (185cm length)
Turn Radius: 23m (185cm length)
Profile: 31cm / 5mm / 19cm
(Tip rocker / Camber / Tail Rocker)
Warranty: 3 years
|Powder Performance 1.5/2
Groomer Performance 1.5/2
Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in below and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation. You'll need to login or register before you can comment but it only takes a few seconds, then you're good to go.
We built this backcountry skiing community for you, the passionate skier, and hope you enjoy the hard work we put into all the reviews, routes, videos, and posts we create. It’s been free from day one but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable resource. If you enjoy this website and value the content we create for you, then please support Backcountry Skiing Canada by donating today or by clicking on those sponsor ads and 'Buy Now' links at the bottom of the reviews. Thank you!