[GEAR REVIEW] Peak Skis 104: Modern Day Charger or Marketing Hype?

Mike Lavery | | Gear ReviewGear Review
The Peak 104s. Photo: Peak Skis

If you’re a SnowBrains regular, you know that we covered the launch of Bode Miller’s Peak Skis last spring. Since then, they’ve added big names like Chris Davenport, Michelle Parker, and JT Holmes to their lineup, which begs the question, are these skis the real deal or just a bunch of marketing hype? Luckily, Peak hooked me up with a pair of skis this season for a long-term review. I opted for the 184cm Peak 104 as a good daily driver in SW Montana.

To give some background on my ski tastes: I grew up in New Hampshire and spent my youth ski racing. I have a relatively aggressive, front-of-the-boots ski style. My inbounds ski quiver is 186 -196cm, with traditional sidecuts, metal laminates, subtle tip rocker, and flat tails. I also like my inbounds skis to be heavy. The heavier, the better. Words like “surfy” and “playful” need not apply.

Lightweight ski trends and progressive shapes have made ski shopping difficult for me in recent years. During most seasons, I’ve purchased or demoed a few newer models, thinking I’d found my new ski, only to be disappointed and return to my aging favorites.

Peak 104
The rocker profile of the Peak 104. Photo: SnowBrains

I was inherently skeptical when I picked up my skis from the Peak ShowroomThey look like skis I might like. I also saw firsthand that Bode Miller loves them. On the other hand, I’ve been underwhelmed by too many skis lately. Why would these be any different? Before I was done beveling the edges, I’d convinced myself I didn’t like them; too short, too much tip rocker, all hype, the list went on.

Day one was at Bridger Bowl, and nine inches of dense snow had fallen overnight. I showed up around 10 am to every ski’s worst nemesis: heavy, deep chop. On the chairlift, I wished I had brought my unshakeable 196cm Blizzard Bodacious instead. They would have steamrolled this stuff. We headed left off the lift, dropped into Avalanche Gulch, and I was prepared to get totally worked.

After the first few cautious turns, I was still upright and in control. I cut left into some tracked-up pow through the choke and aggressively let off the brakes. A suicide mission by all accounts, but at least the impact would be soft when I crashed, which never happened. As the day went on and the conditions got more variable, it was pretty clear that my first impression was wrong. The tips rode up high in the deep snow, and the skis felt balanced, predictable, and in command as if I’d skied on them before. These skis are no joke.

Peak skis
Putting the Peak 104s through the paces. Photo: SnowBrains

The more days I spend on the Peak 104s, the more I ski them because I want to, not because I’m writing this review. They’re very capable regardless of conditions – exactly what you want from a ski of this width. On an unusual day last week, I encountered everything from knee-deep powder to large moguls and wind-stripped ice without ever feeling like I was on the wrong ski.

To my delight, they’ve got some heft to them contributing to their ability to dominate in variable conditions. Peak says their skis are “light enough” and isn’t afraid to admit the truth: weight matters! If you’re into super light skis, these aren’t for you. If you miss the heavy metal chargers of years past, you should check these out.

Despite their weight and “charger” status, the Peak 104s will also respond to a lighter touch. They’ll go full speed through any snow conditions without hesitation but won’t kick your butt if you’re having an off day. The sweet spot is huge, and I never feel like I need to be perfectly balanced or on my A-game at all times. Is this Peak’s proprietary “Keyhole Technology” in action? I’m not sure, but it’s a unique feeling in this typically unforgiving genre of skis.

I do have a few minor critiques. At 184cm, the Peak 104s are the shortest skis I own. I appreciate their length in tight spots, but at other times, I want more ski out in front. For tall folks, 184cm as the longest length feels a little too short. Some of this is likely due to the healthy amount of tip rocker – more akin to an oversized powder ski than an all-mountain daily driver. In my opinion, on a ski this stiff, the tip rocker could be cut in half without sacrificing float, giving the ski a longer feel. (Update: A Peak Skis spokesperson told SnowBrains that they will add 160cm and 190cm lengths to the 104 lineup next season.)

That said, I like the 104s so much that I may buy a pair of the 188cm Peak 110s for next season. 

Check them out at www.peakskis.com

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2 thoughts on “[GEAR REVIEW] Peak Skis 104: Modern Day Charger or Marketing Hype?

    1. I mean, for a ski of this size, they did just fine. They hold an edge quite well, as you’d expect from a Bode Miller signature ski.

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