The Atomic Bent Chetler—pro model of skier Chris Benchetler—has been a favorite among backcountry freestyle oriented powder skiers since it debuted back in the 2009/10 season. This year, Benchetler and Atomic have completely revamped the design of the ski, resulting in an even lighter, more durable Bent Chetler. Atomic’s HRZN Tech is the big story with the newest installment of the ski: a blend of ABS sidewall construction with a horizontal rocker across the tip and tail. The result is a 10% increase in surface area across the tip and tail, but without added swing weight.
“[The most exciting change is] HRZN tech, which is an integrated technology that allows the ski to move through snow even easier than with traditional rocker,” says Benchetler. “We turned up the sides of both the tip and tail, which reduces drag, [allowing for] easier planing, and [combined with] a few other changes, increases the skis’ flotation.”
Atomic encourages you to Expand Your Horizons with the new Bent Chetler.
Atomic also thinned the waist width from 123 mm to 120 mm, lengthened the ski (available in 178, 185, and 192 cm), incorporated Atomic’s durable Stepdown 2.0 Sidewall for improved dampening and shock absorption, and utilized a poplar wood core for a lightweight, poppy feel. Benchetler’s involvement in the development of the ski stretches far beyond having his name slapped on the product, as the Mammoth Mountain-bred skier is involved in the ski’s creation from square one.
“I have 100% creative freedom, but then I work with the developers and engineers to make sure the ideas are possible,” explains Benchetler. “We have an amazing team of people at Atomic, so they really help steer me in the right direction.”
Benchetler shows off the redesigned tips while blasting Japan pow. Photo: Pondella.
Benchetler’s vision for the ski was an offering that anyone who enjoys getting after it in deep snow can use, and use well. “[It’s meant for] any powder skier really,” he explains. “It’s super playful, fun, and easy to ski, but also very stable at high speeds. The goal was to create a powder ski that everyone could enjoy.”
The Bent Chetler has often featured eye catching artwork done by Benchetler himself, whether it be totem poles, anthropomorphic suns, or pirates. The Bent Chetler has always stood out, but the graphics on the 2014/15 ski will be noticeably different.
“I took a similar approach to the past graphics in terms of inspiration, however instead of using a lot of color I took all the line drawings and laid it on top of a clean, black wood look,” says Benchetler. “We tried to keep it super tonal so it would be a noticeable departure from the past years.”
The topsheet on the 2014/15 Bent Chetler.
The success of the Bent Chetler is sure to continue for many generations to come. “It’s very humbling, I never dreamed I’d see a ski with my name on it, and have it be known internationally,” says Benchetler. “It’s very much an honor and I’m grateful Atomic believed in me enough to make the ski.”