Kara: My first day on the Endurance 98 was a pretty optimal soft-chop day, but my legs were also really tired. Pretty quickly, I discovered that the Endurance 98 was going to work well for me because its agility paired well with the slower, more composed skiing I was aiming for. While it isn’t the ideal skiing for sailing through chop at high speeds, since it does get knocked around a bit, it is an excellent ski for making quick and easy turns through soft chop without having to work hard to drive the ski.
Overall, the Endurance 98 isn’t demanding. It also strikes a nice balance of being maneuverable but smooth. For someone who looks to charge hard through chop and wants a really planted ski, there are plenty of heavier options out there. But for those who want a fairly smooth and stable ski that is also pretty playful and offers respectable flotation for its width, the Endurance 98 is a uniquely good option.
Firm Crud (and Suspension)
Luke: One of the standout aspects of all the Renoun skis I’ve used is how well they mute out vibrations — especially small, high-frequency ones — for how little they weigh. In conditions like roughed-up groomers, shallow / smaller-sized crud, refrozen corduroy, and other scenarios that create repeated, small, frequent impacts, the Endurance 98 feels more smooth and less harsh than almost any other <1950-g ski I’ve used. I wouldn’t call it “plush,” but I think “damp” is the right word. I think of it like this: super heavy, soft skis are a bit like foam pit, absorbing everything, whereas the Endurance 98 is more like a fairly firm memory-foam mattress that absorbs slow and/or small impacts, but firms up if it gets struck with more speed and/or force.
What that translates to is a ski that feels nicer on firm, somewhat rough conditions than it should, given its weight, but that will still get knocked off-track by bigger, more abrupt impacts. Hitting a big pile of consolidated pushed-around or cut-up snow will make the Endurance 98 deflect — not more than I’d expect of a ~1900-g ski, but not a whole lot less.
So all that is to say that the Endurance 98 is not a great ski for skiing fast in chunky, firm crud, but it does handle firm, somewhat rough / bumpy / inconsistent conditions really well for how light and quick it is. And if you want even better suspension in crud at the expense of some quickness and maneuverability, the heavier, narrower Endurance 88 should be on your radar. I’d also add that the latest Endurance 98 feels less “on / off” than the previous, lighter versions. Those skis felt similarly, if not slightly more damp when you were really driving them (particularly on groomed snow), but they also felt more prone to getting deflected when you stopped driving them. The newer version feels less binary when it comes to suspension and stability, which is part of why I think more people will find it more intuitive.
Kara: I didn’t spend much time on the Endurance 98 in firm crud, so I will mostly rely on Luke for this one. Though, in regard to suspension, I spent a good bit of time skiing some super firm steeps on the Endurance 98. Overall, it isn’t a super planted or damp ski, but for its weight, I was impressed that it felt quite smooth, even when striking really rough patches of snow.
The Endurance 98 is also forgiving enough to not feel punishing when hitting these inconsistencies throughout the day. So while there are plenty of skis that feel more plush and planted to me in firm crud (e.g., Black Pearl 97, Secret 96, Sheeva 10, Santa Ana 98), those skis also have a tendency to knock me around a bit when I get off-balance. The Endurance 98 makes for an easy recovery, allowing me to feel more comfortable in bad snow conditions without having to exert as much power and control over the ski.
Luke: I was actually surprised when we measured the Endurance 98 and found that its mount point was -10 cm from true center. While it definitely feels like a directional ski that rewards a forward, driving-the-shovels stance, it doesn’t feel quite as one-dimensional in those regards as many skis with similarly rearward mount points. As someone who tends to get along best with skis with mount points around -8 cm to -4 cm, I still found the Endurance 98 quite intuitive and could still ski it fairly centered at times (especially in more open terrain). I might move a cm or two forward of the recommended line if I owned it, but I was pretty happy just staying on that recommended line during my testing period.