In an age of fake news and elaborate claims, PFD’s All Mountain charger is a refreshingly honest ski

The old adage “does what it says on the tin” is epitomised perfectly by the All Mountain Chargers. The bamboo planks ripped down, chewed up and spat out everything the Tarentaise could throw at them over a week of riding.

Ever since the Ski Club filmed a feature on PFD’s home-grown design and build process I have been itching to try some of the skis out. And I’m pleased to say the set of UK produced skis did not disappoint.
 
I was always taught that it was rude to stare, but in the case of PFDs mesmerisingly beautiful skis it’s difficult to pull your eyes away. The raw wood top sheet and aesthetically pleasing shape are easy on the eyes and provide a natural look that seems right at home in the mountains. Walking around resort I have never turned so many heads with a set of skis, curious holidaymakers would ask me about the skis in every lift line. I definitely felt the eyes on me when skiing off and the pressure to hold my technique – fortunately the skis made this a doddle!

PFD Skis

 
At 100mm underfoot, the skis are at the upper limit of what we would classify as All-Mountain here at the Ski Club, but over the pond this waist width is well within the American 'All-Mountain' range. The ski is constructed primarily of bamboo, a lightweight and incredibly sustainable core material with carbon and flax offering incredible stiffness and dampening properties. Camber underfoot takes care of holding a strong edge even on hardpack while the rocker in the tip allows for easy turn initiation and a level of forgiveness when things get a bit hairy.

With a directional and reasonably aggressive sidecut, this ski proved to be an adept carver, especially when in medium to long radius turns where the stiff tails ping you out of turns faster than a cheetah full of Red Bull. In addition, despite their width, the skis really surprised me with their manoeuvrability when switching from edge to edge. Ripping down pistes flat out, these skis were in control 100% of the time and pushed me to get deeper into the turn and really challenge how fast I could lay carves in the corduroy.


The chargers had no problem holding an edge on all of the slopes we encountered, but where the skis really shone was in mixed and soft snow conditions. The stiffness of the ski, particularly underfoot let me cut through chowder and cruddy snow like a hot knife in butter.

Ross Woodhall
When you are lucky enough to find some untracked snow, the All Mountain Chargers perform admirably, as well as many skis with a wider imprint. The 182 skis on test floated my 5ft 10” frame with ease, thanks to a long shovel and rocker up front which will keep you grinning all the way back to the pistes. After all, PFD, the company name, stands for Pure Freeride Design.

Although the skis were setup with alpine style bindings, the potential for the skis to be part of a freeride touring setup was immediately apparent, thanks in part to the fitting of a skin clip at the tail of the ski. Granted it wouldn’t be the lightest setup but it would sure be a fun one, a perfect match for Salomon’s new Shift Binding or something similar.

Read our in depth review of the Salomon S/LAB SHIFT binding here.

Perhaps my only criticism of the skis is that on the few occasions I took my foot off the gas, the skis felt a little heavy. If you are a stronger skier then this isn’t too much of an issue, but if you are only going flat out 50% of the time then perhaps look elsewhere.

Ross Woodhall
While the skis are beautiful and they come with a fantastic story being handmade locally, the made to order production is not without its limitations, namely price. PFD’s skis start at £970, which will turn many away, however, if you are willing to spend the extra dosh you will be rewarded with exceptional build quality, some of the most ogled-at skis on the mountain, and a grin as wide as an 8-man chairlift from all the fun you will be having.
 
Ultimately this ski will suit strong experienced skiers who are looking for a one ski quiver that charges fast whatever the conditions. The skis’ creator, Rupert, summed it up to me perfectly to me, saying: “you will get the most out of the skis if you push them, the more you push them, the better they get”, I’m not sure I could put it any better myself.