Ski Essentials: Switch [Gear Review]

Posted: 03.22.2024
Posted: 03.22.2024
Home / Blog / Ski Essentials: Switch [Gear Review]

Review, Photos, and Video by Ski Essentials

"The Switch is a ski that’s right up my alley. Designed to bridge the gaps between park, all-mountain, and freeride, it features a 99 mm waist width with a relatively symmetrical sidecut shape as well as a relatively symmetrical rocker profile. Tip rocker, is, however, slightly longer than in the tail, a concept that’s supported by the fact that the recommended mount point is about 3.5 cm back from true center, at least by my measurement. That is, obviously, more centered than most skis, especially most (all) directional skis, but also a good indication that the Switch isn’t a pure park ski. After all, 4FRNT wants you to be able to shred every type of terrain on these skis, and as we’ve all learned, a truly center mounted ski has its limitations as a directional all-mountain ski.

We see an Aspen Maple wood core that’s supported by pre-stretched carbon laminates. While carbon is an awesome material for ski construction, the use of it is not wildly uncommon by any means. Carbon has worked its way into a lot of skis. What’s perhaps most unique about the Switch is 4FRNT’s use of neoprene, you know, like a wetsuit. This material is used much like we see other brands using rubber. By placing it in the tip of the Switch, they’re effectively reducing chatter and unnecessary vibrations. In my opinion, that little amount of neoprene (or Neotip according to 4FRNT) is the coolest thing about its construction. It’s light, too. 1630 g in the 177 cm length."

So, how does it feel? Starting with groomers, the Switch feels like it’s all about fun. We have a relatively soft flex pattern here, and although it uses carbon, I think it’s fair to say torsional stiffness is not its strength. In other words, don’t expect to pick up this thing and be able to rail GS turns on super firm conditions. That is, actually, what we found the MSP 91 does particularly well. The Switch, on the other hand, wants to pop, play, and find unique ways of getting down the mountain. I found myself constantly thinking about going from point A to point B. Say point A was a roller to 180 off, then point B was a little side-hill hip to slash. I didn’t really care about how the ski acted getting from A to B, I was too focused on how much fun I was going to have in those moments. When thinking specifically about on-piste skiing, that’s the best way to describe this ski. Now, what’s nice about not having tremendous torsional stiffness is the ski is also quite forgiving. Tail edge release is laughably easy (in a good way), so basically anyone that’s comfortable on a ski this wide won’t have any trouble skiing it. Intermediates? No problem, but its versatility can also satisfy a playful expert.

In the trees and soft snow conditions, despite the relatively forward mount point, it’s easy and intuitive. I skied the 177 cm length, which is consistent with most of my length choices, but I also feel like I would’ve done perfectly fine on the 184. The ski is noticeably lightweight on your feet, which makes flicking it around super easy. The tapered and rounded off tail never feels catchy, even though there’s a lot of ski behind you. The supple and easy-going flex pattern allows for a lot of manipulation both in your turns and in how you’re navigating challenging terrain. Super easy to load up the tail to ollie over a section, super easy to smear and slash, it allows you to access your entire repertoire of techniques and tricks. Similar to on-piste, I didn’t love super high speeds on it, but I again don’t think that’s the purpose of the ski. Straight-lining through chop just meant I was missing things to pop off and play on, which seems pointless on the Switch. Again, if you want to charge, an MSP might be more up your alley. Some might scoff at me when I say that, and some of you probably do charge on a pair of Switchs. It’s not to say you can’t, it’s more that it will require a skilled, balanced skier, and someone who’s willing to trade some stiffness and stability for playfulness and fun.

Then there’s park application, which might even be the highlight of this ski. I didn’t get to ski as much park on it as I would’ve liked, but enough that it gave me a great sense of its capabilities. Light, smooth, catch-free, it basically has everything you want as a park ski. Great responsiveness and energy out of it too, which feels like a nice blend of looseness and precision for a park ski. Perhaps not the best as a competition style ski, but excellent as a fun-loving ski to take to your local park, and will certainly turn some heads while doing so.

All in all, I was very happy to get on some 4FRNT skis this year, and the Switch was a real winner for me. We use this phrase a lot, and it might seem repetitive, but the Switch is definitely one of those skis that doesn’t chase superlatives. It’s fun, it’s easy to ski, it’s very well-rounded for a playful skier, and it has and will continue to put a big smile on a lot of skiers faces.


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