[Editor’s Note: the 2022-2023 Icelantic Saba Pro 107 features new art, but it is the same ski structurally as the previous version (2021-2022). This Icelantic Saba Pro 107 review was originally published in April 2021.]
Ahead of the 2020-21 ski season, our neighbors at Icelantic brought their professional athletes together to create two pro collab skis: the Saba Pro and the Nia Pro. The Icelantic crew said the skis were designed around the “lucky seven” theme—”Saba” is the Swahili word for “seven,” and “Nia” is one of the seven sacred principles for collaboration. It’s a nice story, but we know the names are really a nod to Powder7.
Anyway, we are big fans of both original pro skis. So, when Icelantic announced a narrower version of the 117mm Saba Pro for 2021-22, our staffers grew instantly curious. Would the Saba Pro 107 ski as well as we hoped?
Icelantic Saba Pro 107 Review: Field Notes
One question you may immediately ask is whether the Saba Pro 107 is just a slightly wider Nia Pro with different art. While the new ski does look a lot like its soul sister, the Saba Pro 107 is built on the same platform as the original Saba. That means it’s a little heftier with a more stout flex and stiffer tails compared to the 105mm-waisted Nia.
All three skis in the pro collab collection feature Icelantic’s Reflective Rocker. That means each ski’s full-rocker profile—that’s right, no camber here—matches its sidecut radius. So, while the skis surf, smear, and play when they’re flat (like you would expect from a ski with no camber), they allow you to engage the full edge when you lay them over. The goal is a ski with all the benefits of full rocker that also charges on harder snow and feels solid underfoot in variable conditions and at high speeds.
When it comes to full rocker profiles, the party line often sounds something like this: Lack of edge grip, not good on groomers. You won’t see Mikaela Shiffrin shirking camber to crash gates anytime soon. But for most recreational skiers, the debate between camber and rocker should be less about “better or worse” and more about how the various profiles just feel different on snow.
Take Icelantic’s three all-mountain freeride skis with similar waist widths and target markets: the Saba Pro 107, Nomad 105, and Pioneer 109. With camber, a softer flex pattern, and a relatively long effective edge, the Nomad springs in and out of carved turns. Lots of rebound and energy, maximum bend. The Pioneer also rebounds and snaps, but on a more stout and directional platform with a more locked-in feel.
With no camber, the Saba Pro 107 doesn’t spring in and out of carves. Rather, it’s more “tip and go.” The tapered tip shape smoothly initiates turns, and the ski does feel more solid on edge than most other fully rockered skis I have carved on. While you can obviously release the tails easily (full rocker), they are stiff and will hold onto a turn better than you may think. For a never-ever racer like me, the Saba Pro 107 was a blast on groomed runs.
Don’t get too twisted: Many narrower skis with camber will still feel more solid railing groomers. If that type of skiing is why you go to the mountains, look elsewhere, like at the new M6 Mantra from Volkl. But if groomers are more of a way to get back to the chairlift so you can go explore some more, the Saba Pro 107 can hang.
Bumps and Trees
Similar to the above points about skiing groomers on fully rockered skis, ripping mogul lines feels a bit different. I, for one, had a blast taking the Saba Pro 107 down bump runs. It practically pivots and drifts for you, so sluffing speed or altering your line is no big deal. Those tapered tips don’t feel hooky or cumbersome. And when you do lock into a mogul line, the ski is strong enough underfoot and through the tails to hold onto it. I was so impressed that I had a hard time not throwing spread eagles at the bottom.
Again, if zipper lines are what you live for, you likely already know that a narrower ski is the better choice. But if you like skis in this mid-fat category for skiing everything on the mountain, the Saba Pro 107 brings the noise.
That intuitive, smooth feel when skiing fall line or drifting or smearing translates to the trees. In fact, the woods may be where the Saba Pro 107 feels most at home. In this type of terrain, I noticed just how well-balanced these skis are. The light weight and turny shape inspire confidence down barkeater-style runs, while the stout flex and reliable edge hold keep you planted in less-than-ideal snow.
Powder and Mixed Snow
As a fully rockered ski, the Saba Pro 107 floats and surfs powder better than most other skis in this category. Of course, it’s more of a do-everything ski than its big brother, the original Saba Pro, so that wider version will be better as a pure powder option. But for all but the deepest days, the Saba Pro 107 is a great choice. It feels more slashy, turny and loose than the Nomad, likely another product of the full-rocker profile and tapered tips. For me, the best sub-110mm ski in powder is still the Black Crows Atris, which sometimes feels like a 120. But the Saba Pro mirrors a lot of what the Atris does well. Zero hook, loose but strong, smooth and intuitive. Combined with a fully rockered profile, those traits make for a unique feel.
In mixed snow, like choppy or heavy pow or crust, the Saba Pro’s shape, flex, and sidecut allow it to remain stable underfoot. It’s a surprisingly strong ski, so it can bust crud better than you may think.
If someone doesn’t like the Saba Pro 107, I’m betting it has more to do with preference than performance. More than likely, they just don’t like fully rockered skis. Again, it’s the distinction between “better or worse” and “different.”
I will say, though, that the Saba Pro 107 isn’t the strongest zero-camber ski I have ever been on. Versus a ski built with metal, like the Black Crows Corvus, it is more likely to get deflected by refrozen chop, hard crud, sastrugi, etc. For folks who want to, say, straightline back bowls at 2 pm, the ski may feel a little too loose. The flip side of that critique, of course, is the Saba Pro 107’s light weight and playful maneuverability, which give it its unique flavor. Considering that no one prioritizes skiing crappy snow, the tradeoff is one that I’m willing to make. I’m also a small man, slashing 5’7″ 160 pounds, so there’s plenty of grr here for me. But there are some line-hawking chargers out there who will prefer more heft.
By March 2021, the Saba Pro 107 had already become one of our favorite skis of 2022. Multiple staffers were raving about its unique feel, its intuitive skiability, and its versatility. At a point on the ski equipment timeline when practically every brand makes good skis and many of them feel the same, Icelantic has succeeded in making not one but three skis that feel truly unique. We tip our hats to them.
The Saba Pro 107 serves up playful freeride flavor in an accessible-yet-strong package. Plus, it’s built right here in Colorado and comes with Icelantic’s three-year-warranty. Lucky seven, indeed.