Redesigned All-Mountain Freestyle
How Line skis stack up for all-mountain skiing depends on who you ask. Typically, free-minded jibbers and skiers with playful styles answer with a resounding hell yeah! Other skiers sound more meh.
For 2023-2024, Line makes some upgrades to the line aimed at improving how its all-mountain and freeride skis handle varied terrain and snow.
Line Chronic 101 Review: Field Notes
The new Line Chronic comes in two waist widths: 94mm and 101mm. Each version is built with the same eco-friendly and dampening Bio-Resin we’ve seen in K2’s new skis. “Thick Cut” sidewalls aim to beef up the ski underfoot and make it more durable (which matters when you’re sliding rails, airing rocks, and skiing with reckless abandon). That extra thick profile underfoot tapers to an exceptionally thin construction in the tips. There, Line removed all the material from the ski except fiberglass. They say that simplicity reduces tip delamination, lowers swingweight, and improves the skis’ environmental footprint.
Line serves up the Chronic 101 in sizes ranging from 165cm to 186cm. For reference, this tester measures 5’7″ and a couple spicy pickles north of 160lbs.
Qualifier: The Chronic 101 is not a carving ski, and it doesn’t pretend to handle firm snow with the same chops as, say, a Stockli Stormrider. But for an all-mountain freestyle ski, especially one with soft tips and tails, it’s surprisingly capable on groomed runs.
The short turn radius (16 meters in the 178cm size) allows for quick and precise carves, while the sturdy feel underfoot makes you feel like you’re in charge of where the ski goes. The Chronic 101 is much more rigid torsionally than I would have guessed, and that breeds confidence when you drop the hammer on the way back to the lift. Thank also the aspen in the core construction, which keeps the ride smooth without adding a bunch of weight or a planky feel.
I tested the Chronic 101 alongside two other new all-mountain freestyle skis for 2023-2024: the Armada ARV 100 and the Elan Playmaker 101. On firm snow and at high speeds, the Chronic proved to be the strongest.
Bumps and Trees
The new Chronics mimic the profile Line turns to in its redesigned Bacon 108. Soft and playful tips and tails, planted feel underfoot. And while the super-slim tips can get deflected by errant chunks and hard chop, overall the skis do a solid job of staying planted to a fall line. This matters most in bumps, where precision and control keep you from going topsy turvy. I found the Chronic 101 to be surprisingly stable and reliable charging the fall line, and although it isn’t as smooth as top-shelf all-mountain skis like the Stockli Stormrider 95, it holds its own. And, of course, it’s poppy and loose when you want to throw a shifty off that big mogul at the bottom of the run. Chronnnnnnnic, bruh.
Deep tip and tail rocker plus healthy taper lines keep the Chronic 101 pivoting and smearing through tight places. Compared to the Playmaker 101 and ARV 100, though, it does require the most skier input (ie, effort) to move around. That thick cut underfoot keeps you planted, but it also gives you more heft to maneuver through tight alleys and chutes. Strong fall-line skiers won’t mind, but people who expect a buttery, intuitive feel may be surprised.
Mixed Snow and Powder
The first time I tested the Chronic 101, I took it to Crested Butte’s Peel, a steep chute that tapers into a skinny gully. Fresh snow had blanketed rock-hard chunder and ice. Primo dust on crust!
In these conditions, I thought the Chronic 101 shined. The heft underfoot bites firm snow well, while the light and surfy tips whip around quickly and stay afloat. This makeup helps you ski steeps with a lot of control and precision (which I talked about in my review of the Line Bacon 108. Again, there’s enough rigidity here to require skiers to stay on top of their skis. The lightweight tips, which can get bounced around in chop and mixed snow, add to the importance of maintaining a centered and dynamic style when you ski skis with this flex pattern. Get too far forward, and the tips cave. Sit back, and they run away. If you treat them right, the Chronic 101 can handle whatever terrain you throw at it.
I did notice, as you may have guessed, that those slim tips get deflected most when powder sets up into firm chop. Here, I prefer skis with a more consistent flex pattern. The Chronic 101 can finesse through these types of conditions, but I wouldn’t recommend hauling through chop Freeride World Tour style (hint: I tried).
As with plenty of skis (and brands) who buck playful-only stereotypes to seek better all-mountain performance, the Line Chronic 101 might alienate some of its previous followers. If you’re looking for the poppiest, lightest jib sticks on the market (and always prioritize playfulness), you might find the new construction off-putting and too bulky. And, if you want a traditional all-mountain ski, these may still swing too far on the playful side for you.
Simply put: With the upgrades, Line improves the Chronic in every way versus its predecessor. The new Chronic 101 is more durable, more capable in every snow type, and more worthy of an “all-mountain” label. While the previous version appealed to park skiers who dabble in all-mountain skiing sometimes, the new version adds a tasty option to the market for skiers who want a different sort of flavor. By-and-large, the new Chronic 101 will check the right boxes for most freestyle skiers. But it also shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re an intermediate through expert skier who wants a more fun option than the all-mountain models that typically win ski tests.
Case in point. One of our testers said of the Chronic 101: “It’s an all-mountain ski that does everything at the highest level.”
Another said: “Super hot fire.”