Icelantic Gypsy 2013 Review

Aaron Imber

 The Icelantic Gypsy is an interesting ski that, in many ways, is hard for me to classify. For most buyers this is an awesome, playful, fully rockered powder ski. But if you are an advanced skier, who likes fat skis, you might find yourself taking these out in less than optimal conditions. The sidecut is matched to the rocker profile. When you lay the ski over on edge you get a lot of contact compared with other rocker designs. It works. It rails. I won’t lie here; the Gypsy has stolen my heart.

As far as I understand The Gypsy design has not changed since its release in 2012. Julian Carr and Icelantic seem to understand that you don’t fix what isn’t broken. The 2013 model year brought a new, topsheet material (carbonium) that looks amazing and has held up very well so far. Also, the new bear topsheet for the 2015 model looks sweet. They will also release a SKNY version of this ski for 2015. The SKNY will have the same design and ratios as its fatter brother, but comes in at 99cm under foot.

Category: Powder/Big Mountain

Riding Level: Intermediate-Expert

Lengths Tested: 190cm

Dimensions: 152/125/148

Available Lengths: 170, 180, 190

Approx. Weight: 9.4lbs, 10.25lbs, 10.75lbs

Turning Radius/Sidecut: 19m, 22m, 25m

Camber Profile: Fully Rockered

Tip Rise: 59cm

Tail Rise: 51cm

Days: 40+

Conditions: Everything

Rider: Aaron (6ft. 200lbs)

Boots: Dalbello Panterra 120 & Dynafit Vulcan

Bindings: Marker Baron

Mounting Point: Recommended Line & Centered

Manufactured In: USA by Never Summer

How did you get the gear: Personally purchased at a heavy discount

 2013 topsheet

2013 topsheet

Overall Feel:

I feel like the Gypsy is kind of an oxymoron. It’s playful, yet very stable when on edge. It might be a lot of ski for some people to toss around, but if you put in the right inputs, it responds beautifully. It doesn’t mind going fast, but I have no problem making slow speed, short radius turns if I need to slow down a bit in some tight trees. I have taken this ski in some very tight trees and loved it. I really like this sidecut. It hits a great middle ground between big line stability and tree ninja slashability. Again, this ski likes to be on edge. When you run it out bases flat there isn’t a ton of tip flap, but the ride can get a bit bumpy. That’s fine with me.  

Powder:

There is no doubt this is where the Gypsy shines. I’ve had them out on multiple powder days and they float my 200lb frame like a rhinoceros in a hot air balloon. They love to slash and slarve and spin and ride switch. They’ll also hold onto a heavy-duty big mountain powder line.  The Gypsy loves to play and it doesn’t mind charging…weird.

Carving:

 This ski carves well…for a fat, fully rockered, powder ski. The way they matched the sidecut to the rocker profile works very well. You get a ton of edge contact. You can load up the edge with a lot of power and then the skis fly under your center when transitioning to the next turn. The transition could be quicker, but feels very powerful. Certainly a fully cambered carving ski provides more energy from turn to turn.

You can definitely drive the tips to initiate, but they feel just a touch soft. (Remember I’m 200lbs, and this ski is designed as a freeskier’s dream. They have to be soft enough to butter and what not to fulfill these criteria.)

 Fairly mellow rocker...

Fairly mellow rocker...

 Soft Chop:

These skis blast through the soft chop pretty well, especially when they’re on edge. Again, this is an area where I would like to see them just a touch stiffer. But that would definitely change the element of playfulness they bring to the table. When it firms up they get a little bouncy going bases flat. Remember this is a fully rockered ski. Sometimes you play the rocking horse game a little. This isn’t as much of a problem when you keep them on edge.

The cool thing about the Gypsy when the chop is soft is that they will tolerate two styles. They are happy to bounce around the chop playfully taking little airs along the way. They also don’t mind carving through soft piles on edge, though they are not as adept at this as cambered charging skis like the Moment Governor or Icelantic Seeker.

 A little far back there Aaron, the Gypsies don't mind...

A little far back there Aaron, the Gypsies don't mind...

Flex:

This is where I become conflicted. The Gypsy has a very well balanced flex. The tip is just a little softer than the tail. The medium-stiff flex of the Gypsy really helps define their character. To be honest I probably wouldn’t change it just because of the intent in this design. But if I was being selfish I might make them just a little stiffer.

Switch:

 They ride switch very well. Remember, this is a very close to symmetrical ski. It’s super fun to ride switch in powder. Yeah, sometimes I ride switch in powder. Sometimes I fall. Get over it. Skiing should be joyful not dogmatic.

Jumps:

 Bending through some bumps...

Bending through some bumps...

The Gypsy provides a very stable landing platform for an air born rider. I’ve only taken them off ten-foot drops at the most, but the tails are confidence inspiring and supportive. They don’t have a ton of pop, but they still like to drop. Please reference Julian Carr and his ridiculous big mountain riding. Remember, this is his ski.

Moguls:

Most people aren’t buying these skis for mogul skiing. They are definitely a handful in the bumps. However, the touch of softness makes them manageable, at least for me. I do not recommend these as a bump ski, but I still have a lot of fun taking them through the moguls and seeing all the weird looks I get. They conform to the bumps well.

Skinning/Backcountry:

I think the Gypsy is a great tool in the backcountry, but they’re a little heavy. I don’t mind, but it’s definitely not a super lightweight touring setup. The rocker profile and big dimensions break trail very well. I have taken them on some side country laps around Ski Santa Fe and Steamboat. I have also taken them out to Rabbit Ears Pass near Steamboat.  They fit in that oh so trendy sidecountry category. I’ve been running them with Marker Barons and Black Diamond Ascension Nylon STS skins. The skis and skins have been fine with this setup. I feel like the Barons could be better. We’ll save that discussion for another date.  

Mount:

I first tried the Gypsy center mounted just to see what it was like. I didn’t like it at all. I like to ski with plenty of forward pressure into the cuff of the boot, and drive the ski pretty hard. The Gypsy likes a little more centered approach. I had a hard time finding that centered stance when this ski was center mounted. I was always too far forward or too far back. However I’m a big guy who doesn’t ski park a lot. I also felt that I wasn’t floating and planing properly in powder. I’m a pretty heavy guy, and felt like I was on the wrong portion of the rocker profile.  

I did discuss this ski with a female ski patroller at Loveland. She’s been on park skis her whole life and loves her center mounted 170cm Gypsy’s. Remember, she is much lighter than me, and is used to a center mounted, fully symmetrical ski.

I think most people will prefer the recommended mounting line, which isn’t very far back anyway. The minute I switched to the recommended line I really clicked with this ski. I was able to ski it pretty centered, but a little farther forward. It now feels very natural.  

Conclusion:

The Gypsy is an awesome, fat, fully rockered ski, that’s playful but can still hold up when on edge.