Carbon fibre in skis aren’t new… But the Renoun Citadel is a revolution in the ski market. An Aspen wood core completely reinforced with carbon fibre and their proprietary vibe stop technology (HDT) makes this one of the most versatile skis I have ever stepped into and thankfully was able to ride for a few weeks. So who is Renoun and what makes them special?
Renoun is a start-up ski company in Colorado, USA founded by Cyrus Schenck. Their ski design is based on the patented engineering of a vibration reduction polymer that goes from soft to rigid with increase in vibration. They call it Anti-Vibration Hyper Dampening Technology or more simply HDT. As the vibrations in the ski increase the polymer stiffens and vice versa. This technology helps them reduce the weight of their ski while not losing the performance a stiffer ski provides and the forgiveness of a softer ski. I was excited to try these skis with their unique technology and engineering mindset.
The first thing you notice with the Renoun Citadel 106 is how light and stiff the ski is with a modern shape and flat tail. Even with the moderate waist at 106mm underfoot, it has a wide nose at 140mm and a moderately wide tail at 126mm. I mounted the ski at the factory recommended line. I wanted to trust in the engineering Renoun had put into this ski.
The Citadel 106s are different from my regular skis, which are usually wider and twin tipped. I did not like them on the first few runs. However, by the end of the day I was starting to get used to the skis. They were giving me confidence to carve into hard and loose snow at high speeds. I can say that the Citadel behaves as described on Renoun’s website. It’s a ski that handles 95% of what the intermediate to expert skier would encounter at a resort and backcountry. This technology gives the skier the power to drive the ski hard like a race ski when moving fast. The polymer handles the vibration by dampening the ski as you go faster and as the vibration slows the ski softens. Thankfully, Renoun put in a carbon fibre reinforcement to prevent it from getting too soft.
The Renoun Citadels are nothing short of impressive. One of my favourite skis ever! The Citadels are one of the most capable skis on the market for any skier. The thing I would change would be to increase the weight slightly. This would improve its ability to handle crud as well as improve its durability in skiing the terrain park, making it a true all mountain ski. I have offered a more comprehensive review of this ski below in each category that I skied while testing.
Bonus! The top sheets of the Citadels do not allow snow to stick to them. Most skis heat up and snow begins to stick to the top sheet making them heavier as the day goes on. In the 14 days of testing these skis, I never had snow build up.
With the new polymer technology and its medium sidecut this ski carves with the best of the all-mountain skis and the flat-camber-rocker shape has a long and strong effective edge to dig into the early morning corduroy, as well as, late afternoon cruisers. This ski gives you confidence in your edge and allows you to really cut into the hill.
I got lucky to have multiple powder days on this ski from 6cm to 40cm and was surprised at how well it handled deeper snow. This ski is plenty for snow up to ~30cm, and then the tips start to dive. In the Rockies we get light snow and these skis were able to still be fast while skiing under the snow at 40cm. And the light nimbleness of the ski allowed it to be playful and negotiable in trees and mandatory direction changes. These skis are strong on landings off of natural features, side hits, and cliffs, no matter in powder or on hard-packed snow. As light as they are, the Citadels allow you to go all day reducing leg fatigue.
This area is the Citadel’s weak spot. The Citadel deflects from hard crud instead of blasting through it like a heavier ski. The wider shovels do help mitigate this somewhat, but I did find myself actively focusing on keeping the skis together and straight whenever skiing chopped and hardened powder or crusty snow. I think Renoun can find a balance between being light and improving the Citadels skiing ability in crud. That being said, it handles crud better than most lightweight skis and depending on where you ski this may not be an issue for you.
I did not tour with this ski, but I did bring it into the backcountry and it definitely brought a smile to my face. I could envision it as a strong candidate for anyone looking for a light touring set up. This ski has a strong powder pedigree as mentioned above. With a light binding it would be a capable touring set up from big mountain crusader to long traverses. Anyone looking for a high quality light touring setup should have the Citadel near or at the top of their list.
This ski handles well off park jumps, as well as boxes and rails. With their low swing weight it was fun to spin in the park. They offer a nice stable base for landings as well. You can feel the polymer engaging as you land, reducing the chatter created from the force of the landings. I did not see any damage from the rails, however, I would be worried about damaging the edges or worse due to the light construction of the ski.
Renoun calls the Citadel 106s a powder ski that can “Float in the powder and grip on the groomers”. They are correct, but it is so much more. The Renoun Citadel 106 is the most capable lightweight ski with a moderate width waist that I have seen. It blurs the lines between light weight alpinist ski-mo and full metal jacket hard charging sender. The Citadel puts a whole new meaning behind versatility and is potentially the closest I have seen to a one ski quiver on the market. If you have a chance to ski a Renoun ski, do it.