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Is Moment’s Underworld The Touring-Friendly Deathwish We All Hoped For? Teton Tested

The Underworld is Moment's first foray into the lightweight touring ski world. Shauna Fraser photo.

Moment’s Underworld ski, out in its second year this season, took the Triple Camber construction of their best-selling Deathwish ski (of which, I am admittedly a giant fanboy) and the same exact mold, but thinned the waist down from 112 mm to 106 mm and dropped over a pound and a half from a Deathwish of comparable length. 

With the tenacious edge hold that Moment’s Triple Camber allows, Moment’s idea with the Underworld was to create a light, versatile, all-conditions touring ski that has a snappy, playful feel when things are deep but which can still rail groomers and hold it together in firm snow.

Design, Construction, And Triple Camber

The Triple Camber of the Underworld can be seen with the slight, individual cambers fore and aft of the bindings. Shauna Fraser photo.

As was mentioned earlier, the Underworld is basically a slimmed-down, lightened-up version of the best-selling Deathwish all-mountain ski – it’s even built out of the same mold, with the same effective edge length. Moment did add a notched tail to the ski for touring, however, and overall, the finish on their skis has greatly improved over the past few years, and you’ll be impressed holding these how clean the design and construction is.

In thinning the waist by 6 mm and using their Low Fat Layup with a paulownia and southern yellow pine wood core, Moment managed to get my 181 cm Underworlds down to 1,666 grams (hail Satan!) per ski – an impressive drop from a 2,015 gram Deathwish in the same size. That lightweight feeling was immediately noticeable on the up.

Triple Camber Technology, explained. Moment Skis graphic.

Both the Underworld and Deathwish use Moment’s Triple Camber Technology, in which a flat section underfoot and two micro cambers fore and aft of the bindings create four contact points along the edge, making for a similarly remarkable edge-holding experience as you might find skiing Lib Tech’s Magne Traction or Praxis’ Tri-Cut sidecut. 

Depending on where you put your weight, the Triple Camber either loosens up for predictable, slarvy turns, or bites like a razor blade into the snow, making you think an Austrian Ski Team tech did some magic to your skis the night before – even though they look beat to shit from your season banging them around on rocks and snow. It also makes for a fun, snappy feel that has you grabbing airs at every opportunity.

The Underworld also utilizes Twin Rocker at the tip and tail, which is a bit more of a newschool approach to a touring ski but which I find allows you to pop out of each turn in deeper snow.

Uphill Touring Performance

At barely more than 1,600 grams a ski, the Underworld is very easy to haul uphill for being 106 in the waist.

Having spent the previous few seasons with the Deathwish (and Marker plate bindings) as my go-to touring setup, the switch to Dynafit Beast 14's and Underworlds marked an immense shift in my uphill experience. Almost no matter how far I walked, my hips never tightened up and got sore as they might have after hours of dragging a heavier setup up the hill. The huge drop in weight was a godsend for ski tours, and I was blown away to be basically on the same ski I’d enjoyed for the past several seasons while enjoying way less pain for the gain on the uphill.

Moment added a slight tail notch to the Underworld for touring skins. The tip is also a bit more rounded than Moment's regular square tips, making for an easier time securing skins. Ryan Dunfee photo.

I’ll just note that on firm, beat-up skintracks, the micro camber in the tail of the ski, combined with the tail rocker, means that not a ton of the rear of the ski – where much of your weight tends to sit while touring up steeper skin tracks – is firmly placed on the ground. Occasionally, it took a tad more focus to maintain contact in those situations, but this was truly a rarity in my overall experience.

Shredding The Down on the Underworld

The Underworld can carve an absolute magical turn in soft snow. Jon Grinney photo.

In soft, loose, lighter snow, the Underworld carves an absolutely majestic medium-radius turn. It grips with minimal effort, and I’ll often find myself knocking down fluid GS turns in powder with a rhythm and ease I never once matched during my NASTAR days as a yute’. It’s an intoxicating feeling and was what initially sold me so hard on the Deathwish, as the first day of my love affair with those skis was on prime East Coast blue ice, and you could not have asked me to complain once that day about the conditions – the 112-waisted Deathwish simply railed turns that had me dropping my hips all the way to the snow. In dryer, loose snow, slush, and smooth groomers, I found the same experience on the Underworld.

The deepest snow I found myself in this season on the Underworld was probably a foot deep of nice, low-density Teton fluff. In those conditions, the Underworld has a nice, easy float from the Twin Rocker that you don’t have to work for. It’s not a ski that is dying to nuke down the fall line at Bode Miller speeds, but prefers you enjoy its preference for fun, poppy, medium-radius turns looped down the hill.

RELATED: Teton Testing Blizzard's new Zero G touring ski lineup

Most Moment skis prefer a centered, neutral stance in which the skier is evenly weighting both skis, so former racers who drive the shovel of the ski and hammer their downhill ski with all their weight will find the Underworld a bit catchy and finicky until they adjust their style.

In firmer, nastier conditions, the Underworld holds an incredibly secure edge, although it could feel a bit overwhelming for my sloppy technique (and 120-flex touring boots), and I had to focus a bit more to keep my weight even and skis parallel. Chunkier bits of refrozen snow were not a pleasant experience, as individual points along the camber of the ski wanted to grab the snow independently of the rest of the ski. 

The Underworld and Triple Camber Technology in general prefers snow surfaces in which it can get the whole length of the ski to connect with the snow and act in concert. However, I can imagine serious ski mountaineers (of whose ranks I am absolutely not a member) will love the unrelenting grip they can expect while tackling steep, unpredictable lines with a mix of good and absolutely terrible snow.

Comparisons to the Moment Deathwish

The Underworld lacks some of the slarvy turn options and high-speed stability of the Deathwish. Wes Van Duser photo.

Compared to the Deathwish, some of the ability to transition the ski to more of a surf/slarvy feel is lost with the narrower waist in heavier snow. The Deathwish would either rail a hard carve or slarve a turn depending on where and how you weighted the ski, and while the Underwold still does this quite well in light-density snow, in heavier snow I tended to lose that feel, and had a harder time getting the tail to break free.

Also, at high speeds on firmer snow, I found myself experiencing the same locked-in feel, and tended to ski a bit slower on average than I might have on my Deathwishes. Part of the lack of confidence at speed comes, no doubt, from the impressive amount of weight Moment dropped from the Deathwish to arrive at the Underworld. Nonetheless, for the kind of skiing I do, I might prefer a slightly lighter Deathwish, with its larger waist and corresponding characteristics.

The Bottom Line

If you want light touring skis, grip in any scenario, and are less of a fall-line charger, than the Underworld is an awesome touring option. Jon Grinney photo.

The Underworld is the first Moment ski to compete with the slew of light, do-it-all touring skis that include the Blizzard Zero G, Armada Kufo, and Black Diamond Link. Against that lineup, it holds its own as a fun, poppy, and snappy option that’s plenty light, makes a gorgeous turn in most snow conditions, and which has outrageous edge hold when things get ugly.

Pre-existing Moment fanboys who, like myself, bow at the altar of the Deathwish may be a little bummed to lose some of that ski’s bipolar characteristics in deeper snow, as the Underworld does not do as good a job of loosening up and slarving a turn as its older brother does. It’s also less stable at high speeds and takes a bit more focus to do what you want on it.

However, with spring on the way, I’m really looking forward to corn season on the Underworld. On a smooth, softening surface of spring slush, it is going to make turning a ski such a compelling experience that I’ll keep the bike in the garage for as long as the snow holds out in the Tetons.

The Moment Underworld is currently on sale at evo, down over a hundred bones at $637.99. Check them out today!

From The Column: TGR Tested

About The Author

stash member Ryan Dunfee

Former Managing Editor at Teton Gravity Research, current Senior Contributor, current professional hippy at the Sierra Club, and avid weekend recreationalist.