Pros: Stability, stability, stability in chopped snow, fun, fun, fun
Cons: Can lack some float in very wet and heavy snow.
Conditions: Squaw Valley, bluebird powder day, Squaw reported 6-8 inches of new snow on top, but felt more like 4-6 inches everywhere, with pockets of deeper snow in the morning.
Me: 39 y/o male, 6'/185 lb, expert skier.
Last season my powder ski was a pair of Nordica Blowers, which I didn't quite agree with at first but learned to drive after a couple of days. This season I switched them for the HTs, based partly on HTs good reputation here (davluri- thanks for the encouragement!), partly on being able to get a good deal. The ski I was on was actually a personal pair of SierraJim's (thanks again!), but my ski is identical (except the color of bindings ) .
Impressions: I knew that it had rained mid-mountain the day before, so I immediately headed to the upper mountain. The first run in Shirley bowl (easy intermediate slope) convinced me right away it is a great ski, very easy initiation, very stable, and surprisingly quick. I was lucky to hit the Granite Chief lift right when they opened it, so I got good first tracks there. The ski had tons of float, tips came to the surface really well, and the HT made skiing powder very easy. Later in the day it blasted through the chopped up snow (Squaw typically does not have a lot of powder after 11 am) with apparent ease. Later in the day I hit the Rock Pile run off Granite, and the first half of the run down that face felt perfect: I was flying down at high speed, making clean linked turns through the cut-up snow. Great skis, made me a better powder skier right away. On my way back I hit the lower mountain which had piles of cut-up snow on top of the crust from the rain last night- not much problem, the ski just went right over everything.
More technical details: I flexed the ski in the store many times and the front is stiff as a board, so I would never believe that it could be a good powder ski. In reality HT turns much better than the stiffness or the sidecut suggests. Must be the soft tail. It was quick enough to make skiing trees enjoyable. It also likes to make these distinctively "slarvey" turns when you can feel the tail sliding out a bit throughout the turn, it is actually a great feeling that doubles the fun of powder skiing. The stiff forefront does not respond to the front input all that well, so the ski definitely rewards a centered stance and a more modern two-footed technique. On shallow snow the ski carved well, but liked big lazy GS turns; in deel snow it transforms into a much more nimble ski, must be the flat camber effect. Not a ski for ice, but a 115mm ski is never intended for skiing ice. Very stable everywhere, versatile, but definitely likes the big open bowls with soft snow the best, it absolutely kills in those conditions. I am not a big jumper, and I was on someone else's ski in early season conditions, so I didn't do any; whatever small air I got felt solid. My guess is that the soft tail does not make it is great hucking ski, but that's not a concern for me at all.
Comparison to the Blowers: The HT is much more floaty, my Blowers could never quite come to the surface, the HTs do it almost right away. Blowers always liked to carve, HTs can carve and slide and make sliding quite enjoyable. HT is also easier to turn in soft snow yet is more stable, no tip chatter, damp solid ride. On the HT I was always feeling that I am skiing 30% faster that I would usually do, pretty unnerving. The Blowers are a much quicker groomed ski and bump ski, but those conditions are not exactly a recipe for a 110mm ski. Overall, I am very happy that I switched.
Bottom line: a great soft snow ski for Tahoe. Definitely not a one-ski quiver, but still killer versatility in all kinds of soft snow. This ski should have been a huge hit for Dynastar. With a ski that good why even need a rocker?