Me: 6' 165 lbs, advanced, middle aged, like to turn, instructors say I'm technical, rather than power.
Conditions: Killington, first day light fresh powder 10-15 degrees, second day packed and man-made, -5 to +5 degrees.
This ski was a revelation. Feel and handling, think offspring of a 6* and a Dynastar Contact 11/Ltd. For those of you who skied classic Volkl Star models, and wished they would have come up with a version that had the same grip and planted feel, but was lighter and more playful, this is it. It's also the best non-racing carver I've ever been on, period.
First day, tried these in light natural powder, over hardpack and refrozen. Preternaturally smooth and unperturbed, but plenty of snowfeel. Enough flex in front to come up, although not a powder ski. Very light in motion, and easy edge to edge, but didn't dive in until told to; likes a positive initiation. In fairly serious soft bumps, maybe a touch stiffer than optimal, but smooth, progressive tail with a lot of taper and a bit of flip, so happy doing almost any technique ranging from carving troughs to falling leaves off shoulders. This has been called a nice teaching ski over at Real Skiers and I can see why. You tell it to do something, and it does it. Precisely, no fuss. Very solid in crud at speeds up to about 40 mph. Some slight hunting at speed if you're flat, but get onto an edge and all is well. Likes a forward stance, but also rewards more neutral, lateral moves.
Second day, everything was stiffer and colder, including me. The G-powers carved like razor blades on steep scratchy pitches. They gave interesting feedback; very glued-down the whole length, with constant information from both tip and tail, not just middle. You could do a variety of turn shapes and styles on these; they're docile in classic ankle rolls, but respond instantly to retraction, pivots, steering with inside little toe, you name it. Ran into some death cookies over on Wildfire, no issues. In fact, felt a bit more secure on edge than my 168 6* in similar terrain back when, although sensed a lower speed limit. All in all, a superior racing carver without the demands, although IMO not a ski for intermediates.
Ended the day on Outer Limits, which for the uninitiated, is the site of some bump tours. Early in the season, but bumps were large, chalky to scratchy, stiff rubble, reasonable spacing. Again, these were up to the task (far more than I was). They could drift, then pivot, perfectly, even when I was late and over on the downslope side. If I spent a lot of time in the bumps, I'd want more parentage from the Contact 11 (which I regard as the finest carver for bumps ever made), but these ski circles around them everywhere else, so it's all about priorities.
Compared to the Supersonics in 174, which I demoed a while back, these are not as airy, but stronger, with significantly better grip. The grip is just south of a real racing ski, actually. If I skied these out west, I'd get them in 174 and rip GS turns. Back here, the 167 is about right for me.