Title: Review: 2011 Stockli Laser SX 170cm, with VIST Speedlock Pro 11/15mm step-down plate.
Length/size Tested: 170cm
Environment of Conditions:
I skied this over the course of 2 days. Conditions were unusual for PNW: we have had inches and inches of rain the past month, and no snow in the past 2 weeks. Temps have been in the 50's on the mountain, huge heat wave here in the Northwest. As the sun is low in the sky this time of year, the snow is not softening up. Conditions are ice/boilerplate with about an inch of sugar in top (from power-tilling). Off-piste conditions, in any shady area, are almost unskiable; it is blue ice on any north facing slope. Sticking to the groomers for the most part. Tested primarily at Bachelor.
Comparison skis were the Blizzard Supersonic IQ in 174cm, and the Blizzard Magnum 8.1 in 179cm.
Review: This is great testing conditions for this ski. Normally, I don't spend too much time on this narrow of a ski, as the snow conditions just don't call for it. However, the past few weeks are much like the conditions one would experience East of the Mississippi than in the PNW, where we typically get a pretty constant stream of moisture (in the form of snow). Not the case recently, obviously, and I was happy to get on this ski and see how it rips the hill. I had time on it last spring and felt it was superb on manmade frontside snow at Winter Park.
First off, this ski is ridiculously stable for a 170cm. It accelerates out of the turn, is incredibly smooth, and pliable. That big-turn, small turn, whatever radius turn I want to make feel is present on this ski. Tail has moderate energy, tip is fairly soft for what it is, but the SX bites, and hard, on really firm snow. Load up the tail and prepare to get launched, or just keep it low energy Super-G arcs and ski fast. It will come around, and I loved how soft the tip was, really allowing me to work the ski. I am far from the world's best hard snow skier, but this one made me feel like a hero. In feel, it was a very high-end feel: smooth, damp, powerful, muscular, light, maneuverable, yet insanely stable for a 170cm. It was every bit as stable as my Blizzard 8.1 (in 179cm), which is a stable ski in itself, which tells you something. This ski feels a touch more refined, more snow-hugging. It enters and exits the turn very predictably, but you can over-cook it. I felt it skied best when the ski is worked with some patience. Allow the ski to go flat, then direct your energy into the next turn; be patient and allow the turn to set up, and you will be rewarded with a trilling kick in the seat of the pant across the fall line when it does bite.
This is a fall-line rocket, or a big-turn arcer. It will do anything you ask of it. It felt like a cross between a GS and SL, but forgiving and easy to stay on top of. The energy on this ski was insane for what it was.
Edge hold was nearly as good as it gets. I didn't have a true race-stock ski to test against, but against consumer level skis, I am not sure any ski could beat the SX. Neither the Supersonic nor the 8.1 did.
The tune was a touch aggressive. Probably a bit railed at the tip, not bad though, and perhaps I would have preferred a 1 degree base bevel to the .5/.75 that was on there. It didn't want to power-slide at the top of the turn and re-direct like some race skis: it always wanted to search for the edge, and then, zoom, through the turn you go. A total powerhouse, but with a mellow character that no full-on race ski touches.
VIST Speedlock Pro is a great setup. I can't recommend it highly enough. It really adds to the bite of this ski, most likely (I haven't verified that, but imagine that it is a big part of the difference between the Supersonic and this ski). A fairly stout race plate gives the tail more kick, more power, and better edgehold. This is a highly recommended setup.
Forgiveness is again off the charts. They don't get any more forgiving for such a high-end feel. Sure, you could get into trouble on this ski, but you really have to be back-seat or way out of balance. An ex-racer or otherwise skilled skier is going to feel like this ski is a Laz-y-boy with a Ferrari engine hooked up to it.
Comparisons: Blizzard Supersonic: a bit more aggressive feel, slightly less damp, more muscular, not quite the edge hold, very powerful, shorter turning ski. Blizzard Magnum 8.1: lacking a touch of edgehold, similar stability though, more suited to scarving the top of the turn to adjust direction, otherwise fairly similar in performance (stability, power) to the Stockli SX.
Conclusion: one of the best skis on the market, for hard snow use. They just don't get any better. These are a couple of shots of me on the Stockli. I was probably skiing a bit defensively, not used to the hard snow. Still, at least I am bending the ski up well, something I can't do that well at my weight on many big-iron skis.
2nd shot is trying to see how I quick I can get it across the fall line and back-lots of energy in that tail!
Height/Weight: 5 foot 9/155lbs
Average days on snow: 30-40 days/year
Years Skiing: years skiing 23
Aggressiveness: Aggressive, ski fast all day. You can log 14k+ vertical per hour on the Laser SX, ripping the Summit lift. 4.5 minutes up, 2.5 minutes down!