I spent the day at Alta today - amazingly good snow, especially for November. I am 6'1'' and 220 lbs and consider myself an "average joe" skier. I can hold my own in most terrain, though high, high speeds and serious steeps can be a bit spooky for me. But I thought it might be helpful to offer some thoughts on the ski from the perspective of a "normal guy" if you will...
I spent the day on three skis - the Helldorado in both 193 and 185 lengths and also a 2013 blizzard Cochise 185 cm for comparison. It was an interesting day and I learned a lot, and had a ton of fun in the process. So here are a bunch of random thoughts:
The 185 helldorado: Very stable in virtually all conditions, including groomers. Surprising edge hold on the groomers. I have an RTM 84 and a blizzard bonafide and the edge hold rivaled both in terms of just sheer grip on hard pack - I was floored. Now this is NOT the primary purpose of this ski, but unlike so many wider skis, you can actually have fun on the groomers. I was skiing with my wife who enjoys groomers and spending time on hardpack with her was surpisingly fun. In the powder and mixed conditions, the ski was stable and could push through anything. Pretty buttery and smeary in the soft stuff. Later in the day when conditions were a bit more wet, it was a relief to have a ski "heavy" enough to support a bigger guy when smearing around in the cut up junk. I spent some time in the trees and was surpised, considering its weight, that the swing weight was very manageable. I was worried that in the trees, the skis (or I) would struggle, but not so. I wouldn't call it "playful" or "light" - I imagine the patron would be better for that. Easy to throw sideways to scrub speed. Not hooky at all - unlike a pair of 188 super 7s which I just sold for that very reason.
193 helldorado: Just too much for me... It felt like the ski was dictating everything and I was just along for the ride. I would rather tell the ski what to do and not the opposite. I felt like I had to work on balance and be really focused or I was one move away from blowing up in the crud. Incredibly stable and could imagine the ski being enjoyed on big lines in the deep stuff, but for the average guy who shows up after the pow has been skied out a bit, the 193 was just too much to handle and I wore out quickly trying to steer and control. Felt like a barge.... which surprised me considering my size - 220 lbs. I know others feel different about this length - but thought I'd offer just an opinion.
185 cochise: more playful and smeary than the 185 helldorados. Less sidecut (28.5 vs 18.5) and spent more time slarving turns than carving like the helldos - not necessarily a bad thing, just different. Felt quite a bit lighter than the helldos, even though I think their actual weight is close. In the trees and on the sides of runs, you could spin and dance with much more ease. While edge hold on hardpack was reasonable, it did NOT match the grip of the helldorados, in either size. I wondered if the edge tune, but the skis were practically new and seemed tuned well. My hold fall of the day occurred on these skis when the tail slipped out and I slid for a bit on my butt. Stability at higher speed equal to the helldos.
At the end of the day, I find myself ruling out owning the 193 helldorados for sure. But I found myself torn between the other two if I were "buying" today. I enjoyed the playfulness of the cochise more than the nordicas, but, the reality is, all skiers spend a fair amount of time on hardpack, even on the best powder days and I absolutely loved the carving ability of the helldorados. It was simply shocking. So here was my conclusion: If I had to buy ONE ski - I would probably buy the helldorados, primarily because there was NOTHING that they couldn't do at least reasonably well, if not exceptionally well. However, if I were pairing this purchase with a narrower, carving or sub-100 mm ski, I would select the Cochise, knowing I would grab it on "new snow" days.
Anyways, random thoughts from a 38 year old, larger guy, average skier. I hope that helps as you all fill your quivers this year.
By the way - snow is already stacking high at Alta, Snowbird and Brighton and other Utah resorts. Hopefully this year will be a good one.