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Cham 97, regular or High Mountain?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for input on the Cham 97, and especially the Cham High Mountain 97.  Seems to be quite a bit written on the regular version, but I can't find much on the HM.  Hi.  I've been a reader for a while, but only posted once. 

I'm 60 yo, 6"1", 205#. I’m a 5-day-a-week desk jockey, but in reasonable shape.  Skied tele for many years, some of them charging hard, then dropped out of skiing for a number of years when arthritic feet got too bad.  Got the arthritis under control and started back skiing AT, but I really spend most of my time at the resort (mostly, Crystal Mountain, Washington).  So I’m about to Purchase my 1st Alpine downhill setup.  I ski about half the time with my young kids on groomers.  When I get off by myself I prefer to ski off-piste, but I’m still learning how to do that efficiently with my heals locked.  I don’t ski fast, I love to turn (especially short radius), and I love it in the trees. 

I started demoing and quickly fell in love with the Cham 97.  I don’t ever recall a ski giving me such confidence.  I didn’t have a chance to get them in fresh deep snow, but did ski deep cut up and crud, as well as on-piste runs of varying pitch.  I skied the regular and the HM in 178 and 184, and liked them all.  The regulars seemed easier to handle in nastier crud.  They also seemed to whisper to me to go faster, but I think they’re fun and easy to ski at my normal lower speeds.  The HMs seemed quicker in the trees.  Anybody spend much time on the HMs and care to share their experience and opinions?  

I have very little firsthand experience with downhill bindings, though there are a lot of posts on the subject.  Based on my reading, I’m thinking of the STH Driver 12, Pivot 14, or Griffon.  I ski at DIN 7 and like the idea of keeping the weight down.  Any suggestions would be appreciated. 

Sorry for the long post.  Thanks for any input you have on the HMs, or any general advice based on my rambling

post #2 of 6
I tried the Cham 97 High Mountain in 177cm over Christmas in the French alps. I'm 6'2" 180lbs 49 yr old ex racer ski 15-20 days per year. Spent a day on them in mixed conditions - hard groomers, bumps, some chopped up side country, trees, bit of fluff, but unfortunately no real pow that day. Had my Technica Cochise 120 boots and Marker Baron bindings Overall impression was quite positive. Very lightweight, fun, manoeuvrable, lively, good edge to edge for 97 cm, responsive. Levitation profile gave instant float in limited soft snow I had, worked well in trees and bumps. Fun and forgiving. Can carve, smear, pivot, mix turn radius, and adapt to different styles and conditions. Edge grip was solid on hardpack. Not a ski for big fast GS turns on hardpack, although generally pretty damp, chatters if you really stand on it at high speed - but that was really the only time I noticed the lack of metal. Solid Dynastar construction and feel, liked the graphics.

My normal skis for side country/back country are Kastle FX94s 186cm They are very different - traditional camber, single radius side cut, metal. Would feel more confident in the Kastles in mixed back country conditions, edge hold on an exposed traverse, better for skinning, etc. Also powering through crud. But Cham HM 97s probably more floaty in powder, easier in tight spots and fun in resort too.

You say you want short radius, slower speeds, like trees, mix of in resort conditions the HM97 might be a great choice. Won't blast through crud or rail high speed GS turns, but that isn't what you're looking for. Though if these will mainly be in resort lift served skis then lightweight of HMs might be of less benefit and regular 97s which you've tried might give a bit more performance on piste. The Blizzard Bonafide might be another ski to try, haven't tried it myself but reviews are stellar and might also fit the bill.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks Manigod.  Good to hear your impressions are similar to mine.  It kind of makes me think that I'm over-thinking this purchase.  Like I said, "I skied the regular and the HM in 178 and 184, and liked them all."  I don't think I can loose.  I think I'll just pick one, mount it and go skiing.  At this point I think I'm likely to go with the regular 184 and STH Driver 12s.

post #4 of 6

HM and call it good.

post #5 of 6
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

HM and call it good.

I'm not sure I follow. If you're not going uphill with them, why the HM. You're taking the compromises they had to make for uphill performance and you don't need that. note: I ski a few LPR's but not the Cham; some friends do.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm curious about why you say the HM too, markojp. Originally I was thinking not having th metal might be a little more friendly for an old desk jokey. But I had a lot of fun on th regular version and preferred them in the crud. Maybe the HM will be easier at the end of a long day. Do you mind sharing what you're thinking?
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