Not to resurrect an old thread from the dead, but I do want to give a shout-out to my ultimate decision, which was the BMX 108 (12/13 model) in 188 mounted with STH 14's. (And yes, somewhat disconcertingly and also unknowingly so, this combo wound up visibly matching my Lange RX 130's a little too well!)
Special shout-out to SkiSafe for pushing me to these over the Cochise!
I bought these in a Clymb sale last summer, but just mounted them a few weeks ago since Tahoe only got enough snow to ski them until now.
I've had them in the following conditions so far at Squaw and Alpine the last few weekends and here's my impressions:
1st day - Frozen crud on the back side of Alpine. Skied in a normal GS-style, and they absolutely slayed this stuff! It wasn't a "smooth" ride per say and I was wondering if there could be damper ski's in this category, but they were totally predictable. I was actually skiing that shit with a smile on my face--it was fun!
Day 2: Smooth chalk all around Squaw, especially on Granite: Again, they ski'd like a traditional wide GS ski. Edge hold was phenomenal although they screamed like a banshee when the "chalk" was a bit firmer/icier and you were holding on for dear life in scraped out chutes. This was disconcerting at first, but I never, ever felt need for more grip. In fact, the screaming banshee sound was almost comforting after awhile knowing that was their "I'm not going to lose edge grip anytime soon sound.” BTW, this was the factory-fresh stock-tune out of the box, tips and tails detuned by my binding installer.
Day 3 - In the 50+ degree temps the last couple of days everything was softening up -- the crud was getting softer in places and later in the day there was practically spring corn and slush in places. Again, no complaints. They ski'd everything predictably well. I’m wondering at this point if this is going to be my new daily driver?
Day 1: Dawn patrol morning at Squaw, with 2 feet of fresh. Avy bombs going off all morning lapping Shirley Lake while we were waiting for Granite to open. Typical Sierra cement and hardly a POW day; it was wet, heavy, deep snow. Snow was a little lighter at the top through the mid-section of Granite, maybe POW by Tahoe standards, but still thick. My pole would easily pierce 2+ feet through the snow, but my ski's still sat firmly on top. Even though it was 2 feet of fresh, when skiing it, you would drop down maybe only 6 inches or so into it. I was having a hard time skiing these conditions on the BMX 108's, but it was 'effing challenging snow to ski in, especially since I was rusty having not skied in actual Sierra cement for about a year! I was wishing I had brought something wider and naturally turnier like my DPS RPC's, but overall, once I figured out that the BMX's respond best to confident input at all times, they did fine. I could easily scrub speed sideways when I started to get out of control or in the back seat.
Contrary to several other reviews, I actually found the tails to be pretty stiff. Definitely as stiff or stiffer than my Bonafides, Dynastar SpeedCourse and MX88's. In combination with the relatively softer shovel, I found myself in the backseat quite a bit this day and those tails would send me flying down the hill at mach speed when this would happen. I had to stay very forward and focused on them in these conditions all day. It was here that the BMX's happily reminded me all-day of my true ability--I'm not quite an Expert--yet. By the end of the day I could feel how friggin' heavy they are on my feet and frankly, once I was tired they were kicking my ass!
Day 2: Pussed out and brought my Bonafides. It was pissing down slush and rain, with near zero visibility and monster winds. There was a few inches of fresh on top of moguled out and cut up terrain and the visibility was so bad you couldn't tell where the bumps and ruts were. I immediately noticed how much lighter the Bones were, but also much less damp. I was getting bucked around all over the place and was dreaming about being back on the BMX. Don't get me wrong, the Bones are/were my favorite ski to date, they are much easier and more forgiving to ski while still being burly enough, but they also reminded me why I wanted the BMX in the first place! I just never felt the Bones had what I was looking for in crud and unpredictable, variable conditions; BMX 108's are absolutely the most at home here, IMO.
Here's some of the random thoughts I've had so farwhile skiing them:
- Groomers: They LOVE groomers and mach speed. I'm perplexed by other reviews that say they aren't great here. I'd argue they are as good as my Dynastar Speed Course.
- Crud: They LOVE crud and I was seeking it out every chance I got and I have NEVER done that on any other ski--they absolutely seek and destroy crud.
- Bumps: I’m not the best bump skier around, but I felt better on them in bumps than I have on any other ski in my quiver. They seem to handle bumps really, really well. For me and my bad bump technique, they are definitely better than my Bones and my MX88’s in 188, believe it or not.
- All Mountain/Big Mountain capability: They are an amazingly consistent ski all over the mountain. They are as good of an all-mountain ski for me as something 88 under foot like my old Volkl Kendos. At the same time, they seem to be a scarily capable BIG mountain ski. Definitely more ski than I will ever need in that particular regard anytime soon.
- Short radius turns: They can make any turn shape with little effort.
- Traditional ski: They need to be ski'd with your shins on the front of your boots at all times. They do NOT like, appreciate or want lazy skiing.
- Length: I never really felt like they were too long in the 188 length except for one instance I was in a chute that was about as wide as they were and in other really really tight spots. I am certain that more skilled pilots than I would have done fine here. I honestly can’t imagine skiing these in 195 unless I was (yeah right) entering a Big Mountain competition or something.
- Tails: Again, contrary to other reviews I’ve read, I had a sense from the beginning that they had a really great feeling tail, and I prefer stiffer tails. They also released so easily I never really noticed how stiff they were until I got in the back seat in the Sierra Cement conditions, and then they would take me for a RIDE. That said, I was always able to recover -- either by just throwing them sideways, or having them bounce me back into a balanced position and I never once fell or crashed into anything. It’s something to be said if the tail of a ski can handle a 6’3”, 205 pound driver and still be able to bounce me back up from a back-seat position!
- Personality: They don't seem to have much, at first. They aren't really lively, or poppy or anything. They just seem to respond to your input and ski whatever it is you want to ski. As per other reviews, they just disappear under your feet when you are skiing them well and scream bloody murder when you are not. They do come alive the more aggressively you ski them. They love to go FAST, but absolutely don't mind short radius turns while going slow either, even if they do start to feel a little planky at times in that sense, especially when you are tired! They never hooked up on me or did anything unpredictable a single time.
- Built-in ski instructor: I had this sensation for the first time on any ski of having a built-in ski instructor. It's hard to explain, but when I am skiing badly, they humiliate the shit out of me; they will buck you when you get into the back seat. When I am skiing well, it's like being the skilled driver of a track-ready Porsche 911 GT3. By comparison, the Bone’s are way more forgiving of balance fore-aft and general technique errors (which isn’t necessarily a good thing either, right?) The BMX 108 is not hard to ski, and is certainly pretty user friendly straight out of the box, but you will be definitely wasting it's capability if you don't ski it WELL!
Overall, if I could sum these skis up in one word, it would be CONSISTENT. They ski exactly the same at any speed, in any condition, all over the mountain. The only caveat is you do have to be DRIVING them at all times. This is not a ski that you put on and feel like you have leveled up in ability (how I felt the first time I skied the Bones).
Rather, this is a ski that you put on and they asses your ability and tell you exactly where you are and what you need to work on. But they also seem to coach you into proper form and technique (as long as you at least understand the basics of how you "should" be skiing). I had a sense that I will progress faster on this ski than any other ski in my quiver. At the same time, they are certainly an accessible ski for any Advanced skier with fair to good “ traditional” All-Mountain technique. (Groomer-only “Experts” and new-school back-seat driving slarvers need not apply). This is a ski that will definitely push you to get better if you pilot it with the right intent.
Cons, if any:
- Heavy: They do feel heavy with my STH 14's--they are fine before Noon, but after lunch I really felt them on my feet when I started to get tired. While tired, they can start to feel a little planky making short radius turns, especially at slower speeds. Nevertheless they *always* respond to confident input and happily make any turn shape you want. Don't get lazy. They do not respond very well, if at all, when “driving” them from the back seat.
- Dampness: I wouldn't mind a tad more dampness, but I wouldn't want them to be much heavier, so not sure how any ski would/could accomplish that! Hmmm, the same ski with a sheet of titanal on top?
- Lack of personality: Sometimes I was hoping for more "personality," but I had the same feeling from my MX88's: like most Germans and Austrians, they can sometimes seem a bit too serious and stand-offish when you first meet them, a bit too "know it all", a bit too "engineer-like" in personality; but in the same way, once you actually get to know them and become good friends (which can take awhile), you'll find out they are very loyal, good friends and can actually be a ton of fun!