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Elan HCX Hyper review

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Ski Make: Elan
Ski Model: HCX Hyper (107-63-94)
Ski Length: 154cm
Snow Conditions Used In: 1 foot of snow, crud, groomed
Number of Days Used: 2
Your Ability: Advanced (Level 7)
How Many Years Have You Been Skiing: 12
Avg. Days per Year Skiing: 30+
Other Skis I Own: Salomon AxeCleaver Series (108-68-98 & 152cm), Fischer Sceneo S500 Ti (118-68-100 & 160cm)
Your Height/Weight: 5'7" 160lbs


I was fortunate this past week to go to Tremblant just as a big (and unexpected) snow storm was coming in. The drive from Toronto was a little stressful, but skiing in Tremblant in a over a foot of fresh (not so light) powder for the next 2 days was a nice reward. Unfortunately I did not bring my Fischers so it was a nice test for the Elan HCX Hyper. I managed to ski them in everything from untracked powder to heavy crud, to soft bumps and groomed cruisers.

As you can imagine, this is not a ski for a foot of heavy powder with lots of crud. Nevertheless, all I had with me was this ski and the old AxeCleavers which I skied the first couple of hours (until I realized that the conditions were just fine for the new skis). Frankly I had no problem with either the AxeCleaver or the HCX in these conditions. Other than the fact that I had to ski slowly, the heavy crud and big bumps (that formed later in the day) were manageable. The only time I felt really uncomfortable on the HCX is at speed. The crud and snow piles were simply too much of a rough ride for me. Keeping them on edge (to cut the crud rather than plow through it) was the best approach. Anyway, it is useless to review these skis in this kind of conditions. I simply wanted to let people know that if you are a decent skier, you can manage with short SL skis in many types of conditions. There were tons of people on short race skis (many of them racers from the FIS Jr. Racing comp during my stay).

On the second day Tremblant groomed almost everything and I had a chance to test the HCX for the conditions they were built. The very first thing I noticed is the very smooth feeling this ski provides. Although this is a high performance ski, the ski flexes easily and gives the impression that it hugs the terrain. The ski feels very light even tough the tip and tail have some metal. The binding is very forward (compared to more traditional mounting positions), and the sweet spot is in the center-to-forward. The tail of the ski does not have the power to accelerate out of the turn like my AxeCleaver, but this makes the ski super versatile. You can skid out of a carve with ease. This ski is a nice compromise between short and long turn bias. You can pump out short turns with little effort and you can also ride long carved turns as if you were on longer skis. You can also feel the solid construction (I hesitate to say race construction, because that would assume I know what a race construction feels like) when you step on this ski. Carving short turns with a lot of edge angle is almost a requirement with this ski. I am no yahoo when skiing, but these skis make you wanna take some chances. I also hate very high speeds, but on groomed runs the HCX gave me enough confidence to let them go fast. How fast? Honestly I don't know, but Friday the conditions were so nice (grooming to perfection) that even I felt like pushing my luck. Keep them on edge and you are locked in. Of course this also means that you won't be taking a very straight line, but then that is the reality of a shaped SL ski.

I should add that at very high speeds the HCX may have been very stable (and smooth) because of the Tyrolia race plate (the 15mm Speed Carve plate) which I have. What makes this plate really great is that it absorbs vibrations, but flexes with the ski (i.e. it kills none of the ski rebound). And now we are getting to my favorite part of this ski - the rebound. You like rebound? You will love the HCX. If skied the right way, you can bounce from turn to turn like a 20 year-old (even if you are 41 years old [img]smile.gif[/img] ). I know that today's instructors don't like to see you bounce from turn to turn like a yo-yo, but I am out there to play, not to make perfect turns. For me, the HCX has the perfect amount of rebound. You have to work a little for it, but you won't get thrown into the next orbit if you overdo it.

Because of the abundant snow, I also had a chance to do some bumps with these skis. Not tight bumps and not hard bumps. These were friendly, soft, big bumps, which I like and can manage well. If I did not know I was on a soft race SL ski, I would say these skis were made for bumps. Far better than my AxeCleaver, which are much stiffer in flex (with a killer tail). And also easier than my Sceneo S500, but that it not hard to imagine if you consider the dimensions of the S500.

Overall I really have nothing bad to say about this ski. "Jack of all trades and master of none" is what describes them best. If you are light and have decent skills, this ski is a wonderful recreational SL ski (which can do GS turns and bumps almost as well). The ski is friendly, versatile, and somewhat forgiving, but it can provide reasonable top end performance when you ask for it. Heavy skiers and real racer/experts would probably find it a little wimpy, but that is the way it should be.
post #2 of 5
...sorry ... just a quick, off-topic interruption ... Did you stay at the Hilbert Hotel? (If you don't know what I'm talking about, you aren't who I think you are, so just ignore this msg.)

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I stood at the Comfort Inn in the village of St. Jovite. Did you see somebody else on the HCX? [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #4 of 5
No. Just yesterday, someone on a different forum (using a different posting name) was joking with me about "Hilbert's Hotel". Like you, he is also a skier, and had just come back from Tremblant and noticed a large hotel construction project.

I thought there might be a chance he and I weren't recognizing each other on this forum. Sorry for the interruption. Carry on...

So your thread doesn't get unnecessarily interrupted, after I know you have seen this, I'll delete this and my previous message.

post #5 of 5

Hey CONGRATULATIONS on your new skis, and thanks for the wonderful review. It was fun to read, and pretty much verified everything I've heard and read about the ski.

I've been away from the board for a bit, but am looking forward to Christmas, as I'm taking my son up for his 1st time.

Thanks again TomB and I'm looking forward to my HCXs as well!!
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