Okay, got to ski a handful of skis yesterday in about 12" of fresh that fell overnight. I got to the mountain early, but the lifts to the summit were on wind hold, so the lower mountain got tracked out pretty quickly. About mid morning, the summit lifts opened. There was no grooming at all, some of the trails were drifted over, and others were scoured off by the wind down to the frozen granular base. So you never knew what you were going to find, depending on what trail you went down. All the skis I tried were 177's, except the Head Venturi, which was a 181.
First up was the Head Venturi 95. An easy choice considering the conditions, and probably my favorite of the day. I was near the head of the line when they opened the lift to the summit, so I got the full spectrum on the way down. Very fun ski in every condition, easy to ski without being wimpy, even held it's own on the wind scoured hardpack. If I was looking for a 95mm ski, this would be it.
Next up, the new 2013/14 Supershape Titan. My first impression was that they felt somewhat heavy. My next impression was that these are not as playful as the 2012/13 model that I presently own. My next thought was that they are a lot of work in these conditions. Couldn't really tell if they skied shorter because of the supposed slight rocker because of the conditions.Granted, these were not the conditions that the Titan was made for, but they took a lot of attention to ski in those conditions. Felt almost like a full on race ski, all business all the time. Or maybe I just wasn't up to skiing them. I can imagine that these really rip on hardpack conditions, but in the crud and bumps they were more work than what I wanted. I think another demo is in order in more normal New England conditions.
Head Rev 85. By now, my legs were a little burnt from the conditions, and I skied these right after the Titan, which also took a toll on me. The Rev 85 skied easier than the Titan, no surprise there, easier to control, better suited to the conditions. Wasn't sure how it would hold up to eastern hardpack, but it gripped very well on the scraped off spots that I encountered. Got through the bumps without much trouble. Could have been happy skiing these for the rest of the day. Didn't knock my socks off like the Kastle MX 83, but not the same conditions, either. I think another demo is in order for these, too, as soon as conditions return to normal.
Head SS Rally. Had been looking forward to trying these. Somewhat narrower waist than the Titan (76 compared to 80), but clearly cut from the same carver blueprint. Possibly a somewhat softer flex than the Titan, but by no means wimpy. Easier to ski in the crud and bumps, just a touch more relaxing. Really wanted to hook up as soon as you encountered any hardpack, very strong edge grip, almost to the point that they felt a little railed. After the top of the mountain opened up, I managed to find a section of windblown untouched powder that no one had skied yet, which turned out to be a little more set up than I suspected, and these skis would grab on to it and just rail across the trail. Wasn't really interested in surfing over the snow, it just wanted to hook up and carve. It took some attention to keep them going down the hill. My take on both the SS Titan and Rally is that they have traded some of the playfulness and versatility that the older Supershapes were know for in return for a more serious carving nature, especially in the case of the Titan. But I could see myself owning a pair of the Rally's as my everyday eastern ski. The verdict is still out on the Titan. But keep in mind that the conditions I tried these in were far from normal New England everyday conditions. I wouldn't buy any of these skis based on my opinions formed on that day, with the exception of the Venturi.
The last few runs I made were on a pair of my older Head Monster 78's that I had brought with me while my Titans were in the shop being tuned. And my final impression of the day was that they were probably the best skis I had been on all day. And they stopped making these why?