I just received a brand new set of Head REV 80s in the mail today and want to share my first impressions and eventually update with my skiing impressions in the next couple of weeks. This is the first set of skis of I have ever owned, so I'm coming from a new perspective.
I bought the skis without demoing, so I hope it goes well! I did demo the Blizzard Magnum 8.0ti, so I was familiar with the feel of 80mm underfoot and the metal layer, but the skis feel different in weight and flex.
Firstly, the skis came "flat," as in the rail binding system was already mounted to the skis, but the actual bindings were not on the rail yet. However, once getting past the fear of actually playing a role in the building of my skis, I opened the included instructions which made it pretty clear how to attach the included Head PRD 11 bindings to the rails on the skis. It took about ten minutes of cautious work, I was pretty tentative about the whole thing, to slide on the bindings, adjust them to the correct boot size, and strap on my boots to make sure they fit and were able to be removed without too much effort. I remember the DIN I got on my demo skis and also went to an online DIN calculator and adjusted the bindings to match that DIN (the ski shops close to me don't do any torque testing or anything more than I did with a screwdriver, so I don't feel too bad about this), which took another two or three minutes. So, set up time fifteen minutes going really cautiously without much clue of what to do, but it could probably be honed down to five minutes with some experience, comfort, and knowledge.
The skis look great, that's a personal opinion, but one shared by my friends and people who also have seen the top sheet. As much as I want to say that I am above aesthetic concerns and only care about performance, looking at last year's top sheet makes me wonder if I would have been as enthusiastic to buy the skis. The shovel is noticeably big at 129, but doesn't look out of place and hopefully the ERA 3 technology will make it seem normal on the groomers. It is a bit stiff to hand flex, but definitely easier than the aforementioned Blizzards, which was a welcome discovery.
The skis have a nice all-mountain profile. Moderate amount of camber underfoot, definite early rise rocker, and a bit of a flared tail, though far from anything in the twin tip category.
I was making a choice between these, the Blizzards, and the atomic nomad blackeye ti. I chose the Heads because they seemed to be more flexible than the blizzards and come at a cheaper price point. I wasn't a huge fan of the blizzards when demoing, which also made my choice a bit easier. I didn't have easy access to the atomics or I would have tried them as well.
Overall, fantastic first impression. This ski is everything I was looking for and hopefully will work really well for all conditions I'll come across. I should be heading out tomorrow to go skiing on some "packed powder" and icy conditions and I'll report back after that.
Got out skiing today and I'm only liking this ski more!
5' 10", roughly 155 pounds, young and athletic
These skis are 7 cm longer than my rental skis that I was on, 15 mm wider underfoot, and considerably wider in the shovel and tail, with the introduction of much more tip rocker. It took a couple of runs down easy stuff to adjust to the feel of these skis, but once I became accustomed, they felt sublime.
Snow conditions today were pretty bad - it's been rainy and above freezing here over the weekend, so crusted hardpack is about the best description I can give. There was a constant scraping noise going down piste and hockey stops produced minimal slough. Basically, these were the conditions that made me most nervous about buying a ski at 80mm width as my northeastern one ski quiver. However, the revs delivered and delivered well. I didn't notice at all that they were more in the all-mountain range than in the slalom or frontside carving range and these skis held an edge superbly well and rocketed me across the slopes as I was coming across a turn.
Short turns worked well, too, and I was able to vary turn shape and size pretty easily with these skis. The characteristic that became most obvious, though, was dampness. I had come across it a few times reading about head skis and never really understood what it meant until I took a couple runs with these attached to my boots. Stuff that previously would have been a little bumpy or uncomfortable to ride across just got smoothed out. It was incredible and I didn't realize a pair of skis could cause that sort of quieting of the ride. For me, it was like moving from a car with two flat tires, to new race slicks.
I was most concerned about feeling like I had too much ski attached and that never became an issue. These skis don't feel heavy or hard to throw on edge or too stiff to flex. In general, they were easy to work with and provided good feedback, but were never rough or impossible to handle. I highly recommend trying them out.
I'm hoping to get onto some steeper stuff (some trails weren't open for me today) and into some fresh snow in the upcoming week to check out how this ski performs in other conditions and I'll update then!
Edited by jmrobins3 - 2/25/14 at 6:53pm