Had the opportunity a few days ago to take out the above skis for a test drive during several days in a row of fresh snow every morning at Copper Mountain. Good variable conditions, from 5 – 8” freshies in the bowls and woods, to packed powder on the groomed runs. Looking to see what’s out there as a possible replacement for my Dynastar Legend 95’s.
First about me:
Height/Weight: 5’-11”/190 lbs
Ski Days/Season: @25
Years Skiing: 53
Aggressiveness: Moderate(Finesse) to Aggressive(Driver) depending on the run and my energy level.
Quiver: Fischer RC4 WC Pro, Blizzard Magnum 7.6, Dynastar Legend 94
Product: Rossignol Soul 7
Length Tested: 180
I found this to be a very interesting ski. Had the good fortune to grab a first chair with @8” of new snow and these skis on my feet. Boy, these are a great powder ski, even in relatively shallow amounts of new snow. After a few runs, the best way I can describe these skis as they feel like waterskies. I found them to be a bit of a challenge on the first few runs. As soon as I got used to staying centered on the skis, they handled wonderfully. But they didn’t seem to like getting driven hard although they were a bit better if I got in the back seat and had to ride the tails. They just seemed to work at their best when I just got on top, tipped them up and rode them around the turn. They were at their worst, skiing back to the base and trying to drive them in big GS turns like I do my Dynastar’s. Again, felt better just staying centered and riding the ski as opposed to aggressively driving the ski.
Product: Nordica Hell and Back
Length Tested: 177
Camber: Early Rise Tip w/Camber
Liked this ski as well. I skied this right after the Rossi’s, so it was quite a change. This ski feels most like my Legend’s. The early rise tip and the lack of metal gives it a touch more float than the Legend’s, but still more of a plow through feeling than the float on top sensation that the Rossi’s had. Great at blasting through the cut-up crud and riding through the deeper piles of stacked powder. I liked the pop and lively feel of the ski, but it still felt very stable with impressive edge grip when opening up the speed on the groomers back to the lift. As other reviews have stated, you don’t notice the lack of metal when bombing down the groomers. Like my Legend’s, struggled a bit in the bumps with this ski, but have to add that bump skiing is not my favorite terrain, so I don’t find bump skiing easy on any ski.
Product: Blizzard Bonafide
Length Tested: 180
Camber: Early Rise Tip & Tail w/camber
Another very nice ski. Fits nicely between the Nordica and the Rossignol. Has slightly more early rise in the tip than the Nordica, so it really handled the powder well. Even when the tips sank below the surface, I still had a bit more floating feeling than plowing. Like the Nordica, it ski felt great going through the cut-up powder. Of the three skis, I’d give it the best marks for skiing the bumps. Had a nice supple feel that just inspired a bit of flow through the bumps rather than bashing them. Can definitely see why everyone raves about this ski. Only negative – didn’t like the tip flap when opening them up on the groomed runs. My GPS said I was doing @45mph and the skis didn’t feel stable to me.
Summary – None of these are bad skies by any stretch of the imagination, but each has strengths that the other may lack. If I was spending the day in the bowls skiing 8+ inches of powder, I’d take the Rossi’s in a heartbeat. For overall versatility, I’d pick the Bonafide’s. They do most everything really well, even if they give up a bit of powder ability to the Rossi’s and a bit of hard snow edge to the Nordica’s. For strict in-bounds skiing at a popular western resort (aka everything is skied out by 10:00am most powder days), I might favor the Nordica’s, as the tighter turning radius at 177cm and lighter feel would give it an edge, to me, in the trees, along with better hard snow performance over the Bonafide’s and the Soul’s