So Crystal Mtn Resort had their demo day, and because their was about 5" of fresh on top of another 5" from the previous day, I decided to try the wider skis.
I currently own the XXL187's, and have the Fischer Big Stix 110, as skiing the XXL's has become just a bit too much for a ski that would rather go down the fall line, than turn. I also have a pair of S3's in the quiver.
Me: 170lbs, expert skier
Started off with the Soul 7 -188cm, in part because I have heard so much about this ski, and secondly because the rep was ready to set me up, which allowed me to snag second chair, and get fresh tracks for 3 runs. Everyone and their dad has probably already demo'd these skis, so I'll keep it short. Light, easy turning ski, with an over all medium + flex to it. It was a bit turnier in the 10" of pow I had them in, so I had to adjust a bit to that. But good float, and stable. Very good on groomers, and the slightly manky conditions on the lower slopes, they did just fine. Tracked up snow was not an issue, but the snow on the upper mtn was medium density. I suspect in heavier deeper conditions, you would need to check your speed. Passable in moguls, but not as quick, and easy as the S3 (186cm). Since I already have the Fischer Big Stix 110, I don't see myself switching out for the Soul 7. But I can see why people like this ski. Very easy, user friendly, and versatile.
Volkl One - 186cm. I haven't skied Volkl skis in several years, so I was interested to try this ski out. First impressions, were, "wow!". This ski handles cut up pow, and transitions very well between snow conditions. Cut up/tracked out pow was seamless to say the least. This ski has quite a long, and progressive tip rise. No camber under foot, and a bit of tail rocker. This allowed me to ski a bit forward. In fact, I decided to really drive this ski to see how far I could go, and get the tip to sink. Nope, the tip stayed up, and it was really fun slarving/pivoting through the tracked up snow. Every time I hit some untracked, the ski would slarve at just the minimalist of effort. Very fun in some knee deep powder I found after a short hike. This is where the One shines. It floats nicely with the 116 mm waist, and it is buttery smooth in untracked powder. I could see this ski being decent in the heavier, and wet Cascade cement that is all too common in the PNW. This is where my Big Stix are left wanting when things get manky. On the lower slopes, where things were a bit manky, and you had heavy, wet snow on top of crusty, refrozen, the tips stayed on top, and the stiffness, allowed me to direct these skis with no tip chatter. The skis feel light, yet not overly stiff. But you can certainly open these up in less than ideal conditions, and not get bounced around. They have a slightly damp feel to absorb crud, but have a bit of a lively feel too. Groomers were just okay. Couldn't get them to really rail, like the Soul 7. Moguls were also not the One's forte' but you don't get this skis for groomers, and bumps. The length felt spot on. It didn't feel like it skied short, like the Soul 7's. Even though it basically has no camber, and substantial tip rocker, it skied true to length. This is a ski happiest in soft snow, and should anyone be looking for a 108-120mm pow tool, this should be on your list to try.
Head Cyclic 115 - 181cm - Ski has a very wide tip @ 148mm, and is actually only 113mm wide, so who knows why Head calls it the Cyclic 115...This is a stiff ski. It wants to go down the fall line. It has tip and tail rocker, with basically no camber under foot. Tip rocker is minor compared to other rockered skis. However, it handles crud, and cut up pow with ease. Stable charger in a nut shell. It is not a carver, but a slarver. Even at 181cm length it floats nicely. It felt a bit short to me. And I kept wishing for that extra 4cm-5cm in length. Very maneuverable ski in this length. Next length up is 190cm, and actually probably would have been too much ski for me. This ski reminds me a tad of my XXL's in terms of stability, and fall line desires. Float is much better though, and once in deeper fresh snow, it slarves, and pivots quite nicely. I think for heavier skiers, and those looking for a stable, damp ride, this would be a good choice. But this ski really wants to let loose, and haul a to the double s.
Dynastar Cham 117 - 180 cm. This was a fun ski in the fresh and cut up. Lots of float. Very stable. I dropped into some tracked up pow, and it just floated effortlessly through it, or more accurately on top of it. In fresh untracked, it floated best of the bunch, even at just 180cm. There is a bit of tip chatter once you get moving, and groomers performance is acceptable for getting back to the chair. They are definitely a pow friendly ski, that allow you to open up in untracked, or in cut up pow/crud. Very confidence inspiring, and smooth handling. They don't slarve as much as the more heavily rockered Volkl One, but you can maneuver these very easily in tight spaces. I would say they are medium/stiff flex. Nice supportive tail, and skied true to length. I do wish it was a bit longer, maybe 184cm. But I really felt even at 180cm the float is more than sufficient. Overall a nice soft snow ski but it didn't really have that wow factor of the Volkl One.
Fischer Big Stix 122 - 192cm. I had asked for the 186cm but the rep ended up setting me up on the 192cm. The fact, that I didn't realize I was on the 192, until my 2nd run, well, that meant the ski skis a bit short. Not a lot of tip rocker. Has just a bit of camber under foot, and both the tip and tail have very subtle early tip rise. Basically the same construction and design as my BigStix 110's, just an extra 12mm in the width. Tip is a bit on the softer side of medium flexing, and the ski stiffens as you get back toward the center, and has an overall medium flex to it. It floats very nicely, and you can ski it centered, and get it to slarve, or you can ski a bit forward of center and it will carve a bit in untracked. It felt very similar in the untracked as the Volkl One. Even at 192cm, it was not a bear to handle, which surprised me. In cut up, and tracked up powder, it was just as proficient as the Volkl One and Cham 117. It has a more lively feel to it, and not as damp as the Cham, and One but at the 192 length still felt very stable, and smooth. These were by far the best of the bunch of +110mm wide skis on groomers for such a wide ski, they are able to hook up and carve with ease and surprisingly well. They also weren't bad in some soft moguls. Only the Soul 7 was better, but given that the Soul 7 is about 14mm narrower, that says a lot to how well the 122 handles bumps. I would say the 122's were on par with the versatility of the Soul 7's but with better pow performance. I did get into some tight trees, and this is where the longer length caused me some issues. Definitely not as maneuverable for me, plus I think my legs were starting to fatigue. I still think the 186cm length would be better suited for me but the 192cm was surprisingly easy to ski as well. I do like the feel of Fischer Skis, obviously the light weight construction, with the use of some carbon fiber in the core is a big help. And the fact, that my current go to powder ski are the Big Stix 110, says a lot about how much I like the versatility and performance of these skis. I do wish I had tried the Rossi Super 7's so I could have compared them to the rest of the bunch. But my legs, and time didn't allow for it.