FInally got out on my new Soul 180's and was really surprised. It wasn't really a day for the Souls with no new snow at my local East Coast resort. But the sun was out and plenty of groomed corduroy. I had agonized over 180's vs 172's (I'm 5'8", 160 lbs, expert 50 yr. old) and man I'm glad I did the 180's. I had them tuned to a 1/2 bevel since I spend as much time out West as I do here. I simply dialed in their desire to make longer GS type turns than my 87mm under foot Volkl Karmas and picked up the speed and they rocked. I also got into the trees into about 4-6" of firmed up powder and though the trail was not steep enough to gather any speed it was clear how easily these skis wanted to ride on top of the snow.
I like, at times, to ski fast turns (ala slalom or mogul like or weighting/unweighting) for the purpose of getting a workout or controlling speed on a steep, long run and these skis do not cut it. Too much effort… They definitely like carving at their radius. I found great stability and confidence on this ski. None of that tip flopping and chatter issues that others have mentioned. Yes they did not do well on a true hardback run but I did not expect them to, but I held well with the 1/2 bevel. You just can't ski this ski flat on the hardback. But as others have said the Souls need soft snow/corduroy at the beginning level or 20% on-piste specs Rpssignol claims.
A ski that I did not jive with that I rented last year (DPW Wailer 112, 184cm) could not do hardback and corduroy very well for my body size. So I was thrilled when I had a fun session on these on corduroy. Yes there would be other choices for corduroy that would be better but these Souls will make a great one-ski quiver for me on my West trip.
The combination of this ski and the Tyrolia Attack 13's made for a really lightweight set up allowing turns to be effortless and relatively quick. As a side note a week ago I bought the 1st boot in the last 25 years that fit perfectly right out of the box and that's the Tecnica Mach 1 110… This was my 1st time on this "new" rig and everything worked perfectly.
As a side note my buddy was skiing with me and he recently got the Soul 172's and the Rossi Axial 3 and it was great talking technique with him since we are equal size and ability. However he is a tad older (60 vs my 50) and skis at a slower pace than me. He was able to make faster comfortable turns than me. At the end of each run he commented that I was simply skiing faster with less turns. An interesting note is that the real difference in the 2 skis is basically the length of the honeycomb tips. The 180's have maybe 3 extra inches of the yellow tip. I think the running edges are very close...
In another thread I posted that my 180 Soul is actually a 177cm ski when measured "straight" from tip to tail. His 172 is actually 170cm. I read on Blistergearreview that the 188 is actually 165.5cm...
I felt no sense that the Soul was without balls. For my weight I felt energy into the next turn, a strong sense of edge control and torsional stiffness. Yes on the hardback the tips are essentially useless and never really engaging. When I was in the trees they became part of the float and rising up on the snow.
These skis live up to their hype for me!