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Thumbnail reviews from the 2015 SIA/Mammoth on snow testing: 70-80mm Hard Snow Biased Carvers

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

 

Testing conditions at Mammoth were “selective”, if you stayed on the wind buff, it felt typical Mammoth, but anything past that, was downright scary. The shiny that you see in these pictures is glaze from the past storm and had to be avoided to protect life and limb, if you did that you were rewarded with some fine test snow. The morning was beautiful but as the day went on and temps rose, it got a bit soft so I skied the narrower skis in the AM and went wider as the day progressed. 

 

70-80mm Frontside, Hard Snow Bias:

 

Bliz Power S8 174cm (all new): This was another surprise ski for me, I was amazed how well this held and how solid this ski reacted especially for being just a 174cm. Blizzards in this range have always been smooth but lacked pop, not the S8, this was like a playful puppy.

 

Bliz Power RC 172cm (all new): I had no intentions on getting on this ski but the rep talked me into it because he said it is a very important ski for them because it is a “world ski”, a frontside ski that is as important in Europe as it is here. So be it. What impressed me about this ski was it’s price point, $799 with binding, thats pretty good for a ski with this hard snow feel along with being mounted with a solid 12DIN binding at a price point where most ski companies take a shortcut.  

 

Elan Amphibio 16 T12 Fusion 172, 178cm (all new): This was one of the big surprises of the show for me. Elan has been working with the Amphibio design for a number of years now and now they wend from a 2D inside outside camber design to a 4D which brings the construction in to complete the design. Elan has taken the titanal in the core and on the forebody of the ski and make it convex then on the tail made the titanal convex. All of this is visual when you see the ski in person but it still comes down to how the it skis and theses skis ski fantastic. Of all the skis in this category, these were my favorite. These skis just felt glued to the snow. I skied the 172 in Colorado and the 178 at Mammoth.

 

Dynastar Omegas Pro 171/178cm (all new); The first Course Pro was one of my favorite skis, the recent generations, not so much, these new ones are closer in feel to the early ones, they make a nice round shape with out needing to be an ex world cup racer. Dynastar does what all manufacturers should do with all their skis in the category, offer them with a regular race plate so you have a choice of binding options.

 

Head Rally 177cm (NGT): The Rally was my reference ski in this category, while it is a carry over in design and just new graphics, it is still one of the best skis offered. My long term test still stands. 

 

Nordica FireArrow 80ti 180cm (all new): I really enjoyed the previous FireArrow but these new ones are just better. The current FA76ti with it’s snub nose and square tail gave it a full on race feel. the new 80Ti now has a more gradual tip and a bit of roundness in the shape of the tail making it easier to work through the turn without loosing what you would expect from a hard snow bias ski. Those who used to ski the old FireArrow 80 EDT should rejoice. 

 

Rossignol Pursuit 800 177cm (all new): Gone is the Avenger series, gone are the two digit Pursuits 16, 18 ect. Rossignol has done a really good job with the shape of the new 600. 700 and 800 Pursuits specifically at the extremities of the shape. Where the previous generations of Rossi’s would lock you into a turn until you said uncle, the new Pursuit is much more forgiving ski and relaxed attitude ski. The 800 entered the turn with ease and but held through the apex of the turn and the new tail, being not at square as the old one released smooth when you wanted it to but still held as you would want a ski of this design to hold.

 

Scott The Ski Black Majic 178cm (carry over): I got out on this ski for two reasons, 1. It’s part of Scott’s Sun Valley Collection and I am a sucker for anything The Ski related and 2. It’s a damn fun ski. The Black Majic, like the Blizzard Latigo is an upper 70mm flat (non system) ski that should be apart of most skiers quiver. It is narrow, quick edge to edge and promotes good technical skiing with having to be on a hard snow specific ski. 

 

Stockli Y Alpha Medium (all new): OK, this series of skis, Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta in Small. Medium and Large are bought on couple of criteria, on or off piste and short or long turn. The Alpha I skied was on piste, short turn in a medium. System is reminiscent of the old Salomon “Power Rating” sizing method, not the worst thing but it could be tough to understand and confuse the consumer. I would have been just as happy on a Laser AX. 

post #2 of 18

Nice thumbnails. Few questions: 

 

1) Which of the Blizzard's are closer in your opinion to the old Supersonic?

 

2) Do the Stockli models mean that there is no longer a Laser AX? 

 

3) Would you characterize the Pursuits as Avenger-like in handling, but easier to vary turn shape, or more GS Cruiser Pursuit style? IME, the Avengers were more versatile but less smooth and stable than the Pursuits, but very small sample size. 

 

4) Have Scott reps admitted their shame in losing the full retro topsheets? :D

post #3 of 18

^^^ Good questions, as I'm still skiing my Supersonics on short turn "wife days", but they are getting really long in tooth.  Love that 14m radius, though.

 

And what's this "Those who used to ski the old FireArrow 80 EDT should rejoice"?!  If you mean the FireArrow 80 Pros with the Most Lovely Graphics In The World, I just pulled my last set out of the wrappers a week ago, and they are still my favorite firm-ish ski in the world. :)

 

Thanks for the effort Phil, much appreciated!

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 

Nice thumbnails. Few questions: 

 

1) Which of the Blizzard's are closer in your opinion to the old Supersonic?

 

2) Do the Stockli models mean that there is no longer a Laser AX? 

 

3) Would you characterize the Pursuits as Avenger-like in handling, but easier to vary turn shape, or more GS Cruiser Pursuit style? IME, the Avengers were more versatile but less smooth and stable than the Pursuits, but very small sample size. 

 

4) Have Scott reps admitted their shame in losing the full retro topsheets? :D

1) The Power S8 is closest to the Supersonic

 

2) The Laser AX/SX/SC are all still in the line

 

3) The new 800 isn't as locked into one particular turn shape than the other Rossi's you mentioned.

 

4) Not yet, I will be discussing it with them. ;)

post #5 of 18

Phil

 

Could you expand a bit on the Blizzard Power S8.  What did you like and dislike about it.   Like what sizes it will be available in, dimensions, etc.

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kano View Post
 

Phil

 

Could you expand a bit on the Blizzard Power S8.  What did you like and dislike about it.   Like what sizes it will be available in, dimensions, etc.

Lengths: 160, 167, 174, 181 cm 

Sidecut: 120-72-104 mm 

Radius: 14.0 m (174 cm) 

Binding: POWER12 TCX 

Construction: Sandwich Compound Sidewall IQ; Wood, Titanium 

 

I liked the power and playfulness of the Power S8, nothing I really didn't like at all. Usually I find these ski from Blizzard to be a little dead at slower speeds but this one was easy and didn't loose that at all when it was brought up to higher speeds. The 174  that I was on wasn't nervous at all when cracked up. 

post #7 of 18

As always, thanks for the information.

post #8 of 18

Amphibio 16? I see a 14 on their site w/ different lengths; guess the ones you skied were for an upcoming season. How is the cut different than the 14? And if you had to choose between your Blizz Power 800 and the Elan for racing around on groomed....? 

post #9 of 18

Never mind. Saw a utube video of a skier who had skied it. Bigger radius than the 14...

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carving Lance View Post
 

Amphibio 16? I see a 14 on their site w/ different lengths; guess the ones you skied were for an upcoming season. How is the cut different than the 14? And if you had to choose between your Blizz Power 800 and the Elan for racing around on groomed....? 

The Elan is a much more powerful ski than the 800, it felt just glued to the snow with a great connection. The only think I can think was the different was the 4D construction. I didn't get on the 14, I imagine it was up with the 16 but not the Nth degree of hold. 

post #11 of 18
Skied:

Nordy FA 80ti (174)
Head Rally (177)
Blizzy Power 8x
Head Titan (177)
Rossi Hero Master (182...21m)

Thoughts:

Rossi Hero Master... the black beauty. Here's the deal, the MAP pricing on the pursuit 18 will be the same (if I recall correctly) as the Hero Master... The Hero Master is of the skis above, the clear cut heads and tails winner of the whole patooty. Smooth, stable, great edge grip, able to make any turn shape and operate both fast and slow. If one had ambitions to own a 'tech' ski for PSIA or CSIA national try outs, this would be what I'd pick. I felt like Eric Lipton on this ski. A serious, super versatile ski that will do more than crush beer league.

Nordy FA 80ti. Purposely skied it a bit short in the 174. Like a slightly kinder, gentler, FA 84 EDT, a d for most, this will equal better, more versatile. Just another very good piste performance offering from Nordica. Felt glued to the snow, and even in the shorter length, didn't feel seriously over skied. The 180 I'm sure would suit my mass better, but if one were skiing smaller hills in the midwest, even a 200# er could ski it shorter with little ill effect.

Head Rally. Funny, on a short traverse out to the test slope, it initially felt scary greasy. I was worried that the tune was off. . After two turns restoring condifidence, it was the same Rally as I'd ridden before and as Phil describes. I prefer the stiffness of the Titan, but the width of the Rally. I've skied the Titan a lot in all condtions and still really enjoy them for a more 'technical' all mountain old snow ski.

Blizzy 8x... this one will be a very nice ski for a lot of folks. I didn't feel the love, but I think after skiing the Hero Master, I was expecting too much. The Blizzy doesn't have the forebody that I expected. (I own the WRC, and maybe this was the problem) on very form wind buffer groomers, in round 'running gates' turns that had to get you across the hill, it took more effort to keep tracking accurately on edge than I was hoping. It didn't inspire the confidence that I felt it should have. It also wasn't as versatile as the Hero Master. I have to note that Phil skied it a length shorter.. perhaps I should have as well.

* and in the dont forget this one column, FA 84ti EDT... Still a benchmark absolute power house in this category. There's been a lot written about these on the site, and many of the comments are my own. A great ski. I didn't have time to jump on a pair, but along with the Hero Master, I'd pay to own these.
Edited by markojp - 2/23/15 at 8:27am
post #12 of 18

^^^ Thanks, markojp.

 

Do you happen to have dimensions and/or sidecut for the FA80?

post #13 of 18
I don't. Phil probably does.
post #14 of 18

I'm looking to replace my front side ski in the coming season and it seems like the Head Rally or Nordica Fire Arrow 80 would be two to consider.  i want a ski that is a great carver and at the same time doesn't mind making small turns on steeps or playing on the edge of a run.  This is my current front-side ski which is a GS cheater with a 17 meter radius.  I've really enjoyed this ski but am ready to try something new.

 

5604.jpg

 

Any comparisons of the rally to the FA80, or to my present ski would be very helpful because the chances that i'll be able to test either or both skis before purchasing them is slim. 

 

thanks.

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AverageSkier View Post
 

I'm looking to replace my front side ski in the coming season and it seems like the Head Rally or Nordica Fire Arrow 80 would be two to consider.  i want a ski that is a great carver and at the same time doesn't mind making small turns on steeps or playing on the edge of a run.  This is my current front-side ski which is a GS cheater with a 17 meter radius.  I've really enjoyed this ski but am ready to try something new.

 

5604.jpg

 

Any comparisons of the rally to the FA80, or to my present ski would be very helpful because the chances that i'll be able to test either or both skis before purchasing them is slim. 

 

thanks.

The Rally being a bit softer is a little more playful than the Nordica but the Nordica can charge a little harder. The Nordica has a zero ramp angle binding system which allows a very natural stance and the Rally has a few more degrees or ramp which does push you forward some, this is all personal preference and understand that neither really can be changed. I like both skis and there is just a slight difference in characteristics between the two. I like the new shape of the Nordica's compared to this years FA76Ti and 84's, it is a little more relaxed in the tip rise along with them rounding the tail off. Not that this years is bad, the new one is just a little more versatile. 

 

*I am waiting for the specs, as soon as I get them I will post them. 

post #16 of 18

Thanks, that helps.

post #17 of 18

Thanks, that helps.

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 

1) The Power S8 is closest to the Supersonic

 

2) The Laser AX/SX/SC are all still in the line

 

3) The new 800 isn't as locked into one particular turn shape than the other Rossi's you mentioned.

 

4) Not yet, I will be discussing it with them. ;)

 

Hi, I had the original Supersonic and wondering if the S8 would be better or worse in bumps?

 

Thanks

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