Conditions: 2 days on more or less hero groomers at Copper. 2 days on crappy marble over junk snow groomers at Bachelor (somebody give these guys a lesson on how to run the Pisten Bully, please!!!). So that might affect ratings, putting the skis on edge and not having anything to build pressure against on 2 of the days. I tried to build that into my review though.
1st 2 days at Copper:
Elan Amphibio 88xti: this is a new ski, for 2016. Significantly lighter, still stiff laterally. It has a fair amount of sidecut, 17m radius, Amphibio early rise edge for inside ski little toe edge.
I loved this ski! It was exceptional. I do think it was the best carver I tried at 88mm. So snappy, tons of energy, great grip, very powerful. Smooth. Easy in bumps. This ski really did it all. I spent a good 6 runs on it, I was enjoying that much. It felt like the kind of ski that I could rip around on as a groomer ski, but take anywhere off-piste. Perhaps it had a bit too active of a tip for really hauling in crud, but I was skiing mostly medium sized turns onto windblown snow at Copper, and it was agile, just floating through the windpack and over the junky crust below. I was very impressed.
Head Impact 83 ti 170cm: a replacement to the REV, this is stiffened up, a bit beefier than the Monster 83.
Very nice ski, big sweet spot, felt like what the Titan should be for smaller guys. I was really able to work the ski tip to tail, generate some snap. Edge grip was a bit disappointing, felt like it should have been more vice-like. But overall stability and energy was great. Damp
Stockli SC 170cm: a ripping carver. This ski was outstanding; big edge angles with ease, no top end, felt like a true 15m carver. Nice sweet spot, great snow feel, huge range of forgiveness, yet with more power than anything else. Edge grip was better than anything else too. Just buttery at the top of the turn. A cut above everything else tested. Probably the best carver you can buy. And it was great in bumps: not a stiff ski at all. Versatile. Not cheap, you get what you pay for.
Blizzard S8 174cm: basically a small revision to my much loved Power 800s. 2 sheets of metal, a hint of early rise. Very agile ski, great grip, power galore, wicked tail. This is the most traditional race-like power feel of the skis here. It really did perform, but took a bit more skill and edge angle to really work the ski. I think an expert can get as much out of this ski as the SC, but an intermediate can be on the SC and not punished: this ski is fairly demanding, you should already be working toward dynamic skiing if you want this ski. I loved it: great grip, snap, energy, feels like a 15m ski, even though printed TR is 18. Tail is very powerful, you only want to ski the tail if you are used to skiing the tail. I would say it is mid-range in terms of being demanding, which is a good thing: it is nice to have feedback, both positive and negative. The stock ski is a bit railed (at least mine was, and the demo felt also a bit railed) so a full grind and re-bevel to .7/2 or .7/3 is a good idea on a ski this precise.
Stockli AX 167cm: wow, such an easy ski for this level of performance. Felt really relaxed, yet when I dialed it up, was still super easy to ski and fun at 8/10ths. Easy at slow speeds too, round turn shapes, could drift, skivot, carve, whatever turn shape I dialed up, it responded. It isn't a true carver like the SC, and frankly I preferred the SC for my style of skiing, but the AX makes sense for someone venturing off-piste a bit more, who may not have the developed skills quite yet, or wants a ski that can ski slow and fast, not just fast. They each have their place, and the AX should find more buyers than the SC. I personally would consider the SC a quiver ski, and the AX a one-ski quiver for people who don't need a wider ski. Great job with this design Stockli, a carver of this type is rarely so versatile, and a versatile ski is rarely such a good carver.