Simply, I have no business even trying these skis. I am too weak, and bad. But as is the way of the world sometimes, I get to ski them. Please also note, that it is only the second ski I have tried in the last 20 years, so there is bound to be some bias.
These skis are one of the nicest man-made things I have ever seen and touched. The top coat is some honeycomb texture, and the paint job - while not my style - is immaculate. They are heavy to hold. Heavy and dense and balanced and stiff and sharp. I feel like I am holding some fancy Japanese sword.
When first putting on the ski, it feels something like an ice skate. The wind will blow you. I was in Heavenly and the Gondola was closed, so I got on the Gunbarrel lift and at the top went down that pathetic green run. The ski was very smooth filtering through holiday day snowboarders and after 17 seconds got to the bottom expecting to go to powder bowl and seeing a line that looked >60 minutes long. Yikes.
There was really only one option - I had to ski Gunbarrel down. So I did. The moguls were massive and there was a chop of 6 inches or so on top of ice. Rocks were becoming exposed. Basically a nightmare situation and probably the wrong thing for the ski. But what can I say. They aren't the easiest thing to bend around the bumps but the experience was exhilarating. The chop layer was totally to be ignored - the AX was ignoring it entirely. I rested 2 or 3 times on the way down. All this time, the AX was basically ignoring me. Somehow like "yeah yeah, I've seen it all before" and was just behaving like a pair of robotic limbs. Somehow they magnify any power I put in them but feel very much part of my body. The back of the ski helped me to crush the fall side of moguls (did I mention I barely know how to ski?). Got to the bottom where there were plenty of rocks, finished the run, collapsed in a deck chair and smoked a cigarette.
Got back on the lift and skied Gunbarrel another 6 times that day. The only difference was that I veered right to the "world cup" slope because it was less bumpy. If you know that area, it is basically a large slow bend across to the left. I figured I would just bomb it to see how fast the ski can go. "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA". "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH". Ok, so now I knew the truth. This ski is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS.
First I had no clue how fast I was going. Then I realized. Then I panicked. Then I just thought lets go with it. I have no idea how fast the thing can go but I pulled off a massive jelly-legged turn. At every point I was thinking "My legs will give way before this ski does." I went the fastest I have ever been on skis. The AX remains glued on its edges. Again it is really not interested in my trivialities. It has a job, and it does it.
Next time down, I carved as tight turns as I could. The ski is lightning edge to edge and the smallest radius ski I have ever used. It didn't seem too stiff and I felt I could control it on the flat world cup slope (the Gunbarrel moguls were still another matter). This was likely the most fun I have ever had on a ski. I guess this is what the ski does best, but it was rock rock rock rock cement steel concrete solid. The conditions were not great - icy patches, chopped snow, etc. But here, while remaining unflappable, the ski was clearly having some fun and as soon as the fun started, it wanted to stay up drinking all night. I was skiing and laughing at the same time.
I hate to generalize, but I lived in Zurich for a while, and the AX reminds me of that place. The trams are on time. The streets are clean. Everyone does their job. A perfectly engineered system. Sounds boring, doesn't it? Well, one day a year in Zurich they have a street party. During that party, everyone goes totally insane. I've seen investment bankers dressed in pink spandex thongs. They PARTY. The AX is that ski. No situation seems to phaze it, but show it a good time and you get to party all night.
Other thing to note:
+ Everyone is jealous of this ski, and if they aren't, they must be clueless
+ I was skiing lazy on my last skis, so I had to tighten my boots a bit for these
+ My ski instructor was very happy that I have "real skis"
Me: Intermediate, 165ls, 5'6
Edited by failtocrushit - 1/20/16 at 1:16pm