Conditions: day-old crud (6-8 inches deep) with 2” of fresh on top. Groomers were soft.
About me: 5 foot 9, 148lbs (been riding my bike a lot!), level 8 skier
Terrain: fast groomers, some SL-type turns, lots-o-crud, small bumps
I was able to finally get out on both the 888 and Mythic Rider in suitable conditions. I have been on the iM78 exclusively for the past month. The testing ground was near perfect and exactly what these skis were designed to do.
Elan 888 177cm: I skied this very briefly 2 months ago, but conditions were far from perfect (hardpack groomers, a couple of inches of new snow on top of hard snow) and I really didn’t get a great feel for this ski. The same goes for the Mythic Rider, as I hadn’t really been able to follow up with it either. The 888 is a new ski from Elan, and has a 21m radius, 88mm underfoot, 108mm tail, and 128 tip. The mounting position is set more forward than on most skis. It is completely different than the Magma (which is 82mm underfoot) so they aren’t comparable the way the Head iM82 and iM88 are. It is also a completely new ski from the 777, which had a similar turn radius, yet was 85mm underfoot, 117mm at the tip, and much heavier underfoot (lots of metal and wood in there). I loved the 777 as a crud ski, but it was pretty sluggish on the groomers and was so damp, stable, and fairly stiff that it wouldn’t go slow or do short turns.
Review: I started with the 888 in the neutral position. Right off, it felt carvy and grippy on the groomers, but a little catchy in the crud, like I was overweighting the tip. I found it to be a bit demanding in this position. The ski almost wanted to turn itself, which is not a sensation that I value. I really don’t like skis that are locked into turning and would prefer a ski that would turn when I want it to. It pivoted easily (more than my iM78’s) and eased into the turn well when moving from a flat ski, but was a little more touchy than I would have liked in uneven crud. I moved the binding back via the Railflex 1.5cm after 3 runs.
Once the binding was set back a bit, the ski became much more predictable, without losing any turn-ability. It gained in stability on both crud and groomers. I could put the ski where I wanted it to go without fuss. It definitely felt similar to the 777 in terms of dampness, stability, but lighter and more flick-able underfoot. The major difference was the carve-ability of the tip: it would roll into the turn better on groomers and was a more exciting ski. In the crud, it seemed a bit turnier than the 777 but no more hooky. It rolled into the turn only when I asked it to. Float was great, but the ski did want a fairly aggressive skier and decent speed to come alive, same as the 777. Forgiveness-wise, the 888 was middle-of-the-road. I could easily make good turns with minimum effort, but if I got behind the ski, it would tend to run away a little bit. For it’s level of stability, I found it quite forgiving, but perhaps not as much as, say a K2 Outlaw. I took it into some moderate bumps and the ski was very easy to ski. Maybe a bit stiffer than optimal, but not so stiff that the ski was in any way unworkable. I actually felt it was pretty easy to get a handle on in the bumps, which surprised me. In big arcs on groomers, this ski was very good for a wide ski. It wasn’t wandery, and didn’t tend to diverge like some wider skis do on soft groomers. It was predictable and solid in the mold of a good GS ski. I could roll it up onto edge and know it was there for me. Not the quickest ski edge to edge, and didn’t have a ton of energy, but was fun to pilot at speed nonetheless.
Dynastar Mythic Rider 178cm: new ski from Dynastar, same dimensions and turn radius as the 888. This is an all-wood ski from Dynastar. I skied it with the bindings on center. The Mythic essentially replaces the 8800.
This ski impressed me at the on-snow demo in February (it impressed all of us, actually) and I definitely wanted to get more time on it this spring. I know that SierraJim likes it as well. The overall feel was smooth, damp, yet more robust than say a typical Rossi or K2, and it seemed to have more pop than the old 8800.
When I skied it this time around, I had much more suitable testing conditions: namely, snow conditions that this ski was designed for. It was mounted with a Look PX12 binding on a demo rail. The Mythic definitely had a crud-snow emphasis to it. The flex was soft overall, and with a fairly soft tip that really eased into the turn. In the crud, this ski shines. It really has the perfect flex for tight trees and smaller radius turns, in that it can de-camber enough and pivot well enough to ski easily and with good float. The feel is smooth, damp, and stable, but not dead or overcooked-pasta like I feel that some of the really damp skis can be. I could ski really slowly on this ski and it did very well, but at higher speeds, it was totally solid in crud and I didn’t get bounced around whatsoever. It really seemed to be built as a crud-buster.
In bumps, the ski was totally adequate as well, and wasn’t overly stiff or demanding. It rolled well into the turn and felt comfortable during flat transitions. It could come around pretty darn quick. On the groomers, I felt the Mythic to be out of it’s element a bit. It was fine on the hardpack when I skied it in February, but here, on the soft snow, it got rattled around pretty quick, and I found the speed limit. In the soft snow, the skis really wanted to diverge and go their separate ways, which is often a problem I find with the wide skis, but not a stiffer, bit narrower ski. I could ski the Mythic in these conditions, but had to take more care to properly weight both skis and keep them relatively under the hips. Big angulation produced a ski that could either overbend or get caught in soft snow and track a different direction than I desired.
The Elan 888 was the beefier of the two, and it’s soft snow performance, for me, was similar to that of the Mythic. The big difference came in the speed needed to make it come alive: the 888 wants more input and energy from the skier, and can be a bit more demanding if skied slow or sloppily (still easier than the 777 though). The Mythic is more forgiving and easy to ski at slow speeds. Under a moderately skilled, aggressive skier, the 888 and Mythic, in crud, are of similar performance. In bumps, I found the 888 to track a bit better and be more forgiving than the Mythic (the edge on the Mythic wanted to sometimes do it’s own thing, making it a bit harder to ski). On groomers, and especially at speed, the 888 has the big edge. The Mythic is too soft and wants to go its own way on the soft, cut-up stuff at higher speeds in GS arcs, whereas the 888 just blasts through the soft snow and is steady, maintaining its initial line. In comparison to other skis I have tried, the 888 is a little carvier than the 777, with a bigger tip, and better float, with a lighter feel underfoot, but similar stability. The Mythic is definitely softer and reminds me of a wider 8000, but more stable in cut-up crud. The iM88 is a bit more heavy underfoot than either of these, and tends to be a bit more damp, very stable and predictable, and stiffer with regards to flex, making it really good at high-speed crud runs but not as nimble and probably a little stiffer for uncut snow than would be ideal (Mojo 90 would be great for uncut snow, however). I actually think that the Mojo 90 and Mythic will ski very similar, but I need to get them up on the same day to find out. The Snoop Daddy, to me, was stiffer, lighter, and more aggressive laterally, but not quite as stable as the 888, and probably a little more stable on groomers than the Mythic, but with a totally different feel.
Overall, I would recommend the 888 to the skier looking for a really nice do-it-all crud ski that can handle groomers reasonably well and hold up under fast, aggressive skiing. The Mythic gets the nod for the skier who wants a ski that requires a little lower energy input and is a superb soft-snow ski, yet remains very forgiving.