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Review: 2008 Fischer Cool Heat/Cold Heat/Head im78

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
2008 Ski Review: Head iM78, Fischer Cool Heat, Fischer Cold Heat

Conditions: hardpack, dust on crust, powdered sugar on top of cement. Not much new snow, and frozen rain-infused ice underneath. A couple of soft spots here and there.

Reviewer info: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, ski 30-45 days/year (mostly 3-5 hours per day), hack but improving. I get to test all kinds of cool skis.

I had a chance to take each of these out and compare them back to back. I will add this to a more comprehensive review later on, when I get all of the season’s skis tested. Right now, with the current hardpack conditions, I am focusing more on (insert current marketing catchphrase here) skis that are between 75-85mm underfoot. As conditions improve, I will review the crudbuster and deeper-snow skis separately. I already reviewed several of the 2008 carvers and hardpack skis last spring, and since we don’t have many for demo, I won’t do a comprehensive review of those again (it is located at: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=55117)

Fischer Cold Heat 170cm: I reviewed this last week, but have been skiing it quite a bit since, and would like to compare it to the others. It is 82mm underfoot, with a 17m radius, and laminate construction. The flex is a bit softer, especially in the tip, than the Cool Heat, and it features quite a bit of metal and carbon fiber in the lay up.

This ski, upon skiing it more, seems that, although it is quite soft at the tip (for improved crud performance), is very stiff laterally. This ski hooks up very aggressively, more than the other two skis reviewed here. I would guess that it is due to the wider tip that, even though it is somewhat soft when flexing it, it is laterally very stiff and engages quickly. Lateral stiffness is probably higher on this ski than longitudional stiffness. The ski feels like it engages very powerfully, then smoothes out as the ski de-cambers. It is really quite aggressive at the top of the turn. Flex is somewhere in the middle: close to the iM78, and not quite as much as the Cool Heat. This was the widest ski tested, and it had a tendency to skid more than the others. It wouldn’t cut loose on big GS arcs, but in smaller, tighter radius turns, it wanted to let go a bit. Even though 82mm underfoot isn’t exactly large by today’s standards, it definitely didn’t hold like the narrower skis, and I doubt this can be attributed to lack of lateral stiffness. Softer snow skiers won’t have an issue with this holding; even in this area, we rarely get the hard snow that we are currently seeing. The Cold Heat really pulled me into the turn, but didn’t finish as powerfully as the Cool Heat. I think it is built on a slightly more forgiving platform than the Cool Heat, due to its wider construction. It was more akin to the feel of a carver, albeit a wider one. Great ski, probably suitable for the 60/40 skier looking for something that comes as close to not giving up hard-snow performance, while still getting the float necessary for off-piste skiing.

Fischer Cool Heat 170cm: slightly tapered sidewalls, stiffer construction (when hand flexing) than the Cold Heat, 76mm underfoot, 17m radius. This ski also uses AirCarbon and titanium construction, but lacks the vertical sidewalls.

The Cool Heat feels much more like a traditional GS board than the Cold Heat. Whereas the Cold Heat is aggressive at the top of the turn, and then more neutral, with not a lot of power toward the end; the Cool Heat is very even throughout the turn. I noticed that it initiated well, but wouldn’t enter the turn on it’s own, and didn’t do much more than was told by the pilot. It was a stiff ski, laterally aggressive, and stout. Slightly less forgiving than the Cold Heat and significantly less forgiving than the iM78. I would characterize the stability as similar to the Cold Heat, but it got bounced around slightly less (a bit smoother) in powdered-sugar patches that were present at the end of the day. It had a very powerful, stiff, predictable feel to it. The tail was stiff, and I didn’t want to be back there. I could ski it arc to arc in any size GS turns and smaller, and it really felt like a true hardpack ski and carver. I bet it would be a bit more of a handful in bumps than the others, due to the stiffness of the ski. This is more for the 80/20 skier who wants a bit of crud float, but primarily sticks to the groomers, skis fast, and would find the Progressor not wide enough or not GS enough in feel. Definitely a powerhouse of a ski, and one that I really think needs a bigger skier than myself. This would shine under the 175lb or up skier, for sure. The flex was such that I couldn’t get energy out of the ski. It held like glue in these conditions, slightly better than the iM78 and definitely better than the Cold Heat. A great ski, but not suitable for everyone.

Head iM78 171cm: 15m radius, 78mm underfoot, with Railflex. New for 2008, laminate construction based off the iM82/88 construction, but with more sidecut. The tip is wider on this ski (125 I think) than the iM82 (123) which allows the iM82 to be steadier in crud, and this ski to get the nod on hardpack.

This was the first time this year I have been on the iM78. It was a significant contrast to the Fischer series. First off, this ski feels easier than the others. It enters the turn with ease, and cranks out the short turns over and over, with minimal effort. It does feel like a Head, which means that it is smooth, damp, stable, and lacks the energy of the Fischer line. The iM78 has an even flex pattern, similar to the Cool Heat, but not the burly, very stiff feel underfoot, and is quite a bit more forgiving. I felt like it would enter the turn easily but not on it’s own, and pulled me through very nicely, like the Cool Heat. I could load it up and get a bit of energy, but it wouldn’t power me from turn to turn like the others. The reward is predictability and forgiveness, which makes this ski so good in tough snow. Whereas the Fischer stuff can jack you around in rough conditions, the iM78 is smooth and easy. It is a bit of a trade-off, but I would ultimately take the latter for versatility. I definitely would say the iM78 is suitable for a wider range of skiers, especially at the lower end of the spectrum (level 7 and above). Edgehold was close to that of the Cool Heat and exceeded the Cold Heat. And, stability was a shade better on the Head: it just seemed to smooth out the terrain better.

Conclusion: all 3 are great skis. The Cold Heat is going to nice in the crud, as it will likely blast through anything, but gives up some performance on hard snow, aggressive tight-arc carving. Cruising GS turns is no problem though. Great all-mountain tool that has a very laterally stiff, yet middle of the road flex, and would be a good choice for the Western 1-ski quiver candidate. The Cool Heat is more of a carver, with a bit of width added, and has a stout, GS feel that won’t let go of hard snow. It has a very smooth flex pattern that would prove overpowering in a wider ski, but works for something this width. It probably needs an average or heavier skier to get the most out of it, as well as a skilled pilot. Great Midwestern/Eastern ski that is more versatile than a pure carver. The iM78 is a bit more forgiving, and gives up some of the Fischer energy for ease and versatility. It is very stable, and will do practically anything a skier asks of it, although not quite as powerful as a pure carver. The 78 is a great choice for the skier looking for a 1-ski quiver and versatile frontside ride.
post #2 of 12

Re. Im78

Dawgcatching...now that u have had more time on the IM78 I would value you opinion on this. For Eastern skiing I have two great skis for the hardest snow...Volkl AllStar...and...Vist Team RC. Problem is that I am truly afraid to bend the Vist is bumps (at $1,900) and find the Volk tough in bumps. So the question is...do you feel the IM78 has enough edge grip to use in all but the iciest conditions where I would not bother with bumps anyhow? So in other words...every day very hard packed snow with patches of glare ice. Thanks!
post #3 of 12
If you keep giving the im78 this much positive praise, you will make everyone want one, then there will be none available .
I am really looking at this ski for purchase in a couple of months...
Based on your's and everyone's else reviews, this should be a great ski out west (Colorado)...
post #4 of 12
Dawg, As always-great reviews!
Have you had any recent experiences with the Atomic Nomad line other than the mentions you've made about the Crimson?
The Blackeye would seem to be a competitor to the iM78.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robscapes View Post
Dawg, As always-great reviews!
Have you had any recent experiences with the Atomic Nomad line other than the mentions you've made about the Crimson?
The Blackeye would seem to be a competitor to the iM78.
Yes, I skied the Blackeye and really liked it. It had a bit different feel than the 78, lighter and a bit livelier. I found it to be as versatile as the 78, but not quite as stable. The Blackeye gets a recommendation, as it was one of my favorite skis last spring.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by allan o'neil View Post
Dawgcatching...now that u have had more time on the IM78 I would value you opinion on this. For Eastern skiing I have two great skis for the hardest snow...Volkl AllStar...and...Vist Team RC. Problem is that I am truly afraid to bend the Vist is bumps (at $1,900) and find the Volk tough in bumps. So the question is...do you feel the IM78 has enough edge grip to use in all but the iciest conditions where I would not bother with bumps anyhow? So in other words...every day very hard packed snow with patches of glare ice. Thanks!
Yes, the iM78 holds very well on hardpack. We have some pretty icy conditions right now (probably standard conditions if you live east of the Rockies, though) and it holds on anything I can throw at it. A race ski would be slightly better, but I haven't really found anything considered all-mountain that betters the iM78 on ice. The Cool Heat is maybe ever so slightly better on ice, but is is narrower in the waist and has a stiffer plate, which reduces it's versatility.
post #7 of 12

Thanks

Thanks for the reply Dawgcatching...I will get to demo the IM78 at a very small well groomed local hill...one seeded bump run...where there is barely ever any ice...so I will get to form my own overall opinion of how I like the ski...but Not its capabilities on ice...so your response coupled with a demo will really help me decide.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
A follow up: I skied the Cool Heat all day today, and was skiing a bit better (transitions were flowing much better, feet moving at the same time laterally) and this ski treated me much better. It really felt powerful underfoot and rewarded good turns. My experience was that it will reward you with a very stable, powerful platform if skied well. It just isn't meant to be driven from the back seat.
post #9 of 12
Great job dawg, you really making me think twice about the idea of adding a wider skis to my quiver to compliment my RX8. Considering I'm an exclusive east cost skier, I'm thinking about dumping my RX8 and go for one ski quiver in iM78. I gotta get on that ski ASAP!!!
post #10 of 12

Fischer Cool Heat

Dawg - you beat me to it! I finally got a chance to ski my new Cool Heats and I was about to post a review. Since you've already done so, I'll just add my impressions here.

My stats: 5'10" 165 lb, instructor PSIA Cert 2, ski about 80 days/season. Ski area Fischer Pro Rep, so I am biased.

Conditions skied: Mostly packed powder, some pretty firm, a little hard pack, moderate bumps, some wind packed ungroomed.

Length skied 165cm.

The skis felt great from the first run. They reminded me of a combination of the Fischer RX9 and AMC76. The 165cm length felt right for my weight, I think a 170 might have been a bit too beefy for me. I found them very stable at higher speed, but still easy to ski at moderate speeds. They made nice round arcs of whatever radius I wanted, and had excellent edge grip on the firmer snow. At first I thought they were going to be a handfull in the bumps, but once I cut back on the edge angles and let them slip more they were fine. I found them to be adept at making short radius turns, more so than I remember the AMC, or even the RX9. I didn't have a chance to try them out in deeper snow or more difficult conditions. I'll try to post an update when I do.

Summary: I'm really pleased with the Cool Heat. They are a fun ski which will be my daily go anywhere ride.
post #11 of 12
Thanks dawgcatching for the fine reviews and JimL for his supplemental impressions.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Passionate Skier View Post
Great job dawg, you really making me think twice about the idea of adding a wider skis to my quiver to compliment my RX8. Considering I'm an exclusive east cost skier, I'm thinking about dumping my RX8 and go for one ski quiver in iM78. I gotta get on that ski ASAP!!!

Don’t be so hasty to “dump” your RX8’s. If you want to compliment your RX8’s with the iM78’s then that would be a great combo. I had a chance to demo the iM78’s on Friday in mixed conditions and they are a great ski in the crud and chopped up powder. If I really laid these over on hardpack/ice at high speeds, they were not holding an edge as much as I would like. The RX8’s have much better ice handling capabilities. I’m actually thinking of purchasing a pair to compliment my RX8’s and RX9’s. I was on the 171 and weigh 210. Maybe I was on the wrong length. They did not have the next size up
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Review: 2008 Fischer Cool Heat/Cold Heat/Head im78