Ordered the skis last week as indicated and they arrived 1/29/09 at about 1 PM. Mounted the bindings and skied Thursday 4 - 8PM, Saturday 8 AM -12 and Sunday (12 hours total on the slope). Wednesday 1/28 there was 4-6 inches of fresh snow by Thursday night it was piled up and pushed around quite a bit. Other than demos these are the first skis that I have owned with over a mid-60 waist, so consider the source (Typical Northeastern Hard Pack skier). Piles usually catch a tip on my RX-8s unless I am skiing aggressively whereas the HDs with the 130 mm shovel and 90 mm waist brought a smile to my face especially when I could find a sizable pile (Cannot imagine what it's going to be like out West with a huge expanse of the soft stuff ). I was laughing while these skis floated on the soft piles, but it did take me some time adjusting to the larger radius and I did catch a tail a couple of times trying to turn these skis a little tighter. The tails and tips may need to be de-tuned a bit. The smaller piles I sailed through and bare spots were not an issue.
Saturday was much colder and very firm, not a problem. Very little chatter unless I was pushing the turns again, never really a problem holding an edge. Sunday was great, almost Spring conditions. Sun came out and it was over 40 F. Like "butter!" Piled up quickly, definitely the lumpier heavier piles you get in the spring and definitely conditions that tend to cause me issues late in the day. The HDs floated right over most of it and easily cut through the chop if I was pushing them, soft enough to feel the lumps as you floated over them. A new experience for me.
Overall if I had to ski the HDs at home I could do it most of the time in all conditions, but having the RX-8s that is not likely. I would have preferred those on Saturday as an example over the HDs. The HDs seem stiffer with the integrated binding and beefier than some Watea 84's I saw on the slope. They have less flex as a result of a little testing which may reduce their performanve in deep powder. The forecast is looking great for Apsen with a dump early next week and fresh snow starting today. Hopefully they are soft enough, I know they have the flotation, but the percieved stiffness that allows me to hold edges in the worst variable conditions at home may not allow the skis to give when powder builds under the tips in the turns, only one way to find out. So far I love thses skis, they hold an edge, they handle extreme speed well, they may need some de-tuning in tips and tails as they currently do not like to be pushed into a tighter turn than what they were designed for on hardpack, but a step turn easily rectifies that and they are soft and livley enough that they respond well to either style. I try to roll my edges for turn execution, but sometimes it's fun to go old school with a little step and these skis do not complain.
Another update will come after Aspen, hopefully I won't go over the handlebars, but I'm willing. Seamuis