Me: 5’11” – 195 lbs level 8/9 or so skier -
Nordica Helldiver: 178 cm - tip/waist/tail: 132/90/118
Volkl Bridge: 177cm – 130/92/112
Fischer Watea 84: 178 cm – 126/84/112
Skiing at Copper Mountain – 3” of new snow with packed powder conditions. Lots of wind out of the west was pushing deeper drifts into Spaulding, so there were stashes of 6 – 12 “ powder Again, spent the day skiing the bowls to try to work these skis where they are at their best.
Quick synopsis: All three are good skis, each with their own strengths. Of the three, the Watea 84 made the biggest impression. Very light ski, but handles the crud well, and got better the faster I went. The Helldiver was very good in the deeper snow, a marvelous powder ski. The Bridge was a typical Volkl, stable and craving speed.
In order that I skied them:
Helldiver: After picking up my Jet Fuel’s this season, and absolutely loving them, I was expecting great things from the Helldiver’s. While these skis did a great job in the deeper snow, I was disappointed in their performance on the groomed runs back to the shop. I didn’t find them as nimble as the reviews I’d read elsewhere lead me to expect. Some reviews have pegged these skis as a great 1-quiver ski. I’d put the Jet Fuel’s way above these skis in that category. If I wasn’t already on the Jet Fuel’s, my reaction to the Helldiver’s would probably be different. These are still a very good ski. They had good float in the powder, powered through the crud with no hesitation, and were quick and responsive when I did a little glade skiing. On the groomed runs, I found them a bit slow side to side, but once on carve they arced nicely, but seemed to like one turn shape. The biggest surprise to me: they felt a bit squirrelly when running flat. I haven’t felt that from a shaped ski in years. All in all, if I called the Jet Fuel a perfect Western resort ski, I’d say the Helldiver makes for a very good Alta/Snowbird/Tahoe area ski, but I wouldn’t want to ski it as my everyday ski at Copper. Would make a great addition to a quiver if you already have a frontside/groomer ski.
Bridge: A very interesting ski. The ski is fairly stiff, so I wasn’t expecting great things from it in the powder, but really handled very well. Of the few 90mm+ skis I’ve tried, this is the one that I liked the best. Typical of a Volkl, it took some speed to get it up and responding, especially on the groomed runs. However, once on edge, it gripped very well and did a nice job of carving good sized GS turns. Again, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the skis quickness side to side. Making short swing turns takes a bit of effort with this ski. Flip side, even at a 177 length, this ski handles all the speed you want to give it. Rock solid arcing nice GS turns whether through the deep snow or on the hardpack. In the powder, the width underfoot made for a stable platform. I was concerned that the stiffness of the ski would contribute to some tip diving, but the ski didn’t feel like it was sinking at all. Similar in feel to my old AC4’s, the ski feels like it’s powering through the powder rather than floating over it. Not a bad thing, per se, just a different approach.
Watea 84: A very pleasant surprise. Was expecting due to the lightness and softer flex of the ski that it would not be a strong performer in the end of the day crud. But overall, this is another really good ski. It handled beautifully in the powder and cut-up powder, carving nicely and with a bit more of a floating sensation than the Bridge, but didn’t feel like it was getting knocked about by the chop at the bottom of the bowls. Once into the trees and in tighter quarters, the ski felt very quick and nimble. I was expecting the ski, due to its softer flex to be a bit lacking once back on the hardpack, but it carved well and the faster I skied, the better the ski responded. All in all, I would put it just a tiny notch behind the Jet Fuel in terms of its all-mountain versatility. My only regret: I wish I had had more time to try the Watea 94 too!
edit: fixed some typos.
Edited by Tag - 3/16/2009 at 03:28 am