I was up at Alta on Friday, two days after a 5" snowfall over a crusty base. Less than normal snowfall so far this year with a base of only about 55". I wasn't planning on skiing the 1010s and only had them in the car so I could have the bindings set and checked. My ski for the day was a pair of Stöckli XLs. The conditions were hard and crusty with little fresh snow in pockets among some of the trees and in some mogul wells. My Stöcklis handled the conditions well, but were a little slow in areas like Chartreuse with cut up moguls and some rocks peaking out here and there.
After lunch I figured that I would give the 1010s a spin so I could try them in harder conditions than I bought them for plus I had seen the ski patrol doing work on the Castle and hoped that maybe they would be opening it up.
The Elan's were a better ski for these conditions than expected. I first ran them down a couple of blues without poles to see how well they would turn on the hardpack. They made fairly effortless medium to long radius turns. They tracked on their edges well, but I didn't feel like I could let them run full out since they seemed just about to lose their edge though they never did.
I then took the skis through the trees next to No. 9 Express off Supreme. The moguls were hard with pockets of fresher snow no more than 3-4" in depth on top. They made short work of that pitch turning quickly and where I wanted them to in the bumps. Then onto the very hardpacked trail leading down below Challenger. Again, they held on the hard stuff, but I dialed the speed back as it always seemed like the edges were going to give at any second though they never did. I think this was more a comment on my limitations as a skier than on the ski itself.
I then snuck off through the gates into the Elephant's Nose to see how they would handle there where the snow was a little deeper, the chute smaller, the bumps larger and the snow more cut up. They handled it like a champ though at the bottom when the slope became more shallow and the snow more variable, I did have a little more difficulty getting the skis to track exactly where I wanted them to until I took a more forward stance and drove the skis.
By this time I had seen some skiers in the Castle so I headed that way to climb a little for some fresher snow. The Elan's were not noticeably heavier or harder to climb with than my other skis. The extra width did take a little getting used to when sidestepping up along the traverses. The Castle had probably been open for an hour by the time I made it there so there were tracks across the only portion that had been opened, but there was still powder to be found, but only 6 or so inches. The 1010s rode through the snow like I was riding on a groomer. They made short or medium radius turns with minimal input. I didn't have to think about whether the snow was cut up or fresh, they just ate it up. Coming down a very steep mogul patch where the Castle run out meets Cecret Saddle, they turned as quickly as any other ski I've been on. These bumps were no problem with this ski. By now I was more confident on the groomers as I headed back to Sugarloaf so I could hold more speed even when the snow was hard.
My final test was to take the skis on Chartreuse. First down the bumps on the side of Sugar Bowl (sweet ski) and then down the groomer, Little Dipper, before heading into Chartreuse. Again, the skis made easy sweet short turns using the tails of the skis to bounce them around. No problem running as fast as I wanted (though they still seemed about to lose an edge, but never did). Chartreuse was cut up with variable snow. No problems turning where I wanted whether on top of the bumps or in the troughs. I took them on the ridgeline before dropping into the gully leading back to Extrovert under the lift. These skis are amazing.
These are a really fine ski and I like them very much. Unlike the Hazmats, this ski can handle the hard stuff almost as well as my Stöcklis and ate up whatever powder I could find. I really need to take them out on a powder day and see how well they do there and if they can best my Liberty's in the soft snow (I really want to try the Double Helix in comparison). So far I have to say that these are closer to a western one ski quiver than any other ski I've ever ridden. I'm really glad that I bought this ski and hope to ride them a lot this year, in the soft stuff, but especially in variable conditions.