I see that Lou over at Wildsnow finally let the horse out of the barn :-)
Big help now as I really wanted the info a couple of months ago! I know Lou had the skis and wondered why he waited so long on the review. Likely out skiing. What was he thinking? Let me help make it a stampede of sorts.
If you follow this blog you know I hadn't skied much (as in none) for a decade or so. The climbing trip last winter to Chamonix was my cardiac jump start. The continued ski season (and terrible weather) here in the NW and with the resulting never ending snow it has allowed me to ski instead of ride my bike or rock climb.
Enjoying it actually. Getting to go back to several old spring ski haunts because of it.
I have been skiing on an assortment of old and new boards over the winter. Shaped, asymmetrical, super short, skinny, fat and in between. Lots of skis. They all generally turn left and right as required. My BD Aspects, Dyna Stokes and the Dyna Broad Peaks are missing from this picture. No huge surprises except one. And that one ski the Hi 5 has been an interesting education that continues.
Huge rocker on the tip of this ski. (well huge to me, the guy who had only skied one pair of rockered skis, these) a squared cut tail and a full 105mm wide at the waist. It is a 75/25 % rockered ski. My early production 188cms pair measure 135/105/125 mm and weight in at 8# 10oz. Light I thought for such a fat and long ski. But they will get lighter in the 2011/2012 production. The goal is 7#15oz for a pair of 188s. My skinny 162cm Se7en Summits with a race binding weight 6# for the pair as a comparison, My 178cm BD Aspects are just over 7# with bindings.
The Hi5s are a good bit wider and longer than either with the resulting performance advantages.
In French here:
- Longueur : 168 - 178 - 188
- Weight: 1.600gr - 1.700gr - 1.800gr - Poids : 1.600gr - 1.700gr - 1.800gr
- Construction: Sidewall Fusion - 75% Camber / Rocker 25%. Progressive sidecut Progressive sidecut
- Songs: ABS thermoplastic
- Core: Wood Light Karuba - Ame : bois de Karuba léger
- First layer: fiberglass tri-directional
- Second layer: carbon fiber bi-directional / fiberglass inserts
Almost nothing on the Net early on besides these:
Having been on the same hill, on those same days, l have to admit I now really wanted to try these fat boys out. But sadly, mine would show up in April and the closest I would come to a Cham pow day was a foot of nasty Cascade cement at Crystal that was doing point release slides under the lifts by the afternoon..
But that turned out to not be a bad thing. I wanted to get some skinning in on my lwt stuff but the new snow and avi danger made that problematic. So I stuck with the Hi5s on the lifts all day. It seemed better than going home, as most did. The first steep I dropped into was 4 turns to the packed again. And I thought that was rather easy. Easier than expected for sure. Next drop I made 6 turns and was still not being pushed. Seemed too easy in the sloppy snow. Terrible snow to ski on but the kind of snow a good snow boarder loves So next time I dropped in the same place and did six turns before the first tree. Holy shit! Are these really 188cm and 105cm wide? These will take some imagination and relearning what is possible was my thought that day.
Just say no to short skis ;) These are real skis!
No wonder the kids in Cham were on head height or better skis lengths. These things turn like they are a 150mm soft, skinny skis or a snow board. And maybe they are with that much rocker and flotation! What ever is going on here for technology, they sure are a hoot and super easy to ski on!
Check out the actual surface area being used on flat ground between my 162cm Se7en Summits and the Hi5 in a 188cm. That is SOME serious rocker!
When you start looking at rockered skis you need to be really careful with the definition because the ski companies aren't. "Early rise", "semi rockered" and the other terms so easily bandied about generally aren't truly rockered skis. Real rockered skis, ski and turn like much shorter skis than their measured length would first indicate because there is less surface on the ground taking full weight.
When the tips of your skis set on the snow like the Hi5 obviously does, the ski is rockered. 410cm of rocker by my measure on the 188s. A quick example of the difference? A 173cm Stoke ski like a 188cm Hi5. If I cut hairs here, the 176 Aspect feels slower to turn than the longer and wider 188 Hi5. Most of that is rocker, some of it is the additional side cut of the Hi5. The point is the Hi 5 turns like a much shorter skis in my opinion. Surprizingly so and much to my personal enjoyment.
I hear fat skis are a little tough to edge. Big, stiff boots will solve part of that.
Fat skis are not suppose to like light weight boots. I took that test and like the Dynafit TLT Ps with these skis. And I generally ski the Ps without the tongue, as I was doing in the skiing comments above. Add the tongue and there is plenty of boot for the Stokes or the Hi5s in any length. But I haven't bothered adding the tongue. Might be the fact the Hi5 is so easy to ski and not the boots. It is a question yet unanswered to my satisfaction. But I have the technology to find that answer and will come back to it when I do. I like to think of the Hi5 as my Aspects with power steering and 4 wheel drive if that makes sense. Lower geared, and easier to drive in shitty snow.
The only other fat ski in my quiver is a pair of the new Dynafit Stokes. Good ski as well. But neither ski is really FAT by today's standards. Can't consider the BD Aspect as fat either. I wanted some serious rocker just to see what it was like to ski. But if possible on a more traditional ski with some side cut. Dbl rockered skis seem a little extreme. But may be I am wrong there. Traditional you say? Well no tail rocker (unless you consider the last 2" of ski rockered" and the reasonable side cut seems almost traditional these days. The side cut isn't that far off between the Aspect and the Hi5. BTW I simply haven't noticed the square cut tail. When you sit back there is good support and edge there...like a decent GS ski. Looks a little weird a first but then so does this ski. That was amazingly easy to get over. And amazingly easy to set tail first in hard snow if it is required. The Hi5 numbers made it look like a more "traditional" ski with some added rocker...OK a lot of rocker.
(all factory numbers..not my numbers)
Mustagh SL 187cm 6lb 9oz 122-88-111
Aspect 186cm 7 lb 2 oz 130 / 90 / 117
Drift 186 cm 7 lb 10 oz 138/ 100/ 123
Stoke 191cm 7 lb 14oz 134 / 108 / 122
Hi5 188cm 7lb 15oz 135 / 105 / 125
Wailer HB 190cm 9lb 4oz 141/ 112 / 128
Megawatt 188cm 10 lb 1 oz 153-125-130
My pre production pair of Hi5s are a few oz. over at a measured 8# 7oz. La Sportiva missed the mark early on by 4oz per ski in a 188. Close enough from my perspective for what I am getting in added performance. I actually made a special trip to Marmot just to check my own numbers again when I started listing the weight numbers on the Aspect and Stoke. Part of that is the HI5 is a little longer and a good bit wider. And the ski performance matches the Hi5's bigger numbers. Bottom line is I don't care about the weight on this ski (within reason) compared to my Aspects or Stokes. The Hi5s have proven themselves as my go to, "Hero skis" any any kind of soft snow. If I need a hero ski that particular day I'll deal with the marginal extra weight on the uphill. (Thank Colin at La Sportiva for correcting the production numbers on the skis being shipped as of Sept '11)
I think, if given the choice, you'll find few willing to ski a non rockered 175 or 180cm ski where you can so easily ski the rockered 188 Hi5. The rocker makes that much difference. I like skiing a little longer ski again. It was an easy sale after just three runs.
This is the most fun all around ski I have been on for junk snow. Short of ice and really hard groomers anyway. They aren't GS skis. There is a definite speed limit. These are my hero skis for junk snow. Ski just about anything, anywhere on these and feel awesome while doing it. Might even be able to give my boarding buddy a run for the money in wind blown. Which says a lot. No way I would have believed that if the only place I had skied them was on Chamonix pow. Might be the only ski I use for the down there next winter though. Ripping right out of the gate on the Midi is a dream I intend to make real with this board.
Bottom line? If you haven't skied a fat rocker ..you should ASAP. Hero skis, plain and simple.. With a decade off line...I needed a hero ski ;-)