|Turn Radius (m) at ski length|
|Sidecut (mm) (tip/waist/tail)|
|Weight (g per pair)|
Black Diamond – Helio 95
Blurring the lines between a traditional touring ski, powder ski and ski mountaineering stick, BD’s Helio 95 is a stunningly lightweight (due to the balsa wood and pre-preg carbon core) marvel that somehow isn’t just tolerable in deep snow and technical terrain, but actually excels there. At just over 1.2kg per ski (173 length) the Helio 95 is a real mountain goat on the ascent, skipping up long hard skin tracks with alacrity barely noticeable on the backpack when it’s time to get the crampons out and bootpack. At 95mm underfoot it’s svelte enough to hang out at even the most remote mountain huts without standing out too much from the crowd and makes it easy to get an edge in when sidehilling on slick re-frozen firn, yet also means you get plenty of grip ascending at steeper angles with full-width skins and don’t get bogged down breaking trail after a good dump of powder. The low swing weight and balanced mount point make kick turns a cinch too, even on the most precarious of perches. It’s once you’ve topped out and transitioned for the descent that Helios reveal their real genius though. BD have made some of the most progressive powder skis of the past few years (like the Megawatt and Gigawatt), and they’ve brought some of that modern shaping philosophy to the Helio with smooth tip and tail rocker and set back contact points with generous taper. The results are nothing short of staggering: despite the insubstantial weight the Helios are stable, balanced and predictable. They come alive in powder and make turns of any size and speed without hooking or flinching, but handle hard snow and technical terrain with aplomb too. The harder it gets the more precise your technique has to be, and the more the lack of dampening mass starts to become apparent, but they will still dance nimbly into steep consequential turns above exposure and shut down to scrub speed smoothly when necessary. In short, you can comfortably take the Helios deep into the backcountry on long multi-day missions with total confidence that they will handle whatever conditions you come across. They’re light enough to help you get up and down in even the smallest of weather windows, with plenty of energy left to enjoy the descents.