In short, the Katana and the Billy Goat would crush this terrain. Given the 193cm length, the added metal, and the sheer weight of the Helldorado, I was hoping for that similarly ridiculous amount of stability of a Katana or Billy Goat. The Helldorado certainly has the stiffness underfoot to make it happen, but the super soft tail and that tip profile compromise this.
The bumps on Great Scott and Silver Fox were wide, but the troughs weren’t that deep. Conditions were perfect to make very fast, very big GS turns. Though I had slammed into a couple moguls in the previous days and weeks, I was forcing myself to trust the tips. But twice down the Cirque—at very high speed—I speared a mogul and was lucky to recover without blowing up. But I wasn’t quite so willing to trust the tips anymore.
Joe and I stayed on those same lines, but now as I was flying out of Great Scott, I was consciously on my heels a bit to try to keep the tips up. But as I’ve mentioned, once you get back on those soft tails, the tendency is to keep going back. It’s a catch-22, and it’s really too bad. These skis are so fun on consistent groomers, so smooth in consistent windbuff, and so capable in deep pow, and I think that a relatively minor tweak to the tip profile and an adjustment to the flex pattern would bump up these skis’ variable performance by a significant degree.
We’ve seen skis with soft, super rockered-out tips (think ‘S7’) have the problem of plowing into rather than planing over snow, causing the skier to get bucked forward a good bit. But it seems to me that the Patron and the Helldorado have gone a bit too far in the other direction. Curving up the final 2-3 inches of the tip would be a relatively subtle design change that could significantly reduce the spear effect of the Patron / Helldorado without compromising the ski’s outstanding performance on hardpack and in consistent snow conditions.
There is so much to like about the Patron and the Helldorado, and in the right conditions, they are a ton of fun.
Personally, with just a minor tweak to the tip profile and a more gradual and stiffer flex pattern through the tail, I could easily imagine that both the Patron and the Helldorado would be among my favorite skis. Till that happens, I can still just as easily imagine that people who are using either of these skis in more consistent terrain and conditions will love them. In fact, BLISTER reviewer Julia Van Raalte (who rips, by the way) has called the La Niña her favorite ski. (Though she had them in both firm conditions and deep conditions, with little time in variable conditions….)
So, as always, it comes down to what you are—and what you aren’t—looking for a ski to do.
NEXT: ROCKER PROFILE SHOTS