Stuck at work...
Palo Alto, California
As mentioned previously, after a 30+ year gap, this past ski season I attempted to re-learn how to ski narrower, racing type skis. While I eventually progressed to trying real FIS race skis (Thanks ScotsSkier!), at the start of the season I wasn’t sure if I could handle such beasts, so I picked up a couple of more relaxed pseudo racing skis to try, including a pair of Rossi Hero Elite Plus Ti (78mm / 181cm / 15m), as well as a pair of Head Rebel iRace (69mm / 180cm / 16.3m). Both of these racer-ish skis have a turn radius that falls between a 12-13m SL and a 20+ meter GS type ski, allowing them to be relatively easily driven down resort runs on more crowded weekend days.

As discussed in another post, for me the Rossi’s can easily be made to craft a variety of turn shapes on smooth resort groomers—from almost slalom tightness to near GS curves. On my feet, they work well on hard morning snow and are not too bothered by afternoon Spring slush; they are also able to zip nicely through moguls and don’t mind a few inches of fresh snow. They offer a big “sweet spot” and are tolerant of my minor mistakes. While definitely not a true racing ski, they are a fantastic on-piste, all day, all mountain resort ski for me.

The Head’s were phenomenal on groomers and provided an amazing grip even on the hardest icy slopes. They preferred to be driven fast, hard, and on edge; when run like that it was easy to steer multiple turn shapes ranging from shorter SL type turns to wide arcing GS style screamers. With precise forward technique they were OK in bumps, but did not particularly like soft snow or crud compared to the wider waisted Hero Elite Plus Ti. In contrast to the Rossi’s, the Head’s were definitely less tolerant of sloppy technique, not as versatile across different slope and snow conditions, and had a very narrow sweet spot—they absolutely demanded forward pressure and quickly punished me if I got lazy and sat-back. The Rebel iRace speed limit was so high, it likely would not easily be safely exceeded on an open public resort slope. While not suitable for true Masters racing, I suspect these could be effectively used by nascent adult recreational racers for tighter Beer League or NASTAR type GS courses, as well as being lots of fun for ripping on-piste groomed resort runs. As Spring conditions set-in, they Head’s worked well for morning use when the snow was still hard and crusty, but needed to be swapped out by lunch for a different pair of afternoon skis better able to handle slush—usually some 193 cm Enforcer 100’s, 186 cm Enforcer 88’s, or 185 cm Hell & Backs.
Racerish skis.JPG
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At Killington's demo day last year, the Rossi and Head tents had long lines for their good selections of their racerish ski lines. I was demoing wider all mtn skis, so did not get on these, but perhaps next fall I will for fun. I already have some older Hero Elite LT Ti's (69 mm/183 cm /20 m)...