Voodoo Conversion


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  
Colorado backcountry skiing.
Jason with the Voodoos late last winter.

Oh no! Another religion post?

Nope, just a guest blog we’ve been meaning to put up for a while, this one from Jason Caudill .

Last winter I got out on a bunch of backcountry skis. Clear faves were the K2 Baker SL, Black Diamond Voodoo, and Dynafit Manaslu. In summary: Baker is the most versatile of the lot; Manaslu best when the snow isn’t perfect but of any softer variety; Voodoo the most solid of the quiver, meaning it responds well to aggressive skiing in most conditions.

Problem with all this is I simply don’t like twin-tip tails, and I’m thus not the right guy to review the Voodoo, and even have to watch myself with what I say about the Manaslu as it has somewhat of a rise in the rear. Thus, I made a point of getting our frequent backcountry compadre and 18-year-old mountain boy Jason Caudill out on the Voodoos, for a twin friendly take:

My Take on the Voodoo
by Jason Caudill

I usually backcountry ski on a fairly soft pair of older K2s that are pretty good in the powder, but don’t really bring it at speed on variable or hardpack. Compared, the Black Diamond Voodoo ski is a completely new feel for me.

My review pair were mounted with Dynafits, and I’m pretty stoked about how they turned out. Because the ski is lighter than my previous, and the binding a feather compared to my Fritschis, the Voodoo rig seems like it cut my drag weight in half — which is awesome for the climb. The skis are really stiff compared to most I’ve been on; my first impression was that I was skiing on a pair of 2x4s. But that’s a function of habits I’d gained from being on noodle planks. Once I put in the time and learned the moves for a “real” ski, I loved them. They are super responsive, have enough width but don’t feel like kayaks on my feet during the climb, and unlike old Lou the twintip tails are essential for me.

Last winter and sprinig I had these out for everything from powder to ice to corn snow, and I felt solid on it all.

The key to these skis is to be aggressive in your technique, and they will do everything you want them to. I was on the 165cm and I am over 6 feet so they could be considered a little short. The 175 would probably be a bit more appropriate when I want to ski hard, but the shorter ski is nice when it’s on my pack or dragging from my feet during a long climb with the WildSnow crew.

Conclusion: A fast stiff ski that takes a little getting used to if you’ve been on noodles, light weight considering they’re strong and solid. Once you get to know them, you’re in for one fine ride.

Anyone on this ski, got a blog comment for us?

Black Diamond Voodoo 07/08, 165 cm 1624 gr, 57.2 oz per ski, (124/88/115, same dimensions as BD Havoc)

You can find Voodoos to buy if you google ‘em. When Backcountry.com gets their winter stock in (I assume soon?) they’ll for sure have some for sale. As their service is excellent and their prices reasonable, we recommend you try them first if you’re shopping for backcountry skiing equipment.

Comments

11 Responses to “Voodoo Conversion”

  1. Ben August 6th, 2008 8:46 pm

    Curious. Same dimensions as the Havocs, I wonder how the feel differs? I know the introduction of wood cores to BD’s 07/08 line made the entire line considerably stiffer, so I’m intrigued as to if the “stiff” feeling of the Voodoo iss the same as the Havocs, or if the havocs are stiffer STILL. I have a pair of Kilowatts myself, and my ONLY gripe about them is that the tips are so stiff, they don’t necessarily shoot the tight trees as well as they do everything else. By the way, I’m 6’2″ and 170 skiing a 185 watt

  2. Dongshow August 7th, 2008 12:16 am

    Lou, what exactly do you have against twin tip tails? I don’t have any need for them either but I don’t find them more then a minor annoyance.

  3. Lou August 7th, 2008 5:48 am

    Ben and Dongish,

    I’ve skied both Voodoo and Havoc, Voodoo has a softer feel is what I recall, though I’ve not tested them side-by-side. I didn’t really prefer the Havoc but like the feel of the Voodoo. Dampness of a ski can contribute to how it feels during skiing, as well as variations in tip/mid/tail flex. Even the tune of test skis plays a part, as well as binding mount position. So it’s good to try them yourself.

    No huge agenda against twin tip tails, mostly I dislike how you can’t easily stab the ski in the snow to use as an anchor. But they also add weight, make the ski longer for a given running surface, and do slightly change the way the ski functions. Without a twin tip tail, you can lever the tail of a ski into the snow while skiing and do different things such as brushing off some speed. With twin tip tails, you lever back on them and the effect is much different. Not necessarily bad, but just different. I don’t prefer it. Others do.

  4. Eric Steig August 7th, 2008 8:03 am

    Lou,

    Take a look at Mitch’s Telemarktips review of the new TX-Pro boot.
    When do we get to hear from you on the use of these as an ultra-beefy Scarpa-F3-style boot?

  5. Eric Steig August 7th, 2008 8:03 am
  6. Lou August 7th, 2008 9:33 am

    Eric, we’ll give ‘em a go this winter.

    That said, Mitch is writing that the boots have much softer metatarsal flex. That might be great for telemarking, but will make them much less useful for snow climbing and such. One reason people have gotten away with using tele boots as alpine mountaineering boots is that they’re actually quite stiff even though they’ve got a bellows.

    When that changes all bets are off. Imagine trying to kick steps using boots with the flex of a tennis shoe? You can do it provided you’ve got enough athletic skill and fitness, but why add a handicap like that?

  7. freeheel August 10th, 2008 9:58 am

    I skied the Voodoo’s this last season here in Colorado. My boards saw only 2 or 3 area days but many many backcountry powder days. I’m 6’3″ and 140# dripping wet and ran the 175s. I love the way these boards ski and I didn’t find them to be stiff, even at my light weight.

    This was my first pair of twin tips and I found that feature really annoying. Since I don’t do any backward skiing I’ll avoid twin tips in the future.

    Towards the end of winter, I noticed that on both skis the topsheet was delaminating from the tail of the ski. Not sure why this was happening esp since due to the twin tip I would not stick my ski tails into the snow like I usually would while getting ready to put skins on. Anyway I sent the skis into BD for evaluation and they promptly sent me a new pair. I’ve always had great customer service from BD. By this time next season I’ll know if my pair was a dud or if this problem is more widespread.

    In any event for future ski purchases I’ll avoid twins and I think I will look for a ski with a tail that ends with a plastic plug instead of having the base material, topsheet, and edges extend completely to the tail of the ski.

    The one other thing I noticed was that on my Voodoos the bases would dry out extremely fast, more so than on any other ski I’ve owned. This suprised me again and again since I mainly skied powder conditions thanks to last seasons excellent snowfall here in CO. The dry spots would always show first on the back half of the ski along both edges. This made me wonder if the base material was especially thin and couldn’t hold as much wax? I think maybe the skis were not flat out of the factory and BD ground them down to flatten them, leaving the base material extra thin along the edges of the back half of the ski.

  8. Guy August 12th, 2008 10:38 am

    Hi all,

    I skied on the Black Diamond Voodoos last winter as well, with Dynafit bindings.

    Prior to the voodoos, I had a pair of Hagan Titanal skis – for me, I found that this skis didn’t have the flotation I was looking for in powder, they didn’t have the stiffness for awkward conditions, nor did they have the sidecut for tight turns in bushy trees (I live in British Columbia). The voodoo addressed every one of these issues for me, and I found it to be a great ski. The stiffness took a bit of getting used to, and I found I had to push the skis into the turn on hardpack.

    On the topic of twintips – I don’t like them. The fact that you can’t easily stab a ski into the snow and use it as an anchor is a real inconvenience for ski mountaineering. As Lou pointed out, the twintips do feel different at the end of a turn – they seem to slide out of the turn more than I’d like – I’d prefer if it was a bit more “grabby”. (of course, this is just my personal observation – your mileage will differ!)

    Finally, on the topic of quality … I had the exact same experience as freeheel above – the top sheet has been falling apart on the tails where the skins clip on. The skis look pretty beat up after just one year of skiing. I’ll contact BD about that and possibly return ‘em. Also, I found that the boot center mark did not align with the “true’ boot center (which was marked with a separate score). Caused some confusion for me with my ski tech.

    All in all, I found the Voodoos to be great skis – if BD would ditch the twintips and improve the quality of the tail skin clips, it would be great.

  9. Peter November 19th, 2008 3:25 pm

    Hey Lou… just asked you about Voodoo vs. Mt Baker in the Mt. Baker thread, so I figured I should ask this last question here in the Voodoo section.

    I’m a total beginner in powder so I was thinking I’d need a 165 – I’m 5’7″ and 150lbs, so the 165 comes to the tip of my nose.

    Locally, I can only find the Voodoo in a 175. I see 3 options, which would be best???

    1] buy the 175… but I’m worried it is too big/hard to manuever for me
    2] go for a 165 Havoc which is available
    3] special order the 165 Voodoo

    Thanks,
    Peter

  10. Lou November 19th, 2008 4:14 pm

    Peter, I’d hold out for the 165 Voodoo, based on your size and beginner status. Surprising you can’t get any this time of year!

  11. Drew August 3rd, 2010 6:39 am

    I was just wondering what the real diffrence is between the havoc and the voodoos? they seem the same to me for the most part

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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