Black Diamond Helio 105 Ski — Quiver Arrow Of The Week


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 25, 2016      
Black Diamond Helio 105.

Black Diamond Helio 105.

I can still remember cuddling on the couch with my beloved Black Diamond Carbon Convert, sipping chardonnay while watching “The Way We Were”. But alas, she’s gone (cue up Hall and Oates). Now I’m on the edge of my seat, shotgunning beers with my new best buddy, the Helio 105, watching Stallone kick butt in Rambo. Parting was such sweet sorrow but nothing lasts forever.

I have never hidden my affection for the Carbon Convert, as smooth and supple as Chinese silk in powder and variable conditions. But that was where it ended. No real beef or brawn and certainly no match for hard snow.

Enter Black Diamond’s new Helio series, slated to replace the carbon Aspect, Convert and Megawatt. The Helios are a three model selection of pre-preg carbon laminate backcountry touring skis consisting of the 95, 105 and 116 widths underfoot.

BD has departed the Far East and gone right to the motherland of alpine skiing with the Helio skis being made by Blizzard in Austria. The first obvious difference in the construction is the return of a full length edge which was missing in previous BD carbon skis. Gone is the metal tail clip for skins with a return to a notch in the abs tail protector.

I spent 3 days on the 175cm Helio 105 recently with the grand finale being a day of hiking laps and riding lifts in 12″ of fresh at Aspen Highlands.

My first day started with a run on a groomer at Aspen Mt. before heading out back to tour a lap. My immediate thought as the Helio 105 held firm, tracked well and begged for more speed was, “This is a real ski.”

They were surprisingly damp for a lightweight carbon ski and stayed glued to the snow allowing the full length of the edge to engage. I headed out back to tour a lap in one of my usual haunts where I am virtually guaranteed to find powder. Sure enough, the powder was there albeit with a few tracks scattered across the slope. Every time I crossed a track I got bucked into the backseat a little bit, making me think maybe the tail of the Helio 105 was a touch too stiff. Maybe I was still thinking about my old flame and hadn’t fully committed to this new friendship.

My second day was guiding cat skiing. I brought along my trusty DPS Wailer 112 “just in case” but left them racked for the day because if one is going to talk the talk then you had better walk the walk.

The snow report said 3″ but to my surprise we found 12+” had blown into the lee side of our terrain. My kind of miscalculation. I honestly missed the extra girth and found myself working a bit harder than usual to get down the hill. Was it lack of girth, a bit lower tip profile or a bit too stiff a ski to allow for enough float?

My final day on the Helio 105 was a classic Colorado powder day. Bluebird and cold with a foot of new snow. It was also my first full day of the season riding lifts with nothing on my plate beyond ski my butt off. I don’t know if it was powder fever or the sense of freedom of not having to think about the well being of clients behind me but something different was in the air. I almost took my Wailer 99 with me “just in case” but tossed them back in the corner at the last second and thought “The hell with it.”

Solely by luck, my wife and I were part of the first 50-100 people up Highlands Bowl when it opened. It might as well been heli skiing.

Swooping down a wide gully just above treeline, a couple of wind affected turns went by as if they weren’t there, Dropping into some trees, popping off features, arcing little sidehills, all the while playing the terrain at will. Then it opened up onto a big apron that rolled over steeper with each turn. I caught a glance out of the corner of my eye of friends who were parked on top of the rollover as I punched the accelerator and increased the radius of my turns. All the while, I was letting out spontaneous howls, yells and whoops of joy. When we hit the runout of the Bowl I made sure my wife was behind me as we worked one final margin of untracked to the far right that sees a bit of sun. I never would have known it as the Helio 105 blasted through the denser snow just like all the blower above.

As the day unfolded there was plenty of powder but also some tracks to contend with while linking swaths of untracked. I expected such a featherweight AT ski to get tossed about like a ship at sea but as I pressed into the front of the Helio 105 they just stayed right on course, no deflection. Before it was all over I pushed around chunky crud, smeared and slithered over and around powder bumps and finished it all off arcing through sun drenched bumps just above the base. I held nothing back that day and the Helio 105 never let me down. I was a born again skier.

The Helio 105 is a true one ski quiver. Despite being touted as a high tech, high performance AT ski, it is all that and more. I never thought I would see the day that a 6lb AT ski would stand up to the abuse of a ski area thrashing. The harder I pushed the Helio 105 the more it gave back. It’s damp and stable, tracks well, holds firm and is energetic and reactive. In short, there is no mistaking it’s Austrian build. Short of mid winter bottomless (did I mention the 116), I can’t think of any terrain or condition that I wouldn’t grab the Helio 105 and go. While wistful memories of the Carbon Convert still linger now and again, I am only looking ahead as my new best buddy and I are off to grab an apres beer.

Helio 105 specs:

165cm

  • 131-105-118
  • 2.7kg, 5lb 14oz
  • Turn radius, 20m
  • Tip, 312mm rocker
  • Tail, 232mm semi rocker
  • 175cm

  • 132-105-119
  • 2.9kg, 6lb 5oz
  • Turn radius, 21m
  • Tip, 331mm rocker
  • Tail, 246mm semi rocker
  • 185cm

  • 134-105-119
  • 3.1kg, 6lb 11oz
  • Turn radius, 22m
  • Tip, 350mm rocker
  • Tail, 260mm semi rocker
  • Comments

    72 Responses to “Black Diamond Helio 105 Ski — Quiver Arrow Of The Week”

    1. Dsnyder January 25th, 2016 10:17 am

      What binding is on the Helios in your title picture?

    2. Lisa Dawson January 25th, 2016 10:27 am

      Dsnyder, the bindings are the new Fritschi Diamir Vipec 12 black.

    3. Frank January 25th, 2016 1:14 pm

      What a nice surprise, reading this article this morning.

      I was about to take the plunge on some Carbon Megawatts but noticed BD had changed their lineup and now I am split.

      OP, how would you compare the Helio to the Megawatts?

      Also, I suppose there will be a write-up soon on the new Vipecs?

      Thanks!

    4. Seth January 25th, 2016 3:27 pm

      Bob, what boots are you skiing these with? Still on the Backland Carbons? Did you ever switch out the liners or modify those boots? Thanks for the review.

    5. hairymountainbeast January 25th, 2016 4:55 pm

      What makes these perform different than the converts? The dimensions look the same aside from the lengths. Is the rocker/camber profile different? Different core construction?

    6. hairymountainbeast January 25th, 2016 5:04 pm

      It also looks in the picture like black diamond got rid of their signature ribs on top of this ski. Is that true?

    7. See January 25th, 2016 7:05 pm

      This is probably a dumb question, but that hasn’t stopped me before, so… if I were on skis with low tips like these (correct?) or Nordica Patrons, etc., and I skied across a stream or some other terrain feature with a sharp U or J shape, could these skis spear the ground, even though the skier in front of me cruised right through? I wouldn’t want to figure this out the hard way.

    8. jeff January 25th, 2016 8:09 pm

      +1 wondering about what boots you used. I am on TLT5’s and want to make sure they can drive this ski (adequately, I don’t need super beef) before I hit the purchase button on what seems like a perfect ski for the PNW

    9. Bob Perlmutter January 25th, 2016 9:05 pm

      Hi All, thank you for all your keen interest. Let me tackle your questions in order.

      To confirm what Lisa said, the binding is the new black Vipec( which I like more every time I use it). I have already done a review on the new Vipec recently so do a search and it should come up.

      The better comparison to the Carbon Megawatt would be the Helio 116 which I hope to ski soon. That said, while I have never skied the Carbon Megawatt (I have skied the Megawatt extensively), I have heard many comments that short of pristine powder, the Carbon Megawatt was prone to deflection. That was certainly not the case with the Helio 105.

      As for boots, I skied two different boots with the Helio, the black TLT6 and an Atomic Waymaker Tour 110. I am not on the Backland Carbon currently, nor did I ever get a chance to switch out the liner. I am considering getting a pair one shell size larger and going to an Intuition liner. I’ll report back if I do.

      Yes, the ribs are gone and none too soon. The tip and tail rocker profile is just a tad lower than the C Convert. The camber appears to be about the same ie: low. I don’t know about the core construction but that is a good question. I will follow up.

      The TLT5 would be adequate for touring and some uphilling at the areas but not for running these skis at the ski area. Grab some TLT6 on sale this spring, you’ll be thankful. Please keep the comments coming.

    10. JQ January 25th, 2016 10:13 pm

      Another doily question – would you say the Helio 105 skied ‘short’ or ‘long’?
      I ask because I love touring skis at 180cm ish. 175 seems short (for my 185 lbs) and 185 is tough to kick turn.

    11. mitch January 26th, 2016 3:23 am

      Been looking as skis as Frank above and considering the Black Diamond Carbon Convert. But didnt like the short metal edges and concave top. Thanks for the info and changing my mind. mt

    12. chrisL January 26th, 2016 7:00 am

      I’ve skied the Helio 105 about 20 days now and concur that it’s a higher performance version of the Carbon Convert (which I skied all last year). Somehow it skis better, is 5cm longer, has full wrap edges, no top indentations, and still weighs the same as the Carbon Convert. Not sure how they did it but it’s a winner for sure. Can’t wait to try the 116.

    13. Alpine Hoser January 26th, 2016 8:22 am

      Bob, one of your first remarks was that the Helio 105 might be too stiff. Do you still think so?
      Reason I ask is that I have a pair of Surface Walk Free skis that are stiff as all get out. I don’t want another pair of bucking broncos!

    14. chrisL January 26th, 2016 8:32 am

      @Alpine Hoser – I’m probably one of the few people who have skied both of these skis. These skis are very different. I never liked the Walk Free, just felt weird. Too stiff, too much sidecut, odd tip, I’m not sure. I don’t think the Helio 105 is as stiff, but regardless, it skis way different and much better. Totally different animal.

    15. nate porter January 26th, 2016 8:50 am

      I haven’t skied the Helio 105, but did ski the 95 in size 185 last weekend on soft, pushed around in-bounds snow. The 95 did not feel too stiff, in fact a tad soft. It was torsionally stiff. I thought it skied well. Flexing the 105, it did not feel overly stiff to me.

    16. purplesage January 26th, 2016 4:13 pm

      Thanks for all the info on these skis. Just ordered a pair with the black Vipecs.

    17. Bob Perlmutter January 26th, 2016 9:11 pm

      Round two. Good questions. For starters, please note I only weigh 130lbs which certainly is a factor in how I perceive how stiff or soft a ski feels. I would say the Helio 105 skis “long” due to both the full length edge(which I really like) and it being torsionally stiffer than the C Convert. At 185 lbs.I would seriously question going with the 175cm. ChrisL is right on with both his comments. No comparo between the Helio and Walk Free. Do I still think the Helio is too stiff? In a perfect world, at my size, I would like to see the midbody and tail of the Helio a tiny bit softer to achieve a slightly rounder flex. That is splitting hairs and in general I think BD has really upped their game with this ski.

    18. See January 26th, 2016 9:45 pm

      I’ve long wondered what aside from mass makes a ski less prone to deflection.

      And I think the core is balsa with flax stringers– very light wood strips with a thin epoxy/flax layer between the strips. Flax composite is claimed to be a good damper.

    19. phil January 26th, 2016 10:19 pm

      Interesting to see all the hoopla about a ski that Hart manufactured several years ago The Outback 105 in 178 and 188 cms with a 132 tip and 105 waist with a bamboo core and side wall construction that was a medium stiff flex and one of the best all mountain, light, powder ski that one could ever ski as a one quiver do it all baby.

    20. Lou Dawson 2 January 27th, 2016 12:50 am

      No need to snark, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if a good ski is available, then what’s not to love?

    21. Lou Dawson 2 January 27th, 2016 1:02 am

      Getting rid of the concave top on these wide skis is sure a plus, always seemed really lame with BD and G3… Short edges can be ok at the tip, depending on style of use, but I don’t feel they’re at all practical at the tail. What I think would be better is with these full-on soft snow skis they would provide a version with aluminum edges, that would just be so fun as something new. Back in the day, there were some “expedition” XC skis with alu edges, so it’s been done. I wonder if they could just put an alu edge in the same mold with the same materials, and come up with an 800 gram fat pow ski. Or how about titanium edges for the 700 gram ski that costs $3000? (grin) Lou

    22. phil January 27th, 2016 9:49 pm

      Thanks Lou, apologies for snarking, if you’d like a pair of the originals in a 188 before Johann Fuhr moved on as CEO and hooked up with blossom and took his integrity for their manufacturing with him, I have one such pair I was going to mount for next season, but could part with them for way less than $3,000.

    23. Jordan January 28th, 2016 12:59 pm

      Hey Bob,
      Speaking from the opposite end of the weight spectrum here…
      Full disclosure I’m around 215 lbs, and skiing the 185 version the last few days I was begging for a stiffer tail. I have been skiing pretty much only powder on them, but moderate slopes and super playful pillow lines. Every so often I find my self wanting to “wheelly” out of a bumpy ride down the pillows, and find myself unable to count on the tails to save my ass. Just my two cents. Overall I really like the ski and once I found my center on them, they ski incredibly well for something so light.
      J

    24. Eric January 28th, 2016 4:35 pm

      Bob could you compare the K2 Wayback 96 vs the Helio 105? Will the Helio be significantly better in deep powder or crud?

    25. T January 28th, 2016 11:27 pm

      Hey Jordan,

      Did you think the tails were softer then the Carbon Convert? loved the 180cm CC for everything except steep icy jump turns. kind of felt that small sweet spot people have been talking about.

      Cheers!

    26. Bob Perlmutter January 29th, 2016 11:37 am

      Eric, I wish I could answer that one but I have never skied the Wayback 96. I’ll let Jordan speak for himself but in my opinion the Helio in general and the tail specifically are stiffer than the C Convert. Hence a better one ski quiver rather than a soft/variable snow specialist.

    27. T February 1st, 2016 12:20 am

      bob,

      any thoughts on the 175cm for 5’9″ 150lb guy? i liked the 180 CC. It would be the shortest ski iv owned in awhile but I think the 185 is too long for a touring specific ski.

      Thanks for your help!

    28. chrisL February 1st, 2016 7:42 am

      @T, The Helio skis longer than the CC so I’d go with the 175. My wife is 5’8″ 140# and is on the 175. She wishes they were a touch shorter.

    29. Brian February 1st, 2016 5:55 pm

      Bob,
      Thanks for the great review. Just curious if you mounted the vipecs on the helios at centerline? My current AT boot is the vulcan.

    30. Willis Richardson February 1st, 2016 7:24 pm

      I find it hard to discuss ski weight and length when most of the comments are by skiers who weight 140. 150 or 160 pounds at the most. Their comments don’t relate to those of us who are over 6 feet tall and weigh anywhere between 180 to 200 pounds. There is simply no comparable data until a medium to big gal or guy weighs in on the discussion.

    31. Frank February 1st, 2016 7:47 pm

      Willis Richardson pretty much nailed it. After the weight of the skier was posted I was wondering how the skis would do with a heavier skier. Or a skier with a 30-40lb rescue pack strapped to their back. This is why I was considering the megawatts over the Converts.

      Not that these wouldn’t be fun or capable with the extra weight, just something I was also curious about.

    32. chrisL February 1st, 2016 9:12 pm

      I’ve already chimed in here on the Helio 105, and I’ll add now that I’m 6′, 200# and as a guide am routinely carrying a pack around 30#. There is always a sacrifice with light skis, but I feel it’s less with each new generation of designs. The Helio is the best lightweight ski I’ve skied yet and a step up from the Carbon Convert. The added length of the 185 is a nice bonus for bigger guys.

    33. Bob Perlmutter February 1st, 2016 10:50 pm

      T, I agree with Chris L. and would go with the 175cm Helio. I skied the Helio mounted on the center line. Willis, huh? I weigh what I weigh and related my experience as such. I suggest you go to a shop and demo a pair for yourself. FYI, I skied with packs each of my three days on the Helio up to and including my working guide pack. Next time I’ll put rocks in it. Either that or use Chris L. for a like kind comparison.

    34. Frank February 1st, 2016 11:26 pm

      ChrisL, thanks for chiming in. That helps a lot.

      Bob, thanks again for the write-up. It’s been really helpful as well.

    35. Mark February 5th, 2016 9:25 pm

      I am looking into a somewhat lighter replacement for my BD Converts (non-carbon) and am considering the Dynastar Mytihic 177cm, BD Helio 105 in 175cm, and G3 Synapse 101 in 175cm. Anybody care to chime in?

      I am a Wasatch skier, mostly powder. I use the TTS binding with Scarpa F3s. I prefer turns over speed.

      Thanks Wildsnow!

    36. GeorgeT February 6th, 2016 7:24 am

      @Mark – BD Carbon Converts should be on sale soon. I picked up mine 2 years ago for $600. SkiAlper rates the G3 Synapse Carbon 109 better than 101 and the K2 Coomback 104 as top pick, though heavier. Having owned the BD and K2 I would choose the K2 if I had to pick one.

    37. VT skier February 9th, 2016 6:21 pm

      Willis Richardson, wrote
      “There is simply no comparable data until a medium to big gal or guy weighs in on the discussion.”

      Well I am 190-195 lbs, 6’2″. Skied a 180 cm Carbon Convert last winter in the East. I thought this length was perfect for Eastern glades, and gave me enough float. With a small pack, skins , lunch, puffy I thought the ski skied very well. Very light on the skintrack too.
      I wore a softer boot, Scarpa Rush/ Speed Turns and no problem driving this ski in 6-12 inches of powder on a firmer base.
      I never really skied it in steep, icy conditions (I have Cham HM97 for that), but for lower angle , powder runs it was great.
      One day at the resort on groomers, it did quite well at moderate speeds.

    38. John Milne February 15th, 2016 12:02 pm

      Can anyone compare the stiffness of the Helio 105 to the RMU Carbon Apostle? I weigh 165lbs and find the 175cm Carbon Aposlte too stiff for me. The Carbon Apostle is too stiff in the pow, so I am looking for a light touring ski with similar geometry.

      Thanks for the help!

    39. Daleyo March 11th, 2016 9:44 am

      Curious if people could pair the Helio 105 with any binding currently on the market, what is the preference today?

    40. Lou Dawson 2 March 11th, 2016 10:41 am

      Dale, that would depend totally on your goals and style. For example, I see quite a few skis of this sort mounted with race bindings for touring, and I see bindings such as Vipec, ION and Dynafit Radical. No clear consensus.

      Are you looking for advice or just killing time at work (grin)?

      Lou

    41. Daleyo March 11th, 2016 11:40 am

      Lou – doing a bit of both! But seriously looking for advice. I bought these skis and am looking to pick a binding for them. The idea is to use these for lightweight touring, and on multi day hut trips. And some (less technical) mountaineering missions to ski couloirs and steeps. Style of skiing will exclude big air and hucking. If there’s a tasty pillow line or other small drop I probably couldn’t resist some of that free ride type behavior. Will use Backland Carbon as boot. My research is pointing to Ion LT. Vipec Black sounds good to me also, but not certain it plays nice with the Backland. My main priority is reliability as these will be used in a remote locations for multi day touring. The Helio is awesomely light but I’m willing to give some back on the binding.

    42. Willis Richardson March 16th, 2016 10:28 am

      I was wondering if there is any hook in the tail of the Helio at the end of short turns from all of you who have tried the ski? I ski making short swing turns and have noticed in some skis when the manufactures flatten the tail you get hooking at the end of a turn. There are no demos here. Thanks.

    43. Lou Dawson 2 March 16th, 2016 2:14 pm

      Out of your choices, ION LT might be the one. Lou

    44. Willis Richardson March 17th, 2016 5:07 pm

      Just a note I found out the dimensions of the Helio 95 in a 183, they are 125-95-114 and the tail does hook somewhat at the end of the turn. According to BD all of the Helios have this small bit of hook in the tail at the finish of a turn.

    45. Daleyo March 17th, 2016 10:13 pm

      Bob, Lou et al:

      Can you provide any comment on dynastar mythic vs Helio 105? Are they meant to be used for the same kind of things or even comparable? Curious which one is preferred? Much appreciated thanks for the reviews.

    46. Lou Dawson 2 March 18th, 2016 8:55 am

      Willis, that should be easy to tune out or mitigate, with some bevel or dulling of the edges in the tail area.

      Bob is probably the one to comment on comparo, but remember we tend to shy away from having a “preferred” ski without a bunch of criteria. There is no perfect ski, the sport of skiing varies way too much.

      Nonetheless we do feel certain skis stand out, but we’re always careful to say where and why.

      Lou

    47. Michael March 30th, 2016 9:01 pm

      Any word on mount point? Anyone mount these forward at all? Looks like there’s a “BC” line and +1/+2

      I measure BC line at -9.5 cm from true center FWIW.

    48. Michael March 30th, 2016 9:49 pm

      Reason I’m asking is I’ve got some 185s on hand. They’re my longest touring ski. I weigh 180 lbs, 5’10” tall, so not too worried about float. It should be more than adequate at my size.

      Previously skied the 180 carbon converts at the rec line without any issues.

    49. Pete Connors June 2nd, 2016 6:15 pm

      I’m looking for some advice from the literal heavyweights that have skied the 105mm’s. For context, I’m 6’3″ 215lbs. I was just about ready to purchase a pair of 185, 105mm’s yesterday when I saw that the 186, 116mm-waisted Helios are now available on BD’s website. I live near Seattle and so tour the passes in the winter and the volcanos in the spring/summer, so I realize one ski isn’t going to perfectly meet all my needs. That being said, I’m concerned my size would seriously hamper the 105’s for me in powder, so I’m leaning toward the 116mm. I don’t really mind having the extra ski, skin, and snow weight on summer volcanos trips to avoid being bogged down on winter powder hunts.

      Is there anyone of a comparable size that can check my logic? Maybe there are some larger skiers out there that feel like the 105 in powder is floaty enough. Thanks for your help.

    50. Daniel Hoene September 12th, 2016 9:25 pm

      Has anyone mounted the helio 105s with AT bindings?

      I’m considering either the Marker Duke or Barron, or the FRITSCHI-SWISS DIAMIR freeride pro binding.

      I’ll be using them for both day hikes and ski patrolling, and am wanting something capable and reliable for east coast powder days, for backcountry rescue, and on piste groomers.

      6’2″ 175lb + patrol kit/sled.

      Any suggestions?

    51. Pete September 12th, 2016 10:04 pm

      @Daniel Hoene,

      Sure, I have the 3rd geny BD Vipecs mounted on center on my pair. I’m 6’3″ 215lbs and haven’t had any reliability issues for the year I’ve had them (Seattle-area, for the sake of snow comparisons). I’ve been really happy with them. Smooth entry and the issues with sliding heel getting packed with wet snow (probably more of a PNW and NE issue) has been resolved as of later versions of the Gen 2, which was my biggest reason for waiting. My last two pairs of bindings were Fritschi FR+’s and Pro’s and I’m very happy to have made the switch.

      Others I’m sure will have more advice, but why not consider tech bindings? I broke both of those pairs of frame bindings under normal conditions and I’m under the impression that modern tech bindings can be pretty rugged. The Barons sound to be pretty tough, but taking off your ski to change modes seems tiresome. Good luck with your search. The skis are a dream, btw, no matter what clamps you put on them!

    52. Daniel Hoene September 12th, 2016 10:18 pm

      Thanks Pete.
      Due to our mountain regulations with ski patrol, we are required to have din tunable bindings, likely to prevent excessive injury from skis not ejecting if they need to.

    53. Pete September 12th, 2016 10:37 pm

      I’m under the impression that DIN adjustment and eventually TUV certification were goals in creating the Vipecs; it was certainly part of my decision to buy them. It’s done via two separate heel and toe screws; link below. I believe they have a 5-12 DIN range. But yeah, I see how that would leave out tech bindings that don’t deal in DIN settings.

      https://www.wildsnow.com/11228/mounting-adjustment-fritschi-vipec/

    54. Lou Dawson 2 September 13th, 2016 7:33 am

      Hi Pete, Vipec “Black” is TUV certified.

      https://www.wildsnow.com/20200/fritschi-diamir-vipec-12-review/

      They’re good bindings, but be advised that TUV certification to the DIN ski touring binding standard is not the end-all be-all, it’s just one factor in a load of considerations.

      For example, bear in mind that the most important job of a ski binding is to hold your foot on the ski. AKA retention. The DIN standard has very little specific to retention, re how a binding performs in terms of shock absorption, return-to-center travel distance, and that sort of thing.

      Further, there are forces involved in skiing that can cause accidental exit from a binding irrespective of the binding release mechanicals, and testing in the lab for that stuff is extremely difficult. For example, ski flex comes into play as a part of the full binding mechanical system, and even flexing of the boot can have an influence with tech bindings, since the boot “shoe” functions as the connector beam between binding toe and heel.

      Specific to Vipec, while the toe is pretty cool and has excellent elasticity-travel, the heel has the same exact vertical upward release elasticity as any other tech binding, which is minimal, but it enough for TUV to test and certify.

      https://www.wildsnow.com/14843/din-iso-13992-binding-release-safety-testing-summary/

      Our hope is that the mechanical smart guys at Fritschi have a new Vipec in the works that uses the excellent toe but with an improved heel that has better vertical travel and elasticity.

      Example of such a heel is the Dynafit Beast.

      More! Bear in mind that the tech fittings in the boot are as much a part of the binding, as the binding on the ski. There is no DIN standard for tech fittings at this time, though there is a “draft standard.” Thus, in once sense there is still no such thing as a fully DIN certified tech binding!

      As always, despite all the blather about “DIN” and “TUV” the best thing to do is work with a competent ski shop to mount and test your bindings, with attention to your style of skiing and other factors that dictate the eternal engineering challenge between ski binding retention and ease of release.

      A poorly adjusted, poorly maintained or poorly installed “certified” binding has no real-world meaning in terms of safety.

      Lou

    55. Daniel Hoene September 13th, 2016 8:43 am

      Another reason to not go tech binding for me is that I’m replacing my Scarpa freedom rs boots with alpine soles so I can easily swap between all my other alpine skis depending on snow conditions. So I won’t have toe hook options for bindings.

    56. Lou Dawson 2 September 13th, 2016 9:59 am

      Frame bindings are indeed still viable, some amazingly nice ones out there compared to the old days of stuff that was clearly a bit meager… Lou

    57. justin October 23rd, 2016 12:45 pm

      Another sizing question… I’m 5’10 160 (without gear). The 175 would be the shortest ski I’ve ever had, but it doesnt make much sense that I’d be on the longest Helio 105 they make (185)… Do folks think the 175 would be plenty?

    58. Andy December 31st, 2016 9:04 pm

      Trouble in paradise?

      So I mounted the Helio 185’s with a radical st. I was debating the mount point as the options are “backcountry” and then +1,+2,+3 which move more towards center. I did not measure (I plan to soon) but was assuming BC would be about -7 from center, I chose the +1 mark. Once I saw them mounted I was concerned they were way too far forward. I though maybe it’s just the traditional shaped tail or even the color change to solid black right at the heel that make them look long. I skied a few in-bounds laps for fun right after getting them and was impressed at their performance on groomers. In variable snow they were fine but not spectacular (expected with a 3 pound ski) and in soft snow they seemed pretty good. they sucked in large poorly spaced bumps but I attribute that to the weight as well. Then I took them touring, as to be expected they skin like a dream though I felt like there was a bit more tip dive than expected (suspicion of forward mount growing). In open powder they skied well though still felt long, I really noticed the tails grabbing and/or not releasing. to be fair I’ve been enjoying more modern shapes with lots of tail rocker and these don’t have that. where they really sucked were in tight trees, they do not want to turn very fast (tail issue boiling). I think there is an element of changing my style for a more traditional ski but I was frustrated just the same. I am 6’0 and 175#’s without gear so though 185 would be perfect (mistake?).
      At the end of the day, I looked at the profile and noticed something very odd. When the ski is compressed at the mount line the camber is over come (normal obviously) but then at the heel piece the skis separated (can see daylight) again for 50 cm’s until retouching and then re-separating at the “tail rocker.” Same with tip but to a lesser extent. I contacted BD and they want to warranty the skis… Is this issue known? Is this issue causing the grabby feel of the tails? Not sure but I plan to try to size down if they’ll let me as these ski long regardless… I love the concept of the ski but so far the performance is lacking. I’m still hopeful perhaps I’ll mount the next ones more back…

    59. Charlie Hagedorn December 31st, 2016 11:00 pm

      BC may be boot-center, not ‘backcountry’.

    60. Lou Dawson 2 January 1st, 2017 9:15 am

      BC is boot center, it’s the “normal” mount position that I would guess is best for most people. The double camber is usually a defect. If I were you I’d warranty the skis, and also try mounting on the normal position unless you’re wanting them to be quicker and more aggressive on piste (or if you like a more “center of ski” position for skiing backwards and such), in that case go a bit forward. As for them not being “fast” turning in trees, that’s more a matter of your style and the basic engineering of this ski rather than the mount position, though the double camber defect could be a factor. Lou

    61. See January 1st, 2017 10:38 am

      For what it’s worth (and Lou is obviously the authority), of four pairs of skis that I like pretty well, three appear to have some small amount of double camber.

    62. See January 1st, 2017 10:49 am

      Make that 4 out of 4.

    63. See January 1st, 2017 6:19 pm

      This is the first season where all my alpine skis are rockered (I’m what you might call a late adopter). The only skis in my somewhat bloated quiver that don’t exhibit a small amount of double camber are brand new (I haven’t even mounted them yet). The new ones are almost flat underfoot— very minimal camber. The older boards that exhibit some double camber all have significant camber underfoot. If camber underfoot has been steadily shrinking over the last five years, and those Helios are designed to be nearly flat, then I get why Lou says the double camber is a defect. But I have been pretty satisfied with the older boards.

    64. Andy January 2nd, 2017 12:03 am

      Not sure where the bd=backcountry idea came from… not my first rodeo but either way that makes sense. I measure bc at over 9 cm behind true center… seems far but I’m into it given the almost flat tails. Also the amount of camber in these is significant which might further highlight the double camber issue. Though the degree of double camber in the tails is pretty substantial, over 1mm (daylight) for 50cm’s. Anyway, thanks for the reminder of bc and I’ll let you know what the outcome ends up being.

    65. Andy January 2nd, 2017 12:03 am

      *Meant to say bc in first line

    66. Andy February 20th, 2017 10:17 am

      Last update… Helio’s started delaminating at tip on day two after minimal contact with partners ski tail. They also still have a multiple cambers (see previous). Perhaps this is fine and they do ski well in soft conditions. They definitely ski like a more traditional shaped ski. Overall I was disappointed in blizzard’s construction and returned the second pair. BD continues to be great with returns. Conclusion, I would avoid these until they get a beefier construction. It’s possible in a light ski, for example tour1 layup.

    67. Marcus April 2nd, 2017 11:06 am

      185 Helio 105 compared to 182 Dynafit Stoke…Can anyone offer a comparison between the Helio 105 and Dynafit Stoke? I have skied the stoke and love the ski. I find them stable at moderate to highish speeds and I can still initiate tight turns when needed.

      For reference I am 6’2″ and 200lbs plus clothes, pack and boots (perhaps 240 dressed). I use the Carbon Backlands and would like to mount the Helios with Vipecs or Tectons.

      Thanks in Advance.

    68. Lou Dawson 2 April 2nd, 2017 5:37 pm

      Can you just get another pair of Stokes? Seems odd to give up on a ski you like so much. Lou

    69. Marcus April 2nd, 2017 11:03 pm

      Lou, the ones I am using are borrowed. I might be able to find another pair though I am still interested in the comparison.

    70. Lou Dawson 2 April 3rd, 2017 8:12 am

      I’ve skied both skis, but frankly my time on Stoke was so long ago I couldn’t do a reasonable comparo from memory. I can say that this might be one of those apples oranges comparisons that are a bit futile. Like comparing a fork and a knife… If you want something that’s similar to Stoke, I’d suggest first looking at skis with similar radius and width, then look at construction and amount of rocker. Excuse for spending a few hours online (smile). Lou

    71. See April 3rd, 2017 8:23 am

      You might also want to check online auction site for new old stock.

    72. See April 3rd, 2017 8:25 am

      But the binding mount inserts could complicate matters.

    Got something to say? Please do so.





    Anti-Spam Quiz:

    You can subscribe to comment notification by checking the box to left, but you must leave a brief comment to do so, which records your email and requires you to use our anti-spam challange. If you don't like leaving substantive comments that's fine, just leave a simple comment that says something like "thanks, subscribed" with a made-up name. Check the comment subscription checkbox BEFORE you submit.
    If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.

    :D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
      
    Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.

      Your Comments

    • Lou Dawson 2: Way better than yurts, so easy to place and move, rodent proof, very warm, ...
    • Kevin S: Interesting article and I see a "cottage industry" that with a few mining c...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Larry, they're both terms of art, add "mobile home" into the mix as well. ...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Sorry Ross, I usually use JB-Kwik 2 part epoxy for these sorts of things a...
    • Ross: Hi Lou, I assume that you used the JB-Weld 2 part epoxy & not the JB...
    • See: But it could present everyone else there at that time in a bad light, maybe...
    • JCoates: North of the Mason-Dixon="Tiny house" South of the Mason-Dixon="Double-w...
    • Larry: So, I have to ask the question with the proliferation of "tiny houses". Wh...
    • See: I don’t think the author thought that was the only way to write up KB’s fea...
    • Dillon: Lou. Fine by me if you want to delete my last post (and this post). I didn'...
    • Tom Gos: Is "camping shelter" a term that helps navigate some code issues? Cabin see...
    • Dillon: Bruno. I just thought of it, but a straw cowboy hat with an American flag h...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Ditto on Roux, am huge fan, have watched her jogging up the mountain, leadi...
    • Dillon: Buck. You said what I was trying to get at so I'm adopting your post as my ...
    • denalijay: This report might not sound like a review but my experience with F1’s after...
    • denalijay: This report might not sound like a review but my experience with F1's after...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Someone a while ago here asked why the heck we have that big truck. Hopeful...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Hi Jack, for privacy reasons I don't want to get into details, but the appr...
    • Jack: wow. what is the access like in winter season? long approach? water st...
    • Bruno Schull: I love it Dillion, especially the part about the long armed knuckle draggin...
    • Lou Dawson 2: Really, I think using JB Weld or JB-Kwik 2 part epoxy is the way to go for ...
    • Buck: safest BC group? it's the solo skier the sexism discussion is funny. ...
    • See: Did you try Vibra-tite or similar? I think “reuseable” type thread locker m...
    • atfred: Lou, I've always found that finding odd; the thinking being that in a mixe...
    • Lou Dawson 2: I did some experiments regarding this issue, interesting. https://www.wi...
    • Lou Dawson 2: See, quite the opposite, it's apparently been found that mixed gender group...
    • See: I’m not a fan of pro sports in general, so (in my opinion, at least) elimin...
    • Lou Dawson 2: I'll jump in. Firstly, I've always wondered, is it not sexist to even ...
    • See: I think I learned something interesting from the video— clean all grease fr...
    • Dillon: HI Bruno. Great post(s). I should clarify that I'm not actually a woman-hat...

      Recent Posts


    Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring 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 ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version