During a cold and snowy tour last March, I found myself ascending through Aspen glades with the unmistakable orange Voile HyperChargers at my feet. The higher my partners and I climbed, the more confident I became in my decision to bring out this particular pair of skis, on this particular day, with this particular group. The lightweight Paulownia and Carbon construction helped me keep pace with my aerobically gifted crew – while the stout shovel and generous tip-rocker had me smiling ear to ear knowing the deep powder turns that were in my near future.
The Voile HyperCharger is a hard charging but lightweight powder ski, released as part of the Hyper line from Voile. While the shape remains untouched from its slightly heavier older brother the Supercharger, the designers from Voile were able to shave significant weight without sacrificing performance. The result is a lightweight powder touring setup that floats with nimble energy through deep snow without punishing your quads on the ascent. While this ski is certainly most at home in the deep stuff, I also found them to be surprisingly enjoyable edging down firm snow at the resort, or slarving slush turns in the Colorado springtime. Like any ski, however, there are limitations.
After three years of working at a touring ski shop and countless days chasing super fit shredders, my touring quiver has become increasingly weight conscious. In contrast to my resort skiing style where I love to butter and spin my way down the mountain, my goal in the backcountry is to pair together as many smooth powder turns as I can. I’ve found that as long as I am not skiing Mach 5 through variable conditions or landing airs on firm snow, the lightweight gear performs just as I’d want it to. This mindset was the primary catalyst in my decision to pair the 1500g Hypercharger with a 180g binding and 1000g boot. The intention was to create the ultimate weapon for long, powder filled backcountry days.
Second to weight, the biggest detractor from uphill efficiency is waist width. Coming in at 108mm, the drag on the HyperCharger certainly requires more energy than its narrower brethren. I combatted this by deploying the 100% Mohair Pomoca Race skin for extra glide. Overall, this ski is very enjoyable on the uphill. Moderate camber underfoot lends to stable footing when sidehilling in firmer conditions and the ultra lightweight construction is noticeable when tackling big days in the mountains that require an extra boost of energy (or fewer grams underfoot).
One thing to note is that I had some minor issues with the shovel of the ski rising into my knee during kickturns. My hypothesis is that the combination of the lightweight heel of the superlight binding and the smaller BSL of my Alien RS’s (319mm) altered the balance point of the ski enough to become an issue. Personally I think there is a very good case to be made for putting race style bindings on a lightweight powder ski, so this is something to consider if you intend to build out a similar setup.
As a big guy, the number one thing I am looking for in a powder ski is float. I found the combination of tip rocker, taper, and overall surface area in the HyperCharger to achieve just what I was looking for. Whether it was casual meadow skipping turns or aggressive steep powder, this ski kept me on top and gave it right back to me when I needed it most. The combination of Paulownia and Carbon mean this ski is light and maneuverable, but I would also classify the ski as ‘energetic’. When pushing the ski it felt lively and fun.
In less soft conditions I certainly feel more variations in the snow than I would in a heavier ski; dampening qualities are not a priority in any lightweight powder touring setup, including this one. The ride on the HyperChargers is a little less smooth than a heavier pair of boards but the shape lends itself to easy turn initiation and snappy performance. On a recent tour in the Vail zone in choppy conditions, I found myself working hard to track the ski through the finish of each turn.
Personally, I would not choose to ski this setup for a full day of high pressure resort skiing, but there are some limited applications. For example, when opening it up on a groomer post fitness lap, the torsional rigidity and 20m turns radius lends to great edge hold for high speed carves (just be prepared for more vibration throughout the ski). For a resort powder ski, I think the HyperCharger could be considered but you would want to beef up your binding/boot combo and be cognizant of the limitations if you are the type of skier who likes to jump, butter, or spin your way down the mountain.
*Note At my height and weight I would not recommend the Alien RS to drive this large of a ski. While it does fantastic in deep snow, it’s a lot of ski to handle for a 1000g boot when the conditions aren’t ‘perfect’. I am in the process of upgrading my boot to the better skiing F1 LT and have hopes that the boots will be a better match (if nothing else the color combo will look cool!).
I am 6’5, weigh 205lbs and skied the 185cm version of the Voile HyperCharger. I found this size to be more than enough surface area to float my large frame on the deep days for which this ski is intended. Something to note is that Voile changes the waste width of their skis to proportionately match the length. In the 185cm version, the waist comes in at 108mm which I found to be a great medium between uphill efficiency and downhill powder performance.
Comparable skis in this lightweight powder touring world are the DPS 106/112 Pagoda Tour, Movement Alptracks 106, the Blizzard Zero G 105, and the Black Crows Corvus Freebird. The HyperCharger is on the lighter end of the spectrum in this large surface area class and tip-toes the line between a ‘snappy’ turn radius and wanting to open up high speed large radius turns.
After 30+ days on the HyperCharger, there have been no noticeable durability issues. The base, edges, and sidewalls are all in great shape with some typical wear and tear to the top sheet. While the majority of my days have been in friendlier soft conditions, the ski feels well built, as I have come to expect from the American Voile Factory.
Summing it up
I would recommend this ski to anyone who is seeking a touring specific powder ski, or someone who prefers a wider wasted touring specific ski. The HyperCharger is built to be a floaty, easy turning, energetic. It lives up to the billing but with any lightweight gear, the limitations should be considered. I would not recommend using this ski on resort for anything more than a few hot laps following a morning fitness session. For my uses, this ski occupies the dedicated powder touring slot in my ski-quiver, but it could be considered a more utilitarian tool for those who prefer to ski wider boards. I did take this ski out on a few spring corn missions and found that they performed well, but the 108mm width is not totally necessary for those particular conditions.
Lengths available: 171cm, 178cm, 185cm (also available in a women’s version)