What a sweet setup: Black Diamond Havoc 173 cm with a pair of this year’s white Fritschi Freeride. I built this rig for on-and-off resort skiing, everything from crud to bumps (but no park cause I’m an old guy). Skied them yesterday on steep inbounds terrain, everything from soft bumps, aged powder and crud. In all, I found the Havoc to be a stable forgiving ski. I loved the way the width supported me when I steered through mystery crud (who knows what lurks beneath?), and they were adequately quick in the bumps. While they didn’t have the bite of a carving ski, the Havoc had enough edge-hold to keep me smiling. Since I was using the unknown factory tune, they may have had too much base bevel for my style of skiing, thus feeling less “edgy.” I’ll check that out soon.
As for having twin tips, they didn’t give me any advantage for free skiing (again, I’m not doing tricks), and once in a while I found myself weighting the back of the ski, looking for some tail bite, and finding it wasn’t there. On the other hand, I could feel how the twins made the ski swivel and maneuver more easily in tight terrain, such as bump filled entry shots leading to “secret” spots. More, this is a SHORT ski, as the 173 cm length combined with turned up tail equals a running surface that’s getting close to the length of an ice skate. As testimony to ski design and construction, it’s simply amazing that a ski this short can be so stable at speed, fun in the soft, and look great too! Thumbs up for Havoc — now I just have to keep them from being stolen by my own progeny.
And the main question: how would the Havoc be for backcountry skiing? First, let’s stay realistic and remember that twins are harder to jam tail-first in the snow for an anchor, weigh a bit more for the same running length, and sometimes make skin tail fix systems difficult. That said, I’m aware that twins allow for some cool maneuvers, can be useful in steep couloirs, and just plain look great. The Havoc is light weight for its class and a good all-around performer — so if you want a twin for the backcountry, good choice.
As for skiing switch, I’ll leave that review up to someone else.
Weight is 56.4 oz (1600 g) per ski.