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01-31-2012, 08:45 AM #1Registered User
- Join Date
- Mar 2011
Review:185 Worth Humpback, Vermont Born
Skier Background: 6’5” 200lbs. Racing background, now mostly BC and paying for tickets on weekday powder days. Go to ski is 184 Volkl Mantra/barons driven by Garmont Adrenaline.
Pros: Stable, quick edge to edge, crud busters.
Cons: not really a con but longer is better with these.
Pulled straight from the site
The Humpback: 140-109-122, 27m turn radius in a 185cm. Tip rocker, rising 1.5 cm, starting at approximately 33cm from the tip (185cm). The sidecut is set back 10cm from center and the taper is 18mm. It has a longer, “sharkier” nose for crud busting and stability in uneven snow. It has early rise in the tail starting at around 16cm from the tail (185cm) rising 5mm.
Honoring the beauty and wonder of Vermont’s signature backcountry peak, Camel’s Hump, the Humpback puts a backcountry spin on the traditional all-mountain shape. With a longer tip shape, tip rocker and a more rearward stance, the Humpback uses design to facilitate maximum enjoyment of varied and softer snow. The shape beautifully marries quick turning response with adaptability. A wider platform than the Daily Bread, the Humpback is the tool of choice for backcountry access and adventure. Like all of our designs, the Humpback is no slouch on hard snow. Want to carve up Nosedive before you head to Teardrop? No problem. Heading into the backcountry after your Masters race? Check. The Chic Chocs, Great Gulf or the Pemi Wilderness…anytime? You get the picture.
Sizes: 171, 178, 185
I will preface by saying Stowe, VT received 5-7 inches the day before on top of a medium/hard base, but not too much ice, plus my first day there ever. Day started on some freshly groomed tracks to get the feeling of a wider and less shaped ski than I am used to, didn’t take too long, fast and poppy from edge to edge! They did at first feel shorter than my Mantra’s and lighter, but quickly I got used to it and was letting them loose at high speeds. Did a more than decent job at holding steady at high speeds, but really stood out when going through pushed around powder and crud, smooth sailing!
Found some untracked powder mid-day, along with some tighter than usual trees. These skis were a ton of fun, light and responsive, and seeing as the snow has been poor at times in N VT, conditions are variable and the ski responds very well from powder to chop.
Later in the day, the steeps were skied off with patches of ice, not a fan of ice but felt stable and enjoyed attacking the pitch in the afternoon sun. I would definitely considered theses capable of being a daily driver. Based on the minimal powder I got to enjoy, my assumption would be these will be awesome on a deep day!
Let me know if I missed anything and contact Weasel1 or thin cover to get on them yourselves.
01-31-2012, 04:26 PM #2
Thanks for the review BC! These have totally become my daily driver. But then, I did design them....
For the record, BC skied the 185 HB with our Response core, and our carbon blend layup. Response core is basswood and ash blended for a round, even flex. We also offer a Power core that is stiffer, more ash, with a solid ash stringer behind the sidewall. We also offer an all-fiberglass layup that is a little more damp than the carbon blend.
TC and I ski the HB Power/carbon and it has been a great tool, even this winter when the snowpack has been, well, variable.
Last edited by weasel1; 01-31-2012 at 08:36 PM.
03-21-2012, 10:02 PM #3
Finally got out on the 185, response, carbon humpback for Sunday & Monday at Kirkwood. Lots of untracked and chopped up pow, mostly on the lighter side for the sierras. I was amazed at how quick and nimble edge to edge they were thru tracked pow and bumps. Planed beautifully in pow - not the hard charging stance the praxis powderboards love but still rewarded a gentle push on the gas pedal. Flex felt natural and I was comfortable heading straight to wagon wheel first run. They felt shorter than the 185 length, but with a balanced stance were at home both in that stuff and in the untracked trees. Shockingly good carving on soft groomers in fact, when I had to If I were going for a lift served daily driver I might size up and go for the power layup - I am wondering who needs this ski in anything shorter than the 185 - I'd be plenty happy in tight EC trees in that length and I'm not dog's gift to skiing. Easily the most versatile ski in my quiver. These things are light (will have to weigh I guess, but even with metal fks + lookfit plates they're light) and I'm really looking forward to touring with these. Build quality is of course top notch since they're coming out of the praxis shop. Hit a few good rocks with only cosmetic scratching. With the exception of the superbros and praxis powderboards this ski has me questioning the place of everything else in the quiver (admittedly mostly older stuff: atuas, m666, explosiv, b4).
04-23-2012, 01:13 PM #4
I've skied my 185 Humpbacks (response/carbon) in a variety of conditions now. Time for review:
One sentence review: I bought the Humpbacks hoping for a ski that would be a blend of Lhasa Pows and Praxis BC's and my wish came true.
Skis I love: Lotus 120's, Lhasa Pows, Praxis Backcountry, 179 and 183 Bros
Skis I didn't care for: ON3P Billy Goats, S7's, Wailer 105's
I'm 5'10" 180 and tour 4/5 ski days which were few and far between this year.
Early rise, shark nose tip. Slightly upturned tail.
Weight: 4 lbs per ski
I tend to like skis with a longer turning radius. My youth spent skiing east coast trees and bumps on straight skinny skis has left me with the habit of skiing with a slightly forward stance and loading a ski's tails to snap off small turns when necessary. When using fatter, modern skis, this style seems to work better with longer radius skis with flat, pin tails than it does with turny skis with rockered tails. Also, as I spend fewer and fewer days riding lifts, I enjoy softer ski tips more and more. They may get bounced more at speed in bad snow, but in the BC I don't ski fast in bad snow.
The best way for me to describe the Humpback is to compare it to a couple well known skis. I owned a pair of 191 Lhasa for a year. Great ski, but I seldom used them because I had them mounted with alpine bindings. I considered putting Dynafits on them, but sold them instead because they don't really come alive until you're moving pretty fast. This is a small quibble with an excellent ski. Another reason I sold them was I already had a pair of 190 Lotus 120's and 180 Praxis Backcountries. The Praxis are a tremendous bad snow/billy-goating ski. They are perfect for making survival turns on steep, horrible snow. However the Praxis (which have a whole lotta tip rocker, and a low 20's sidecut) weren't my favorite on corn or hard snow. Don't get me wrong- the praxis are not bad in these conditions. They just aren't quite right for my style.
Enter the Humpbacks. They have a similar construction to the Praxis BC's (made in the same factory, of course, and they're also available in a stiffer layup) and shape similar to Lhasas, with just a bit more sidecut (Lhasas: 140-112-120, Humbacks: 140-109-122). The result is a ski that trucks a bit more than Praxis BC's but is more agile at low speeds than the Lhasa. I did an old fashioned hand flex comparisons with the Praxis (before I sold them) and Flex 2 Lotus 120's and found the Humpbacks stiffer underfoot than both, and softer than both in the tip and tail. The softness is concentrated at the ski's extremities, so when doing a different flex test (ski upside down on knee, hands pushing on each ski's base 1 foot from each end) the Humpback felt stiffer.
How does it ski different types of snow?
Powder: It's almost indistinguishable from the Lhasas: Tips plane quickly and pin tails allow for slarves. Not as loose and surfy as skis with a more aggressive rocker profile, but any idiot can ski powder on Humpbacks.
Dust on crust: Predictable and easy. I found the wonky shape of the S7 and especially the Billy Goats made for erratic deflections when "hitting bottom" while skiing a few inches of pow on a crust.
Hardpack/ corn: Both poppier (flatter, more usable tail?) and more stable (longer radius and running length) than the Backcountry; Less persnickety than the Lhasa. The narrow tails on the Lhasas require a constant forward stance, or they wash out. The Humpbacks don't have this issue. I haven't tried the Humpbacks at mach looney, but I expect they'd be a little less stable than the Lhasas, and considerably more stable than the Praxis. I'll find out next year.
Crud: Not as stable as the Lhasas here, and not as easy to pivot as the Praxis. But easier to fling around in chunder than Lhasas and more stable than the Praxis. So, right in the middle. I seldom ski heavy snow that isn't untracked, but if I did, I'd want the Power Core (instead of Response Core) Humpbacks.
Plexiglass death crust on smashed potatoes: Jury is out. This is where the Praxis BC's are all-time awesome. The rocker profile is tailor made pivoting the ski easy even when skiing through quick sand. I don't expect the Humpbacks to be quite so good (nor am I dying to test them in such shitty conditions), but I'm confident they'll be usable and predictable.
Summary: A great, lightweight, do-it-all touring ski for the tip rocker/ semi-pintail crowd. Call it a more user friendly Lhasa and you'd be right. Call it a harder charging Praxis BC and you'd be right. Resort chargers might be happier with the Power Core lay up.
Edit for evidence:
01-03-2013, 05:04 PM #5