REVIEWS AND TESTS
Ski Tests & Reviews
Hart SL-GS Skis 2008-2009
EpicSki.com has a review with a bit of video about the 166cm Hart SL here:
Hart Javelin SL
(112-65-97) 12m radius @ 157cm
(117-65-101) 12m radius @ 165cm
(112-65-97) 14m radius @ 166cm
[click here for larger picture]
Hart Ski Corporation
641 E. Lake Street, Suite 225
Wayzata, MN 55391
Tel. (952) 476-7849
Fax (952) 476-7845
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
Your Rating (with comments): (1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
9 - Slalom
Real-deal slalom race ski with superb vice-grip underfoot, excellent agility and instant response to commands. The Hart SL is geared more to those who want a snappy and responsive slalom rather than the "deadened rut gripper" style of SL racing ski. This ski likes to be "driven" rather than "ridden", and rewards the pilot with lots of directional change power and precision. While perfectly managable at slower speeds and advanced-to-expert techniques, this ski requires attention to turn initiation and finish to get it fired up and into its "zone". If you ski it lazy, it's just fine...it just demands a little attention to finishing the turn. Race it and it rips. Excellent choice for SL racing and expert "turn ripping sessions" early in the morning on your favorite steep and hardened runs.
Technical Ski Data:
Wood core, fiberglass and metal sandwich construction. Rubber dampening layer, melamine sidewalls, graphite bases, aluminum tip and tail components. Hand made in small batches.
Very nice quality, excellent finish, textured "no scuff" matte topsheet. Classic slalom flex with a nice curved zone underfoot and a strong tail. Very interesting that Hart chose to offer 165cm and a 166cm models with different geometries and radii. That shows they know how picky slalom racers can be when picking the right ski for the course that day. This ski had a VIST raceplate/binding setup and it just looked "right" for a slalom weapon. Good choice of binding/plate combo for this ski.
Cold, dry packed powder conditions, perfect combination of packed groomers and some cut-up fresh stuff (only a few inches) on the side of some trails. Some broken-up crust plate garbage and granular junk and hardpack on some trails.
The Hart SL grips like you'd expect underfoot. Precise and accurate edgehold with good feedback and ability to adjust the gripping zone under your feet as you change pressure inside your boots. Fast and spunky rebound when you load it up and release into the next turn, but never requires a high degree of user input. Remarkably easy to start the turns. You get the feeling you could recreationally ski this racer if you wanted to. Never uncontrolled, always obedient and ready to change direction the moment you make the command. Transitions across firm snow to icy patches and back are well controlled, but I got the feeling this ski would dance a bit in a really noisy, iced-up, cross-rutted course where some skiers want the "dead and heavy" slalom skis that just lay into the surface with lots of dampening, but often lack the responsiveness of the quicker skis. Some slalom racers like a quick and light ski, others like the heavily damped ski...it's a matter of preference. The Hart feels like it belongs in the quick and responsive camp. If you ski this ski at its optimal performance level for more than a few runs...you might need a little time off to recouperate. This ski rewards an athletic technique and attention to detail and stance, but you could use it as your expert hardpack weapon if you no longer run gates. The more you put in, the more you get out. Race ready as-is.
Analogies: (this ski is like...)
Specialized Japanese road racing motorcycle ready for the track, but outfitted with lights so you can sell it for highway use.
After Skiing These, I Want To...
Take a fleet of them to Burke Mt. Academy and see what the kids can do with them in training.
Self-Description of Skiing Style, Ability, Experience, Preferences:
Expert groomed-surface carver, "old-style" race inspired, "foot steerer" with fairly sensitive edging feel. Loves to hold long arcs with lots of pressure on the downhill ski (you know the type), but also loves the feel of both skis on-edge leaving tiny railroad track edge tracks. Not an instructor, but 10 year coach for youth race team in New England (bulletproof is the norm).
Hart Javelin GS
(106-67-88) >27m radius @ 185cm
(106-67-88) >27m radius @ 191cm
9 - GS and big open riding
Real-deal GS racing ski. Masterful grip at speed with superb dampening and control. The faster you run it, the better it handles. A little sluggish at slow speeds and lacks the "explosive" response of some other GS skis, but maintains excellent security and directional obedience at speed as you want in a GS ski. Real confidence builder across variable surface changes at tight or wide radius turns. Great feel underfoot. Has no real speed limitation for mortals. Want an FIS-legal GS ski? Try the Javelin GS. I was impressed. Some might want more hard-core accelleration in the tail, but most probably won't. Probably more suited to stronger, heavier skiers than lighter skiers or those with a "touch" technique. Race ready as-is. Complements the Hart Javelin SL nicely.
Wood core, fiberglass, Titanal and rolled steel metal sandwich construction. Melamine sidewalls, PTEX4000 bases, aluminum tip and tail components. Hand made in small batches.
Very nice quality, excellent finish, textured "no scuff" matte topsheet. Beefy, business-like flex and weight with substantial dampening of vibrations. Nice rounded flex pattern. This ski had a VIST raceplate/binding setup and it just looked "right" for a slalom weapon. Good choice of binding/plate combo for this ski.
The Hart Javelin GS feels like a GS ski....a little dulled until you it about 20 mph, and then it "wakes up" and sucks itself into the snow and pulls you into the turns with just a little effort. As you pressure it through the turn (it likes to be pressured through its turn once initiated...it is not an auto-pilot ski), you get the feeling it will have the same grip at any speed you can muster. It does not finish the turn with a boost of speed...it just finishes the turn. A bunch of skiers like this behavior in a GS ski. Others want a finishing "whoosh" from their skis at the end of their GS turns. The Javelin GS stays quiet, ends the turn sequence and awaits your instructions. This is not a Kick-in-the-Pants type GS racer. She holds the line and nothing upsets its trajectory until you tell it to change. This ski can tighten its initial radius nicely during the turn, or release it to a wider finishing radius...no problem. Very well behaved. You need to make sure you have your pressure applied to get the most out of it. Release your pressure and it will straighten is curve predictably...not sit in its groove like it's being pulled by your momentum. Probably a great ski for those "consistent" racers rather than the "flash-in-the-pan" racers.
I also thought this ski would be a great expert-level groomer cruiser for those who have a stong technique and the conditioning to ride it all day. Remarkably comfortable and secure high-speed cruising ability...very easy to start your turns (no hulk-like turn initiation ritual required). This could be a superb cordouroy carver for the early mornings when you want the wind in your face. A good example of how "skiable" the new GS race skis can be for non-racing applications. The more you put in, the more you get out. Race ready as-is.
BMW 5 or 7 series automobile with track-ready suspension upgrade and engine work (smooth and powerful...race-quality but civilized).
Ride this ski in a huge Austrian hardpack snowfield at warp 9.
I skied both the GS & the SL at the sugarbush event. I found them to be two very different type of skis. I was able to take several runs on each & used a race style for the first runs & more of a pivot/explore the terrain for the last run. I have been lucky enough to race on the hill that we were skiing on that day as well. As a reference, I ski a Nordica SLR in 165 & a GSR in 186/191. This season (2009) I plan to drop down to a 156 sl for masters/non-fis races
GS: Classic GS, wanted go faster & find the fall line. Turn after turn it pulled you inside the arch & allowed your feet to drift far away for mega edge angles. Very predicatable & calm at speed. The faster it went, the more I appreciated the smooth ride & ease of turn entry / exit. I could see this ski being a hit with the upper-class skier or masters racer that wanted to stand out. Perfect Stratton ski! Let loose on the groomers.
SL: not real sure what happened after skiing the GS. I could not make this ski work. Phil was very patient w/ me. We changed the binding mount. I skied slow, I skied fast, I went straight, I went turny.... I kept washing out on the ski. I stopped once to check to see if the ski had edges. I even made Phil ski ahead of me w/ the SL skis on to observe what was happening: It was clear! The skis were just to soft. Even with Phil calmly skiing down a moderate slope, the tips/tails noodled under the forces of the turn.
To be fair, these skis had seen many miles by the time I skied them. I also have a 'jammy' technique that favors force over finesse. I have seen other posts that called them softer....I wonder if they were just too overskied? I tend to think of this ski more like a "sport carver" or fischer RX8 / dynastar omecarve 9/10 or atomic SX 9 ski than a SL race or even a rec SL. A ski that will not punish an advancing intermediate.
I would like to race the GS & have pestered Phil to let me have a pair for 09. I think the SL needs to eat some wheeties or be skied by a blue square skier w/ good form.
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