2012-2013 Liberty Double Helix
150-121-140 174cm r=25m
(click image for larger version)
281 Metcalf Road, #208
Avon, CO 81620
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP):
Freeride - Powder
Rating (with comments):
(1="get me off these things"->10="I have to own a pair")
[Warning: Hardpack review only...no 3D snow was available for this test...so it is incomplete.]
The Liberty Double Helix is essentially a scaled-up version of the Helix, made wider to provide a bigger platform optimized for deeper conditions. The same lively, poppy, energetic traits evident in the Helix's geometry and construction also exist in the Double Helix, although slightly more subdued because of the greater mass and wider footprint hosting the skier's pressure over a larger area along its length when skied on hardpack The resulting "feel" is unusually light for a wide ski having dimensions of 150-121-140, more so than most any other ski this size. Remarkably nimble and lively, even on hardpack. Super friendly, with no hint of bulk or balky behavior. The Double Helix actually feels much more narrow than it is because of its responsiveness to input. Despite its width, the Double Helix can lay down impressively carved turns at slow or higher speeds on groomed, hard surfaces with a surprising grip. I was surprised at how secure and predictable the carving was on this powder ski. Remarkable is all I can say. As with its smaller sibling the Helix, Liberty's Double Helix maintains a feverish following by a huge variety of skiers for a good reason.....people love this ski's personality and handling.
Technical Ski Data:
Vertical laminate bamboo core with quadraxial fiberglass, PTex2000 bases, Rockwell 48 edges, UHMW sidewalls at 78 degree angle. Tip rocker, camber underfoot.
Superb fit and finish with colorful topsheet (glossy). Progressive, large-radius flex without hinge points or flat spots. Really nice rebound feel and response with hand flexing. Torsionally impressive. Not a stunning look, but great colors.
This initial report is the result of two runs on hardpack, ice, frozen granular and hardpack chalky groomer surfaces at a multi-day demo event in Vermont. Terrain was intermediate-level only, so this initial review should be taken with a couple grains of salt. More reports as conditions change. I'm hoping to get back out on this ski as soon as three-dimensional snow appears to give it a fair test in its real design element.
My runs on the Double Helix came right after riding the Variant, so I had a pretty high standard for edgehold in my brain when I got on the Double H. The Double Helix immediately gave me the impression of a more Cadillac-like ride than the Helix, slightly slower in the turns, slighltly less nimble, but equally comfortable right out of the gate. The Liberty Helix and Double Helix have a reputation for being "instantly friendly" for just about anyone who gets on them for the first time. You make a couple turns left and right, let them run, hit the brakes, speed them up and you immediatelly know how the ski works. The first impression I got after a half-dozen turns was how little effort it to get the big Helix to move in any direction. Some skis this size feel big. The Double Helix feels light and airy, but you can feel the surface area underfoot supporting your every move, so it's a source of confidence and reliability, which is something I really like in variable conditions. If you load the ski with pressure and let it rebound, the big Helix will launch you forward in a graceful, playful motion without ejecting you into the next zip code. Vibration dampening is very good, considering how light and playful this ski feels. Warping along the hardpack with a 121mm waisted ski can lead to a feeling of detachment with the surface if the vibrations aren't damped down properly, but the Double Helix just rips along, quiet and well behaved without chatter or feeling unhinged. When you get up to speed, you need to pay attention, because the bamboo core is not a damp, dead fish. The ski is lively and will change direction quicker than you might expect for its size, which is a fun thing. Stability is excellent while maintaining responsiveness. All in all, a really great formula.
Analogies: (this ski is like...)
A high performance 4 door Euro-sedan with a tight suspension kit and adjustable dampening controls after removing the excess weight of passenger seats, door panels, spare tire and dashboard. Comfy, speedy, elegant and unusually responsive for its size.
Things I Would Change About This Ski:
Nothing (but I have not tried it in anything but hardpack)
Short Answer When Someone Asks "What Do You Think About This Ski?":
This is a remarkably nimble, lightweight powder ski with impressive edge grip on hard surfaces. Fun and snappy with great response. I did not try it in soft snow, so I can't comment on its behavior in its intended element.
Advice To People Considering This Ski:
You won't be disappointed unless you want a hard-charging, jam-landing freight train.
Self-Description of Skiing Style, Ability, Experience, Preferences:
5' 11", 180 lbs. 52 year-old 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. Loves powder when it's not tracked out. Trees and odd terrain angles are fun.