2008-2009 Liberty Double Helix
190 cm length
I had the opportunity to ski these, along with the slightly narrower Helix, two weekends ago at Alta and Snowbird. Both days brought knee deep snow on top of day old storms and there was plenty of snow to go around. I skied them in steep tree runs and rocky chutes at Snowbird on Saturday then in pristine Alta powder on Sunday. Duty-bound and because I still like to carve even though I ski the Wasatch, I also ran them on the groomers a bit. These were great testing conditions for both skis. I will try to restrict this review to the Double Helix and only mention the Helix when a direct comparison is relevant.
Right out of the box, as with the Helix, the fit and finish of this ski seemed to be of the highest quality. This ski was pressed clean and tight. I really like the graphics, but then I paint most of my skis black anyhow so don't take my word for it. Take a look at the pictures below and decide for yourself.
I'll start with ski pictures and then follow up with my review below.
Full top view:
Tip of ski, top view:
Tip of ski, side view, awesome powder gobbling shovel:
Tail of ski, top view:
Tail of ski, side view:
Finally, for comparison, here is a shot of the Helix and Double Helix next to each other. The Helix is a big (105mm waist) ski, the Double Helix is a really big ski at 121 underfoot...don't worry, it still carves!:
Skiing the Double Helix back-to-back with the Helix really illuminated the relative merits of both skis. Be sure to take a look at my review of the Helix.
For those of you in a hurry to know the bottom line on the Double Helix I'll just get it out straight away: this ski rips! If you live somewhere prone to regular foot deep storms, put it on your short list. The people at Liberty have figured something out: the Double Helix is a powder devouring monster that is still able to turn quickly when need be and even lays down a solid carve if you get lost and find yourself on a groomer.
I get to ski my share of really big powder skis, from the mainstream brands to the niche, hard to find models. I am even lucky enough to ski them in some of the greatest snow around. I am a firm believer in big skis for big snow. Big skis have made skiing even more fun and really big skis really make a difference in the deep. They give you a whole new dimension to play in and the really soften out the ride. I'll get off my soapbox now and admit that most big skis aren't so much fun to lay down a turn with on the groomed. There is a delicate balance of width underfoot, sidecut and flex that must be struck to keep a really big ski maneuverable out of the deep stuff. Liberty have hit it right on this one. With the Double Helix I was charging hard in the super deep snow and laying down turns right next to friends with turny 'little' 90mm waisted skis on the groomed. Now I'm a pretty solid 200+ lbs and I like to ski pretty hard so I really appreciate that all this versatility in the Double Helix comes without sacrificing speed. This is a big, damp, solid ski: push on it hard and you will be rewarded with muscle-car like response, it just hunkers down and goes!
In the trees and on narrow traverses, the shear size of the Double Helix is intimidating but once you get your cowboy stance down it is surprisingly versatile. Sure it's big, and no wood core 190cm ski is going to swing around like a 175cm foam noodle but with a little bit of care I was chasing Snowbird locals out unfamiliar traverses, through the trees and over the cliffs. All that waist makes had me swooping and diving in the powder and the sweet, long, shovel kept me on course through thigh deep snow.
The biggest surprise is how well this beast carves. On powder skis I'm used to just writing off the last bit of the run that gets you to the lift but the Double Helix had me laying down trenches and I mean laying down; on a 121mm waist the lean limit is your edge grip. This thing makes it possible to put a hip down. Edge grip to spare and a nice damp flex is really the icing on this package. On the Double Helix, the turns are long, solid and sweet.
Overall the Double Helix is a surprisingly versatile ski. If you live somewhere that get's big dumps and like to ski hard on a solid ski, put this one one your list. Amazingly, I don't think you give up much groomer or mixed snow versatility going with this one over the Helix and the payoff in the deep is worth it.
I'd like to thank Chris at Liberty for getting the skis to me on short notice and being super helpful about setting up the test. If my interactions with him are any indication these guys do a great job on customer service.