Spent some time on Black Diamond Helio 105 in a variety of snow conditions. Spring skiing, need I say more? You can tell these planks are made by Blizzard in Austria, with a few twists. They’re not as “edgy” as you might expect from our Österreich skiing deities, yet they belie their below average weight with a damp-solid feel. Reasonable snap combined with 21 meter radius keeps powder fun and breakable crust manageable, though you do notice the relaxed sidecut if you try to go “carvy” on piste. I happen to like that type of geometry.
Tail rocker at 17 cm from tail is nice for pow but interferes a bit with hookup on piste (in my case, anyway, while using Dynafit TLT6 boots and not laying the ski over aggressively). Tip rocker (Black Diamond calls it early rise) is what I’d call “average,” ending about 33 cm from the tip on this pair of 175 cm.
I’d rate Helio excellent for natural snow touring if you’re looking for a wider plank, but not my preference for a resort ski if much piste is involved. Words that pop from my keyboard? Forgiving, relaxing, fun, light, platform. I’d travel with these as a winter ski. That is unless I was doing 100% ski touring in Österreich or other classic Alps destinations, where I’d want something a bit narrower. (As always, if your style involves steel cable that makes touring efficiency moot, or if you’re a rider with “freeride touring ” proclivities, please ignore my penchant for skinny skis.)
Incidentals: In weighing I removed and replaced a binding (Vipec 12). Binding mount reinforcement felt robust when I re-torqued the screws. Wide skin notch at tail could be useful or an annoyance, depends on the shape and operation of your skin tail clips. Edges completely wrap tip and extend to the tail protector. Light topskin colors are appreciated here in Colorado, for icing prevention.
Check out Perl’s review from last winter.
Length tested: 175
Dimensions: 132/105/119 (27 mm sidecut, 21 meter radius)
Weight: 1436 grams
Wildsnow weight index score: 72 (lightest is 61, heaviest is 108)
Binding offset: 165 mm, measured from factory “BC” mount.
Skier-tester type: Average weight 5’10” 160 pound skier, expert who skis at moderate speeds with a neutral stance.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.