Friday, May 05, 2006

Cinqo de Mayo at Snowbird - The 4FRNT EHP 193


Gear Review: The 4FRNT EHP 193 (Eric Hjorleifson Pro Model ski) - the ultimate big-mountain ski?

A lot of experimentation in fat ski design has been going on over the last several years: from the reverse camber / reverse sidecut Volant Spatula and K2 Pontoon to more moderate designs like the DPS Lotus 120 and now-extinct Igneous 3T. Eric Hjorleifson, along with 4FRNT Skis, has helped to develop the latest take on fat skis with radically different sidecuts and cambers than traditional skis with his new 4FRNT EHP 193. Co-owner (and marketing and sales master) Matt Sterbenz was kind enough to lend me a pair to demo. My co-ski-tester, the 'Professor' and I took full advantage of a late season storm that left Snowbird's upper bowls with over 6" of fresh, smooth snow on top of a still-130" base. Sick!

Vitals:

Here are 'Professor's' thoughts on the ski - JR:

"Don't you just love getting to try next year’s gear? I know I do. Fortunately for me Matt Sterbenz of 4FRNT Skis was willing to loan a pair of 193 EHP’s to Backcountry.com to demo. For those of you that don't know about this ski, it is Eric Hjorleifson's Pro Model. There is also a 4FRNT 190 EHP, but that ski is traditionally shaped with a twin tip. The 193 EHP has dimensions of 130-112-118. It has no camber, a long wide shovel and the last 15cm of the tail turns up slightly—but it is not a twin. Think of the tail as more of a "ramp."

So what does it ski like? Well, Cinco De Mayo turned out to be the perfect day to test these skis at Snowbird. Down low the snow was wet and sticky. In the middle of the mountain the snow was simply "hard" and up high it was smooth, springtime pow. After a few laps on my own skis (193 Head M103’s), I strapped on the 4FRNT EHP 193’s. My first impression was that they felt short. Because of the sticky snow down low, the shorter effective edge of the EHP was very noticeable. After we got to the top, that feeling never crossed my mind again. Once this ski hit soft snow you could tell it was in its proper element. I knew that the design would handle soft snow well, but I was unprepared for how well. Even the first run it felt easy to ski. I did not expect the ski to handle debris and groomers as well as it did. This ski felt more stable in avy rubble than anything I have skied in the past. It also held an edge when it needed to. The only area where this ski felt a little strange was while running flat on groomers. With the lack of sidecut from waist to tail, the ski tended to wander a bit. Nothing that was a problem, but just something you needed to be aware of.

Bottom line? This ski would be great for mountains like Snowbird or Squaw where you have wide-open spaces up high, but you always have to ski some groomers to the bottom. It simply excels in soft snow without making your life miserable when conditions are less than ideal. So now the only problem is waiting for next year when the ski will be available." – Professor

1 comments

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Picked up a pair of the 193's after reading the "Cinqo" review...not to mention cinqo de mayo is my birthday...how could i not give these sticks a chance. Habitat in Victor, ID made the calls and got me hooked up with a pair in time for the first decent snows in the Tetons. Finally got a chance to spend some significant time on the skis this past weekend...holy $#@%!!! The EHP 193's are incredible boards. Super stable, floaty, edgeable, and remarkably manueverable for a ski of its size. No drawbacks!!! (unless you stay in the bumps) Can't wait for some big storms and the chance to ski them in Alaska this march. These skis were worth every penny!!!

1/10/2007 4:57 PM

 

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