2015-2016 SkiLogik Howitzer

Soft Chop / Crud

By design, the Belafonte is a little lighter and more agile than a full-blown, metaled-out comp ski, though it has a camber profile that’s made to rip well through crud and chop. The Howitzer is very similar, and the camber profiles of the skis are nearly identical. If anything, the Belafonte feels like it has a touch more positive camber underfoot that, along with the longer sidecut radius, makes throwing the ski sideways in chop at speed more work than it is on the Howitzer.

With such an intuitive, trustworthy feel in every other condition, I fully expected the Howitzer to do well in chop and variable snow, which it certainly does. The Howitzer makes skiing chop and crud really fast very easy. Somehow, it feels lighter than the Belafonte and less powerful (or more forgiving), but I still had no problem confidently opening things up through plenty of 4-5” chop in Keystone’s back bowls.

At slower speeds in these soft conditions, again the Howitzer seemed to float and smear a little more readily than the Belafonte. I could stay a bit lighter on my feet on the Howitzer, whereas the Belafonte wanted to slice and hammer through uneven, tracked snow. In that way, the Howitzer may be more of a ski that any advanced skier or expert can rip though soft chop on, where the Belafonte will require a little more attentiveness to do this and will also let a strong expert skier blast through nasty crud / coral a with even more power and speed.

Final Comparisons: Howitzer vs. Belafonte vs. Cochise

The Howitzer is a wider ski than both the Belafonte and the Cochise, and it does feel that way: like a narrower powder ski rather than a wider all-mountain ski. Consequently, I’ve found that it doesn’t require as much speed in soft snow to make an easier turn, but it also doesn’t feel quite as stable and powerful in hardpack steeps (like Taos’ Castor, Pollux, and Reforma on firm days).

While neither the Howitzer, Belafonte, or Cochise are ideal in firm moguls, the Belafonte is a ski that you can work around in bumps if you’re really on your game. Same with the Cochise, though perhaps even a bit more easily than the Belafonte. But this is where I noticed the width of the Howitzer the most: edge to edge, the ski seemed a little sluggish at times.

The Howitzer could be a daily driver, but not if you plan on spending a lot of time in hardpack moguls. There, the ski can feel a little out of its element.

I should note that these differences are slight, and I’ve actually been surprised at just how similar the Belafonte and Howitzer felt to me. The truth is that the two can both handle most of the same conditions very well, but they do have there biases.

The two skis’ turn radii and flex profiles are the most important distinguishing factors, and they’re the main reason I’m not inclined to say one ski is unequivocally better than the other. The Howitzer can charge, there’s no doubt about that, it just doesn’t feel quite as dedicated to doing so as the Belafonte. It’s a touch more of a powder ski, and yet is set up to let you carve up groomers in a more civilized (by which I mean a bit slower) way if you want.

Skilogik Howitzer, Blister Gear Review
Will Brown, Corner Chute, Taos Ski Valley.

Bottom Line

The Howitzer is a well balanced, intuitive, and very dependable directional ski that expert skiers will definitely appreciate for its stability at speed, traditional feel in powder, and fun carving performance. Yet advanced skiers should also give it some consideration if they’re looking to move into a more aggressive, faster skiing style, and want a ski for power days but don’t want to commit to the limitations and demands of a stiffer big-mountain board.



26 comments on “2015-2016 SkiLogik Howitzer”

  1. Will, thanks for the writeup. Do you have any commentary on the construction of this ski (or skilogik skis in general)? Thanks again


    • Hey Jeff,

      The construction of these skis seems on par with any other reliable indie manufacturer (ON3P, Moment), and have an artisan aesthetic of their own, I think. The Howitzer’s (and all skis in the line) wood veneer topsheets are gorgeous, and the wood sidewalls are a great touch – they’re made of Black Locust, an extremely hard, heavy, rot/water-resistant hardwood. So far the, topsheets seem very durable, as do the bases. SkiLogik’s construction looks on point to me.


  2. Thoughts on Howitzer vs Bibby pro? Both are on a killer sale right now. I’m looking for a good all around ski for Summit County. Expert skier but not quite pro comp level charging, 5’10”, 160#. I have 100mm tele and alpine skis for the below average days / seasons around here so really looking for something to handle varied terrain and variably soft snowpack.

  3. Cochise would also be an option, but probably looking for something a little more playful.

    For comparison. I have 186 Gotama (2010, tele) that I enjoy in softer snow, but not big on the full rocker. Also have 176 Fatypus I-rock, which are fun, but a little short for going fast / big.

    • Hey Jack,

      If you’re not too stoked on the full rocker of your Gotama’s, then I’d stay away from the Cochise (they’re practically the same shape/camber profile). The Bibby will definitely be more playful than the Howitzer, which is relatively docile but decidedly very directional. It’s going to be quicker to pivot, but wont be quite as fast edge to edge on groomers and not as locked down through the tail.You could ride the Bibby on hardpack days, but for something still playful, but a touch narrower than the Bibby for all-around, everyday skiing in between storms, you might take a look at the 190cm Rocker2 108 and the 190cm Moment Deathwish. Hope this helps!


  4. Hi Will, I sure would like you guys to do a review of the Ski Logik Rockstar 188. I am looking hard at buying these, but there are very few reviews. Exotic skis has a review but that is pretty much it. Not sure why there is so little feedback available on these skis. I have been on your site before on the review of the Moment Bibby Pro 184. I have these skis too (which are great).

    • Hi Gordon,

      At the moment, we don’t have a review of the Rockstar 188 lined up officially, but we’ll add it to our hit-list. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading! (Glad to hear you’re a fan of the Bibbys)


  5. So which of the 3 do you prefer and why? I’ve read a lot of the reviews here and see a lot of praise for the cochise and belefonte, do you feel the same way about the howitzer as well ?

    • Hi John,

      I think the “Final Comparison’s” section answers that question pretty well. In short, no one of those skis is absolutely better/preferable than the other. The Belafonte is most similar to the Howitzer, but as I say, I see the Howitzer as “a narrower powder ski rather than a wider all-mountain ski” – it’s geared toward softer conditions and slightly less aggressive skiing. The Belafonte is less suitable for powder and is better able to perform in firm, variable conditions than the Howitzer is (not that it can’t do decently well there though). So which one is “best” really depends on what kind of conditions you’re most concerned with.


  6. I own and have skied the Howitzers for a year and my assessment of them mirrors Will’s. Great soft snow ski. It has some guts, but it is pretty easy to ski for a wide board. I think it is the best ski SkiLogik makes. And I have skied the Occam’s Razor (which I own), Rave TT, Ullr’s Chariot TT and RL, and the Rockstar.

  7. Hi and thanks for all these great reviews. I just broke my howitzer after hitting a hidden tree and I am looking for a replacement. I was extremely happy with the howitzer as they were very good on pow providing soft landing, quite forgiving, and exceptional on crud and carving when giing fast. The only condition they were very poor was on steep windblown frozen hardpack where they were rattling too much. Hard bumps were not their best place (soft bumps were fine as it just ski through them).
    What ski in the 110-120mm range will be as fast as the howitzer but possibly more easy to turn in tight trees?
    I never tried any all rocker ski and I am afraid to see tips rattling at speed.

    • Hi jpd,

      Unfortunately what you’re looking for is a somewhat difficult to accomplish in a ski design; that is, a ski that’s good in crud going fast and stable and damp on hardpack (but more so than the howitzer), but also more maneuverable than it in the trees. But given what you’ve said, I would check out the Blizzard Cochise (which I offer comparisons to in the review).

      Hope this helps you.


      • I would recommend the Icelantic Shaman, Not quite as fast as the Howitzer, not quite the same float, but better in tight trees and delightful on hard surfaces. Especially if you are hesitant about tip flapping or full rockered skis.

  8. What are your thoughts on 189 Norwalks v. 186 Howitzer? Planning on mounting with Duke/Guardian for mostly back/sidecountry, with some inbounds.

    • Hey Dylan,

      Hmmm. That’s a tough one. The Norwalks are probably going to feel a little quicker and lighter in terms of turn initiation, in powder and elsewhere, as the huge amount of rocker in the skis’ shovels reduce the effective edge in the front of the ski quite a bit. The Howitzer’s no barge in powder, but I do think they’re going to feel a little more conventional/traditional there – not quite as playful. I think the Norwalk would also feel a bit more stable in deep, soft chop (though if you’re going to be in the backcountry most of the time, that wouldn’t matter as much), and offer a little more float in powder particularly at slower speeds in trees. The Howitzers might feel a little more predictable in firmer chop, crud, and variable snow, however, because they have a more balanced camber/rocker profile. (My one real criticism of the Norwalk is that the shovel of the ski can start to feel a little squirrelly in cruddy snow).

      And for what it’s worth, if I were going to pick between the two as an everyday resort ski, I would probably pick the Howitzer. Both skis can rail groomers well, but the Howitzer, while it’s not a star in bumps, is probably preferable over the Norwalk as it is a little narrower underfoot. The Howitzers are also a tiny bit lighter, but I don’t think you’d notice the difference on a skin track, honestly.

      Both could be nice skis for day-tours with a Guardian on them. Those are the main differences I can think of – hope it helps!



  9. Hi Will
    I purchased a pair of BD Zealot 182 as I found an excellent deal and I am very happy with.
    Looks like they were what I was looking for.
    I added comments and comparison with Howitzers in the Zealot comments (Jonathan’s review).

  10. Follow up:
    I have skied the Howitzers for a season and a half and my review of them would mirror Will’s. My ski style is pretty light and not very aggressive, mostly touring, and consider myself an advanced skier. I am 5’11” and 160lbs. They are an amazingly balanced ski in a wide range of conditions.

    Too wide for steep icy shoots but have the edge hold to atleast see you through them (I toured down a steep, blue ice covered water shoot at Ski Bowl on Mt Hood late last season and could at least stop and control speed). At Vail, skiing through bumps was about the worst they have ever felt. Just not quick enough.

    Everything else, be it groom, steep, hard, heavy and wet, deep, sloppy refrozen chop, trees… the Howitzers are responsive and intuitive and my daily driver.

    Other skis I have: BD Voodoo & Justice
    Others skis I have skied: Rossi Sickle, ON3P Wren (2013) & Steeple, Volkl Nunataq

  11. Any thoughts on the Howitzer vs Praxis Concept or Line Sickday for a one ski quiver for travelling in Europe, day tours and sidecountry 50% of the time? No switch skiing, playing off small drops and in the trees common. Groomers cannot be miserable but I’m generally focussing on the softer stuff.
    This would be a replacement for a wailer 112rp which I found to be fine on groomers, fun in pow (if a little turny) but got a bit kicked around in crud. Also found the big tips and rocker unwieldy in places. Very much looking for a difficult balance of something that would be a bit more accomplished in crud while still being fun in the pow and not too much of a burden in the trees. I’d like to add the Line Supernatural to the list but it is probably too heavy for the touring :( Generally sizing around 176-180.

    • Hi Bena,

      For what you’re looking for, coming off the Wailer 112, the Howitzer is definitely a good option, but my hunch is that the Sickday 110 could be too. With a touch of tail rocker, and effectively the same weight as the Howitzer, the Sickday might be a little more playful / smeary.. I’m going to be putting time on the Sickday 110 in the next week, so check back in here I’ll let you know how the two compare!

      – Will B

  12. Will, definitely interested in your feedback on the Sickday. I’d half come to the conclusion that they’d be too similar to the Wailers for what I’m after. I’ve been on the Praxis Freeride which is a lot closer to what I’m looking for but I lose the tips if I’m not concentrating in the deep. Hence thinking that the Concepts might give just that touch more versatility in the soft. Ben

  13. … basically what I’m looking to answer is, will the Sickday be more wailer or Freeride? If they are more wailer then I might look again at the supernatural – the 108 is only 150g / ski more than the sickday in 179, and I could even consider the 100 rather than the 108….

  14. Will – you skied the Howitzer in Summit. Would you say it’s a good one ski quiver for places like A basin/Loveland…or is it a little too soft-snow oriented?

    • Hey Don,

      No, not necessarily. If you’re looking to ski a lot of big, firm bumps fast & aggressively when it hasn’t snowed in a while, then the Howitzer’s width might feel a little cumbersome, but I’m not sure if that applies to your skiing style. In lower, soft bumps, I’d say it’s quite manageable.


  15. Hi Will,

    Considering picking up these 186 Howitzers since I can get a ridiculous deal on a brand new pair. I’m a lighter (~150lbs), aggressive former racer who loves to rail slalom to gs turns and rebound out of turns on the groomers. I’m looking for a ski that can rail on groomers, but could also be bobby and medium radius in powder without being surfy.

    I currently own some Nordica El Capos, which I find too damp and surfy for my style of skiing in groomers and powder respectively, and require quite some speed and radius for my small weight to rail them on groomers. Would the Howitzers be an improvement, or are there other options that you think will suit me better? I’ve already tried Q-98, Supernatural 92 Lite, and the revised Kendos, which I think are all fantastic and suit me much better than the El Capos, but I’d like something wider (in the range of 105-115 underfoot) for bigger resort skiing as a one ski quiver for travel.

    Have a great New Year!

    • Hey Alex,

      Given your weight, skiing style, and what you want out of the ski (and what you say you don’t love about the El Capos), I’d say the Howitzers fit the bill really really well. Simple as that. Only other relevant ski I can think of that’s just a little narrower (105 mm underfoot), is the Liberty Helix – it’s very, very similar to the Howitzer otherwise. But if you can get a great deal on the Howitzers, I can’t think of a reason not to jump on ’em.


      Will B

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