Ski: 2020-2021 J Skis Hotshot, 183 cm
Available Lengths: 177, 183, 189 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 180.5 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2191 & 2204 grams
Stated Dimensions: 134-106-124 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 133.8-105.5-123.6 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (183 cm): 18 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 78 mm / 42 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3 mm
Core: maple + titanal (2 partial layers) + fiberglass laminate
Base: sintered, “extra thick”
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.55 cm from center; 82.7 cm from tail
Many of our reviewers are big fans of the J Skis Metal. It’s a ski that combines great suspension / damping with a forgiving flex pattern and a playful rocker profile. That’s a rare combination, and why we’ve found ourselves recommending the Metal to everyone from directional skiers who want the stability of a metal-laminate ski but with added maneuverability, to freestyle skiers looking for something that’s playful but capable at high speeds, to larger beginners and intermediates who want a ski that’s not demanding but that also won’t hold them back as they improve.
For 20/21, J Skis is getting rid of the Metal, but they’re replacing it with the new Hotshot and this new ski looks like it maintains many of the elements we love about the Metal, along with some potential improvements. We’re hoping to get some time on the Hotshot while there’s still snow in Crested Butte, but for now we’ll go into its design, how it compares to the Metal, and how it stands out in the current market.
What J says about the Hotshot
“This is a completely NEW SKI that replaces The Metal. The Hotshot charges harder and surfs easier, backed by a huge sweet that feels intuitive and easy to handle in all terrain and conditions with no speed limit. We optimized the shape and location of the “Light Metal” Titanal laminate to add more power where you need it, and reduced weight where you don’t. The result is a powerful, smooth, stable ski that will boost your confidence blasting through chop, bumps, and stomping landings like a pro. Like all J skis, The Hotshot maintains unmatched precision when ripping groomers. Just roll it over and the entire edge including the rockered tips become fully engaged for a solid reliable feel.”
Based on this, the things that haven’t changed between the Metal and Hotshot are that the Hotshot is still designed to have a big sweet spot, it’s still supposed to be smooth and stable, and it still uses a version of J’s “Light Metal” titanal laminate. The big difference is supposed to be that the Hotshot is even more stable and easier to surf around in deep snow.
The construction of the Hotshot is very similar to the Metal. The Hotshot still has a maple wood core, thick, sintered base, extra-thick edges, and a quadraxial fiberglass laminate. Both skis feature two layers of titanal, with those metal layers running over the center of the ski but tapering to a point near the tips and tails and not spanning edge-to-edge (you can see this under the clear top sheet of our pair). The idea with this is that you get some of the damping / suspension of metal-laminate construction, but with less weight (particularly at the ends, in an effort to decrease swing weight in particular).
Shape / Rocker Profile
This is one of the most noticeable changes while looking at the two skis. In my eyes, the Hotshot looks a bit like a narrower version of the current J Skis Friend. Compared to the Metal, the Hotshot’s tips look a bit more tapered with a longer “straight” section in the shovel, which seems like it could be one of the bigger factors in terms of making the Hotshot easier to pivot in fresh snow vs. the Metal. On the flip side, the Hotshot’s tail looks a bit less tapered than the Metal’s, or at least the Hotshot’s tail doesn’t taper to as much of a point, which we think could help improve edge hold on very firm snow.
The rocker profile of the Hotshot isn’t super different vs. the Metal. They both have very deep tip rocker lines for ~106mm-wide skis, but those tip rocker lines are pretty subtle and low-slung until you get close to the tips of the skis. The tail rocker lines of both skis are much shallower than their tip rocker lines, but they both have twinned tails. The rocker profile of the Hotshot is pretty similar to the new J Skis Slacker, with the Hotshot having a slightly shallower tip rocker line.
Compared to the rest of the market, the Hotshot has deeper rocker lines than many similarly wide skis, especially compared to most metal-laminate skis, though the Hotshot’s tail rocker line is a bit shallower than some of the freestyle-oriented skis in this class.
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Hotshot:
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8
Like the Metal, the Hotshot is not some super burly, stiff ski, though the Hotshot does have notably stiffer tips.
The Hotshot’s tips are pretty easy to flex and it slowly and smoothly stiffens up as you move to the middle of the ski. There’s another slow-and-smooth ramp-down in stiffness as you move behind the bindings to the tail, and it finishes with a tail that feels very similar to the tips in terms of stiffness.
This flex pattern is pretty similar to the J Skis Slacker & Friend. None of these skis are extremely stiff, but they all have pretty round flex patterns (that many of us really like).
This is another difference between the Metal & Hotshot. The Metal came in 173, 180, & 186 cm lengths, while the Hotshot will be available in 177, 183, & 189 cm lengths. We have the 183 cm version and we’re planning on reviewing the 189 cm version next season.
Not much change here — the 186 cm Metal had a stated sidecut radius of 19.1 meters, while the 183 cm Hotshot’s stated sidecut radius is 18 meters. 18 meters is neither super short nor super long, though it is on the shorter end of the spectrum if you’re specifically looking at the metal-laminate skis in this class.
All of J’s skis feature blended sidecut radii, with each ski reportedly having 5 different radii blended throughout the sidecut of the ski. So the stated sidecut radii for each ski is the average of those different radii, and J says that the Hotshot’s radius underfoot is a bit tighter than the Metal’s, in an effort to improve carving performance on groomers.
The Metal’s recommended mount point was around -6 cm from true center, while the Hotshot’s is a bit farther back at around -7.5 cm from true center. That’s still fairly far forward, but not as far forward as most freestyle skis like the J Skis Vacation. The Metal’s moderately progressive mount point was likely a big factor in terms of just how many people got along with it, and we suspect the same will be true of the Hotshot. I’ll also be curious to see how this ski responds when I move the bindings a couple cm in front of and behind the recommended line.
As frequent readers of Blister know, we don’t view a resort-oriented ski being heavy as a downside, and often, we think of it as benefit. Heavier skis tend to be better at smoothing out rough snow typically found in the resort, and in turn, that weight can actually make them easier to ski than super light skis that get knocked around a ton and consequently force you to ski with a really active, light-on-your-feet style.
With that in mind, we really liked the heavier weight of the Metal, and we’re very glad that the Hotshot isn’t drastically lighter. At an average measured weight of 2197 grams per ski for the 183 cm version, the Hotshot is on the heavier end of the spectrum. It’s tough to make a precise comparison to the Metal since we weighed the 186 cm Metal (avg. weight of 2329 g per ski) and have the 183 cm Hotshot, but FWIW, the 183 cm Hotshot is over 100 grams lighter per ski vs. the 186 cm Metal. That said, the two skis use a nearly identical materials layup and the Hotshot is still a pretty heavy ski, so we suspect it’ll still offer nice suspension in rough snow.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.
1787 & 1793 Fauna Pioneer, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
1800 & 1824 Luke Koppa’s ROMP 100, 183 cm
1806 & 1862 Armada Tracer 108, 180 cm (19/20–20/21)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–20/21)
1814 & 1845 Elan Ripstick 106, 181 cm (17/18–19/20)
1848 & 1903 Line Sick Day 104, 186 cm (17/18–20/21)
1875 & 1881 Line Sir Francis Bacon, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
1883 & 1898 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender, 178 cm (20/21)
1896 & 1942 K2 Reckoner 102, 184 cm (20/21)
1976 & 2028 Parlor Cardinal Pro, 182 cm (19/20–20/21)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–20/21)
1999 & 2020 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 180 cm (20/21)
2005 & 2035 Liberty Origin 106, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
2006 & 2065 Head Kore 105, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2011 & 2028 Moment Wildcat 108, 184 cm (19/20)
2030 & 2039 Rossignol Soul 7 HD, 188 cm (17/18–19/20)
2049 & 2053 Whitedot Altum 104, 187 cm (19/20–20/21)
2080 & 2089 Sego Big Horn 106, 187 cm (17/18–19/20)
2079 & 2105 Kastle FX106 HP, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2096 & 2100 Salomon QST 106, 181 cm (19/20–20/21)
2097 & 2113 DPS Alchemist Wailer 106 C2, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–20/21)
2110 & 2119 Moment Wildcat 108, 190 cm (19/20)
2111 & 2125 J Skis Vacation, 186 cm (18/19–20/21)
2112 & 2125 4FRNT MSP 107, 187 cm (18/19–20/21)
2113 & 2140 Armada ARV 106, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2120 & 2134 Blizzard Rustler 10, 188 cm (19/20–20/21)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2133 & 2134 Faction Prodigy 3.0, 183 cm (18/19–19/20)
2143 & 2194 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2153 & 2184 Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 187 cm (20/21)
2165 & 2211 K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2165 & 2219 Icelantic Nomad 105, 191 cm (19/20–20/21)
2170 & 2180 Dynastar M-Free 108, 182 cm (20/21)
2177 & 2180 Moment Commander 108, 188 cm (19/20)
2190 & 2268 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2191 & 2204 J Skis Hotshot, 183 cm (20/21)
2202 & 2209 Shaggy’s Ahmeek 105, 186 cm (19/20)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20–20/21)
2232 & 2242 Blizzard Cochise 106, 185 cm (20/21)
2232 & 2244 ON3P Woodsman 108, 187 cm (19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20–20/21)
2250 & 2307 Argent Badger, 184 cm (19/20)
2283 & 2290 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm (18/19–19/20)
2312 & 2386 Prior Husume, 188 cm (17/18–20/21)
2318 & 2341 J Skis The Metal, 186 cm (16/17–19/20)
2321 & 2335 Fischer Ranger 107 Ti, 189 cm (19/20–20/21)
2325 & 2352 Folsom Blister Pro 104, 186 cm (19/20)
2326 & 2336 Nordica Enforcer 100, 186 cm (20/21)
2353 & 2360 Volkl Katana 108, 184 cm (20/21)
2603 & 2604 Dynastar M-Pro 105, 192 cm (16/17; 20/21)
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About
(1) The most obvious question is just how different the Hotshot will feel vs. the Metal that it replaces?
(2) On that note, will the Hotshot seem similarly ideal for as broad of a range of skiers as the Metal?
(3) With its less “pointed” tail and tighter underfoot radius, will the Hotshot’s firm-snow performance be notably better than the Metal?
(4) On the other hand, how much looser and maneuverable will the Hotshot’s shape feel in deep snow?
(5) How will the lengths of the Hotshot compare to the lengths of the Metal? I.e., for those who liked the 186 cm Metal, will they be better off on the 183 cm or 189 cm Hotshot?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The J Skis Metal was a great ski, and the Hotshot looks like it could maintain much of what we loved about the Metal while potentially being better in certain conditions. The Hotshot has a fairly forgiving-yet-not-noodly flex pattern, a rocker profile that looks like it’ll make the ski playful and easy to maneuver, and a heavier weight that seems like it’ll make the ski do a good job of absorbing and muting out rough snow. We’ll post a Flash Review as soon as we’re able to get the Hotshot on snow, and then a full review next season.