Ski: 2020-2021 J Skis Hotshot, 183 cm
Days Skied (so far): 15
- Luke Koppa: 5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg
- Dylan Wood: 5’11”, 155 lbs / 180 cm, 70 kg
Boots / Bindings: Tecnica Mach1 130 MV, Atomic Hawx Ultra 130 S / Tyrolia Attack2 13 AT
Available Lengths: 177, 183, 189 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 180.6 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2295 & 2344 grams
Stated Dimensions: 134-106-124 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 133.5-105.2-123.1 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (183 cm): 18 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 75 mm / 43 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 2.5 mm
Core: maple + titanal (2 partial layers) + fiberglass laminate
Base: sintered, “extra thick”
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.6 cm from center; 82.7 cm from tail
Ski: 2020-2021 J Skis Hotshot, 189 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 186.6 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 2450 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2449 & 2493 grams
Stated Dimensions: 134-106-124 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 133.9-105.3-123.2 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (189 cm): 19 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 73 mm / 41 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3 mm
Core: maple + titanal (2 partial layers) + fiberglass laminate
Base: sintered, “extra thick”
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -7.7 cm from center; 85.6 cm from tail
Many of our reviewers were big fans of the J Skis Metal. It was a ski that combined 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 got rid of the Metal, but they replaced 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.
Two of us have now spent several days on the 183 cm Hotshot in a pretty wide range of conditions, and you can check out our full review below. Then we’re also planning on updating this review once we’ve spent more time on the 189 cm length. But first, let’s dive into the design of this ski:
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. 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 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 183 cm Hotshot:
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8
And here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the 189 cm 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. And between the 183 cm and 189 cm Hotshot, the ski’s flex pattern remains extremely similar, with the 189 cm version having subtly stiffer shovels.
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, it’s not super far off from the flex pattern of the Liberty Origin 106, and it’s a bit softer overall than the ON3P Woodsman 108. None of J’s skis are extremely stiff, but they all have pretty round flex patterns (that most of our reviewers 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’ll be putting a lot of time on both the 183 cm and 189 cm versions this 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 and the 189 cm Hotshot’s sidecut radius is 19 m. 18-19 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 (e.g., Blizzard Cochise 106).
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 -7.6 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 to compensate for the skis’ lack of inherent stability.
With that in mind, we really liked the heavier weight of the Metal. And we’re very glad that the Hotshot isn’t notably lighter.
When we got the production versions of the Hotshot, we were even more excited, since they came in closer to J’s stated weights than our lighter, pre-production pair of the 183 cm Hotshot.
At an average measured weight of around 2319 grams per ski, the 183 cm Hotshot is definitely on the heavier end of the spectrum.
And I’ll be honest and admit that I giggled a bit in excitement when I weighed the 189 cm Hotshot — at an average measured weight of 2471 grams per ski, it is very heavy. It’s actually one of the heaviest skis we’ve weighed that’s currently on the market. And again, we are not upset about that whatsoever.
The 186 cm Metal (avg. weight of 2329 g per ski) is pretty similar to the 183 cm Hotshot in terms of weight, so we expect this new ski to offer similar, if not better suspension on rough snow. All in all, the Hotshot is definitely one of the heavier skis on the market, but unlike many similarly heavy skis, it is not wildly stiff, it’s got a fairly progressive mount point, a moderately tapered shape, and deep rocker lines. It’s rare that you can get all of those traits in a single ski, and given that they’re all traits I tend to like in an all-mountain ski, that makes me extremely eager to spend more time on the Hotshot.
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)
2190 & 2268 Armada ARV 106Ti LTD, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2191 & 2204 J Skis Hotshot, 183 cm (pre-production)
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)
2283 & 2290 ON3P Wrenegade 108, 189 cm (18/19–19/20)
2295 & 2344 J Skis Hotshot, 183 cm (20/21)
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)
2449 & 2493 J Skis Hotshot, 189 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: just how different will the Hotshot feel compared to 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? E.g., for those who liked the 186 cm Metal, will they be better off on the 183 cm or 189 cm Hotshot?
(6) The 189 cm Hotshot is a very heavy, big ski. But it’s not a very stiff ski, it’s got deep rocker lines, and it features a fairly progressive mount point. So will it feel like a true charger that’s only fun when going ludicrously fast? Or is it going to feel more accessible than its weight and size might suggest?
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 forgiving-yet-not-noodly flex pattern, a rocker profile that looks like it’ll make the ski playful and easy to maneuver, and a very heavy weight that seems like it’ll make the ski do a good job of absorbing and muting out rough snow. Stay tuned for updates this season.
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Hotshot for our initial impressions after skiing it for a couple days this summer. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.
We’ve now skied the 183 cm Hotshot for about 15 days in a variety of conditions at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, ranging from icy groomers to soft chop. Dylan Wood and I have both become big fans of this ski, and we’ll both be adding our thoughts here.
[Note: we sent the 189 cm Hotshot up to reviewer Paul Forward a month ago but shipping got delayed substantially, so we’re planning on posting an update on the 189 cm Hotshot once we have enough time on it.]
Dylan Wood (5’11”, 155 lbs / 180 cm, 70 kg): My first few days spent on this ski consisted of skiing early season groomers that ranged from icy to pushed-around piles of sugary, man-made snow. I was immediately surprised by the carving performance of the ski. While it’s obviously not some skinny, ultra-precise carver, it carved much better than I expected.
The Hotshot held an edge nicely on anything except for large, scraped-off, icy patches of snow. And when it was necessary to shut it down (possibly to avoid dismembering a child on the white ribbon of death), I could predictably and easily get the ski to feather and release from a carve.
While I don’t expect anyone to buy this ski solely for its carving performance, I think those interested in a fairly rockered, playful ski like the Hotshot will be happy about how it carves back to the lift.
Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg): Yep, agreed on all fronts. The Hotshot carves far better than I expected.
In the first couple weeks of the season, I got antsy and mounted up the Hotshot, despite the fact that man-made groomers were all that was available at the time. But I was just too eager to try it, and as soon as I headed downhill, I quickly became confident laying over this ski on firm, smooth snow.
The Hotshot requires just a bit of pressure on the front of the ski to get it to start carving across the fall line, and its edge hold is deceptively good. It’s not a wide ski that makes me want to really push my limits and attempt to drag my hips on piste (few are, but the Volkl Katana 108 comes to mind). But the Hotshot is not only predictable on piste, it’s also pretty dang fun. It’s comfortable making large turns at moderate edge angles, or pretty tight ones when you really lean into it.
Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain
Dylan Wood: The Hotshot immediately felt intuitive to me in soft moguls. Despite how heavy the ski is, it felt maneuverable and required little effort to turn through big, tight moguls and it was easy to prevent the ski from running down the fall line and picking up more speed than I wanted. That being said, the 183 cm Hotshot still weighs about 2300 g per ski and certainly isn’t the quickest or most maneuverable ski I’ve ever been on. Lighter skis like the 4FRNT Devastator definitely feel more nimble in tight spots.
While it’s not a really light ski that you can easily flick around from your ankles, the Hotshot’s weight makes it stand out from lighter options when I ski faster and / or the snow is firmer. The Hotshot did not feel overwhelmed or twitchy as I picked up more speed, making bigger turns and gapping between moguls or boosting off mid-run cat tracks. Despite this, the Hotshot still provided a fairly forgiving ride when things got a little out of hand. If I got a little too backseat in moguls, the tails of the ski didn’t punish me as much as the tails of a stiffer, more directional ski might.
In trees, the Hotshot displayed similar characteristics as in moguls, and particularly in more open trees, I liked it even more. I was able to open it up when I wanted to, letting the Hotshot run down the fall line and pick up speed, knowing that the ski would remain impressively composed. And yet, when the trees tightened up out of nowhere and it came time to shut it down, it was easy to throw the Hotshot sideways and shed my speed. Even when skiing tight trees with sloppy technique, its forgiving tails allowed for less than perfect technique when shedding speed.
It’s probably in moguls where this ski’s fairly large sweet spot becomes most noticeable. The Hotshot can be skied with a forward or centered stance and provides a large margin for error in terms of skier technique. I did have a few moments when I felt as if I was going to go “over the bars” due to being a little too far over the front of the Hotshot in moguls, and very directional skiers coming from skis with mount points around -9 cm from true center and farther back may need to adjust to the Hotshot. But I think a large range of skiers will get along with the range of stances that the Hotshot can cater to. And again, the tails don’t punish backseat skiing very much, so those who ski upright and occasionally get backseat shouldn’t worry too much about the Hotshot being very challenging to ski.
Luke Koppa: Once again, agreed. The Hotshot feels very maneuverable in that it’s easy to get “off edge” and skid through the troughs, but it’s got the mass to smooth out really firm moguls and not get knocked around a bunch when I inevitably lose my rhythm and end up bouncing from bump to bump much faster than I’d prefer.
Especially given that there are a lot of lightweight skis in this class now, the Hotshot does require more physical effort to flick side-to-side than the numerous lighter options around. You can’t just twitch your ankles and expect the ski to immediately follow. But I wouldn’t say the Hotshot is a technically demanding ski — as Dylan noted, the Hotshot has a big sweet spot and there have been many instances when I knew a more directional ski with a stiffer tail would have punished me for a mistake, but the Hotshot’s tail just sort of absorbed the pressure and I was able to get back to a centered or forward stance. It lets me get sloppy, but feels composed at speed. As someone who loves to ski on the edge of control in bumps, that’s a combo I really appreciate.
And on the note about weight, the Hotshot’s swing weight feels lighter than I expected. Most of the weight of the ski feels like it’s centered around the bindings, and combined with its fairly forward mount point, I didn’t feel like I needed to muscle the Hotshot around as much as, say, the 184 cm Volkl Katana 108 or even the 183 cm Salomon Stance 102.
Dylan Wood: I have skied the Hotshot a few times on days when it had either snowed the day before, a few inches fell during the day, or a run had just opened for the season and the conditions consisted of half-tracked and half-fresh snow. This is where I feel the Hotshot shines — it blasted through soft chop with minimal deflection. Other skis around this width that are lighter get knocked around notably more than the Hotshot in these conditions. The Hotshot gave me the confidence to boost off cat tracks into soft chop, knowing that the ski wasn’t going to get knocked around much during the fast runout.
In my opinion, choppy conditions are where the Hotshot stands out the most among more forgiving, playful all-mountain skis. Where many other skis get deflected, the Hotshot continues to allow me to drive it through weird sections of choppy snow. The Hotshot also felt very solid when making fast, big turns through smaller, soft moguls, staying composed and making predictable turns.
Luke Koppa: I’ve professed my love of soft chop many times now, and the Hotshot is one of the skis that makes how I approach soft chop the most fun. This comes down to a few things.
First, this ski is not easily deflected. I wouldn’t say it’s a ski that I can just lean into hard and rely on to blast through absolutely everything. For that, I’d look to something similarly heavy (or heavier), but a bit stiffer and with a more rearward mount point. The 189 cm Hotshot may differ in this regard, but as someone who typically prefers skis around 183–188 cm, the 183 cm Hotshot felt best in chop and crud when skiing with a stance that fell somewhere between really forward and really centered. For my skiing style, that stance is ideal, and particularly compared to the current crop of all-mountain freestyle skis, the Hotshot feels very composed, smooth, and calm.
At the same time, the Hotshot is forgiving of sloppy technique. And it’s easy to throw sideways. And it’s poppy. And it feels pretty balanced in the air.
So while I’ve had a blast, ahem, “blasting” through chop on the Hotshot, it also feels generally playful enough to still encourage me to get it in the air and maybe throw in a spin or two. On more directional, rearward-mounted skis, popping them off patches of snow always feels a bit awkward, and they tend to require that I’m really over their shovels all the time. The Hotshot does a great job of blending the damp, calm ride of similarly heavy skis with a shape, flex pattern, rocker profile, and mount point that also cater well to a more playful approach to the mountain. And as in moguls, the Hotshot is easy to throw sideways and shed speed, whether I’m driving its shovels or even leaning back on its tails. That’s a trait I always look for in a ski that encourages me to ski fast.
We haven’t yet been able to get more than a few untracked pow turns on the Hotshot, so we’ll see what Paul has to say about how the 189 cm performs in pure pow. (Paul lives in Girdwood near Alyeska resort, which has reported 475 inches of snow as of January 15h, so I think it’s safe to assume he’ll be able to get it into some pow … maybe send some of that our way, Paul?)
That said, if I were to speculate, I think the Hotshot will perform very well for its width in fresh, deeper snow. It’s got a very deep tip rocker line, lots of tip splay, and fairly soft shovels — all of which tend to equate to good flotation.
Firm, Rough Snow / Crud
Dylan Wood: Despite its relatively wide width, the Hotshot impressed me on hardpack and firm, inconsistent conditions. On several hardpack runs in Crested Butte where large moguls had not developed, I was able to carve the Hotshot nicely without feeling like I was getting knocked around a bunch. It was predictable and intuitive. The smooth suspension of this damp, heavy ski made very bumpy, firm runs feel more pleasant than they did on lighter skis like the Volkl Revolt 104.
Luke Koppa: Skiing conditions that are both really firm and bumpy / inconsistent / rough is never all that fun, but the Hotshot is definitely a ski that makes them more enjoyable than most lighter skis. Pretty much everything I said in the Soft Chop section applies here. The Hotshot feels calm and composed, but its big sweet spot and maneuverable ride mean that I can just take it easy and slide around at slower speeds when I finally give up on trying to prove to everyone on the lift that the conditions aren’t actually that bad.
Playfulness (& Mount Point)
Dylan Wood: There are a few aspects of this ski that skiers with a playful style will enjoy. First, the tails of the Hotshot are pretty easy to flex and pop off. I had a great time tail pressing over rollers and tail buttering off cat tracks on this ski. While it’s easy to initiate a tail drag, the tails of the ski also become supportive the harder they’re flexed, making it possible to launch off the tails and catch some extra air off a side hit.
The Hotshot is also pretty easy to break loose. Those who ski with a slashy, surfy style will appreciate that the Hotshot is not very hard to throw sideways.
As far as flipping and spinning goes, the Hotshot isn’t the best ski for it, but also far from the worst. Spins and flips are certainly possible, despite how heavy this ski is. In fact, I did my first flips of the season on it. In the air, I noticed the weight the most when spinning — since this ski’s recommended mount point is around -7.5 cm from center, I have to account for more of the weight being in front of my boots. That said, after some recalibration after spinning a lot on the relatively center-mounted (and far lighter light) Volkl Revolt 104, I had no issues doing my favorite tricks on the Hotshot.
Taking off, landing, and just simply skiing backward on the Hotshot was just fine on firm snow. A more center-mounted, freestyle-oriented feels a bit more natural when skiing switch, but unless you ski switch a lot in the park or are trying to throw big rotations with little effort, the Hotshot should suffice for those who occasionally lap through the park.
Luke Koppa: Overall, I’d call the Hotshot a very playful ski. It’s not the most balanced in the air, and certainly not the lightest. But as someone who likes to slash, spin, ski switch, and get in the air as much as possible, the Hotshot feels like a great ski for me.
Despite being very damp, the Hotshot still produces a good bit of pop when I flex it (which is fairly easy to do). While it’s not as ultra-loose as something like the Dynastar M-Free 108, I never once thought the Hotshot was difficult in terms of slashing out its tails, whether on firm snow or in soft, choppy conditions. And while it does require some extra effort and pop off the lip of a jump, doing my ugly little 3’s on the Hotshot never felt particularly challenging or awkward.
During my time on the Hotshot, I spent about half of it with the bindings on the recommended line, and the other half with the bindings bumped forward to around -6 cm from true center (when measured via a straight-tape pull). The ski feels pretty similar mounted in either location, with it feeling just a bit more balanced in the air and when skiing switch when mounted at -6 cm from true center. And at that mount point, I could still drive its shovels as hard as I personally wanted to, so that ended up being my preferred mount point. Given how big the sweet spot is on this ski, I think you could get away with moving a cm or two away from the recommended line, depending on what you want to prioritize.
Who’s It For?
Beginner through expert skiers who are looking for a versatile ski that feels smooth and composed in rough conditions, but that’s also forgiving, playful, and that caters well to a playful skiing style.
If you are a very directional skier who’s gotten along very well with stiff, heavy skis with very rearward mount points, you may find the Hotshot too soft or its mount point too close to center (if that’s you, see the “All-Mountain Chargers” section of our Buyer’s Guide).
And if you don’t often ski very fast and / or value a ski with a really low swing weight, you’ve got better, lighter options (see the “All-Mountain More Forgiving” and “All-Mountain Freestyle” sections in our Buyer’s Guide).
But there are a lot of folks in between those two groups that have many reasons to check out the Hotshot. It’s a versatile ski that is surprisingly good on firm snow for its width, but also floats well and is easy to maneuver in deeper snow. It does an excellent good job of muting out / absorbing the harsh vibrations of rough snow conditions, yet it doesn’t require perfect technique and is easy to ski at slower speeds. And while it can be skied quite fast with a directional style, it has the flex pattern, rocker profile, shape, and mount point to feel natural in the air and conducive when throwing tricks.
The J Skis Hotshot offers a really nice balance of suspension, stability, maneuverability, and playfulness — and does so in a versatile package. Those who ski with a very aggressive, directional style have some stiffer, more stable options, and those who ski with an agile, light-on-their-feet style have many lighter, more nimble options.
But the Hotshot is a very appealing option for those who don’t fall on either end of that spectrum. It feels damp and composed when skiing fast in challenging conditions, yet it’s not a ski that requires you to be on your A-game all the time. And while directional skiers seeking a maneuverable, forgiving ski can get along with it, it’ll also work for more playful, freestyle-oriented folks looking for something that won’t get bounced around a bunch when they’re skiing fast between hits.
Deep Dive Comparisons
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the Hotshot to see how it compares to the Dynastar M-Free 108, ON3P Woodsman 108, Moment Wildcat 108, Moment Deathwish, Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, Fischer Ranger 102 FR, Whitedot Altum 104, Salomon QST 106, K2 Reckoner 102, Line Sir Francis Bacon, Sego Big Horn 106, Black Crows Atris, Volkl Revolt 104, 4FRNT Devastator, Season Nexus, Volkl Katana 108, & Shaggy’s Ahmeek 105.