But not so much.
Somewhat surprisingly, the metaled up and murdered out Helldorado doesn’t feel much stiffer than the Patrón—we’d estimate about 10-15% stiffer. The Helldorado certainly is heavier (the 193cm Helldorado weighs a pound per ski more than the 193cm Patrón), but it doesn’t feel or ski much stiffer, and the balance issues of the Patrón in variable conditions persisted with the Helldorado.
(There is an interesting parallel here between the Patron / Helldorado and the Rossignol S7 / Super 7. The Super 7 felt heavier, but not much stiffer than the S7….)
Skiing long bump lines down High Rustler, for example, I couldn’t open up the Helldorado and simply let them run. When I did, I was all over the place. I had to dial back my speed and ski more deliberately, and things became far more manageable. This is an important point: if you aren’t going to be skiing at pedal-to-the-floor speeds in variable conditions anyway, then this is less of a concern, but it never exactly became a non-issue for Jason or me. But if you are only gunning it in consistent terrain and conditions, you will probably like this ski quite a bit.
After a number of runs getting bucked around pretty good, I swapped out to the 190 Bibby Pro to get a sense of whether it was me, or whether it was the ski. But the Bibby Pro was much more stable and capable in the heavy, wet chop of Eagle’s Nest and the more firm chop of lower Regal.
SOME FLEX COMPARISONS: Helldorado & Patrón + Bibby Pro + … Sir Francis Bacon?
The last six inches of the tail of the Helldorado are quite soft. They are on the Bibby Pro, too.
But on the Helldorado, the next 6-10 inches forward feel almost as soft , whereas the Bibby begins to ramp up in stiffness, and is much stiffer than either the Patron or Helldorado.
Once you get about a 12″ behind the boot, there is a hinge point where the Helldorado then goes from very soft to very stiff (stiffer than the Bibby Pro), and that stiffness of the ski continues for about a foot in front of the boot.
For another point of reference, the 184cm, 108mm-waisted LINE Sir Francis Bacon hand flexes stiffer through the tail than the Helldorado. (If you had to wager $100 on which ski has the stiffer tail, would anybody have bet on the Bacon?)
This is one of the main reasons why the Helldorado is much more difficult in bumped-up terrain or variable conditions, and part of where the balance issue comes from: If and when you get pushed to the back seat, the soft tails don’t offer enough support to nudge you forward; if you fall back, you will keep falling back.
(Jason noted the difficulty of trying to tail ollie on the Patron and Helldorado—the skis don’t give a whole lot back, whereas the camber and stiffness underfoot unmistakably provide a ton of energy and rebound.)
While it might seem counterintuitive, I think that stiffening up the tail of the Patron and the Helldorado a bit would actually make them more forgiving. The Bibby Pro is my evidence for this: a more gradual, graduated flex profile—from a soft tail to a gradual, increasingly stiff move toward the center of the ski—creates a pretty large balance spot.
Just to be clear, I’m not trying to turn the Helldorado or Patron into some super stiff, incredibly demanding, absolutely unplayful rocketship, I’d just like to reduce that balance issue and increase their stability.