2018-2019 Liberty Helix 98

Blister reviews the Liberty Helix 98
Liberty Helix 98

Ski: 2018-2019 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm

Available Lengths: 165, 172, 179, 186 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 184.4 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1,925 & 1,937 grams

Stated Dimensions: 133-98-121 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 133.4-97.7-120.9 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 21 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 55 mm / 50 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~5-6 mm

Core: Bamboo/Poplar + Fiberglass Laminate

Base: Sintered P-Tex

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.1 cm from center; 84.1 cm from tail

Intro

For 18/19, Liberty is bringing back the Helix name to their line, this time in the form of the brand-new Helix 98. We reviewed the original Helix (which was 105mm-underfoot), and thought it offered a fun blend of stability and energy. So we’re very curious to see where this new, narrower Helix 98 slots into the ~98mm all-mountain category, and to compare it to Liberty’s other ski in this class, the Origin 96.

Here’s what Liberty says about the Helix 98:

“The Helix is back! Now in a more versatile 98mm waist, but retaining the do-anything DNA of its award-winning predecessor, the brand-new Helix 98 is a one-ski wrecking machine. Versatile, energetic and stable, the Helix 98 features easy turn initiation and floatation with control from Liberty’s signature bamboo and poplar core. Crush the entire mountain, including the terrain park, with performance and a grin.”

There’s a lot going on in this description, so let’s unwrap it a bit. First and foremost, Liberty is definitely emphasizing the Helix 98’s versatility, and it seems pretty clear that they’re aiming for the elusive 1-ski quiver with the Helix 98. Second, they talk about the Helix 98 being both energetic and stable, two characteristics that are not often shared equally by the same ski. Lastly, they mention that the Helix 98 can “crush the entire mountain, including the terrain park,” and that claim about park performance is made even more interesting when you take a look at some of the Helix 98’s specs further down…

Shape / Rocker Profile

At first glance, the Helix 98’s shape and rocker profile actually look nearly symmetrical. The Helix 98’s tips and tails have fairly shallow rocker lines, but both the tips and tails rise quickly, with the Helix 98’s tail nearly being a full twin. The rest of the ski has a good deal of camber (~5-6 mm underfoot).

While it might look like a park ski, the Helix 98’s shape is not totally symmetrical, with a roughly 12 mm difference in width between the tips and tails. The Helix 98’s extremities have very little taper, and when combined with the ski’s fairly conservative rocker lines and generous camber, the Helix 98 looks like it should offer plenty of effective edge.

Compared to the 18/19 Origin 96 (review coming soon), the Helix 98 has slightly shallower rocker lines, more camber, more tail splay, and a bit less taper.

Mount Point

As we just noted, the Helix 98 has a nearly twinned tail, and looks almost symmetrical in terms of both rocker profile and shape. However, its recommended mount point of -8.1 cm from center puts it more in line with directional skis, rather than park skis. So while Liberty claims the Helix 98 can handle the park, its mount point seems to suggest that it is more of an all-mountain ski, rather than a freestyle ski. So we’ll be testing the Helix 98 at a variety of mount points to see how it does as a traditional, directional all-mountain ski, as well as a more freestyle-oriented option.

Flex Pattern

Tips: 6
Shovels: 6.5-8
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-9.5
Underfoot: 9.5
Behind Heel Piece: 9.5-8
Tails: 7-6

The flex pattern of the Helix 98 feels very similar to that of the Origin 96. The Helix 98 is very slightly softer at the ends of its tips and tails, but the Helix 98 feels like it gets stiffer quicker as you get closer to the middle of the ski, whereas the Origin 96’s flex ramps up a bit slower.

Overall, the Helix 98 has fairly soft tips and tails, but its flex then ramps up pretty quickly, and the back half of the ski feels a bit stiffer than the front half.

Dimensions / Sidecut Radius

The previous verison of the Helix that we reviewed had stated dimensions of 135-105-122 mm and a stated 25.5-meter sidecut radius for the 187 cm version.

The new Helix 98 is obviously narrower at the waist, though its tips and tails are not that much narrower (measured dimensions = 133.4-97.7-120.9 mm). As a result, the new Helix 98 has a tighter stated sidecut radius of 21 meters for the 186 cm version. This puts it right around the middle of the pack when it comes to stated sidecut radii, which often makes skis feel pretty versatile when it comes to making a variety of turn shapes.

Weight

Like most Liberty skis we’ve reviewed, the Helix 98 is fairly light for its size. For reference, below are a few of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis.

1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19)
1896 & 1919 Dynastar Legend X96, 186 cm (17/18-18/19)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19)
1943 & 1968 Liberty VMT 92, 186 cm (18/19)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19)
2007 & 2029 Armada Invictus 99 Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
2020 & 2004 Liberty Helix, 187 cm (15/16)
2024 & 2029 Salomon QST 99, 188 cm (17/18)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19)
2053 & 2057 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, 188 cm (18/19)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm
2139 & 2118 Nordica Soul Rider 97, 185 cm
2344 & 2367 J Skis Masterblaster, 187 cm (17/18, 18/19)

Some Comparisons

18/19 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm

This is the most interesting comparison as these two skis from Liberty look very similar on paper. So how similar will they feel on snow, and which types of skiers would be better off with which particular ski?

18/19 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm

These skis share identical sidecut radii, both have a good deal of camber, and both skis claim to combine all-mountain and freestyle performance, despite having fairly traditional recommended mount points of around -8 cm from center. The Helix 98 is a bit heavier and has less taper, so will it feel like a chargier version of the Bent Chetler 100?

Bottom Line (For Now)

With the brand-new Helix 98, Liberty looks like they’ve created what could be a pretty versatile and playful all-mountain ski. While we put together our full review, let us know about any questions or comparisons you’d like to see us address.

Flash Review: Liberty Helix 98

Blister members can now read our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review of the Helix 98.

(Learn more about Blister member benefits, and become a Blister member)

NEXT: ROCKER PROFILE PICS

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