Sugar, Spice, Almost Everything Nice: Head Sweet Ones

As promised, a proper write up on my darlings. Consider this the official review for the 2011 Head Sweet Ones. You remember them – the skis with the stupid shiny W.

Head shot. ........ get it?
Head shot.
……. get it?

After a full winter riding these babies, I can say… they are a whole world of difference from my old skis.

The Sweet Ones are soft and flexible with plenty of play in the ride. They eat up groomers and the fluffy white with ease.

All that flexibility comes at a price, though. When the going gets variable, the ride gets real weird. When alternating between ice, crud, and soft, the flex works against you. Especially at high speeds, they chatter and bounce uncomfortably. On the one hand, this can make the run interesting (and therefore more fun), especially when riding a more relaxed day with friends with lower top speeds. But when it comes to hard performance riding on variable snow, the Sweeties get left in the car. (Don’t worry – I always leave the window open a crack so they can breathe.)

This pair is a little longer than my old skis (Rossignol Cobras from the annals of history), and I swear I can feel it. There have been times in the woods when I’ve misjudged my turns, only to get tangled up in the undergrowth. Some of these control issues probably stem from my boots, which are way too old and way too stiff.

What really took a while to get used to was my sudden ability to carve in powder. With my old, stiff, skinny skis, turning in the deep was more of an aggressive wiggle (or, in the words of Freeride Skier, “bounce up and down in an energetic fashion”). But with the extra surface area and forgiving softness, I could turn. In the snow. Believe me. This was a revelation.

My main complaint really isn’t much of a complaint – I hate the twin tips. But not as much as the people behind me hate the twin tips. They kick up a serious amount of snow and really piss off whoever is riding behind me. Because I am polite, this meant I spent a lot of time at the tail end of my skiing crew, morosely chewing up the leftovers.

The bottom line, these are great skis that do a lot of heavy lifting. They are a joy to ride – most of the time – and when they’re not, my old stiffies are more than up for the job. But, there were only two or three days where I absolutely had to ride my old skis for the added stability (not counting race days, when the old parabolic curve kicked ass).

The winged W is still stupid.

Spring on the summit of Jay Peak

What an amazing day.

Day 29 and I’m sunburnt, happy, and completely content. I fully intended to tap out at 30 – to hit that magical round number. (This is my first year counting days. Something I picked up from the ever-inspiring Female Ski Bum.)

But, if this is the day I end on, then so be it.

View from Jay Peak
You should definitely view this full-sized.

I conned/bribed/begged a friend to come with me to Jay Peak. He’d never been, so it was a extra joy to introduce him to one of my favorite mountains (and the tram – he’d never been on one before!).

It was 63º at the base when we arrived. Then, we skied snow at the sweet spot between the consistency of corn and mashed potatoes. Wide open trails, hardly a crowd… we didn’t even mind that there were really only a few ways from top to base. At the summit, we could see straight to Mt Washington.

Ride life.
Sunny with a chance of Craig.

Lunch was the Jay Peak meal of champions: two salads, a plate of hot poutine (my favorite food group. I’m mad for poutine.) and a 24oz can of Molson.

A few more runs, and we were both cooked. Back at the car, the thermometer read 73º.

I can think of no better way to end the 2012-2013 ski season than this: sunburnt and happy sipping on a fresh, cold Switchback.