Black Diamond Helio 105 Review

This is my review of Helio 105. In my opinion, it is a good powder ski for riders who put a lot of stock in durability and reliable downhill performance.

Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of this ski, who it is best for, and other similar alternatives to consider.

Quick Summary

  • Where to buy: Amazon
  • Best for: Wide open powder conditions on untracked mountains. Good choice for downhill riders used to pleasant runs with little to no variability.
  • Pros: An excellent powder ski. Good turning and nice maneuverability. Stable ski that holds up at speed. Strong construction.
  • Cons: Heavy. This ski does not do as well in rough snow or tough conditions.
  • Alternatives: Dynafit Beast 98, Black Crows Camox, Kastle TX 103

Why Trust Me

I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent ample time researching these skis based on various criteria. I also studied their traits, broke down their build, and looked at how the different characteristics held up across a wide range of winter environments.

Detailed Review

The Black Diamond Helio 105 is a ski with a decent amount of pros but also a few cons as well. While it undoubtedly excels in powder, it’s much heavier than many will like for human-powdered skiing. It’s also stable in many different conditions, from open terrain to tight trees, but it lacks on firm snow.

Stability and Durability

The Helio 105 is a stable ski that will keep you in control at speed. That’s mostly due to the tough longitudinal and torsional stiffness created by the sturdy carbon fiber construction. I’m always a big fan of skis that can handle the trials of the mountain, and these can take a lot of use without blinking an eye.

You’ll be able to stay in control both on open runs and when moving between trees. That extra reliability adds an extra layer of versatility to the skis and gives you the option to hit a few different areas with confidence. On top of that, the sidewall damping system works exactly as you would want it to, providing exceptional chatter reduction across the board.

Firm Snow Performance

Simply put, these are not the skis to take out into firm snow. The 70/30 split marked by Black Diamond is a clear indication of that. The pair does exceptionally well when things are soft, but harder conditions will create some real issues. The grip is incredibly unreliable on hard snow, and the edges wash out. That will hold true with just about any boot or binding setup. If you like these, stick to the powder.

Powder and Crud

The shining star of the Helio 105’s design is its ability to ride on powder. It has some of the best soft snow results around, enabling you to fly through those runs with no worries. You’ll be able to take this on wide open spaces, but it’s also a great option for tight trees. The skis give you snappy, responsive turns that add an extra element of fun. No matter how you like to ride in powder, this pair will deliver.

Unfortunately, that versatility doesn’t quite hold up in crud. The skis aren’t the best when faced with adversity. They don’t struggle a ton, but their performance is nothing special when matched up against other, less specific skis. That’s a bit odd considering the ski’s profile seems like it would be good on poorer snow, but there’s nothing special about the design. It will hold up alright, but you can do better.

A Bit Too Much Weight

The biggest issue with this ski as a pure touring option is the weight. They are on the heavy side, which means the entire setup will require some effort to move around. The extra ounces are a boon for going downhill, but there are many other options on the market that provide similar performance in a lighter shell. The extra pounds won’t be a deal-breaker for many. Just know these are not the easiest to take uphill or when you’re out touring.

Price and Value

As with the rest of the Helio, the value sits right in the middle lane. The skis won’t cost you a fortune, but you’re going to need to shell out a decent amount of cash. Not only that, but the general niche applications limit their use. They are durable and will likely stand the test of time. However, what you get out of them in that time differs from person to person. If you hit the soft stuff a lot, they’re likely worth the money.

What I Like

These skis are excellent in powder. That’s their most significant attribute and something I am genuinely impressed by. You’re getting something that can do it all in fresh snow. It’s extremely fun when you use it on wide open mountains, and it’s also a blast to swing in between trees. I don’t know if that makes up for the narrow application, but it certainly tries.
The Helio 105 is also a good downhill option. Though that downhill performance doesn’t directly translate to a wide range of different conditions, it’s still fun for people who like to get going. This is one area where the extra weight helps.

What I Dislike

I’m a big fan of skis that manage to cut weight, which is why the Helio 105’s heavier build is a bit of a bummer. It’s not the heaviest available option, and you do get better performance from the added pounds, but anytime you’re using a heavy ski, there’s going to be a cost. This item is not great for touring and will cause fatigue when you take them uphill.

As great as the ski does in powder, it’s also a bit more focused than similar models. There’s nothing wrong with getting a specific or more niche option for your quiver, but I always hesitate to get an option that’s so one-tracked when there are so many versatile skis out on the current market. If you primarily hit powder, great. If you don’t, you’re going to find these lacking in most other situations.

The Alternatives

The Helio 105 is a mixed bag. If you don’t like how narrow it is, or if you’re simply searching for a more well-rounded ski that comes with more versatility, these three choices will all deliver:

  • Dynafit Beast 98 – If you’re looking for another downhill-centered model that trades a bit of weight for speed and power, the Beast 98 is worth a long look. They are on the heavy side, but they also handle quite nicely. You’re getting a good amount of performance packed into this pair, and that alone will make them worth it for certain riders.
  • Black Crows Camox – Stable, predictable, and easy to use, the Camox from Black Crows is a midweight ski for those who want a reliable, no-nonsense design. It doesn’t have any true standout features, but the cutback style is something many people will appreciate. It’s versatile and can do a little bit of everything, even if it doesn’t do any one thing extremely well.
  • Kastle TX 103 – While it’s definitely on the pricey side compared to the other skis on this list, the TX 103 is a sturdy ski that offers a lot of stability. It’s heavy, but the weight is worth how well it zips down the mountain. Few skis can give you the versatility to tackle multiple terrain types like this one.

FAQs

What is this ski’s turn radius?

Depending on length, the turn radius is between 20 and 22 meters. Not the tightest around, but not unwieldy either.

What conditions are these best in?

The Helio 105 is a great ski for powder or soft snow conditions.

Who are these skis best-suited for?

The Helio 105 is a ski aimed at advanced to expert skiers. Beginner or intermediate riders will not be able to use them efficiently.

Final Verdict

The Helio 105 is a decent ski, but the lack of true versatility holds it back from being a diamond in the rough. Even so, those who see a lot of powder will love what they offer. The weight is noticeable as well. The question of whether or not these skis are worth it comes down to how much you’ll be able to get from what they offer.

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