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Mountaineering brand Black Diamond has produced a range of all mountain skis to contend with the very best. But how do they manage against the rest? We find out during our 2017 on snow ski test.

Level
Advanced
Terrain
All Mountain
Best for
A part time ski tourer who wants a bit of everything in one off-piste ski
Price
£700
Season
2017/18
lengths
163, 173, 183
Bindings?
No
Float
8
Versatility
8
Up-hill
8
Playfulness
8
Value
7
Edge hold
7
Stability
7
Turn initiation
8
Overall Score
8
+
Light, lively and fun in softer snow.
Flappy at speeds and the price is pretty high.

// Buy //

// Buy //

Known for their ski mountaineering and touring prowess, Black Diamond are producing skis that perform well on the way down as well as on the way up, and the Helio manages to bridge this gap exceptionally well.

First impressions of the Helio 95 is that they're extremely lightweight - very light indeed, even with the bindings. The carbon and balsa wood core stiffens them whilst retaining their weight advantage, making the Helio 95 lively and fun all mountain skis. At 95mm wide and combined with the weight, they would be more than happy on the uphill section, whilst giving you a great ride on the way back down.

They turn as you'd expect, lightly and with a nimbleness that flatters the rider - they are also quick and easy to turn in most conditions. Soft snow is where it feels most at home and it handles variable conditions and undulating terrain well.

The words fun and versatile come to mind with the Helio 95 and with good edge hold on harder snow combined with the carbon construction, the somewhat glassy feel makes them sound a little like it just might shatter - but of course they never do. Despite being aimed at terrain that isn't groomed to perfection, they handle surprisingly well on the piste, even up to higher speeds, although they do suffer a little due to their weight and construction and tend to flap at the very highest speeds both on and off-piste.

Classy looking skis that will appeal to many - but especially ski tourers into backcountry adventures.

// Buy //