Why we chose the Black Diamond Helio Carbon 104: Lightweight, smooth, versatile
Lengths (cm): 160, 166, 172, 178 & 184
Sidecut (mm): 131 / 104 / 118 (172 cm)
Radius: 21m (172 cm)
Rocker Profile: Rocker-Camber-Rocker
Weight (per ski): 1,450g
The Helio range of backcountry skis from Black Diamond have quickly become a mainstay in BD’s backcountry-specific ski offering. By combining a highly-tuned prepreg carbon fibre laminate with a full-perimeter ABS sidewall, the brand have created a ski that impressed our testers with its nice balance of low weight and smooth handling.
These, the Helio Carbon 104, bring this low weight and high performance to a mid-fat touring package to create a ski that’s versatile enough to be thrown around in soft snow. It’s also more than capable of taking on variable conditions with poise, especially considering their impressively low weight.
Helio Carbon 104 Build
The Helio Carbon 104 has been built with a prepreg carbon construction at its heart. This carbon has, as the name suggests, been pre-impreginated with just the right amount of toughened epoxy to ensure a precise weight and consistent quality is achieved. It’s the kind of stuff they use in fighter jets, which may seem overkill, but we’re a big fan of the boost in performance these layups manage to bring.
As expected from a ski touring ski, Black Diamond has made use of a Paulownia wood core as the go-to material to be fused with this carbon layup. Paulownia has been chosen thanks to its slightly softer longitudinal stiffness, which allows for the use of a stiff carbon (without making the ski overly-demanding as a result)
To help fight off the usually classic ‘tinny’ feeling that carbon creates, Black Diamond has built in elastomeric materials to help improve damping and edge control. These rubber layers have been tuned to both absorb high-frequency vibrations while also allowing movement between the internal layers. This has been done in an effort to prolong the life of the skis.