The Goode XTR CC is the 3rd refinement of the classic Goode Nano 1 (XT, XTR and now the XTR CC). The technological difference between the XTR CC and its predecessors is the ski’s construction. Since last year, all Goode slalom skis are built with Carbon Core construction. See http://goode.com/blog/tag/carbon-core/
The Carbon Core construction allows Goode to build the skis thinner, yet more durable. The thinner profile (thinner sidewall) allows the ski to ride deeper in the water when on edge. This thinner profile also allows the ski to roll onto an edge more freely.
The XTR CC is one of the fastest skis tested to date. It requires very little physical strength to get from side to side and achieves width easily. The ski performs best when the skier restrains aggression.
The XTR CC is stable in pitch and yaw, but loose in roll. This means the tip stays down and the attitude of the ski is relatively constant the tail does not seem to slide excessively around apex, but the ski rolls side to side freely.
The speed of the XTR CC and the fact that it rides deep in the water is paradoxical. Typically, fast skis ride high on the water and are twitchy whereas deep riding skis are slower and more stable.
Off side turns on the XTR CC are basically foolproof. The skier needs to only stay centered and calm. This ski is particularly forgiving to imperfect technique approaching and through the Off Side turns. Since the ski is loose in terms of roll, the skier must avoid allowing their mass to move too aggressively to the inside. If a skier does move to the inside too aggressively they will exit the ball in an over-aggressive lean.
The fact that the ski rides deep in the water means that if the skier pushes too hard the tail is very unlikely to blow out.
On Side turns are smooth and predictable, but, as with Off Side, the skier should not let their mass move to the inside prematurely. If the skier moves to the inside too much or too early the ski will roll over excessively and result in a sudden and unexpectedly hard turn. Controlling the roll of the ski is much more critical on the On Side than the Off Side.
For the review, I found that if I emphasized keeping two hands on the handle extra-long my On Side turns went from inconsistent to very good. This technique stabilized my upper mass and delayed the ultimate roll of the ski until I was ready to finish the turn.
Wakes to ball
The XTR CC draws an early line and gains width from the wakes to apex automatically. The ski “moves out” with less resistance than most skis on the market today. As an example of this is a skier approaching a 1/3/5 turn will feel their feet move right sooner and faster than normal.
Unlike some other “fast” skis, the XTR CC does not carry more speed to apex than can be managed.
Ball to wakes
When ridden with restraint, the XTR CC makes buckets of speed with very little effort from the skier and remarkably little load in the skier's hands.
If the skier is overly aggressive into the wakes, the XTR CC will acquire excessive speed and load.
When ridden with a little restraint the XTR CC is a joy to ride. Perhaps, the only thing not to love about the ski is that, once you make a major mistake and try to muscle the rest of a pass, the ski is less friendly.
The ski is the least fin and binding settings sensitive Goode tested to date. The right settings are always critical, but small moves are not as apparent as expected. This is perhaps a result of the ski riding deeper in the water.
The XTR CC glides unusually free on the gate pull out. The ski requires very little effort to get wide on the boat and then bleeds that speed slowly. This is neither a good or bad attribute, but does require the skier to adjust their gate pull out timing and intensity.
This summer I spend a few weeks playing with the Feature Boards Side Cutter & Obstacler skis. At first glance, both of the skis look like trick skis but it is not that simple. These skis are durable enough to be used on the ramps and rails found in cable parks. To achieve this level of durability Feature Boards builds them with a poly base, wood cores, and ABS plastic sidewalls. I did not hit any rails or ramps during the review but I would be comfortable abusing these skis a lot more than a conventional trick ski.
The Side Cutter is a high performance trick ski that especially shines for wake spins, flips and ski lines. Pop off the wake is noticeably good.
The C75 is the third ski from Denali and is the first ski from Denali that is legitimately user-friendly enough for the mainstream tournament water skier. The C75 looks strange with its low rocker tip, unique asymmetrical fin, and extreme tunnel shape. The ski rides in the water as unusually as it looks.
The attributes of this ski are a clear departure from any other ski in the sport. The C75 is stable in most ways except that it provides significantly more tail slide than expected. This may sound, bad but the result is angle.
Off Side Turns
Off Side turns on the C75 are the most distinctive attribute of the ski. Ridden casually with reasonably centered weight distribution, the tip of the ski pulls back to the centerline and the turns are smooth and flowing.
When the skier increases their aggression the ski shows its uniqueness. The ski flows out to apex calmly and then when pushed the tail slides around very quickly to establish an unexpected amount of angle. With any other ski this amount of tail slide would end in a fall but the C75 stays in the water and heads back to the wakes. This radical finish to the Off Side turn may scare skiers until they realize that the tail is not going to blow out. The feel is unusual, but the result is consistent angle leaving the ball.
On Side Turns
On side turn are practically foolproof. The tail of the ski slides significantly at the apex of on side but it is not nearly as noticeable as it is at off side. This tailslide is likely a major contributor to the consistency of the on side turn.
Ball to the wakes
Because of the aggressive turns, the voyage from the ball to the wakes can be a little frantic. If the skier can moderate their lean intensity and or temper their angle leaving the ball, things will calm down. Either way, the ski makes speed quickly and holds direction.
Wakes to the ball
The C75 is stable both side to side and tip to tail. What this means is that the ski provides a stable platform to stand on as the ski casts out to the ball line. The ski consistently achieves width and space without requiring special skills or strength.
Quirks & Notes
Throughout the test period, I rode the C75 with the same settings.
The bulk of this review was written describing how the ski performs at/or near my personal limit. If the review was re-written describing my opening passes it would include terms like “Dependable, Flowing, Arcing & Calm”. The C75 is likely as suited for 28 off as it is for 39 off and beyond.
The C75 is radical but in all the right ways.
When the skier gets to their hardest pass and instinct replaces logic is when the C75 shines the brightest. Somehow the ski just stays with you and gets you farther down the lake than expected.
Best ski ever? There is no such thing but the Denali C75 is unquestionably on my very short list of favorite skis of all time.
The Connelly GT-R is the only current high-end ski that has been continuously evolved for more than a decade. The GT-R is the direct descendant of the Connelly F1 that was Jamie Beauchesne’s masterpiece more than 15 years ago. Since then the design has been gradually improved with multiple materials upgrades as well as tweaks to the tunnel and sidewall profile. Through it all the ski maintains the original DNA.
In all aspects discussed below the GT-R works best when the skier does less. The ski does not want you to lean and pull harder than needed. The ski wants you to tell it when to turn but not push it to turn. The ski wants you to stand in the middle of it and let it do the work.
In many ways, the GT-R requires less technical skills than other top of the line skis and it is less likely to punish the skier for small mistakes.
Is it a fast ski or a slow ski? That depends on how you set the fin and bindings. My preferred settings for the GT-R resulted in a ski that is not crazy fast but was not a lot of work and consistently cast out wide of the ball.
Off Side Turns
Skiers with understated upper body moments and centered weight distribution will find the Off Side turns to be reliable and stable. The tip of the GT-R pulls to the inside of the radius aggressively without a feeling that tail of the ski is sliding. It is more of a carving than a sliding turn. The result is a very secure turn ending with lots of angle.
If the skier is centered on the ski from the wakes to the ball On Side turns are absolutely dependable. The ski flows out and then carves a tight turn at the ball.
If the skier lets their weight distribution move back or attempts to force the On Side turn by pushing on the tail the ski is likely to carve a slow turn. When this happens the GT-R will not turn sharp but it will maintain enough water speed to allow the skier to recover from his / her error.
Ball to the wakes
From the ball to the wakes the skier’s weight distribution is again critical. With an adequate stacked position, the skier will achieve ample speed with minimal effort.
Wakes to the ball
The GT-R is loose in terms of roll stability. What this means is that if a skier moves to the inside early or too quickly after edge change they will find themselves leaned in more than expected approaching the ball. Correcting for this does not mean a monumental change in technique but may require a few rides to adjust. (Just keep your shoulders level and chin up).
Older skis from the F1 lineage required the skier to maintain as much line tension as possible from the second wake to the ball in order to achieve width. That is no longer the case with the GT-R. It is recommended that you have as much line tension as possible but your width at the ball does not heavily depend on it.
During the review, I did not do extensive experimentation with settings because the settings Martin Bartalsky provided worked so well. The GT-R can be set up a number of ways but settings on this ski can be finicky.
My final settings for the 67" GT-R 29 3/8 - 2.478 - 6.910 - .772
At 183 +/- lbs I rode both the 67” and 68” GT-R. Most of the rides for this review were on the 67” but I ran into 39 off in practice on both skis. If I started the review over I would likely start with the 68”. I consider the GT-R to be slightly small for its advertised size.
There are review skis I am happy to get my bindings off of and there are skis that I would like to ski more on. The Connelly GT-R is a ski that I would like to keep skiing on. If your style is calm and centered the GT-R is a ski you must try.