D3’s design methodology is to evolve proven designs into new skis rather than attempt to develop new designs from scratch. The 2018 D3 EVO is a blend of the best attributes of the D3 ARC and the D3 NRG.
For this review I rode the 66 and 67 inch EVO. At approximately 180 pounds, I found specific attributes that I preferred on each ski but eventually found the smaller 66 inch version to be superior for my hardest passes.
The EVO is arguably a faster ski than any previous D3. In this case, the speed is most noticeable from the second wake to the ball. The ski makes speed into the wakes and then does not bleed speed approaching the ball.
After a mistake at any line length, the EVO is easy to repoint in the right direction and scrap for additional balls.
Toe Side (Off Side) Turn
Off Side turns have been the hallmark attribute of D3 slalom skis for years. The Off Side turns on the EVO are the best yet. The ski is stable as it flows out to width and then the nose of the ski automatically pulls back under the line at apex. Then the ski grabs just a little extra angle at the very end of the turn. The Off Side turns are the best thing about the EVO.
At my hardest pass my Off Side pre turns and turns on the 67 are among the smoothest of my career. The balance of the ski makes it easy for the skier to be centered and calm approaching apex. The ski draws a decreasing radius arc out to apex and then finishes with massive angle and an unexpected measure of aplomb.
Off side turns on the 66 are not quite as flowing but is still smooth and consistent.
Heel Side (On Side) Turn
On Side turns on the EVO are unlike any D3 before it. With skis like the NRG and the ARC, the skier must manage rope tension and weight distribution carefully to ensure consistent On Side turns. With the EVO, the On Side turns are more automatic and less technically demanding.
The above comments about On Side turns are largely reflective of the 66 inch ski. At my hardest passes the 67 inch ski is too fast approaching the apex of On Side making those turns less consistent. Skiers working at 32 off or longer may find the 67 ski to be suitable and skiers skiing at shorter lines may prefer the 66 ski.
Second Wake to the Ball
Both the 66 and the 67 inch versions cast out wide of the ball without issue. Both skis require only a moderate amount of strength and technical skill from the skier to achieve width.
The 66 inch version has a more tactile feel flowing out to On Side and the 67 is ridiculously stable and easy to ride approaching Off Side.
From the Ball to the Second Wake
Regardless of size the EVO, creates ample speed and angle into the wakes. The 66 is slightly more nimble; therefore, more forgiving after a mistake.
The EVO is surprisingly insensitive to fin and bindings settings. It is still important to have the correct settings but during the review period I moved the fin and bindings often with less impact than expected.
At my weight and height the 66 inch EVO is a ski that I can ski smoothly on or scrap for one more ball at my hardest pass. The 67 inch EVO delivers remarkable Off Side turns but is just a touch too fast into On Side.
The 66 Inch D3 EVO is now one of my all-time favorite skis.
The HO Syndicate Omni is the best Crossover ski from HO to date. This ski has a remarkably wide performance envelope. It could be a great first ski or a great ski for cruising for miles on open water, and it is a great ski for chasing buoys.
For many skiers, the Omni would be a better choice than a more expensive and less stable traditional slalom ski. For this review, I ran numerous 32 offs on the 67 inch ski and through 35 off on the 65 inch ski. You can certainly take the Omni to shorter rope lengths, but past 35 off, a ski like the Syndicate Pro would be a better choice.
Compared to a ski like the Syndicate Pro, the Omni is a little wider at the front binding and significantly wider at the tail. One of the benefits of the extra width is that the ski is more stable side to side as well as from front to back. This additional stability makes it easier for skiers to be in a better skiing position. Approaching the turn, this ski instills confidence and allows the skier adjust their stance as needed.
In terms of speed, the Omni creates ample speed and then maintains that speed. For all levels of skiers this means more skiing with less fatigue and less sore muscles. In the slalom course, the Omni gets very wide around the balls with minimal skier effort. As the rope gets shorter than 32 off, the skier needs to be mindful to not create excess speed.
Turns on both sides are fast and crisp. The Omni delivers more of a snap at the finish of the turn than a carving turn. The On Side turns on this ski are particularly forgiving and fun. The Omni turns best with front foot pressure but is forgiving for less than ideal technique.
The one thing about this ski that stands out the most to me is how comfortable I feel on it from the second wake to the finish of the turn. During the review period, I was able to work on technical aspects of my turns that would be much more difficult to learn on a traditional shape ski.