Denali C65 Review

HortonHorton Posts: 23,681 Administrator
edited September 7 in Ski Tests

The stated goal of BallOfSpray ski reviews has been to describe more than to judge each ski. The reader is left decipher to the comments and decide if a ski might fit their skiing or not. The Denali is an unusual ski so this will be an unusual review. It may read as disjointed, disorganized, contradictory and schizophrenic so let’s clear the air: the Denali C65 is one of the best skis ever reviewed on BallOfSpray.

Thomas Lenard Image CalProAM

General Feel
Traditionally skis are either described as fast or slow. Skis described as slow typically require more physical work and more technical skills to get wide but turn more dependably at the ball. Fast skis are less work and get wide more automatically but often require more skills and finesse at apex. World records have been set and pro events have been won on both fast and slow skis.

In the last few years, a few skis have blurred the lines by being both fast across the course and turning automatically at the ball. The Denali C65 resets the bar as far as what possible in terms of fast and slow. The C65 is as fast as any “fast ski” from the ball to the wakes, and it bleeds speed as quickly as any “slow ski” from the wakes the ball. This ski is the best example of the merging of these two paradigms. One of the results of these attributes is that the skier will rarely get slack at the ball.

When a skier is at their best, the C65 is as smooth as any ski reviewed previously. On a more normal day when a skier makes typical mistakes, the C65 allows the skier to throw caution to the wind, pull hard, and then crank turns to get a score.

c65

Off Side
The skier can ride this ski with neutral or forward weight distribution. The C65 is dependable to neither under or over turn. It seems to just take the right amount of angle. The ski requires minimal effort to arc in at apex. If a skier is overzealous and pushes, it is almost impossible to blow out the tail.

On Side
On side turns on the C65 are extremely dependable and are not technically demanding. Perhaps the most outstanding attribute of the on side turn is that it maintains speed even when the skier makes a panic turn.

Wakes to the Ball
The ski decelerates at a rapid rate providing the skier with a tight line all the way to the apex, and the confidence to turn hard if needed. With the settings used for this review, the ski created enough width and space. The settings can be tweaked to carry more speed and a wider path or to slow down faster. Finding the right settings is critical.

For the smoothest skiing, the skier should strive to keep their head level and inside shoulder high. Skiers who tend to lean into the course too much may experience radical turns.

c65 2

Ball to the Wakes
The ski carries a surprising amount of speed back through the turn. The result is that the hookup is never harsh or punishing. The ski then creates substantial speed back to the wakes with minimal effort.

Tuning for the On side turn
Denali uses a unique fin block that allows for a different fin depth on each side of the fin. The result is much improved On Side.

Quirks
Skiers who are not proficient measuring and adjusting fins and bindings should not consider this ski. If the settings are not right, the ski may feel insanely fast or insanely slow. The C65 may not work on a skier’s first few rides. The needed adjustments are unusual, but the team at Denali offers personalize counseling for each skier on the ski.

Some skiers may find that they need to adjust their weight distribution back slightly to keep the ski from seeking an edge at gate turn in. This was my one frustration for much of the review.

There are skis on the market that make it easy to ski at the same level every day no matter how the skier is feeling (focused or distracted - strong or weak). The C65 is radically forgiving when you are in sync with it, but when you are not, it becomes much less friendly

Conclusion
The C65 is not for every skier. The C65 is not for skier who is unwilling to spend a number of rides finding the right settings. For the skier who has the time to dial a ski in, the C65 is a new level of performance.

Of the 30 or so skis I have reviewed in the last 7 years there are only a few that I wish I could ride for a whole season, and the C65 is unquestionably one of those skis.

c65 3

Final Note: The above review was based on the best known settings as of mid August 2017. The team at Denali continues to refine the settings. It would be fair to expect that the latest settings are superior to the ones used in this review.

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Comments

  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,414 Mega Baller
    Agreed. Requires some adjustment on the front end but confidence at the buoy is high. In my testing I never overturned, never took a slack hit, and the ski never stalled coming out of the buoy. I wish I had more season left to tinker.
    Jim Ross
    HortonB_Sjayski
  • robertoroberto Posts: 83 Baller
    @Horton . That last picture is a proper BOS!

    Great review, thank you very informative. All credit to @cord and @caldwell for breaking the 'mold' and creating a product that is fast and slow, to quote. "This ski is the best example of the merging of these two paradigms. Unique and maybe unicorns exist?

    Dam, I need that uncomfortable conversation with Mrs P about my ski for next year.
    Than_BoganWish
  • B_SB_S Posts: 165 Solid Baller
    @roberto I just told my wife I was buying myself a new ski as a 50th b-day present to myself, but I didn't tell her how much it was! She thought it was a great idea, as she is a skier and understands a bit how it is. A couple weeks later, she asked how much. Me: you don't want to know. Her: a couple hundred? Me: uh, add a 0. Her eyes got kinda big, but she let it go at that point. Probably because we had just finished a beautiful morning session and were still in the boat.

    Back to the Denali, it's worth every penny. Like the others mentioned, it took a couple of rides to acclimate, but by ride 3 I was smiling, and by ride 4 I may have actually been giggling and yelling Weee at the completion of turns!
    MattP
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 4,496 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Looking forward to spring after some more rehab on my leg...by then @razorskier1 should have that baby dialed and I can steal it.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
    WishMattPBruce_Butterfield
  • DWDW Posts: 1,554 Crazy Baller
    @B_S : Are you sure your boating session is about skiing? Also, smiling, yelling and 'weee' on the Denali may simply create jealousy. BTW - happy 50th.
    B_S
  • DanoDano Posts: 74 Baller
    @Horton Hard shells in these pics, testing? or have you moved away from the Vapors?
  • B_SB_S Posts: 165 Solid Baller
    @DW ;)
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,632 Mega Baller
    Ok, it's a little cheesy for me to bump this review, but at last weekend's tournament at least three different people asked me when the review was going to be posted on BallOfSpray, so obviously a lot of people missed it.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
    AdamCord
  • Fehlindra Fehlindra Posts: 183 Baller
    edited September 11
    5.93 and 165 ib here but prob end up with 175 with heavy wetsuits can i go 67" ? 34mph 22off
  • AdamCordAdamCord Posts: 484 Open or 55K Rated Skier
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,681 Administrator
    @Dano Yes I've been running some form of Reflex/HO/EDGE for the last year or two

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  • WishWish Posts: 6,769 Mega Baller
    edited September 11
    So disappointed. No sets here on the c-65 with water being over all the docks. Needs to drop a foot and that's gonna be a while. Only 3 rides and each a diff setting. May not get another set in before tourny in Jacksonville if they still have it.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    mbabiash
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,379 Mega Baller
    @wish I'd be going crazy. That's a bummer.
    Wish
  • ktm300ktm300 Posts: 364 Baller
    @Horton What setup #s? Thanks
    Deanoskiwaterskicorey
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,681 Administrator
    30.25
    10° ish
    2.440
    2.490
    6.800
    .745

    Last I heard the Denali boys had something new that they thought was better than these numbers

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

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    Than_Bogan
  • skinutskinut Posts: 335 Baller
    @Horton What length of ski?
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,681 Administrator
    67
    @AdamCord correct?

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  • slowslow Posts: 257 Baller
    A lot of wood in the water
  • AdamCordAdamCord Posts: 484 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    edited September 14
    @Horton your ski is a 67

    @Fehlindra you could go either way. Normally I would put you on a 66 but if you know you like bigger skis then the 67 can work too. I'm 175-180 and I ride a 67 at 36mph because I prefer to ride a bigger ski.
    phauswirth
  • jipster43jipster43 Posts: 1,356 Crazy Baller
    It's ironic that this flyweight can't get the C-65 in a 65"!
  • BG1BG1 Posts: 144 Baller
    @AdamCord How tall are you?
  • AdamCordAdamCord Posts: 484 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    @BG1 6'1"
  • BG1BG1 Posts: 144 Baller
    @AdamCord Thanks!
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,681 Administrator
    edited November 22
    I am trying to get acclimated to my C-65. I ran three 32s and five 35s today. I was reminded how freaking totally different this ski is. If you try one of these things please do not expect it to feel like any other ski the first ride.

    I love this ski but it is not like any other ski.

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

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  • WishWish Posts: 6,769 Mega Baller
    ...and that's truly the beauty of it.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • gavskigavski Posts: 119 Baller
    @Horton, are you on a different set of numbers to the ones you reviewed the ski with?
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,681 Administrator
    edited November 22
    @gavski I've got one ride on some new settings that I wanted to try and then 1 ride back on my preferred setting.

    My real point is the ski is different enough than every other ski I ride. The first couple of rides are going to be wacky. If I was a consumer who had bought this thing and didn't know for sure how much I loved it I might be leery of it.

    I'm sure it happens but I just can't imagine somebody skiing on it for the first time and thinking it's awesome. That's a shame because once you get your head around it- it IS super freaking awesome.

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Connelly / DBSkis /   Denali / Eden Ski Lake  / Goode / HO Syndicate / MasterCraft / Masterline

    O'Brien / Performance Ski and Surf / PTM Edge / Stokes / Reflex / Radar / Wakeye

  • gavskigavski Posts: 119 Baller
    last month i got to watch and talk to new Denali skier at a comp in fl...he loved it from the moment he jumped on it - and confirmed that it was nothing like any ski he had ever tried ...but i think he may have had a close link with the adams...

    so, apart from the above example, how would you navigate through the 'waters of uncertainty' to unlock it's freaking awesomeness?
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 4,856 Mega Baller
    edited November 22
    @gavski Denali has a trial program. It is a little more expensive than some due to the small size of the company. The trial program has access to the Adams to help you tune the ski properly and gives you some time to ski on it to see if it is a fit. Given what I have heard about the ski I think that is the only way to figure out if it is a fit for you commit a couple of weeks and at least 10-20 sets to seeing if it works for you.
    Mark Shaffer
    Than_Bogan
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