The HO Syndicate A2 is the second of HO’s “A” or “Angle” series. Its predecessor, the A1, is one of the most popular skis in recent history. Fans of the A1 said the off side turn was ultra-forgiving, and the ski was stable and easy to ride. Detractors of the A1 said the ski was not overly fast, and it was slow turning at the on side turn. For the A2, the design team, lead by Bob LaPoint, has taken the proven design of the A1 and refined it into an even better ski.
The A2 is a calm, predictable, and balanced ski. It waits for skier input and then does exactly what it is commanded. It is easy to ski technically correct on a ski that inspires confidence. The A2 is confidence inspiring.
Toe Side (Off Side) Turn
Approaching off side turns, the A2 apexes and arcs in early without much skier input. With moderate front foot pressure, the ski continues to draw an arc back to the wakes. The A2 carves a path around the off side that is continuous and flowing.
Heel Side (On Side) Turn
Where as the A1 required a definitive amount of front foot pressure, the A2 is more tolerant. It still requires front foot pressure but less than the A1. With moderate front foot pressure, on side turns are smooth and as flowing as off side turns. Skiers that are accustom to riding their back foot into on side may struggle to get angle.
From Second Wake to Ball
Width is easily achieved on the A2. Given reasonable handle control/rope tension, the A2 naturally draws a path wide and in front of the ball. The angle the ski achieves before the wakes is easily maintained off the second wake. By shifting your weight forward off the second wake, you will reveal this ski’s full potential.
From Ball to Second Wake
The A2 does not “feel” dramatically fast off the ball, but by design, the ski continues to acquire additional angle from the ball line to the wakes. Due to this ski’s arcing turns and overall balance, it is easy for the skier to achieve optimal position.
Quirks & Notes
Excessive physical effort is not required by the A2, but it does require that the skier maintains a steady level of aggression. When skiing in the aforementioned state, the A2 performs as described above. If the skier becomes overconfident half way through a pass, performance will diminish unexpectedly. The only trouble I had on the A2 was when I thought to myself: “Relax, Walrus. This pass is in the bag.”At the end of my scheduled month on the A2, I was given a 2012 spec fin. The new fin is thinner and unquestionably made the ski faster. The feeling of speed was especially apparent at gate pullout and out bound from the wakes to the ball line. This change made a good ski even better.
The experience of riding the A2 is all about being wide, early and smooth. I think this is the best ski from HO in recent history. Mid-way through my time on the A2, I had the best ride of my life. I guess Bob LaPoint really does know something about slalom skis.
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