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.
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.