Skimo Co

Black Diamond Helio 88 Ski

$829.95 $399.93

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As the lightest and skinniest member of the Helio family, the 88 is the fastest to the top and the quickest to turn. It’s the ideal choice for long-distance or high-altitude winter tours, plus spring mountaineering season. It shares the Sidewall Dampening System of the other Helio skis which is what makes them feel like a beefier ski. The full length ABS sidewalls improve the impact resistance and offer and secure edge hold. Those are important features when you’re high on a mountain with just one way down. The Helio 88 skis are versatile, easy-to-handle, and just plain fun.

  • Rubber integrated into the sidewall behind the heel reduces vibration on hard snow.
  • Balsa flax wood core is wrapped by carbon-fiber to make a reliable ski with a balanced flex.
  • Beveled 5mm ABS sidewalls help with edge hold and add some rock impact resistance.
  • Binding area is reinforced with Titanal sheets that will make pull-out a near impossibility.
  • Rockered tip and medium sidecut make for a good all-round ski that won’t get hung up.

Update 2018/19: Along with a graphics update the ski had its layup tweaked for a bit more dampening. Weight went up 2-3 ounces per ski.

Lengths (cm) 158, 168, 178
convert to ounces
1235g [158]
1320g [168]
1440g [178]
Weight (pair) 2470g [158]
2640g [168]
2880g [178]
Dimensions   119-88-110 [158]
121-88-111 [168]
123-88-112 [178]
Turn Radius   17m [158]
18m [168]
19m [178]
Skin Fix   Round tip, reinforced flat-notch tail
Specs Verified Yes
Profile   240-270mm rockered tip, traditional camber w/ 129-143mm "Semi Rocker" tail
Shape   Rounded tip, medium radius, flat tail
Construction   Flat sandwich with pre-preg carbon layup
Core   Balsa flax wood core
Skimo Co Says
Usage Long distance touring
Notes Full sidewall construction has great edge hold
Bottom Line All around mountaineering ski for high altitude adventures
Compare to other Mid-fat Skis

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Questions & Reviews

Spencer (downright abused product)
I have been very hard on my Helio 88 skis for several seasons now. One of them got core-shot, then repaired, then the core-shot fell out, and I've just been having to wax the gash in my base ever since. I'm still skiing them, and they still work great.

For what they are, they are a fantastic ski. You will fly up the mountain. Will you look good going down it? Well, it depends on a combination of the conditions and how good a skier you are. I suck, but I feel I have learned to ski these skis in a variety of conditions reasonably well. They will obviously not do well in bottom-less powder, but they're not designed for that. They're also going to get deflected a lot in crusty, icy or choppy conditions. However, they do very well when you've got soft snow over a very supportable base. I find that they're quite squirrelly for me, but I'm still having fun.

And I see now they've dropped in price from $830 down to $400. Can you guess which price I paid? SIGH.... oh well.

I'm still giving them 4/5 stars, though, because I've had so many fun days on them. They really are a good ski for what they are. Remember, there is no ski that does it all. For what this ski is designed for, it is very good at what it does, which is let you fly up the mountain, and then get down it reasonably well, depending on your ability and the conditions.
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Centerfold (used product regularly)
This is a great ski. I wasn't as a big fan of the 105s but for fast and light missions these really were great skis. I skied in a variety of terrain. And these really excelled in the soft snow of the Wasatch. If you are looking for in-a-day missions, I highly recommend it. Not sure if it is a daily driver on the deep days but as they say at skimo, "You can ski anything in powder."
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Question from vincent b
i currently ride a ben chetler 100 but it is way to heavy for the mountains we have in quebec.

I am looking to change thoes one with an helio carbon. i am really in between 88 an 95. Witch one do you recommand ?

I'am 5"7 for 200lbs and a usualy ski undergrowth, and sometimes in groomed. My boots are salomon slab, and i plan to change my fix with helio 350.
Is 162,161 seems a little bit short and 170s a little long ?

Answer from Tim
Hey Vincent,
For what you are doing and the snow pack there in Quebec I would suggest going with the 88s. With the early rise this ski will float very well in the Quebec snow and I think you will find it a bit more versatile then the 95s. The early rise will also make these skis feel a tad shorter so I would think the 170cm would be the best choice.
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Question from JT22
Any more intel on the mount point? Many reviews say that the recommended line on Helios 105 and 116 is way too far forward. So many people are going -2 to -3 cm. Anything similar going on with Helio 88?
Answer from Cole P
Hey JT22, thanks for reaching out. The Helio 88 is more of an objective/mountaineering ski and it's best to mount on the manufacturer's recommended mounting point. The reason why you see people mount the 105 and 116 further back is because it will give them more support in deeper snow. Since the 88 would be a ski for corn, couloirs, and big objectives I would prefer to be more center on the ski than too far back.
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Question from HSSapiens
Struggling to decide on a size, of course...I'm 5'11", 150lb, ski conservatively when I need to and open it up when I can. Want this ski for peakbagging and narrower couloirs in CO, which has me considering the 168cm. Prior skis and the thought that I might end up using this ski for everything has me thinking 178cm.

Other skis:
-Helio 95 Carbon 183cm. Been driving them with the Scarpa F1, feel the boot gets overpowered before I can really flex the ski. Going to remount the Superlite 2.0s I have with the new Dalbello Lupo Air 130 and think it'll be great.
-Blizzard Brahma 88 180cm. Resort ski, feel at home on it.

Thanks for an opinion!
Answer from Brett S
Thanks for your question! If you're primarily going to use the ski for spring time mountaineering, steep couloirs, etc... the 168 would be a fantastic choice. If you envision using the ski mostly during the middle of the winter for meadow skipping and higher speed applications, the 178 is the way to go (but you are gaining weight and loosing maneuverability for the steeper, narrow couloirs). Based on your already awesome quiver, I think the 168 would be the route I would choose.
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Natalie (used product regularly)
Used them for one season. I think these will be alright for skinning up the resort and carving groomers, as well as cross country touring (like Grand Traverse or similar). Skis are light and stiff. However, as actual skis for spring skiing objectives they do not perform well. They are too light for variable conditions and not responsive or predictable. They underperform in powder being so narrow. I am much happier on a different ski.
Reply from TSB
Hey Natalie, thanks for your review, and we're sorry these weren't your ideal spring skiing boards! Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you want to talk through your experience on the Helio 88 and see if we can find you a ski that would suit you better. Give us a call or email Cheers!
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Question from Brian
What mount point do you recommend for spring bc objectives and skimo racing? Thinking "BC" or +1.
Answer from eric
Brian- Depends on the boot but if you are using a matched boot I would suggest the "BC" line.
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Question from James
I am considering getting the helio 88 and 116 for a two ski quiver. I am currently on Volkl VTA 98s @ 178cm with kingpins and am happy with the versatility, but am looking to go lighter with a Helio & G3 zed pairing as well as expand my quiver. The 88 would be for objectives in the White Mountains in typical east coast conditions (ice/mix) with the 116 for Alaska trips and the occasional 10” plus day in New England- how do the two skis handle mixed snow? Is the 88 enough to handle 4-5” of fresh and the occasional powder pocket? How much would I benefit from adding a helio 105 to the quiver for mixed conditions? Many thanks
Answer from jbo
Hi James, the 88 is plenty of float for those types of conditions; only a few years ago that would be considered a fat ski. A Zed would ride nicely on it. I think you'll find you don't need much more. You could also consider the 105 for the 10" days and Alaska. Even in the wasatch many of us don't go wider than that.
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Question from Frank Heimerdinger
I'm looking for a ski to take on long 1 day traverses with variable conditions. I am looking for a ski that is light but also dependable if conditions are icy. Soft snow performance would be a bonus. I'm 5'10 and 175lb. What do you think of this ski for those specifications? What size would you recommend?
Answer from Nate
Hi Frank, I think that this would be an excellent ski to suit what you are looking for. It's an excellent balance of firm snow performance and soft snow ease. I would suggest the 178cm length.
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Question from Eric
Hey I was wondering about what size to get. I am 6'4 and 200 lbs, wanting a touring setup that's better than my 20 pound sidecountry setup. I ski in Montana, and it would be a touring only ski. I have heard different things about underfoot width, and was told not to get anything below 110 underfoot, which made me think Helio 116 @ 184, but i don't know if that's the best ski for everything. Can you steer me in the right direction?
Answer from Nate
Hi Eric, my general advice for folks who are going with a single ski setup for touring is to select something between 95-100mm under foot. This width tends to be the most versatile across the broadest range of snow conditions. 110mm is a very large ski for most touring needs, particularly if you are trying to be weight conscious. At your height, I would suggest a ski that is 177-185cm in length.
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Question from Josh
Trying to decide between the 88 and the 95. 6'5" 182lbs. New skier switching from splitboarding. Ultrarunner who wants to train through winter without the pounding. In the Scarpa F1 boot, leaning toward the G3 Zed unless you call me a dummy. Length and width ski you'd reco?
Answer from eric
Hey Josh I would look at the Helio 88 in 178cm if your looking for moving fast and keeping fitness. 95 would be better for everyday powder hunting.
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Question from meta
I am getting a BD helio 85 158cm for skimo. (I am 115lb and 5'3) What binding do you recommend? I am thinking about the dynafit speed turn because of its lightness, but I am also somewhat concerned about the degraded downhill performance?
Answer from jbo
Hi meta, it's generally best to match up a binding with a skier. As such I'd recommend visiting our binding finder to discover all your options. Downhill performance is not a problem with the Speed Turn, for what it's worth.
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Question from Zachary L
Hi all,

I am living in Northern New England and am about 5'11" 170 pounds. I am a splitboarder who has made a hardboot transition for my splitting, and is now looking to get back on skis for fitness before the lifts run, traverses, approaches to climbs (especially in the presidentials), and some other two plank fun. My boots are the arcteryx procline (noncarbon). yes I snowboard in them too!

I have narrowed my choices of ski down to the Voile Objective, the BD Helio 88, the Blizzard Zero G 85, and the Dynafit 7 Summits. My question is not just which ski, but how long? I will not be the most graceful skier, and most likely not maching down the mountain on these things. And also, any recommendations for which ski to go for? I have an old pair of speed radical toes that I will be using.


- the one planker.
Answer from Trace Leches
Hey Zach, thanks for reaching out! Good work snowboarding in those boots! Hard-booting is a slippery slope (did that count as a pun?). I'd go for the 168cm ski with the 178cm being a not very close second choice. The Voile Objective, Blizzard Zero G 85, and Dynafit Seven Summits are all offered in 171cm lengths, which I think suits you a bit better than the 168cm Helio 88. Just on a personal note, I think the flex pattern of the Seven Summits and Voile Objective will suit your boots a bit better than the Zero G 85 or Helio 88.
Answer from Zachary L
Thanks for the reply! much appreciated. I didn't really think about the procline limitations and which ski would work best..
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Question from Aaron
I am 5'6 150 and am looking for a ski most suitable for pure ski mountaineering objectives and climbing approaches. I am torn between the 88s and the 95s and on how to size them.
Answer from Trace Leches
Hey Aaron, thanks for reaching out. I'd say it may depend on which boots you are skiing in. I think the Helio 88 in a 158 could be perfect for approaches and steep skiing, though the 168cm ski would be nice if it was going to be your only ski for all conditions. The Helio 95 in 163cm would be awesome as well though.
Answer from Aaron J
I'll be skiing in Scarpa Maestrale alpine touring boots.
Answer from jbo
Hi Aaron, I'd go for the 88 in a 168 for your size and purpose. And then get lighter boots :P
Answer from Aaron J
Thank you for the responses. Yes, I intend for these to be my only par of skis.
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Question from Michael
The specs say that they are not recommended for telemark bindings. Does anyone know why?
Answer from jbo
Hi Michael, typically that is because there isn't enough reinforcement in the toe binding area to handle the forces applied when dropping a knee.
Answer from Christopher M
Binding Freedom inserts or Quiver Killers offer a solution to telemark bindings in light-core skis. From my personal experience (200# without gear, Type III+ telemarker, 20+ pairs of skis mounted with inserts and binding swaps beyond count) Is it the same reliability and durability as normal binding screws in an alpine core? Maybe. Is it close? Definitely. Would I air 20' off a cornice onto that set up? ...only if necessary. Would I trust it with a four-hole Dynafit mount pattern for a TTS-style set up... no, not really at my weight. Wait for the Lynx to become mainstream or get a set of Meidjos, mount them with inserts and enjoy rippin' skinny skis with drop knees.
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Question from Christine
Thanks jbo. Follow up questions to the one posted below! I am debating between the Helio 88s and the 95s. I just realized they are quite different dimensions. The 88s @ 168cm are 121-88-112 and 95s @163 cm are almost the same tip and tale but wider under foot. (122-95-112). So the 95's actually have less side cut - which I think would be an advantage skinning up on ice?

I am 5'6, 150 lbs and a intermediate+ skier with many years of touring. I think the 163's might be a little short for me, so maybe that solves it and I should buy the 88s.?

Thanks for any thoughts!
Answer from jbo
Hi Christine, yes the 95s are 1 meter longer in radius. It's not a big enough difference to be noticeable when skinning.
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Question from Christine
I am considering the 88's for a spring tour in the alps. I currently have the BD converts but want something lighter. I also hate how insecure the converts (and any wide and shaped ski I have used in the past) feel when skiing up icy snow. Do you think the 88s will hold an edge better when skiing up? Thanks!
Answer from jbo
Yes Christine, the skinnier skis are easier to skin up, with better edging on the up and down. The Helio 88s are reliable in spring icy conditions, and they are still fun in powder too :)
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dauwhe (used product a few times)
I now have four days on these, in wildly varying conditions. So far, they are exactly what I hoped for—maneuverable, turny, easy. On skied-out end-of-the-day manmade, there were no unpleasant surprises. On sticky, soggy sidecountry mush, I was somewhat surprised to be able to turn at all. On pristine pre-first-chair corduroy, they were swoopy and fun. Today, on really brutal skied-out semi-refrozen dust on crust, they were really quick across the fall line in tight spaces, and I could steer them through the ruts and piles while staying upright. I was amazed to survive that snow at all. They're light enough that I never noticed weight on the up. I'm skiing these with a Dynafit classic toe, Speed Superlite 1.0 heel, and TLT6Ms. I'm so looking forward to more skiing with these!

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Question from Frederique
I'm debating between the helio 88 or 95 for my lightweight touring setup. Mostly skiing on the west coast on both steeps
and heavier powder. I don't weigh much (120lbs) so I thought I could get away with a skinnier ski that would still be able to
perform in crud and heavier west coast snow. What do you guys reckon?

Thanks in advance,

Answer from Trace Leches
Hey Frederique, I'd go with the 88, hands down. You mentioned you are trying to get a "lightweight setup" get a lightweight setup. The 88 will perform better on steep, icy terrain due to the lighter weight and narrower build, the light rocker will help you float on top of crud rather than get bounced around, and it's a LOT of ski for the weight/waist width so don't be afraid to let it loose every once in a while.
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Model: Helio 88

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