The 4FRNT Hoji is back for the 2015/2016 season with a few updates. First is the VibeVail technology that is a confidence inspiring material that dampens negative vibrations really well. This makes the updated Hoji better at speed, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s an ultra damp charger (More below). In addition the 15/16 Hoji received a more relaxed tip profile that helps to make it slightly more maneuverable and easier to handle in chop. Although the 15/16 received a few upgrades one thing is still the same. The Hoji is still a really fun ski that fills a unique niche. It’s a ski that has a really fun, playful, and surfy feel in the powder, and it dominates the soft snow. Its edge holds well in the soft snow, and the ski is actually quite quick from edge to edge, but this is definitely a soft snow ski. In the hard crust or groomers, the ski is stable, but it’s not going to be a ski you want to ride on the frontside when it’s hard.
2016 4FRNT Hoji On Mountain Video Ski Review
Riders: Matt and Brian
Conditions: Powder, Soft crud (5”), Groomers, Hard Pack, Bumps
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Tyrolia AAAttack 13
Ski Personality: The Hoji is a surfy big mountain powder ski that likes speed
On the Snow Feel: The 4FRNT Hoji is full reverse camber and offers a fun, playful, and very surfy feel in the soft snow and powder. When flat, the ski is really easy to pivot and maneuver, and I found I could smear and surf all over the mountain.
Powder: The 4FRNT Hoji is at home in the powder. At 112mm underfoot it may not be the best powder ski in the really deep, but for the 10” of fresh snow we skied the Hoji in, it was really fun. The Hoji has a 112mm waist, and a full reverse camber profile that allows for a decent amount of float. Again, this may not offer the best floatation in the really deep days, but for the mid depth powder, the Hoji was one of the most fun skis I have been on. It’s just so playful, and every turn feels like I’m surfing down the mountain.
Turn Initiation and Carving: In the soft snow the 4FRNT Hoji is very maneuverable and playful. You can pivot the ski with ease, and turn initiation is easy. However, as the snow firms up, turn initiation becomes a bit more of a chore. At 112mm underfoot, the Hoji takes a bit more speed to get the ski on edge. At low edge angles the ski is still really loose and washy. To get the ski locked in you really need a high edge angle, and you really need to pop from edge to edge to keep the ski from washing out. The Hoji is definitely most at home making large radius (25+m) in the soft snow. If you’re looking for a ski that likes to make a lot of tight radius turns, the 4FRNT Hoji is not your ski.
Speed: The 4FRNT Hoji has a 30m radius that is best suited for big lines and big speed. In the soft snow, the Hoji can be pushed to high speed limits. The Reflect Tech really helps to make the transitions from edge to edge smooth and fluid, giving you confidence when carving long turns at speed. A full wood core helps to keep things damp while the full rocker helps to eat up terrain. The updated 15/16 Hoji also has VibeVail tech, helping to reduce tip chatter and negative vibrations. We found that as long as we were on a high edge angle the ski was very stable and damp, especially on softer snow. The VibeVail does a good job inspiring confidence at speed, but there are a few other factors to consider. When things firm up, the Hoji feels much less at home. It’s not necessarily that the ski chatters or vibrates any more than in soft snow, but it’s harder to get a good edge. I’d caution that when the bases are flat, the ski feels much less stable. I think the best way to derscribe the Hoji at speed is great on edge in soft snow, but a bit too loose to feel comfortable when not on edge.
Uneven Terrain: We really felt the 4FRNT Hoji did a great job in the variable conditions as long as it was soft. The day we tested the Hoji, we had a lot of 5” piles of soft crud, and the Hoji had no problem floating through it. Once the snow started to harden up the Hoji was much less stable. Often in the hard crud I like to take a bases flat approach and let the skis run, but with the Hoji once the ski is flat in the hard snow you lose all of your stability. So again, the Hoji showed us that it is a ski that can dominate in the soft snow, even in only two inches of fresh, but once on the hard snow, the ski has limitations.
Moguls: The 4FRNT Hoji is easy to pivot and very maneuverable, but it’s not super quick from edge to edge, nor is it very snappy in and out of turns. The Hoji is most happy going fast and making very large radius turns. This is definitely not ideal for mogul or tree skiing.
Edge Hold: The Hoji is 112mm underfoot and does take a bit of speed to get the ski on edge, but once there the ski actually rails pretty well (in the soft snow). With Reflect Tech the side-cut and rocker work together to provide a smooth and predictable edge, helping to insure edge hold when the conditions firm up a bit. In the soft snow we found the Hoji to have really good edge hold, and we found we could really push the 4FRNT Hoji, but once again, as the snow firmed up, the ski felt much less stable.
Flex: 4FRNT stiffened up the tip a bit more for this season to make sure it was folding when being driven hard. It’s still soft enough to provide great float in the powder, but stiff enough for aggressive skiing.
Switch: The 4FRNT Hoji is a directional twin, but it is definitely most happy riding forward.
Jumps and Park: The Hoji is not a park or jump ski, but has a wide and stiff enough base for big drops.
So who is the 4FRNT Hoji for? Well the Hoji is for the skier looking for a great soft snow ski for any day there is fresh powder. Yes there are wider skis out there for the extremely deep days, but for any other day you have fresh snow, the Hoji is a great choice. It’s super playful, and really fun to ski. Reflect Tech helps to keep the edge hold on the groomers, and although this isn’t a front-side ski by any means, you’ll still have plenty of edge hold to make it back to the lifts. When the snow is soft you can surf and smear down the entire mountain, or if speed is your thing, open them up and let the skis run. The Hoji is happy making long radius turns at speed, perfect for big lines. This probably won’t be in your one ski quiver, the frontside performance isn’t great, but this is a perfect complement to a frontside ski and/or powder specialist. It’s also light enough to make a great touring ski. We would definitely recommend the 4FRNT Hoji if you love the soft snow, and plan on spending a lot of time riding when the snow is good.