Watch Life vs. Hart Pulse Ski Review 2012
I was recently looking to buy new skis and demoed Surface Watch Life and Hart Pulse. There wasn't a single good online review of these two
all mountain skis so here is my attempt to share what I found out.
These two skis could not be more different which proves that the
all-mountain category is either arbitrary or very wide.
But before we get into how these skis behave, let's describe them
Both have traditional camber, wood core (poplar for Watch Life and
ash/beech for Pulse). Watch Life is pretty wide underfoot with
132/100/122mm dimensions in 172 and 182cm length. Pulse is more carving
inclined with 124/77/110mm with better length selections: 152, 162, 170
and 180cm. Pulse does not come with twin tips but as all modern skis
has slightly raised tails and I had no problem skiing switch on a
I've seen two other Surface skis on the hill and they were a little
banged up with broken edges and delaminating layers. Both were skied by
pros who spend much more time on the snow than I ever will so I am not
Unfortunately, there was no pow, no crud, no cut up snow the two days I
was riding these skis. Just fast super hard pack with a ton of ice.
Kind of World Cup material, stuff I normally don't care about.
I demoed Watch Life 182cm and Pulse 180cm.
Watch Life feels like a harder flex ski than Pulse. It won't carve
groomers at low speed. You need to push it a little, or a lot if you
like to get a nice clean carve. It felt incredibly stable and safe at
high speeds, although I wasn't able to put enough weight on my uphill
ski. Although this may have to do with my style, the uphill ski felt a
little loose, but it didn't seem to affect the overall stability.
There were few people on the hill and I rode Watch Life probably too
fast for resort skiing most of the time. It's at those high speeds that
it performed the best. Low speed is not kind to it. The edge-to-edge
transfer is very lazy. I was skiing with bindings mounted forward of
the line and when I moved the demo bindings backwards, it was even
harder to initiate turns but the ski was even more stable in strong
Pulse on the other hand carves beautifully at any speed. It is super
fast edge-to-edge. It's like when you watch fighter jets fly in
formation and a couple of them peel off to the side all of the sudden.
That's how Pulse feels underfoot.
You can ski it very slow and keep all the elegance while hanging out
with slow skiers, or you can rip it like a speed demon. OK, for some
reason I felt less secure on it at high speeds than on Watch Life, but
it could all be in my head. It carves so cleanly that I couldn't
believe my own tracks.
Who cares about the top sheet? It gets damaged in no time anyway. I'd
just as well ski a solid color ski, but for you dandy skiers who like
to look at what you ride, Watch Life has a pretty lame graphic, but it
does stand out in the lift lines and it solicited some praise from
teenagers. Go figure.
Pulse has an EKG pulse graph (Hart, EKG, get it?) and printed circuit
board lines. Was this stuff ever cool, or am I completely out of touch
with what's hot? It does have an interesting bottom layer made with
lenticular 3D or some similar technology. The graphics seem to float on
top of this layer. Even so, if you're looking at your skis instead of
what's in the front, you have no business skiing.
Surface Watch Life or Hart Pulse?
Pulse is an awesome ski if you stay on the groomers most of the time. I
have a feeling that it would handle moguls well, but this is just a
guess. It's a snappy fast turner, real elegant and fun to ski at any
Watch Life should be renamed Heartbreaker
not because it's better than a Hart ski, but because your boyfriend or
girlfriend will never be able to catch up with you ski on it.
If Pulse is an F-15, Watch Life is some kind of fast, giant cargo plane
that can land on a dirt strip behind the enemy lines and deliver tanks.
It requires an aggressive style, it's not easy to ski.
Speed alone is not necessarily a good thing. I don't even like skiing
fast, but I took a leap of faith and bought Watch Life hoping that it's
going to outperform Pulse in pow and variable snow.
Now excuse me, I have to go to the gym to build up my core because this
ski will kick my ass.