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STRATO 70 TLD TI What does it mean when five out of nine testers rate a ski best in its category? In the case of the Strato 70 TLD Ti, it means it’s not only the top scorer in its category, but it’s the top scoring men’s ski in the entire test. “A buttery, allmountain beauty,” is how one tester described it, and that was a tester who didn’t score it at the top of the charts. The ski simply performs all tasks effortlessly, no questions asked.

STRATO 70 TI 124-70-112@170 cm | R 13.1 | $949.99 w/b

RADICAL 8 SL WC OVERSIZE

Some skis are a form of guilty pleasure, making the sport so easy that you might think you’re cheating. One tester actually complained: “The ski is almost too easy to turn.” If you are willing to burden yourself with the guilt of riding a ski that doesn’t make you work hard enough, you’ll love the Strato 70 Ti. “Absorbs terrain variations very softly and forgives everything,” wrote another tester. “Bravo.” Wipe that guilty smile off your face.

124-70-112@165 cm | R 11 | $950 w/b Some like it light. The Radical 8 SL is a featherweight that flits through turns with effortless speed. While longer turns can demand extra work — you’ve got to keep pressure on the skis to keep them turning — snappy, short-radius turns come together with unerring exactitude. This kind of ski is a matter of taste; testers who preferred a light touch on the snow rated the Radical 8 SL tops in the category. Others found it nervous. What do you like?

ATTRAXION 8 ECHO 127-75-108@162 cm | R 12.8 | $900 w/b

AVENGER 82 TI

A ski with the old Jane Mansfield shape — buxom up top and slimming to a svelte waist — ought to make crisp, tight turns. The Attraxion 8 Echo tapers a full 50 millimetres from tip to waist, so the ultra-easy short-radius turns it produces aren’t surprising. One tester compared it to “water from a faucet. The ski just flows.” What is unexpected is how well-rounded a ski it is, with no discernable weaknesses. What takes shape, then, is a true, all-mountain marvel.

126-82-112@170 cm | R 16.8 | $1,125 w/b After a couple of runs on the Avenger 82 Ti, one tester was left drooling. “Like butter is to cooking,” he wrote. “This ski is good in everything.” And if food metaphors are in order, think also of a strip steak — as tough as untanned leather. The ski executes all turn shapes in all snow conditions with unflinching ease, yet it’s got the sinewy muscle to hold steady when a powerful pilot pushes the throttle to mach speeds. Yum!

S80W FREESKI 122-80-109@165 cm | R 13.1 | $800 w/b

AVENGER 76 TI

Not every ski has to be like a five-year-old on caffeine. Sometimes it’s nice to have a ski that glides from turn to turn, rather than jumps with overabundant energy. The S80 W Freeski is for those who go with the flow rather than those who enjoy feeling like a rocket launched at the end of each turn. Put another way: it’s a ski you can settle in with, as opposed to an action-packed blaster that knocks your socks off.

127-76-108@170 cm | R 15 | $900 w/b Are you kidding? Turning a ski can be this easy? A featherweight softie, the Avenger 76 Ti makes turns as if it were hot-wired to your brain — just think about turning, and the ski goes into action. Normally, big and burly fellows bend a soft ski beyond submission, and its performance suffers. Not here. Big testers loved this soft sweetie. And that softness helps the ski glide through bumps and crud, with the big sidecut providing carving teeth on the firmer stuff. No kidding.

S86 FREERIDE

S86W FREESKI 130-86-116@165 cm | R 14.3@170 cm | $800 Bulk up, baby. To get the most out of the S86W Freeski, you’ve got to provide the energy. For the two biggest testers, no problem; they found what one called, “a great freeski.” Big girls cranking big turns in big snow — that’s where this ski really seems to strut its stuff. It might not be the most versatile ski, but take it to the open faces of a place like Whistler or Jackson Hole, and who cares about versatility, baby?

130-86.5-116@178 cm | R 15.9 | $800 Calling all crudbusters… The S86 Freeride rides through snow transitions — from powder into broken crud to bumps and back — with unwavering stability. It might not be the snappiest ski out there, but, as one tester wrote, “True experts seeking a tank to blast through crud at high speeds in long turns will enjoy it.” For skiers who like busting through barriers — who often go inbounds to off-piste and back, the S86 will smooth out the transitions.

ATTRAXION 3 ECHO 121-72-100@162 cm | R 14.6 | $800 w/b

AVENGER 74 CARBON 120-74-110@166 cm | R 15 | $575 w/b

Many skis aimed at intermediate skiers achieve their status through increased wimpiness. Like a mattress with extra stuffing. Not the Attraxion 3 Echo. This is the unusual intermediate ski that, as one tester commented, “likes to go hard and fast.” It still has the kinder, gentler characteristics of a classic intermediate ski, but it also has enough brawn to bring out the big-turning babe within you. Here’s a ski that will allow aspiring advanced skiers to leave wimps in their rear-view mirror.

Rocker — a.k.a. reverse camber, featuring turned-up tips and/or tails — was a technology designed to improve deep-snow flotation. Now some ski companies are playing with the concept on narrower skis, figuring that the rocker profile makes a ski easier to pivot. The Avenger 74 Carbon seems to confirm the theory. “This ski is a fun toy that likes to play, jump and turn everywhere,” wrote one tester. Easy turning? You bet, as long as you keep your speed in check. Rock on!

S74W

S3 FREERIDE

Here’s the official promise from Rossignol in combining traditional camber underfoot with turned-up tips and tails: “easier steering and more forgiveness.” What did testers make of it? For the most part, they found that Rossi delivered on the promise. Across the board, the S74W proved to be a dependable all-round performer that was surprisingly stable at higher speeds. But the highest scores? Easy turn initiation and forgiveness. Rossi apparently knows what it’s talking about.

128-98-118@178 cm | R 19.8 | $675 A powder ski is a powder ski is a powder ski, right? If it's the S3 Freeride, not necessarily. To be sure, the ski finds true happiness in the deep stuff, but take it out of the happy zone and onto the groomed, and it can do what few other fat skis can — make crisp, short, carved turns. “Surprising on groomed terrain, with good carving qualities,” observed one tester. A powder ski can be a carving ski, too.

12 | SkiPress Ski Test’ 11

114-74-104@160 cm | R 13.4 | $675 w/b

Photo: Blake Jorgenson

124-70-112@160 cm | R 13.1 | $1,050 w/b


ROSSIGNOL