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THE WILD SIDE: 5 LIFE-ALTERING SKI TRIPS ROCKER & THE ROCK STAR SHANE MCCONKEY’S SKI LEGACY GOLDEN GIRL WHY LINDSEY VONN RULES

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CONTENTS | VOL.9 NO.1 SKIPRESSWORLD.COM

DEPARTMENTS 06 EDITORIAL: SKI BUM ECONOMICS Want to make an investment that pays you back no matter what? Then go skiing, and you’ll be reaping smiles for years to come!

28 BOOTS

Ski Movies enjoy a shred-aissance as celluloid snow gets deep this year. + five life-altering ski trips that will rock your world.

It’s a big, bad world of boots out there… Good thing we’ve got Steve Cohen and Mark Elling to help us map it. In their Alpine Boots Preview, the two esteemed bootfitters give us in-depth reviews of new ski boots on the market this season.

18 PROFILE

32 SKIS

Lindsey Vonn is already the best woman skier in the world. But can she become the greatest skier of all time? Peter Oliver finds out what she has planned for the Olympics in 2010.

Want a new set? Curious about what’s on the market? Ski Press tested 258 skis for you this season. From easyturning boards to powder skis, twin-tips and all-out racers… they’re ranked here in these pages. 36 MEN’S TEST | 44 WOMEN’S TEST

08 SNOLIFE

COVER STORY 20 THE ROCKER & THE ROCKSTAR New York, London, Paris, Munich, everybody’s talkin’ ‘bout… rocker skis? These weird and wonderful powder boards are the talk of the pre-season. Too bad the late Shane McConkey — an early champion of reverse camber — isn’t here to hear it. Peter Kray tells us how skiing’s rockstar got our mouths — and our tails — wagging.

TRAVEL 26 SKI SWITZERLAND

REGIONAL SECTIONS Legends of Skiing: The Resorts. Our well-traveled editors give you the lowdown on where in your region to take a legendary turn.

EAST 24 LEGENDS OF VERMONT Graham Gephart on the timeless charm of Mad River Glen, the close-knit community of Okemo and why Jay Peak may be the East’s best steep and deep.

Swiss dawgs, breathtaking views and skiing from the top of the world — Lori Knowles takes you to the peak of one of skiing’s most unforgettable adventures.

MIDWEST

BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

Mike Terrell gives up the goods on the absolutely best ski areas, ski runs and ski legends of the Midwest. Al Capone, Mt. Bohemia and Granite Peak? Yeah, it’s got all that.

Read all about it… From the latest skis and boots to 2010 trends in style, shape, technology and color, your new gear is right here.

12 GEAR Want to look good? Purple is in this season. So is gold, green, hi-tech and… wait for it... the ‘80s! 12 GOLD — Solid gold style and how not to overdo it. 13 PURPLE — Paint a purple haze the way Jimi Hendrix would have done it. 14 '80S — Electric pink, green, yellow and blue… Billy Idol, eat your heart out. 15 HI-TECH — It’s a highly technical race and skiing’s gonna win it. 16 ECO — Sustainable skiwear: it makes snow much sense.

24 LEGENDS OF THE MIDWEST

WEST 24 LEGENDS OF THE WEST From America’s most perfect ski mountain to the shrines of US skiing, Pete Kray delves deep into why many of the world’s most famous ski areas are in the Rocky Mountain West. On the cover: Stéphane Godin catches Thibaud Duchosal coming at him in Les Arcs, France. Duchosal is ranked sixth on the Freeride World Tour. This page: Skier David Kantermo blasts out of the woods at Åre, Sweden. Photo by Nicklas Blom.


EDITORIAL | EDITORIAL EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Peter Kray // peter@skipressmag.com SKI TEST EDITOR SKI TEST TECHNICAL ADVISOR

Peter Oliver poliver@skipressmag.com Louis Croteau

EASTERN EDITOR

Graham Gephart graham@skipressmag.com

MIDWESTERN EDITOR

Mike Terrell mterrell@skipressmag.com

WESTERN EDITOR SENIOR EDITOR COPY EDITOR

Peter Kray peter@skipressmag.com G.D. Maxwell max@skipressmag.com Michael Bourguignon

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Eve Boissonnault, Steve Cohen, Mark Elling, Lori Knowles, Peter Oliver. PHOTOGRAPHERS Marc Archambault, Kurt Arrigo, Nicklas Blom, Aaron Brill, Michael Brown, Olivier Gast, Stéphane Godin, Jancsi Hadik, Yannic Laroche, Flip McCririck, Wade McKoy, Dan Milner, Gillian Morgan, Mike Ridewood, Jason Shields, Vance Shaw.

PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Marie-Claude Lalancette // marieclaude@studiosep7.com

Skiing's economic forecast? Immediate returns!

PROJECT MANAGER

Geneviève Boisclair geneviève@studiosep7.com

SKI TEST DIRECTOR

Sophie Harvey sophie@skipressmag.com

OPERATIONS MANAGER

Stéfan De Gagné stefan@skipressmag.com

PHOTO MANAGER

David-Olivier Gascon david@skipressmag.com

ADVERTISERS SERVICE COORDINATOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Claudie-Anne Brien claudie@lexismedia.ca LEXIS MEDIA

PUBLISHING & MARKETING PRESIDENT/CEO Jean-Marc Blais // jmblais@skipressmag.com ACCOUNTANT

France Massé admin@skipressmag.com

SALES

SKI BUM ECONOMICS Glen Plake, the Mohawk-headed Pied Piper of American skiing, once told me, “Skiing is the best way of wasting time that I know.” And honestly, I can’t think of anything more simply pleasurable than going up and down a snow-covered hill. It’s worth remembering in times like this how good the wind can feel in your face, with the world speeding beneath your skis, spinning like a wheel. Chairlifts make it better. Good friends make it great. And helicopters make it superb. But all you really need is gravity, and the snow. When I graduated from college I moved to Jackson Hole and skied more than 600 days over four years. I delivered pizzas and planted trees, and was out of work each mud season in the spring and fall. But I always had enough money for a new pair of skis and a season pass, and there was never any shortage of beer. Billy D, my roommate from that time, sent me an e-mail when the economic crisis was snowballing

Photo: Nicklas Blom

VP BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

across the planet like the wreckage of a small moon that said, “I bet we could get back our old jobs.” He’s an investment banker now. But other than his wife, his kids and their impending college tuition, he says he thinks about those seasons we spent skiing more than anything else he ever did. “Yeah,” I told him, “Me too.” Which I think is the difference between making memories and making money. No matter how hard you work to earn either, only memories consistently pay you back over the long haul. That’s why, no matter what happens with the economy, I’m skiing as much as I can this year. Because the dividends are guaranteed, and the (re)turns are unbelievable. I’ll see you out there.

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, FRENCH CANADIAN EDITION / SALES CANADA & USA

Harry deHaas (905) 471-9276 harry@skipressmag.com Alexandre Beauregard (514) 270-0997 alex@skipressmag.com

INTERNET WEB DEVELOPER TECHNICAL SUPPORT

LVL Studio Patrick Leith patrick@solutionsgecko.com

CIRCULATION CIRCULATION MANAGER

Marc Allard marc@skipressmag.com

1395 Marie-Victorin, Saint-Bruno (QC) Canada, J3V 6B7 Tel.: (450) 653-1033 / Toll Free: 1 888 854-3121 Fax: (450) 653-1038 Email: info@skipressmag.com Ski Press USA is published nationwides with regional Eastern, Midwestern and Western editions. Ski Press is also published in Canada. Visit skipressworld.com to read all these editions online. Ski Press proudly supports the global snowsports community including PSIA, SIA and ISPO, among others. To partner with us, contact jmblais@skipressmag.com. Stay connected to the global snow community on the web, visit skipressworld.com daily.

PRINTER Solisco (Printed in Canada)

DISTRIBUTION CA: Marine Marketing & Distribution, CO: Aspen Activity Center, Telluride Delivers, NCS, Gourmet Cabby, CT: CTM Brochure Display, D.C.: TGS Distribution, FL: CTM Brochure Display, IL: CTM Brochure Display, TGS Distribution, IN: CTM Brochure Display, MA: CTM Brochure Display, MD: CTM Brochure Display, ME: Kevin's Brochure, MI: CTM Brochure Display, MN: CTM Brochure Display, Metro Distribution Service Inc., NH: CTM Brochure Display, NJ: CTM Brochure Display, NY: Jean st-laurent, OH: CTM Brochure Display, Icon (Cuyugan Enterprises), OR: Central Oregon Brochure, WA: Curt Petera dist., OR: Weirson agency, UT: Andrew Wright dist., VT: CTM Brochure Display ISSN 1490-7755 Copyright © 2009 Ski Press World Inc. All rights reserved. While Ski Press World takes all possible precautions to ensure factual accuracy in its pages, it is not responsible for errors in the information published. Suggested retail prices printed in the magazine are subject to change without notice. This magazine can be recycled. Please recycle where it is possible.

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BUYERS' GUIDE 2010


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SNOLIFE | BY PETER KRAY

Photo: Wade McKoy/Focus Productions

Swift. Silent. Deep. Jackson Hole's Air Force

FRESH FOOTAGE: THE NEW GOLDEN AGE OF SKI FILMS

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BUYERS' GUIDE 2010

bro-down of epic elements from Alaska to Italy to Poland. What all these movies have in common is a commitment to creating something more memorable than just a bunch of faceshot flicks of young yahoos surfing straightlines. But you should check it out for yourself. Here’s a quick hit list for the best teasers on the Internet right now. Flight School: Swift.Silent.Deep. The history of the Jackson Hole Air Force. swiftsilentdeep.com Soul Sonata: Signatures. Sweetgrass Productions’ latest soft slide into the snow ciné. sweetgrass-productions.com The Blockbuster: Re:Session. TGR gets the gang together for one of the year’s best fi lms. tetongravity.com/re_session/ Snowboard Seminar: Black Winter. The gang at Standard Films gets ready to shred the sport’s transition. standardfilmsblackwintermovie.com The Classic: And, for a quick glimpse into the everlasting genius of Shane McConkey, get your hands on a copy of Matchstick Productions’ classic ski movie, Claim.

Signatures Sweetgrass Productions

Re:Session Teton Gravity Research

Photo: Flip McCririck

“It does feel like we’re on the verge of a golden age,” says Nick Waggoner of Sweetgrass Productions, whose soulful movie Signatures is on tour this fall, documenting a season of human-powered powder skiing in Hokkaido, Japan. “As far as format, content, music and editing style, there’s incredible potential to create moods with film, and to transport your viewer into a different world.” Waggoner joins new Alpine auteurs like Jon “JK” Klaczkiewicz, whose long-awaited movie, Swift. Silent.Deep, drops this fall, documenting the inspiration and still-spreading influence of the Jackson Hole Air Force. Equal parts ski club, snow fraternity and two-plank revving motorcycle gang, the “Air Force” sealed the envelope of big-mountain skiing in North America, counting among its legendary ranks the likes of “Sick” Rick Armstrong, Jon Hunt, Micah Black and Doug Coombs. More established production teams are also upping their games. Teton Gravity Research, who each year seems to unveil a new superstar of skiing and a new jaw-dropping range of previously unskied lines, brings us Re:Session, a back-to-the-roots

Photo: Michael Brown

Ski movies, those cinematic stoke-building precursors of the deep powder days to come, seem to be riding a shred renaissance this season. New filmmakers, new focus, and a new wave of everything-is-skiable energy emanating from the endless possibilities of rockered skis and open boundary lines has helped create a veritable blizzard of high-quality films.


SNOLIFE | Silverton Mountain

The Powder Highway Want to visit powder heaven? Just fly to Cranbrook, British Columbia, and rent a car. Fernie and Island Lake Lodge are a short drive away, and you can hit Kimberly, Panorama and Kicking Horse to the north. In fact, there are more than 50 resorts along the 530-mile loop, including many of powder skiing’s legends, like Revelstoke and Selkirk Tangiers. krtourism.ca/ski-map/

THE WILD SIDE: 5 LIFE-ALTERING SKI TRIPS Want the world’s greatest ski trip? Then start your wish list with a helicopter, a snowcat, and skinning to a backcountry lodge or two. Or wish bigger, for a January on the high cliffs of Chamonix, a week in Portillo, or a Valentine’s date snowed in at Alta’s Peruvian Lodge. But dare to dream of one of these five wild ski trips, and you may just change the way you think about snow.

Alaska is the absolute edge, and Jackson is the king, but hidden away in Colorado, Silverton Mountain is American skiing’s newest brand of rock and roll. One chair. High peaks. Foot-powered powder, and a chance to scare yourself like you have never been scared before. silvertonmountain.com.

The Olympics Just once, you have to go. And this should be that year. It’s close. It’s British Columbia. And when Lindsey Vonn wins gold, you can spend the night parading the Red, White and Blue. vancouver2010.com

Lindsey Vonn

The Arctic Circle Race, Greenland

Photo: Article Circle Race

Greenland’s Arctic Circle Race is a three-day, 160-kilometer crosscountry sprint across stunning glacial peaks and passes nearly 30 miles north of the Polar Circle. Competitors carry all their own food, and the kind of Dr. Fridtjof Nansen-approved survival kit that can ward off snowblindness and hypothermia. Why should powder skiers care? Because race founder Larsereq Skifte is also building Igloo Mountain nearby, a heli and snowcat operation with nearly 4,000 feet of pulse-pounding summertime vertical! acr.gl

Hahnenkamm Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

When the legendary Hahnenkamm hits Kitzbuehel each year, more than 100,000 Austrians with red and white painted faces don’t even bother to book a hotel. They dance in the streets while Austrian soldiers groom the course with crampons on, and racers pass the first gate already going 70 mph. Winners are instant gods (think Franz Klammer, Daron Rahlves), baptized in booze in the Londoner Bar. hahnenkamm.com

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BUYERS' GUIDE 2010

Photo: © Oliver Gast/Red Bull Photofiles

Photo: Aaron Brill/Silverton Mountain

Silverton Mountain

GET IT ALL AT skipressworld.com Can’t hit the slopes every day? At least you can hit skipressworld.com. From the freshest powder to the greatest new gear, the latest World Cup ski coverage and the biggest lines on the Subaru World Freeskiing Tour, we’ve got everything you need to know about snow. And don’t forget to drop in for Freeride Fridays to get stoked for Saturday’s opening chair, all at skipressworld.com.


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TRENDS | GOLD BY EVE BOISSONNAULT

2.

F o r g e t t h e e c o n o m y… glitter and glamor really are affordable this winter! Gold is one of 2010’s most fashionable on-slope colors. Dare to wear, but beware: Head-to-toe gold will make you look like the Liberace of the Alpine. Don’t overdo this flashy trend. Instead, accessorize your onecolor ski suit with one of these glittery items. Get it right and you are golden.

5.

1. DELUX GOLD MOON BOOTS from Tecnica tecnicausa.com

4.

2. MAJESTIC GOLD CHROME LENS SEQUINS GOGGLES from Anon anonoptics.com 3. PERLA WHITE AND GOLD SKI POLES from Gabel gabel.net 4. GOLD BUCKLED BANSHEE PRO WOMEN SKI BOOTS from Lange langeusa.com 5. WENDY GOLD JACKET from Jean-Charles de Castelbajac for Rossignol rossignol.com

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BUYERS' GUIDE 2010

3. 1.


TRENDS | PURPLE BY LORI KNOWLES

3.

L i l a c , l a v e n d e r, v i o l e t , plum… the ski world for women will be painted pretty shades of purple in 2010. But men get their Hendrix fix of purple haze, too, with boots, bindings and hats in halcyon shades of berry and grape. Now… 'scuse me while I kiss the sky.

2.

1.

1. THE BALDWIN WOMEN’S JACKET from Orage orage.com 2. THE RECEPTOR BUG HELMET from POC pocski.com 3. THE GRETCHEN (AS IN BLEILER) GOGGLE from Oakley oakley.com 4. THE AGENT 90 MEN’S SKI BOOT from Tecnica tecnica.com

5.

5. THE ELECTRA EARPHONE PERUVIAN HAT (EARPHONES INCLUDED) from Bula’s Stereohead collection bulabula.com

4.

BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

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TRENDS | 80s BY EVE BOISSONNAULT

4.

8

THE s ARE BACK...

AGAIN!

n I spired to moonwalk down the mountain? Feel free. E ighties fashions are back… and they’re BIG. aPtchworks of pink, green, yellow and rbilliant b lue will b low up all over goggles, helmets, jackets and bo ots for this brilliant back-to-the-f uture trend on the all-white slopes this season.

5.

1. GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN Roxy’s Mumbo Jumbo rockered powder skis. roxy.com/snow

3.

2. ALIVE AND KICKING The Matte Pop helmet in Giro’s Shiv park collection. giro.com 3. THE SUN ALWAYS SHINES ON TV Scott’s Alias SnowBlind goggles. scottusa.com 4. SHAKE IT UP Armada’s Checker Cyan hoodie. armadaskis.com 5. WALKING ON SUNSHINE The Kizamm jacket for women from The North Face. thenorthface.com

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BUYERS' GUIDE 2010

2.

1.


TRENDS | TECH BY PETER KRAY

WINTER’S TECH RACE

Sport is science, what with all the angles and curves and coefficients. And nowhere more so than in skiing, where going faster, steeper, warmer and safer all ser ve as the ultimate carrots at the end of the research and design stick. For this season, here’s what the future already looks like.

4.

KCT: Key Cool Technology

1. 1. OPEDIX CW-X STABILYX TIGHTS KCT: Better joint alignment and muscle development. opedix.com 2. SALOMON IMPACT 10 SKI BOOT KCT: Heat-moldable custom shells for an outrageously good fit. salomonsports.com 3. HEAD JIMI SKI KCT: Ripping rocker, bomber sidewalls, and such sweet graphics. head.com

5.

3.

4. UVEX MAGIC GOGGLE KCT: Liquid crystal technology that lets you micro-adjust the lens for changing light. uvex.com 5. BACKCOUNTRY ARSENAL KCT: Integrated probes and snow shovels that slide into the shaft. backcountryaccess.com

2.

BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

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TRENDS | ECO BY PETER KRAY

ECO ALERT

GREENING THE WHITE

2.

Some slow folks won’t think global warming is real until there’s no more snow on the slopes. But skiers think faster than that. And from Aspen to A r b or, a n d Cha o s to Quiksilver, they’re working hard to make snowsports so sustainable that we never get to the ‘no-snow’ point.

3.

KGI: Key Green Ingredient.

1. PATAGONIA WOMEN’S SIDEWALL KGI: Recycled polyester patagonia.com 2. ROSSIGNOL JONES BOARD KGI: Topless technology that uses fewer materials, inks and solvents. rossignol.com 3. CHAOS AJAX HAT KGI: Recycled post-consumer pop bottles. chaoshat.com 4. LINE AFTERBANG SKI KGI: Graduated core construction uses 60% less wood. lineskis.com 5. GETTING GREEN DONE: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution KGI: Excellent book by Auden Schendler, executive director of Sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company. gettinggreendone.com

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BUYERS' GUIDE 2010

1.

5.

4.


PROFILE | GOLD MEDAL GIRL BY PETER OLIVER

WOMEN’S WORLD CUP CHAMPION


Photos: Head

How good is the best woman ski racer on the planet? On last year’s World Cup, US Ski Team member Lindsey Vonn says she typically raced at just 90 percent of maximum capacity, and she was still a dominant force in winning the overall title. Why risk skiing the straightest, fastest line from gate to gate when a safer, slower line gets the job done? Here’s more scary news for the competition: Vonn is determined to get better. Last summer, when she was already the best speed-event skier in the world, she brought her famous work ethic to bear on improving her slalom technique. The result: two World Cup slalom wins last winter, and a jump from 32nd to third in the overall slalom standings. This off-season, the focus was on a giant-slalom upgrade. The goal: landing on her first World Cup GS podium. “It’s the last one left, and I know I can do it,” she says. It’s a modest ambition, given that last year she placed in the top 10 in every World Cup GS she finished. One goal she has not announced, however, is one never before accomplished: winning medals in five Olympic events. It’s not outrageous to ponder the possibility, and there are precedents of sorts. Norwegian Lasse Kjus medaled in five events at the 1999 World Championships, and Toni Sailer (1956) and Jean-Claude Killy (1968) each won three Olympic gold medals when only three events were contested. Vonn herself has been close. At last winter’s World Championships, she won both the downhill and super-G, and was in a medal position after the first run of both the slalom and super combined before skiing off course in the second run. (She skipped the GS.) Five Olympic medals? With improvement in GS, it’s not so far-fetched. Her talent and striking good looks have made her highly sought after for commercial endorsements, but don’t expect Bode-Miller-like stories of Vonn riding fast in the Olympic party lane or glamming with celebrities. In a most admirable way she is, put honestly, boring. She admits to being a homebody who likes getting up early, working out and cooking. Heck — she’s married, and her husband Thomas, a former US Ski Team member, travels with her as a support unit. “I've never been a partier or into the spotlight that much. Maybe that's why married life is so good for me,” she says. The Olympic fortnight, however, can test a star athlete’s temperament as much as talent. As Miller proved in 2006, plenty of gaps in the strung-out, two-week race schedule can allow an athlete to stir up unwanted attention. Vonn typically deflects intrusive questions with a laugh and a shrug, but everyone has a tipping point. She’ll also have to make adjustments on course. In the Olympic medal hunt, skiers usually push harder for the podium than on the World Cup. A 100-percent output level might be necessary, raising the risk of skiing off course. So maybe she’ll win only four medals in five events. Not too bad for the best woman ski racer on the planet. BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

19


COVER STORY

Freerider Matt Reardon rocks a set of Vรถlkl Gotamas, skis based on the rocker technology championed by the late Shane McConkey.

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BUYERS' GUIDE 2010


ROCKER

AND THE

ROCKSTAR

HOW SHANE MCCONKEY’S ENGINEERING GENIUS TRANSFORMED SKI DESIGN

Photo: Dan Milner/Courtesy of Völkl

BY PETER KRAY

When Shane McConkey died while ski BASE jumping in Italy on March 26, 2009, the news sent shockwaves through the entire world of skiing. Another young king was gone, lost in his prime, leaving behind a young wife and young daughter, and the world at his feet at the age of 39. So many great ones are gone too soon — like Buddy Werner, Fritz Stammberger, Spider Sabich or Doug Coombs, just to name an amazing few. And in their absence, their influence only grows, subtly or sensationally affecting how we see and ski the mountains. But the magic of McConkey was that he was so completely living in his own time. His legendary skiing helped set the big-mountain standard, and his commitment to the sport saw the birth of the International Free Skiers Association (IFSA). His sense of humor, so polished and outrageous, resulted in transcendent sequences in Matchbook Productions films like Yearbook and Claim, and in tight-silk-shortwearing spoofs on skier training guides in the pages of POWDER Magazine. For big mountain skiers all over the planet right now, McConkey’s insights into how skis float, carve and flex in off-piste conditions have also completely revolutionized ski design. When he first championed the Volant Spatula, and then the K2 Pontoon in 2006, two massively rockered, reverse-cambered skis that resembled the twin hulls of a catamaran, the weird-shaped waterski-looking things were met with a kind of incredulous fascination. But McConkey explained that skis had to resemble hulls in some manner, because skiing was like walking on water, and proved it by slapping some bindings onto a pair of waterskis and ripping big lines. He confidently told this magazine, “Over the next few years, all the companies out there are going to start making rockered skis. It just works too well.” Which is exactly what has happened. By engineering a reverse cambered, or rockered shovel — point your toes toward your head to get the idea of how the ski flexes up toward the tip — in wider off-piste skis, ski designers are suddenly able to offer instant flotation and more maneuverability at the same time.

BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

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COVER STORY

Photo: © Jason Shields/Red Bull Photofiles

Shane McConkey in Squaw Valley

Photo: ©Jancsi Hadik/Red Bull Photofiles

Shane McConkey

Long gone are the powder planks and slow steering whales. With literally dozens of new “rockered” skis being introduced this season, ski companies have put the construction of McConkey’s Alpine epiphany into overdrive. “By adjusting the length and height of the camber, as well as the profile of the tip of the skis, we can use varying amounts of rocker on different width skis to give the benefit of flotation, but also balance the need for edge grip and stability (in off-piste conditions),” said Mike Aicher, the US Alpine manager for Salomon. The elongated tip of a rockered ski smoothly surfs over mixed snow, while the narrowing sidecut and cambered waist provide a kind of cockpipt for each powdery flight, with remarkable control and pop into the new turn. For those that still haven’t tried it, it feels like the surfy slide of a long GS as you initiate each arc, but with the control and energy of a slalom ski as you load the turn. And the sensation only improves in steeper and deeper conditions! “Seriously?” you ask. “Fat skis that float and carve?” Like a butterfly. And on a dime. But that doesn’t mean that everybody’s jumping to center stage with rocker this season. Some notable exceptions, like Elan (which uses Rocker in the tip and tail of its powder-hungry Boomerang) and Nordica, are crushing off and on-piste conditions with game-improving flex technology in their Magfire (Elan) and Speedmachine (Nordica) lines. And even some of rocker’s biggest promoters say the new skis are just the latest evolutionary refinement of a longstanding design. “Look at wooden skis from the late 1800’s or early 1900’s and you’ll see long, rockered tips,” said Thomas Laakso, ski category manager at Black Diamond, the

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BUYERS' GUIDE 2010

Shane McConkey Skis

Shane McConkey’s influence will be felt everywhere in skiing, but K2 makes it personal with a limitededition Shane McConkey Ski, built on the legendary Pontoon chassis. Approximately 500 pair of the individually numbered, commemorative skis will be produced, and available at authorized K2 Dealers and K2skis.com beginning in October. All net proceeds will be donated to Shane’s family.

Utah backcountry based company that has recently made big moves in-bounds with its innovative all-mountain ski designs. “Or look at early powder-gun snowboards and you’ll see the same.” Of course, the technology is 200 years better this time around. And like the men we’ve put on the moon, these skis are taking a lot of skiers to places they had never been. Often in-bounds. A string of at-resort avalanche deaths blindsided seasoned snow control professionals in the Western Rockies last season, the result of a persistent November rain crust and the fact that an increasing wave of well-equipped skiers are pushing resorts earlier and earlier to open extreme terrain. In response, a kind of mini industry has sprung up to help the new breed of Alpine astronauts understand the potential — and limits — of the new technology they’re riding. From Kicking Horse to Whistler to Snowbird to Portillo, clinics and camps have opened to help even the most experienced skiers understand how to read the new wealth of available terrain. And even in-bounds, more and more savvy skiers are wearing transceivers each season. “Skiers need to see the mountains in the same way that they see moving water,” freeski legend Dean Cummings said to me in describing some of the more cerebral skills he teaches at his Big Mountain Ski Experience Camp at Snowbird, Utah. “They need to picture how they can ride that water, but also how that white wave can come crashing down on top of them.” Just like Shane said. It’s an Alpine ocean that we’re riding, and the ability of our winter wavecraft just keeps getting better all the time. Thanks, man. We can’t wait to rip it up in your name.


BY GRAHAM GEPHART

Photo: Mad River Glen

Mad River Glen

Mad River’s legacy will always be the single chair. It’s a lonely ride from the “Go Go Go” sign at the base, broken only by conversations shouted across the 60-foot gap between chairs and the twangs of bluegrass echoing up the peak from the mid-station stereo. The single-seater reflects the unique, Alpine exuberance of the runs, too. Forget cookie-cutter swaths — a Mad River trail winds and drops with the mountain, emphasizing the off-camber curves, Tower 10’s rocky bands and Paradise’s frozen waterfalls. FoMoInfo: madriverglen.com

Building a local mountain community takes effort; building a dedicated young community doubly so. While Okemo may draw from New England heritage, the mountain has stayed young as an early adaptor to the park and pipe scene that keeps feeding energy into the industry like an endless supply of Red Bull. And even though the features evolve over the years, it’s all built around local talent, like US Halfpipe Olympian Ross Powers, who helped design the six parks as well as his own Powers Superpipe, a 450-foot monster for boosting big airs. FoMoInfo: okemo.com Okemo Mountain

The “Beast of the East” earns its nickname through numbers — seven base areas, 29 lifts, 3,050 vertical feet and 191 trails between Killington and neighboring Pico. Often the first to

Poli Nightengale Woodstock, VT

Okemo is more than just a vacation, it’s a living story. There are thousands of stories. Thousands of moments. And many more to come.

Photo: Okemo Mountain Resort

Skiing in North America, with its history of 10 th Mountain Division soldiers, New England college racers and European ski instructors, can trace a direct path back to 1934, to a Model T-powered rope tow on Clinton Gilbert’s pasture hill in Woodstock, Vermont. Many of the Green Mountain State’s small-town hills have passed to brambles since Suicide Six’s first runs, but the legacy lives on in the mountains that remain. Embodying the classic lift hardware, the twisting, diving trails, pioneering spirit and local-trimmed tree stashes, these are the Ski Legends of Vermont:


Photo: Killington Mountain

Killington Mountain

Magic into a co-op. Despite its dedicated following, the mountain went dark for six seasons in the early 90s, and the skiers who skinned its slopes in the off-years are attempting to stoke the newly regained passion by making it a truly community ski area. Once you know how good it is, you too could be convinced to buy some co-op shares. FoMoInfo: magicmtn.com

Photo: Magic Moutain

Magic Moutain

With its vintage red double, hidden networks of stashes and policy of openly embracing touring skiers, Magic Mountain can feel like the Mad River Glen of Southern Vermont. This winter, its diehard skiers are working on another similarity: transforming

We invite you to share your stories with us at OKEMO.COM

Photo: Jay Peak

open and last to close, Killington comes alive with warm spring sunshine on its classic trails. It’s easy to find the party on Outer Limits, where amateurs and aspiring pros take on the massive bumps in the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge. While on the other side of the mountain, the highlight on Superstar is the hootin’ and hollerin’ from the chair. And when it all starts to melt, there’s no better place in New England to slash and splash the spring corn. FoMoInfo: killington.com

Jay Peak

Jutting up like a solitary watchman over the Canadian border, Jay Peak creates a powerful meteorological phenomenon. Known officially as “orthographic lift” and locally as the “Jay Cloud,” the result is deep powder — and lots of it. That snowfall is nice icing, but the rugged, challenging terrain is the real sweetness to this winter cake. Warm up on acres of steep trees and rocky gullies, then ride to the top and push your ski tips out over the edge of the Tram Face. Cliffs and gnarled scrub pines create and interrupt barely-there chutes, a legit test-piece that’s home to the East’s only IFSA-sanctioned freeski event. FoMoInfo: jaypeakresort.com

LUDLOW, VERMONT | 1-800-78-OKEMO


SKIING THE TOP OF EUROPE

BUYERS' GUIDE 2010

Photo: Switzerland Tourism

SWITZERLAND SSW W 26

Skiing high above Kleine Scheidegg (2061 m) near Grindelwald, Switzerland. The Eiger and the Jungfrau are in the background.

BY LORI KNOWLES

We’re climbing steadily into the all-white world of the Jungfrau, Switzerland’s highest mountain… the one the Swiss proudly call the Top of Europe. Our cog train bites its track steadily, one tooth after another, starting in Grindelwald at 3,393 feet, wending its way slowly past the treacherous, climber-unfriendly Eiger, chugging through miles of darkened tunnel, then finally halting at its destination: Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. Elevation? An impossible 11,333 feet.

We climb the stairs to a solid steel door and burst outside into the blinding white. From one striking viewpoint to the next on this high-alpine deck, we gaze down at the legendary ski slopes of Switzerland’s Jungfrau Region below us: Kleine Scheidegg, Schilthorn, Wengen, Mürren — all names we recognize from years of watching ski racing’s World Cup. All at once the steel door bursts open behind us and three shirtless kids come racing out. They undertand little English, but some American joker has taught them “SWISS DAWG! SWISS DAWG!” which they yell as they run wild. Their mother, oblivious to the white blotches growing on their backs, thinks the scene is hilarious, and madly snaps pictures of the cold kids. The tourists — mostly Bollywood fans here because these outrageous flicks often feature the Swiss Alps — are elated by the kids’ daring, and fumble to capture their own quick shots. We skiers watch at first, then raise the zippers of our jackets and gaze dreamily at the fields of perfect piste. Today, all of us are Swiss Dawgs, feeling on top of the world here at the Top of Europe. The Jungfrau Region cradles more than 185 miles of ski trails, spread across a picture-perfect, quintessentially Swiss set of Alps. The runs — mostly expansive intermediate ballrooms of fresh piste — are accessed by an intricate system of gondolas, cable cars, chairlifts and trains. It’s a system so broad it takes at least three days to fully explore it. From our bird’s-eye view at Jungfraujoch, it’s obvious the Jungfrau Region is divided into three main ski zones. Grindelwald First (First means Peak), is anchored by the perfectly Swiss village of Grindelwald. Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg are spread grandly below the Eiger — the Swiss climbing mountain made famous by Clint Eastwood in The Eiger Sanction. And then there is the iconic Mürren/Schilthorn, notorious as the backdrop for James Bond’s 007 when he was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. From this high, we can also see how tiny villages dot the snowscape — all mid-mountain, no-car communities filled with winding cobblestone streets, wooden farmhouses and ski shops. Most popular are the cozy restaurants that serve hearty fondue, raclette and rösti — cheesy meals filled with ample doses of potatoes and meat. And if we look closely enough, we can also trace the train tracks snaking up through the ski slopes. They follow the ridges and valleys all the way from Grindelwald, Interlaken, Bern… even Zurich. A skier has no need for a car in this region — Swiss trains are seamless. And often, one train pass is all you’ll need to access the ski trains and lifts. In our case, our perch at Junfraujoch has us poised to ski this broad and intriguing region. With our feet itching to snap into our skis, we leave the wild boys and Bollywood fans behind, catch a cog train to an endless slope, and start our exploration on skis of the Top of Europe. FoMoInfo: myswitzerland.com


get

15%

off

our best available rates Not valid with any other promotional offer. Valid November 26, 2009 to April 25, 2010. Subject to availability. Some blackout dates may apply. Please quote GRS at the time of booking.


NARROW

RT

MEDIUM

Hawx

WIDE

M-Series

X-WIDE

B-Tech

Denny Hanson’s eponymous Hanson boots were popular in the late Seventies and early Eighties thanks to their then-radical rear-entry design and thermo-wax liners. His new Apex is a similarly far-reaching departure, separating fit, closure and flex as it marries a carbon fiber outer shell with a heat-moldable walk-away innerboot with a Boa cable closure. You’ll pay for uniqueness; Apex’s single model is the most expensive on the market at $1,295.

28

BUYERS' GUIDE 2010

APEX

APEX

M70

Atomic continues to upgrade its liners. The new Asymmetrical Advantage liner has split construction with firm, grippy materials on the inside for strong medial control and a cushioned, perforated material on the outside to ease out of edge changes.

After five days in Vail, Colorado, this past spring testing next year's bestperforming boots, one thing was evident — this may be the best boot-buying year ever for large expert skiers with wide feet. Our WideBody Performance category crushed expectations virtually across the spec trum of manufacturers with 102- and 104-mm boots weighing in with beefy flex indexes ranging from 100 to 120. This is a far cry from even the recent past when good skiers looking for truly wide-fitting boots were relegated to marshmallow-flexing models. Accomplished skiers with massive dogs, or those just looking for an ample width fit, won’t have to sacrifice performance anymore. The workhorse Medium-Fit Performance category — those boots in the 100- to 102-mm zone that comprise the largest market for skilled North American skiers — all came to the test-off with a little extra width, a little extra length, and a touch more volume through the instep. They mark the 2009-10 class as perhaps the most comfortable of any fleet of expert all-mountain boots to ever hit the slopes. For in-depth reviews on the boots we tested, visit our website at skipressworld.com. For now, here’s a look at key developments in the alpine boot arena.

Joining the popular 98 mm Il Moro in Dalbello’s core park collection next season are the Blender and Voodoo. These two new models fuse the Il Moro’s three-piece architecture and innovative Hyperband closure system with a wider, 103-mm comfort last. The Tango is a specialty freestyle model uniquely proportioned for women’s feet and lower legs.

NARROW

Krypton/Il Moro

MEDIUM

Proton/Electra

WIDE

Axion/Raya

X-WIDE

Aerro/Aspire

RAYA

ATOMIC

BY STEVE COHEN & MARK ELLING

FAT TIMES FOR BIG FEET

DALBELLO

ALPINE BOOTS PREVIEW


Progressor

WIDE

Viron

X-WIDE

NONE

SETH MORRISON

LANGE

VECTOR 120

HEAD

Head’s new Vector is a three-model performance/ comfort hybrid that replaces the S line. It uses triinjection technology and unique Spineflex buckles for precision fit retention without excess pressure.

Simplification is the watchword at Lange. All collections now have distinct, 10-point flex index jumps and fewer feature changes as you move up the ladder within a collection. Blaster is a new 102 mm last collection aimed at “sidecountry” skiers who want AT-style boots with limited cuff release for easier walking.

NARROW

Raptor

NARROW

Comp/Banshee

MEDIUM

Vector

MEDIUM

Fluid/Exclusive

WIDE

Edge

WIDE

Blaster

X-WIDE

i-Type/Peak

X-WIDE

Concept/Venus

FULL TILT

MEDIUM

NARROW

NONE

MEDIUM

NONE

WIDE

ALL

X-WIDE

NONE

NORDICA

RC4

BLASTER

NARROW

Using a “Hamburger Helper” marketing model, Full Tilt takes what is essentially one model—Raichle’s old Flexon design — and morphs it into a complete freeski and park line with the use of adventurous cosmetics and component swaps. All models feature heat-moldable Intuition liners.

Nordica’s new Efficient Dynamic Technology (EDT) provides more power to the ski with less effort in updated Doberman designs. EDT is designed to reduce the structural inefficiencies caused by flex/torsional deformations of the shell during skiing. The technology uses an extruded aluminum boot board that is affixed through the shell with four pins. The EDT system is said to boost sole torsional stiffness by 40% and lateral stiffness by 6%, providing improved biomechanical efficiency.

DOBERMANN PRO EDT 130

ONEHUNDRED

FISCHER

The focus continues to be on the Soma-Tec Power Grip design, which slides the upper shell slightly outward off the centerline axis to put the foot in an abducted stance. Fischer says this speeds power transmission to the ski and provides better grip.

NARROW

Dobermann/ Hot Rod Pro

MEDIUM

Speedmachine/ Sportmachine/ Most Hot Rods

WIDE

Some Gransports

X-WIDE

Some Gransports/One

BUYERS' GUIDE 2010

29


ROSSIGNOL

THE METHOD TO OUR MADNESS

aRdical/All models with rPo designation

MEDIUM

Sensor³models

WIDE

Synergy/V ita

X-WIDE

x Ealt/X ena

3

ZEN I TH100 SEN SO R

TECNICA

The company’s unique Custom Shell technology that permits 6 mm of width expansion in the forefoot spreads from its top-end Falcon to Impact and Idol high performance models. The New Falcon X3- RC (men’s) and Instinct X3-10 (women’s) are gutsier, with spine reinforcement and more upright cuff position. The New Mission RS 12 is a stiff, 102 mm forefoot model targeted to heavy, big skiers with wide feet who need boot with pluck.

NARROW

P H O EN IX100 H IP ER FIT

SALOMON

R S

Rossignol literally expands its Sensor³ concept (so-called because it links the tripod balance points beneath the heel, 1st and 5th metatarsals). There’s now a more relaxed fit 102 mm last that is called Sensor. Sensor boots use reduced profile boot boards and the foot perimeter sits in direct contact with the shell for improved energy transmission. The Sensor collection (Synergy for men, Vita for women) uses the same anatomical toe box and heel as the Sensor³, but are wider in all the key fit zones.

The four-model Phoenix collection replaces the popular Vento as Tecnica’s higher-volume series. The all-new last provides improved foot envelopment and cushioning. The Delta Force System on the Phoenix allows skiers to easily adapt power and rebound flex to their personal preference for the day’s conditions. The boots also get a higher, more form-fitting tongue for improved wrap and flex as well as ultra-slim, ultra-strong carbon steel buckles.

NARROW

3 X/Falcon/ Instinct a( ll expandable to x-wide)

NARROW

Diablo/Attiva rPo & Dragon

MEDIUM

Impact/Idol e( xpandable to x-wide)

MEDIUM

Dragon/Attiva P

WIDE

Mission/Divine

WIDE

P oenix/ h Attiva M

X-WIDE

All Custom Shell models

X-WIDE

P oenix V h L/H Mega

30

YER U B S' G IDE2010 U

America’s Best Bootfitters, the international group of elite boot fitting shops, teamed up with Ski Press this past April to create a new-school boot test. For the first time ever, we tested and reviewed boots the same way that good bootfitters select them for a customer — by width and flex — and then judged them the way a customer would — by fit and performance. A simple concept, sure, but not easy goods to deliver. For the sake of the ABB/Ski Press test, we decided that we would only test the best: high-performance boots for accomplished skiers. These boots fell into a flex index range of 130 at the stiffest, down to 100 on the softer side, plus or minus a bit. Essentially, we were interested in testing the boots targeted to advanced and expert skiers, without diving into the dedicated race product that appeals to a slim slice of the skier population. A good bootfitter looks at a skier’s foot and decides how wide a chassis that foot is going to need. The meatiest, Fred Flintstone foot will need the widest chassis and the super-slender kangaroo foot tends to find a match in the narrow last family. But there is an in-between width available too. Similar to the flex index scale, there is now a way to roughly identify a boot’s last width. Manufacturers across the board have begun measuring their reference size (26 on the mondopoint metric scale) at the widest internal part of the boot shell (at the forefoot) and using this measurement as a way to group families of boots. We asked manufacturers to send us their best stuff in the narrow last category (98 mm or narrower), in their medium-fit group (100+ mm), and in their wide-body family (102 mm and up). Then, to be sure we didn’t miss anything we also asked to test any boot they felt merited special attention in our Wild Card category — for the most part we got best-bang-for-the-buck boots or unique technology models here. Each boot received an intensive exam as we judged the boot’s fit, flex, feel and features in more than 20 categories — and that was before the boots met bindings for a terrain tour and judgment on how they turned a ski. For detailed test results, visit our website at skipressworld.com. We partnered with Vail Resorts and held our test on Vail Mountain, an ideal testing venue for its diversity of terrain, reliable April snowpack, mountain-top testing facility. The killer food, penthouse condo at the Vail Landmark and inexhaustible nightlife didn’t hurt either. — MARK ELLING


Photo: Gillian Morgan

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The contest ends Sunday, February 21, 2010. The names of the selected couples will be posted Monday, February 28th, in the Memberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Zone. Winners will be advised by phone or email. Thank you and good luck!

CERTIFIED AMERICAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S BEST BY

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High Definition Custom Insoles

Photo: Gillian Morgan

Fill out the application in the Ski Press Memberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Zone of skipressworld.com. Convey your enthusiasm for skiing, why you think ski testing would be your dream job, and why we should select you as a tester. This is not a draw â&#x20AC;&#x201D; our 10 lucky couples will be chosen according to what they tell us about themselves. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hesitate to include a video or photo of you skiing so we can see how well you do itâ&#x20AC;Ś it could help you get picked. If you are chosen, you have to get to Mont-Sainte-Anne on your own, but weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll take care of the lodging, lifts and test skis.

Photo: Marc Archambault

If you think ski testing is a dream jobâ&#x20AC;Ś youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re right! SKI PRESS is looking for skiing couples for our next ski test. Your dream job will be to test sport skis before the 2010/11 winter season. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not looking for racers or instructorsâ&#x20AC;Ś just plain skiers. If you and your true love are intermediate or advanced intermediate skiers, are 25 or older and in good shape, you may get the chance to join us for this dream job. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be testing at Mont-Sainte-Anne from March 23 rd through March 26th, 2010.

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Score! If you’re looking for a reason to buy skis this year, take our testers’ word — or score — for it: The current crop of skis may be the best ever. A team of 189 testers put 252 models through a total of 4,051 trials. All that data produced average scores that, in many categories, were higher than they’ve ever been in a Ski Press test. Testers went particularly gaga over carving skis, which earned an average score of 87.12. That’s an enlightening result, particularly with many ski-world cognoscenti all but writing off narrow-waisted skis. The current buzz is all about rocker design in powder-happy fatties. But not so fast… Our testers still love that feeling of engaging a deep sidecut with firmer snow and ripping through fast, clean arcs. That doesn’t mean, of course, that carvers are for everyone. Plenty of great all-mountain and freeride boards are out there, and, in another good sign, bargains abound. A few models this year are actually less expensive than a year ago, and while some boutique skis — like those from stylish newcomer Vist — are pretty rich, prices have largely stabilized. If trying to meet a budget is a concern, this is as good a year as any to shop for new skis.

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32

BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

Photo: Marc Archambault

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AILS, AND TEST DET GO TO LD.COM SKIPRESSWOR

When 111 testers assembled in late March at Mont-Sainte-Anne, they prepared to do, for the 17th year, what Ski Press does better than anyone else in the business — assess the quality of the year’s new skis. Among those who put a batch of carving and all-mountain skis through the ringer were some of the most talented male and female professionals in the ski world, along with a group of recreational “sport” testers. The mix of terrain and snow at Mont-Sainte-Anne — groomers, hardpack, bumps, trees, slush — was ideal for testing these particular skis. A few weeks later, another 78 testers gathered at Whistler to test fatter freeride skis on its big-mountain terrain and in the softer conditions for which freeride boards are best suited. When the results for both testing sessions were sorted out, the top eight skis in each category were ranked, to be covered in the magazine, with additional top skis covered online. While the skis in most categories are ranked according to their test results, don’t assume that the best-scoring ski is best for you. Selecting a ski is a very personal decision, based on size, skiing style, terrain and conditions, and even cosmetics. A ski that exhilarates one skier often disappoints another. Test results represent an average of often divergent tester opinions.

@GOLGJ=9< L@=OJAL=%MHK | ELAN ) 05 SL WF 0 + , . * 87.53% Flick, flick! With a minimum of effort, the SL links one quick turn after another with one quick flick of the feet another. This ski is like a wine spritzer — light and refreshing, but with plenty of zest. “Super lively — / after I felt I could explode through my turns,” wrote one tester. But think of explosions like Chinese firecrackers

0A[gfk=phdYaf]\ We’ve used the following icons to highlight the outstanding feature of each ski, when compared with other skis in the same category.

Strong aggressive

Easy to turn

Best for lighter skier

Great bargain

Best for heavier skier

Looks cool

| 116-66-104@165 cm | R 12.9 | FLEX Medium | $1,100 w/b

— lots of quick, small bangs, no big booms. Performance drops off when the turn shape lengthens. Think tight turns, and flick away.

) NAME of the manufacturer and of the SKI MODEL tested. SCORE: The scoring is corrected so that the occasional ‘rogue * NORMALIZED result’ doesn’t distort the testers’ intentions. +

DIMENSIONS: At the tip, at the waist, at the tail, in millimeters. It reflects the sidecut of the ski. TESTED LENGTH: The length of the ski we tested.

The arc or size of a turn. Long-radius turns are wide and deep, while , RADIUS: short-radius turns are quick and shallow. The stiffness of the ski while in motion. A soft ski will feel like it absorbs - FLEX: changes in terrain, whereas a stiff ski will transfer all the energy directly to you. . PRICE: The cost of the ski. Includes the binding when it’s part of the package. WRITE-UP: A summary of the shared assessment of our team of testers in / THE rating each ski for a variety of criteria.

Technological

When we identify a ski as women-specific, the ski is made specifically for women.

ws

EYl[`af_KcalgL]jjYaf What’s the most suitable terrain for each type of ski? This chart shows the different terrain mix for where each ski performs best. ON-PISTE

OFF-PISTE

Groomed Carve

90%

10%

Groomed Cruise

80%

20%

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All-Terrain Medium

70%

30%

All-Terrain Large

50%

50%

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Freeride XL

40%

60%

Freeride XXL

30%

70%

34

Freeride XXXL

20%

80%

KCA>AF<=J BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010


www.kastle-ski.com www.kaestle-adventuretours.com unhub.com/kastle twitter.com/kastleski

RX | SIDECUT: TIP 118 mm – WAIST 70 mm – TAIL 100 mm | LENGTH: 152 cm, R 12 m – 160 cm, R 13.5 m – 168 cm, R 15 m – 176 cm, R 16.5 m – 184 cm, R 18 m

RECIPE FOR PERFORMANCE 2 sheets of aluminum, 1 ash wood core, 2 phenol sidewalls, 1 sintered race base, 2 steel edges, 1 hollowtech shovel, 4 rubber layers, 1 KTI binding system, 90 minutes of handcraft, 120° celsius oven temperature, 24 minutes baking time, 24 tunes on the stone-grinder, 1 hand-finish, and, most importantly, the love of the baker.


HIGH-PERFORMANCE

(MSA)

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For advanced and expert skiers who like making fast, tight turns mostly on groomed and hard-packed snow. Deep sidecuts mean turn radii are mainly under 15 meters, typical of a slalom race ski. These are racy skis also able to tackle bumps and trees.

PERFORMANCE (MSA) Designed for making slalom-shaped turns with a radius of under 15 meters, these skis are for intermediate and advanced skiers getting a feel for what groomed-snow carving is all about. Moderate speeds are generally the name of the game here.

01 | DYNASTAR

01 | VIST

Omeglass TI 92.08% | 118-66-102@165 cm | R 12 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $990 w/b

Super Front Two 88.27% | 116-66-101@167 cm | R 14 | FLEX Stiff | $1,895 w/b

Zip! Zap! Zoink! Envision a ski with the springy energy of a pogo stick underfoot, and the picture that will come to mind is the Omeglass TI. What really impressed testers about this ski was the energetic enthusiasm with which the ski leapt in and out of turns. “This ski pops and reacts — extremely quick and zippy,” was one tester’s comment. Not to mention surprisingly versatile. The only downside — all that energy can take effort to control. But otherwise . . . zowie!

Pump some iron and power up those quads. The Super Front Two prefers forceful pilots willing to push pedal to metal. Muscle is required to get this stiff ski to bend into submission, but when it does, the rewards are considerable. Tight turns, big turns — both can be executed with equally satisfying results. For intermediates moving up? Probably not; according to one tester’s assessment, “This ski would suit ex-racers who still want to feel they’re in the game.”

02 | ATOMIC

02 | NORDICA

D2 Race SL 91.25% | 118-66-107,5@165 cm | R 11.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,499 w/b

Dobermann Spitfire Pro 87.92% | 120-70-105@170 cm | R 14 | FLEX Medium | $1,350 w/b

Welcome to the Atomic power hour. “Power” was a word that kept coming up in tester comments. This ski is like a benevolent dictator — always in total control but never punishing. Throughout the turn, the ski is pure, confident stability, taking charge as it flows unerringly from one arc into the next. Weaknesses — none the test team could find, although lighter skiers might have to dig a little deeper than usual to feel fully empowered on a fairly stiff, energetic ski.

Turn on the ignition, and hear the engine thrum with horsepower. The Spitfire Pro is a lean, mean, turning machine, loaded with muscle and energy but still user-friendly enough to make turns with elegant ease. Finesse skiers will like this ski, but those who punch each turn with a little extra vigor will fall in love. “This ski is for the strong skier who likes to put on a helmet and get to the bottom as fast as possible,” one tester commented. Gentlemen, start your engines.

03 | ELAN

03 | ATOMIC

SLX WF 90.40% | 116-66-104@165 cm | R 12.9 | FLEX Medium | $1,350 w/b

VF 75 87.61% | 121-75-111@166 cm | R 13 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,000 w/b

It’s wintertime, and the skiing is easy. If George Gershwin had been aboard the SLX, he surely would have been inspired to write those words. In a category often known for skis that need to be worked to be enjoyed, skiing the SLX is the equivalent of lounging on the back porch on a sultry afternoon. Lighter skiers, rejoice — “suits a light, agile skier; super easy in all types of turns,” wrote one tester. Light, lively, and a pure pleasure — just like a Gershwin musical.

When is a carving ski really an all-mountain ski? One good answer is the VF 75, a ski that, as one tester put it, “had good adaptation when the terrain changes.” Also when the turn shape changes; the ski actually scored better in long turns than in the short turns it was designed for. And it is a beefy bruiser, at its best under the control of a beefy, bruising pilot. Big-mountain big boys, here’s a ski that can unquestionably bring satisfaction.

04 | VÖLKL

04 | ELAN

RaceTiger SL Racing 88.82% | 118-66-101@165 cm | R 13 | FLEX Stiff | $1,235 w/b

SL WF 87.53% | 116-66-104@165 cm | R 12.9 | FLEX Medium | $1,100 w/b

Grrrr. This is a snarling slalom beast that devours fast, quick turns on hard snow. Racers will relish the unwavering precision with which the RaceTiger slices and dices slalom turns. That might come at the expense of all-mountain versatility, but this ski is on a focused mission: make many turns as fast as possible. “Forget first and second gears,” was the comment of one tester. “Shift directly to overdrive and ski as if you were on a course.” Grrrr.

Flick, flick! With a minimum of effort, the SL links one quick turn after another with one quick flick of the feet after another. This ski is like a wine spritzer — light and refreshing, but with plenty of zest. “Super lively — I felt I could explode through my turns,” wrote one tester. But think of explosions like Chinese firecrackers — lots of quick, small bangs, no big booms. Performance drops off when the turn shape lengthens. Think tight turns, and flick away.

05 | BLIZZARD

05 | HEAD

SLR Magnesium IQ 88.22% | 121-68-105@167 cm | R 13.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,200 w/b

Super Shape 87.38% | 121-66-106@165 cm | R 11.4 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,440 w/b

Think of the SLR Magnesium as the light beer of the category — it might lack the brawny, full body of its competitors, but it’ll still give you a buzz. Smaller guys looking for a responsive dance partner, drink up — the SLR Magnesium flits adroitly from one slalom turn to the next, although it can become a little unsettled in bigger turns at higher speeds. The word of the hour among testers: “fun.” And, like a light beer, plenty of oomph in a reduced-calorie package.

The answer to the question is a question. Who would like the Super Shape? Answer: Who wouldn’t? Expert, intermediate, beginner, ski instructor, ski patrol, carving specialist, weekend skier — all were people who testers thought would be happy on the Super Shape. Short turns might be its specialty, but its hallmark is its consistency on all terrain and through various turn shapes, having received high scores across the board. “Ready to obey all my commands without complaining,” summed up one tester. Any questions?

06 | FISCHER

06 | VÖLKL

RC4 WorldCup SC Pro 88.09% | 118-66-99@165 cm | R 13 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,395 w/b

TigerShark 10ft 86.44% | 121-73-105@168 cm | R 14.3 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,235 w/b

The mantra of the SC Pro: Turn, turn, turn. For every turn some other ski might want to make, the SC Pro wants to make three. This is a slalom radius maestro, getting in and out of turns with the ease of an orchestra conductor waving his baton. Testers rated it a ski that an occasional racer might love: easy to turn but still strong and precise. All-mountain versatility is limited, but on a slalom race course — turn, turn, turn.

The TigerShark fun recipe: Take one part race ski, throw in a couple of helpings of all-mountain magic, stir in a touch of stiffness for extra stability, and finish off with a cool, chrome-y topping. Take anywhere on the mountain, and ski hard and fast. The resulting ride is like comfort food — smooth, tasty and predictable, if not necessarily exciting. For intermediates on blue terrain seeking their carving groove, the TigerShark can cook up a sweet ride.

07 | NORDICA

07 | STÖCKLI

Dobermann SL Pro 86.64% | 120-67-103@165 cm | R 13 | FLEX Medium-strong | $1,400 w/b

Laser SC 83.22% | 114-63-95@170 cm | R 14.8 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,239

For those looking for a steady, dependable and predictable ride, the Dobermann can be man’s best friend. The ski might not attack the hill with the ferociousness the name implies, but it obediently and effortlessly sticks to its prescribed course. “It’s like being on cruise control,” enthused one tester. Anyone looking for a tight-turning, all-mountain cruiser should go out and fetch a pair.

Get your game face on, and be ready to do battle. The Laser SC is for guys who don’t just want to ski the mountain; they want to beat it up. “The type of ski that expects you to challenge it and push,” one tester commented. Hence, not for laid-back intermediates. Get lazy, and you’ll get bucked. But go hard, and the battle will be won.

08 | HEAD i.SL 86.56% | 117-66-100@165 cm | R 13 | FLEX Medium-strong | $1,670 w/b The i.SL is like an eager child who just can’t wait to go out and play. Loaded with energy and enthusiasm, it jumps quickly from one turn to another with lithe and sprightly action. That can make it a bit overactive for smooth, long turns, but for slalom shorties, a great playmate. “A very exciting adrenaline rush; fun to play with,” summed up one tester.

36

BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

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MORE WINNING SKIS, THE SKI FINDER AND ALL TEST SCORES CAN BE FOUND AT SKIPRESSWORLD.COM


PERFORMANCE (MSA)

Think of these skis as groomed and hard-snow rippers, for skiers who like barreling down the mountain making round, high-speed turns. Turn radii are typically between 15 and 20 meters, comparable to the shape of a giant-slalom turn.

“Cruise” is the operative word here. These skis are a good match for advanced and intermediate skiers who stick mainly to groomers and who like making big, swooping turns. For relaxed, moderate-speed days in the saddle, these are good horses to ride.

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HIGH-PERFORMANCE (MSA)

01 | ATOMIC

01 | VIST

D2 Race GS 90.71% | 109.5-70-99@179 cm | R 18.4 | FLEX Stiff | $1,499 w/b

Super Mountain One 90.29% | 123-71-105@170 cm | R 17 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,395 w/b

Start chugging protein shakes... The D2 Race GS is one amazing ski, but to appreciate it fully, you need a bulldozer build. Testers over 200 pounds were seen salivating at the bottom of the hill. “Everything is perfect,” gushed a 215-pound tester. This ski might be too much of a bruiser to finesse through all-mountain subtleties. But go big, go fast, and go eat an extra meal, and in the D2 Race GS you might discover the perfection of everything.

I love you, man. The Super Mountain One has a whole lotta love for just about any skier, adapting easily to different skiing styles. Aggro cannonballers — step on it and go as hard as you want. More easygoing cruisers — the ski loves you, too. It knows no speed limit, yet there is no need for speed. “A great choice for an allmountain skier of any ability level,” wrote one tester. Test scores showed consistent brilliance across the board. Ya gotta love it.

02 | FISCHER

02 | BLIZZARD

RC4 World Cup RC Pro 90.65% | 112-66-96@175 cm | R 16 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,395 w/b The RC Pro is like a lovable bulldog — muscular, determined and ferocious, but with a sweet and easy disposition hiding inside. Rare is the ski that can blast through racy, high-speed turns, then transform into a versatile, all-mountain marvel when the terrain changes and the speed is throttled down. An all-skier marvel, too — the RC Pro works for big guys, little fellas, finesse skiers and power players. “The perfect combination of a GS ski and an all-mountain ski,” wrote one tester.

G-Force Pro IQ 89.07% | 121-72-103@174 cm | R 15.5 | FLEX Medium | $925 w/b OK — let’s give the Blizzard marketing crew a nod. They bill the G-Force as a ski where “maximum speed meets maximum versatility and maximum control.” What testers encountered: a great all-mountain, all-snow ski able to handle a variety of turn shapes at any speed. Weaknesses? None the test team could find, especially the bigger boys. “The most versatile ski I’ve been on in a long time,” enthused one happy tester. Fun to the max — and that’s not just marketing hype.

03 | DYNASTAR

03 | DYNASTAR

Speed Course Ti 89.94% | 120-72-104@178 cm | R 15 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $799 w/b

Contact Cross Ti 88.42% | 120-72-104@172 cm | R 15 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,100 w/b

Exactly what is a GS turn? Look back at the arcs etched in the snow by the Speed Course Ti, and you’ll find an answer. No slipping or slopping, just pure, clean carving in any kind of snow. This is a precision-oriented, GS racing machine that’s still easygoing enough to take out on a fast, all-mountain cruise. One tester described it as an “easy-to-use speed machine” that’s a great choice for “beer-league racers.” For lovers of the pure GS turn — questions answered.

Think of metaphors for smooth: silk, milkshake, velvet, baby’s skin. A power-packed ski might not come to mind, but the Contact Cross can be added to the metaphorical list. There’s just enough stiffness to provide stability and precision in long, fast turns, but enough forgiveness to allow you to glide over rough spots when you back off the throttle. “The ski performs at a high level with minimal effort,” was one tester’s comment. In short, a well-rounded smoothie, something like silk on snow.

04 | ROSSIGNOL

04 | STÖCKLI

Classic 70Ti 89.48% | 124-70-112@175 cm | R 13.9 | FLEX Medium | $1,250 w/b

Spirit Globe 87.94% | 120-72-103@170 cm | R 15.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,499

A single, four-letter word best describes the Classic 70Ti: easy. Start a turn? Easy. Finish a turn? Easy. Change turn shapes? Easy. Easy, easy, easy — the ski might not be demanding, but that doesn’t make it a lifeless noodle. It’s got plenty of all-mountain game, executing whatever is expected of it with confidence and consistency. It won’t push the excitement meter into the red zone, but for an all-fun, all-the-time confidence booster, it’s easy to pick the Classic 70Ti.

Imagine taking a muscular Rottweiler for a walk. You expect to be yanked around on the leash, with the dog walking you rather than the other way around. What you discover instead is a strong but disciplined pooch, obediently responsive to all commands. Despite its intrinsically forceful nature, the Spirit Globe is surprisingly manageable, willing to walk your walk and turn your turns. “Stiff enough for a heavier skier, yet quick and agile when needed,” wrote one tester. Nice dog.

05 | VÖLKL

05 | MOVEMENT

TigerShark 11ft 88.76% | 121-75-104@175 cm | R 16.8 | FLEX Stiff | $1,525 w/b

Yaka 87.63% | 126-75-107@175 cm | R 15 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $720

How great it would be to have a single ski that could switch from hard-snow carver to all-mountain softie with just a magical twitch of the nose, as in the old TV show, Bewitched. That, more or less, is the idea behind the TigerShark’s Power Switch, allowing you to change the flex pattern of the ski. Good idea, but the reality is still classically Völkl — a stiff and powerful carving machine. “You must be very aggressive,” cautioned one tester.

Carving ski? The Yaka can certainly snap off a clean, crisp turn when called on, but at heart it wants to take off and explore the whole mountain. Relatively light and stiff, it easily changes turn shapes without losing its sense of direction. “Best for skiers who prefer backwoods/off-trail adventures,” summed up one tester. Not so fast — it is still designed to be a carving ski, so for Eastern adventurers who split time between groomed and gonzo, this ski has a lot of heart.

06 | HEAD

06 | FISCHER

SuperShape Speed 88.61% | 117-69-101@177 cm | R 15.7 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,440 w/b

Progressor 8+ 86.77% | 120-72-103@170 cm | R 12-16 | FLEX Medium | $1,199 w/b

Power meets polish, and the result: performance. Just because the SuperShape Speed responds best to a strongwilled pilot doesn’t mean it demands excessive force. Even the lightest tester found a ski that turns “with buttery ease.” But jump into turns with brawny bravado, and the ski delivers a rollicking ride. Finesse works well, but aggression works even better. A bit of a hulk in trying to zip through tight turns, the SuperShape Speed is otherwise incredible. Power up!

In taking on the challenges a mountain can dish out, the old saying applies: when the going gets tough, the tough get going. The Progressor 8+ is a ski that brings its A game to the table when things get tougher. One tester wrote that it “handles pressure well,” as if psychoanalyzing the ski rather than skiing it. Testers liked its facility of getting in and out of turns, but still, wrote one, “the Progressor likes to be ridden hard.” Get tough, get the Progressor.

07 | BLIZZARD

07 | VÖLKL

G-Force Supersonic IQ 87.47% | 123-72-103@174 cm | R 15.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,200 w/b

Unlimited AC3 Motion 86.58% | 109.5-70-99@179 cm | R 18.4 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $700 w/b

Find the halfway point between an all-terrain vehicle and a race-car thoroughbred, and you’re likely to find a pair of G-Force Supersonics. Put another way, the ski is a compromise of characters: enough raciness to give it power and stability at speed, enough kick-back cruise-ability to be an easygoing, everyday ski. Testers doubted it would satisfy hard-charging experts, but thought it great for improving intermediates. One tester called it “forgiving and very aggressive” — a rare and curious combination of characteristics.

The AC3 Motion is like a locomotive with power steering. The ski gets every turn started with fluid ease, then clamps a power lock on the arc of the turn no matter what the speed. But surprise — it can morph from locomotive to greyhound as the terrain changes, darting with swift agility through moguls and softer snow. Testers thought it might be better for intermediates than experts, but as one commented, “who cares when a ski performs this well?”

08 | STÖCKLI

08 | ELAN

Cross Pro 86.47% | 120-70-99@178 cm | R 17.3 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,219

Speedwave 12 85.26% | 114-68-100@168 cm | R 15 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,499 w/b

Be serious. That’s the message the Cross Pro seeks to transmit to any skier who wants to take it for a ride. Grit your teeth, flex your muscles, maybe even pop some performance-enhancing drugs. The Cross Pro demands that you bring all your power and resources into play, but when you do, it’s a ferocious carving monster. “A specific high-speed, long-radius machine,” was one tester’s assessment. You can almost hear the GS race course calling. Seriously.

Think of sipping cocktails on the back of your yacht in rough seas. Elan’s Waveflex technology, combining torsional stiffness with softer fore-aft flex, contributes to terrific yet easygoing stability even when conditions are bumpy or uneven. That makes the Speedwave 12 a cruiser’s dreamboat, linking smooth, big turns as if all snow were ego snow. One impassioned tester was so impressed he sounded positively in love: “This incredible ski made me hot!” Think martinis on a Saturday afternoon cruise. Aaaahhh.

MORE WINNING SKIS, THE SKI FINDER AND ALL TEST SCORES CAN BE FOUND AT SKIPRESSWORLD.COM

BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

37


PERFORMANCE (MSA)

These skis are designed for demanding skiers who like to tear up the whole mountain - steeps, bumps, trees, groomers - at high speed. But with waist widths of about 80 mm, they can still handle the occasional foray into powder.

These skis are for all-mountain explorers who like to stay in a relatively easygoing comfort zone. Everything but super-steep double blacks are in the game plan, with a premium on the versatility to handle a variety of snow conditions.

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HIGH-PERFORMANCE (MSA)

01 | SALOMON

01 | FISCHER

XW Tornado Ti Powertrak 83.99% | 120-77-105@180 cm | R 16.3 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,500 w/b

Watea 78 86.15% | 122-78-107@174 cm | R 17 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $750

The XW Tornado has a gift to keep on giving. Take it out for a laid-back cruise, and it’s like taking a nap on a La-Z-Boy lounger. Soooo easy. But as the mood changes to a more aggressive mentality, the ski continues to deliver performance. Any place on the mountain, any challenge — the ski has a way of adapting. “An intermediate can have fun, and an expert can blow his mind” — that’s the way one tester summed up the XW Tornado’s unique gifts.

Where’s the extension cord? The Watea 78 is so loaded with power and energy, you’d think it was electrified. The result is a ski without limits — a ski you can push as hard and fast as you want. Push all you want, and still, wrote one tester, “this ski asks to be taken to the next level. A man among boys.” The 255-pound tester gave it especially high scores, so you big boys — flip the switch and light it up on all terrain and snow.

02 | VIST

02 | VÖLKL

Cross-Over Two 83.38% | 131-77-111@176 cm | R 15 | FLEX Medium | $1,795 w/b

Unlimited AC20 82.88% | 118-74-103@170 cm | R 16.1 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $825 w/b

Race ski slips into a phone booth, quick change, and out steps... Superski! The word “super” kept coming up in tester comments about a ski that, despite its powerful, racy character, was an all-mountain wonder-board. This is no ski for passive, Clark Kent types; as one tester commented, “you must be centered and attentive at all times.” When you are, all turns and terrain can be conquered. Put an “S” on your chest, and take flight with Vist’s Cross-Over 2.

Think of a slingshot launch — elasticity loaded up and released, and boi-yoi-yoing!, an explosion of raw, projectile power. That’s the feeling of skiing the AC20, with energy that generates a slingshot thrust from one turn into the next. That’s energy that melds neatly with an agility one tester called catlike — “somewhere between a jaguar and a cougar.” A little extra bulk can help keep that energy under control, but all in all, this is a ski that can launch an intermediate into expertland.

03 | ATOMIC

03 | ATOMIC

Blackeye Ti 82.65% | 114,1-79-108,5@178 cm | R 17.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $799 w/b

Smoke Ti 82.56% | 114,5-76-104,5@171 cm | R 16.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $749 w/b

Bop! Boom! Bam! The Blackeye strikes at the mountain with a punishing force, blasting out GS turns with blistering consistency. This might not be the most forgiving or versatile ski in the category, but it’s hard to beat for those with a fighter’s passion for blasting through big turns. “Once you start turning, you will never reach its limits,” wrote one tester about the Blackeye’s deep power reserve. It may be an easy turner, but delivering the big bang is the Blackeye’s game.

Sometimes, the best parts of life and skiing aren’t the good things that happen, but rather the bad things that don’t. The Smoke Ti never deviates from what’s expected of it — no straying from its turn arc, no hiccups at speed, no quirky behaviors, no muss, no fuss. One tester described it as being “like an obedient dog — serving its master well and doing what it’s told.” Another tester was more succinct: “No surprises.” And that is a very good thing.

04 | ELAN

04 | SALOMON

Magfire 78 Ti 81.26% | 123-78-105@176 cm | R 17.2 | FLEX Medium | $1,000 w/b

Tornado 82.03% | 120-78-107@173 cm | R 16.3 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,250 w/b

Quick reminder: skiing is play, not work. For those who think of a ski as a toy rather than a tool — made for fun rather than force — the Magfire 78 delivers kid-in-a-sandbox satisfaction. This Elan comes out to play for a wide range of skier abilities, intermediates to experts. There’s a nice balance between soft, all-mountain forgiveness and stiff, high-speed stability. Minimum effort, maximum fun — the Magfire can bring out the fun-loving kid in anyone.

Beat your chest, let out a battle cry, then step aboard the Tornado for a mountain-busting, manly ride. This hard-driving ski will bring out the warrior in you, at its best making fearsomely fast and powerful turns. Testers did, however, discover in this war club a surprising touch of quickness, so it won’t wimp out in the guerilla combat of glades skiing and tighter turns. “Perfect for a guy who wants to feel like a racer,” wrote one tester. Or a warrior.

05 | ROSSIGNOL

05 | BLIZZARD

Classic 80Ti 80.82% | 124-80-112@175 cm | R 17.6 | FLEX Medium | $1,250 w/b

Magnum 7.6 IQ 81.68% | 124-76-107@170 cm | R 15 | FLEX Medium | $800 w/b

Game on. When you’re ready to gear up for hand-to-hand combat with the mountain, you need a weapon that won’t wimp out when push comes to shove. The Classic 80Ti packs some serious punch, and the skier can be the punchee if he leaves his power game in the base lodge. “Not for the weak,” was one tester’s simple summary. While some smaller testers felt worked, bigger testers were happy to be in the game. Go hard, or go home.

Reality check: not all turns are the same. Different terrain and different snow conditions demand different turning strategies — sometimes it’s best to carve turns; sometimes allowing the skis to slide is better. Some turns demand aggression, others a delicate touch. The Magnum 7.6’s multi-turn skill set makes it an all-mountain master, able to carve precisely but also able to release from a carved arc when terrain and snow dictate. “From sliding to carving, this baby can do it all,” wrote one tester. That’s the reality of all-mountain versatility.

06 | VÖLKL

06 | ROSSIGNOL

Unlimited AC30 80.71% | 124-80-107@177 cm | R 18.4 | FLEX Stiff | $1,065 w/b

Avenger 82 Carbon 80.90% | 128-82-112@177 cm | R 18.3 | FLEX Medium | $950 w/b

If a ski were an energy drink — combining a caffeinated wake-up call with sugary sweetness — the ski would probably be an Unlimited AC 30. You can almost feel the ski quivering with forcefulness when you pick it up off the rack. It charges through big turns like a ski in search of a GS race course, and is in its element on hard, fast snow. “For hard skiers who love to push their skis,” wrote one tester. Drink up, you big boys.

Ahhh, love at first sight. When it comes to good looks, sweet dreams are made of this. Testers were universally smitten by the Avenger 82’s graphics, but was beauty only top-sheet deep? Turns out the ski can deliver one sexy ride, especially charging through long, warp-speed turns. “Looks like a hot blonde but rides like a cowboy,” was one tester’s complimentary assessment. Performance drops a shade in short turns, but for high-speed cruisers, this could have the makings of a long-term relationship.

07 | DYNASTAR

07 | ELAN

Contact 4X4 80.64% | 122-75-106@178 cm | R 16 | FLEX Medium | $1,220 w/b

Magfire 74 80.65% | 121-74-101@168 cm | R 14.9 | FLEX Medium | $750 w/b

Dynastar’s catchphrase for the Contact 4X4 is “all-terrain fluidity.” One tester had a different way of putting it: “Rewards good technique, but forgives mistakes.” Power turns on hard snow may not be the 4X4’s forte. But head out in variable-snow conditions, and this crud-buster floats easily through textural transitions. Après-skiers, line up: You can ride the 4X4 all day and still have plenty of energy to quaff some après “fluidity” after the lifts shut down.

Think of a long, warm bath. Think of closing your eyes, letting a smile spread across your face, and drifting into dreamland. Welcome to the oh-so-easy zone of the Magfire 74, a ski driven by a single, encompassing mandate: make skiing as effortless as possible. “Easy” echoed throughout tester comments — a word applied to all turn shapes, regardless of snow conditions. Burly, aggro skiers need not apply; settle into what one tester called “a huge sweet spot” and drift gently into Neverland.

08 | NORDICA

08 | NORDICA

Nitrous Ti 80.44% | 124-78-108@178 cm | R 17.5 | FLEX Medium | $1,499 w/b

Igniter Ti 80.60% | 123-76-107@170 cm | R 15 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $900 w/b

The Nitrous is like a six-pack — at least six different skis wrapped into a single package. Some testers praised a great long-turning ski; others thought it best for shorties. Some found an aggressive ski, others a relaxed, easy rider. One-turn bomber, agile, all-mountain darter — who knows? Clearly the ski is capable of just about anything, but how it performs best depends on who is at the controls. You’ll find something to love about this ski, but try it first to find out what that something is.

When training a new puppy, it’s often best to be authoritative in your commands. Lay down the law, and an unruly mutt can become a docile and responsive pet. So it goes with the Igniter Ti. It can be an obedient and remarkably easygoing ski, but you’ve got to let it know who’s the boss. “Good ski if you’re ready to commit yourself by pushing hard,” wrote one tester. Use unwavering insistence, and the Igniter Ti can be one good doggie.

38

BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

MORE WINNING SKIS, THE SKI FINDER AND ALL TEST SCORES CAN BE FOUND AT SKIPRESSWORLD.COM


PERFORMANCE (MSA)

These skis should work well as an all-day, every-day Western ski, or as a do-everything ski for Eastern skiers taking regular vacations to the West. With waist widths between 82 mm to 85 mm, there’s a touch of powder flotation to go with all-mountain versatility.

For the skier who wants to do it all, but who doesn’t want to work hard doing it. Intermediates and advanced skiers who spend most of their time on softer snow - groomers, crud, and in-bounds powder - this is your category.

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HIGH-PERFORMANCE (MSA)

01 | ROSSIGNOL

01 | ATOMIC

Avenger 82Ti 83.60% | 126-82-112@177 cm | R 18.3 | FLEX Medium | $1,100 w/b

VF 82 86.19% | 121,5-82-111@174 cm | R 17 | FLEX Medium | $1,249 w/b

Go on — give it a little spank. The Avenger 82Ti demands a forceful touch to get it going, but ooh, baby, does it get going. One tester called it a “do-anything maestro,” a particularly masterful performer in differing snow conditions. Razor precision on ice couples with a free-flowing ride when the snow softens up. An expert’s dream machine — “tip it, rip it, and hang on,” wrote one tester. When you do, you can give the whole mountain a good spanking.

Forget all those wimpy, slow-speed gears in the gearbox. When at the controls of the VF 82, shift directly into overdrive. This is a ski that craves big turns at big speeds. One tester compared it to a “well-trained stallion” — a ski positively snorting with power, yet power that’s easy to keep under control. The result is a ski accessible to a wide range of ability levels, from low intermediate to advanced. For the guy looking to shift up to the next level, vroom, vroom!

02 | ATOMIC

02 | ELAN

Crimson Ti 81.88% | 119,5-86-114@176 cm | R 18 | FLEX Medium | $1,249 w/b

Magfire 78 84.63% | 123-78-105@176 cm | R 17.2 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $875 w/b

Turning big and fast on the Crimson Ti is almost like cheating on an advanced-studies test. With little effort or preparation, you can jump right to the head of the class in GS turns, especially on softer snow. When turns are tighter or the snow is a little harder, some extra classwork can be required, but the ski still gets more than a passing grade. “Able to offer game improvement at any level,” was one tester’s comment. Give it an E for easy.

May the force be with you. Skis with an energy supercharge are often difficult to control, but the Magfire 78 is an exception to the rule. The ski is loaded with forceful energy, but its energy is meted out perfectly during the course of a turn. The result is a ski that makes power-packed turns on ice feel like easygoing rounders on ego snow. “I felt like I had torpedoes on my feet,” was one tester’s comment.” That’s a force to be reckoned with.

03 | VIST

03 | SALOMON

Cross Over Three 81.59% | 126-84-112@170 cm | R 17 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,795 w/b

XW Storm 82.13% | 120-76-104@176 cm | R 17.2 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $975 w/b

Think of a Ferrari with a supple suspension that allows you to take it off-road. Or think, as one tester did, of “an SUV you can drive on the highway.” The Cross Over Three combines race-car brio with all-mountain ruggedness and, for the most part, makes the combo work, especially with an authoritative pilot at the wheel. Short turns might require a little extra work, but open up the radius, and you’re in for one power-packed ride, on or off groomed highways.

Go on — try to find something wrong with this ski. Supple enough for softer snow, yet stiff enough to stick to ice when that’s the name of the game. Beefy enough for strong men, but agile enough for finessers as well. A cruiser’s delight on which a speedballer can also find happiness. A ski, wrote one tester, “that pretty much everybody will enjoy.” The test scores show it: well-above-average scores in all criteria. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

04 | VÖLKL

04 | VÖLKL

Unlimited AC50 81.18% | 128-85-112@177 cm | R 18 | FLEX Stiff | $1,175 w/b

Bridge 79.94% | 130-92-112@177 cm | R 19.2 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $725

Like a frisky colt, the AC50 is loaded with pep and is just jonesing to go out and play. That pep can be perilous for lighter skiers who might encounter jumpiness when trying to ease through smooth, clean turns at slower speeds. But with a bigger skier at the reins, the ski can become a carving thoroughbred. And like a thoroughbred, it likes to run fast. For a big guy whose idea of all-mountain skiing is hips-to-the-snow carving, saddle up a pair of AC50s.

All-mountain cruisers looking for a bridge to way-cool freeriding, here it is. Just looking at the Bridge’s flashy graphics and twin tips can put you in a freeride state of mind. But what testers really liked was the fluidity with which it handled variable snow textures — “ice, powder, hard-pack, it doesn’t matter . . . capable of plowing over everything in the way,” wrote one tester. Best for big-mountain bombing, the Bridge is a real beaut for bigger boys.

05 | ELAN

05 | NORDICA

Magfire 82 XTi 81.04% | 126-82-109@176 cm | R 17.2 | FLEX Medium | $1,150 w/b

Jet Fuel CA 79.59% | 126-84-112@170 cm | R 17 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,150 w/b

Put on a happy face — this is a ski that seems to embark on its journey with a childlike glee. For skiers looking for an easygoing and playful all-mountain cruise, the Magfire 82 fills the role comfortably, without demanding serious, teeth-gritting commitment. The Waveflex technology provides a fluid — if not the most energetic — ride. Aggressive skiers might overpower it, but for cruisers looking for a friendly, all-day playmate, this is true happiness.

The Jet Fuel takes on skiing as if the sport were viewed through a zoom lens. Fast, big-radius turns come sharply into focus, while most other things fall outside the picture frame. Try slower-speed squiggles and things can get a bit fuzzy. But once the speed is ramped up and the big-radius sidecut starts doing its thing, za-zoom! You might not need a race course, but when speed is the focus, the Jet Fuel can make you feel like a GS-racing stud.

06 | BLIZZARD

06 | BLIZZARD

Magnum 8.7 IQ Max 80.13% | 128-87-113@174 cm | R 18.5 | FLEX Medium | $1,150 w/b

Titan Cronus IQ Max 78.71% | 125-88-109@173 cm | R 18.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,025 w/b

Advice for using the Magnum 8.7: let the ski know right away who’s in charge. The ski respects a strongwilled authority and likes being ridden hard. Once you take command, the ski submits with a cruise-control fluidity; if you’re timid in asserting who’s the boss, the ski can become jumpy and unreliable. So step on it hard for big, high-speed turns, and the message the Magnum 8.7 will send back will be, according to one tester, “Enjoy the ride.”

The Titan Cronus is like a Swiss Army knife, a multi-tasking tool able to get just about any job done. There might be better tools for specific tasks, but you can count on the ski to solve whatever puzzles the mountain concocts. One tester praised it for “having a good reaction when the terrain changes.” The ski might not push the excitement meter into the red zone, but as an all-purpose, all-day tool, it’s reliable and predictable wherever you go.

07 | FISCHER Watea 84 79.66% | 126-84-112@176 cm | R 18 | FLEX Medium-soft | $850 Looking for a Rocky Mountain high? The featherweight Watea 84 is surely a ski that would settle in comfortably on the softer snow of the West, floating with gossamer ease over crud and in-bounds powder. Testers found a ski with good edge grip, though its lightness made it a bit nervous at high speed on hard-pack. But float like a butterfly on softer snow, and the ski can deliver a convincing, confident bee’s sting. Is that Aspen calling?

08 | DYNASTAR Sultan 85 79.65% | 126-85-110@178 cm | R 16 | FLEX Medium | $760 Imagine a Congressional session — it starts with everyone voicing individual opinions, eventually working toward consensus. That seemed to be the way the testing worked with the Sultan 85. Most testers expressed enthusiasm for its long-turning talents, but others were quick to single out its surprising short-swing ability. But they agreed on one thing — the ski really hits its stride on softer snow. Warp speed on ice? Nah, but exploring a half foot of freshies... ahhh.

MORE WINNING SKIS, THE SKI FINDER AND ALL TEST SCORES CAN BE FOUND AT SKIPRESSWORLD.COM

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Even with page after page of the most thoroughly tested, bestperforming, sexiest skis on the market being presented right here in stunning color, you may still be saying, “But how do I choose?” With the SKI PRESS SKI FINDER, that’s how. Call it your miracle ski matchmaker. It’s available online, with loads of interactive features to help you match your ski needs - from stability to versatility, carve to float, and grip to rip - with the best of this year’s new gear. If you want a HAPPILY EVER AFTER NEW SKI EXPERIENCE, then go to SKIPRESSWORLD.COM RIGHT NOW, and find the perfect ski for you!

BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010 39 MORE WINNING SKIS, THE SKI FINDER AND ALL TEST SCORES CAN BE FOUND AT SKIPRESSWORLD.COM


XXL Here’s where the balance shifts decidedly in favor of soft snow. These skis generally have enough sidecut for competent carving, but that’s not their forte. At around 100 mm underfoot and often with rocker technology, versatility ebbs in favor of deep-snow performance.

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XL With waist widths starting at around 87 mm, these skis are the bridge between all-mountain masters and deep-powder blasters. Waist width provides float, but there’s still plenty of sidecut for carving when the snow gods decide to take a day off.

01 | KÄSTLE

01 | NORDICA

MX 88 90.64% | 128-88-113@188 cm | R 22.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,359 w/b

Enforcer 89.21% | 135-98-125@185 cm | R 21 | FLEX Medium | $900

Warning to MX88 skiers: bring your A game. This is a ski that snorts power and wants to attack the mountain from the first turn to the last. Bigger skiers in particular will enjoy the ride aboard a ski with the stability of a Clydesdale but the energy and lust for speed of a thoroughbred. “Let loose your inner stallion. Pony riders need not apply,” wrote one tester. Attack the mountain, and the ski will deliver A scores in all facets of the game.

How many ways can you say “Wow!”? Testers were all but tongue-tied in trying to voice their praises for Nordica’s Enforcer. Here was a ski that did everything well — superbly — on all snow and all terrain. OK, it was only so-so for short-turn quickies, but who buys a big ski like this to make squiggly little turns? “Every turn is exciting,” gushed one tester. “It feels like my first sexual relation, again and again.” As good as sex? Wow.

02 | VÖLKL

02 | KÄSTLE

Mantra 87.75% | 133-96-116@184 cm | R 22.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $825

MX 98 88.16% | 132-98-117@184 cm | R 27 | FLEX Stiff | $1,399 w/b

The old adage applies: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The same Mantra that testers loved for a couple of years is back, doing what it does best – just about everything. The fat, 133-mm tip floats over soft, cruddy snow, but an ample sidecut (tapering to 96 mm underfoot) and relative stiffness allow the ski to absolutely devour fast turns on ice. “For anyone who aspires to take strong, on-piste skills to the big mountain, you’ve found your ski,” one tester commented.

Here’s the mythology behind the MX 98: The god of race skis romanced the goddess of powder skis, and the progeny they produced was the MX 98. This burly bomber makes a big-mountain powder run seem like a downhill race — arcing huge turns at huge speeds. “Like having a truck strapped to your feet,” was one tester’s way of describing the ski’s unshakeable stability. That doesn’t make it an easy ski, but for a mythical, big-mountain day, the MX 98 is a true Olympian.

03 | ELAN

03 | VÖLKL

888 85.78% | 128-88-118@177 cm | R 21.1 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,000 w/b

Gotama 86.77% | 137-106-122@186 cm | R 28.8 | FLEX Medium | $825

Like a master carpenter, the 888 finds a perfect balance between utilitarian workmanship and creative artistry. Testers praised a ski with the racy ability to etch precise turns on ice as well as a ski with a big sweet spot, able to turn rougher terrain into a smooth work of art. “The ski doesn’t require constant focus like some stiff, aggressive boards do,” wrote one tester. To master the whole mountain, push hard and then count on the ski to do the work for you.

A ski this fat just isn’t supposed to do this many things this well. Despite an ample waist of 106 mm, the Gotama can still slice and dice decent short turns on hard snow. But with its rocker — reverse cambre — set-up, that’s certainly not its forte. “Awesome on a big-powder day,” was one tester’s assessment of the ski’s true soul. So think of a well-balanced meal, with powder as the featured entree but with plenty of tasty sides for complete, well-rounded satisfaction.

04 | BLIZZARD

04 | FISCHER

Titan Atlas IQ Max 85.66% | 130-94-116@187 cm | R 26 | FLEX Stiff | $1,100 w/b

Watea 101 86.27% | 134-101-124@192 cm | R 23 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $925

Pow! Whap! Pow! With the Titan Atlas, you’ve got a real fight on your hands. Stay passive, and you can get beaten up. But go hard and fast, and the ski becomes like a 300-pound muscled bodyguard, absolutely punishing any challenges the mountain might present. One tester recommended the ski only for a skier with “a takeno-prisoners attitude.” Big, strong guys looking for a ski that won’t buckle when brute force is applied, the Titan Atlas has the punch you’re looking for.

How do you get a ski with a 101-mm waist to carve a turn? Answer: Make sure it’s a Watea 101. As one tester noted, “Skis over 100 mm at the waist have evolved, and this ski is proof — easy to maneuver in short and long turns.” Make that easy with an exclamation mark when it comes to long turns. The ski absolutely flows through long turns with the soothing comfort of water in a stream. A carving fat ski? No longer a contradiction.

05 | ROSSIGNOL

05 | DYNASTAR

Phantom SC87 85.23% | 130-86,5-116@186 cm | R 17.6 | FLEX Medium | $750

Legend Pro Rider 84.66% | 128-100-118@184 cm | R 27 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $940

Relax! Skiing the whole mountain doesn’t have to be all muscle-rippling machismo. Think instead of the winter equivalent of a smooth, summer sail in a light but steady breeze. Kick back, enjoy it, and don’t worry about the occasional rogue wave that might try to spoil your fun. The SC87 smooths out the rough spots and floats all over the mountain with a genial versatility. “Keep it mellow and they will flow,” were the user instructions of one tester. Ahhhh… how relaxing.

Call in the cavalry! The Pro Rider is a racehorse that wants to charge right out of the gate and keep on charging. Rock-solid stability produces immaculate, powerful turns on any type of snow. But like a frisky thoroughbred, the ski has a lively little kick in it, too. Testers thought the Pro Rider does just fine at moderate speeds, but it really comes into its element at full gallop. To get the most out of the ski, charge!

06 | HEAD

06 | BLIZZARD

Peak 88 83.18% | 127-89-113@186 cm | R 21.7 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,290 w/b

The Answer IQ Max 84.46% | 135-110-125@184 cm | R 28 | FLEX Stiff | $1,200 w/b

Welcome to the power hour. If you aren’t willing to push the pedal to the metal with the Peak 88, then step out of the driver’s seat and find another ski. This might be billed as an all-mountain SUV, but under the hood it’s got race-car energy that really cranks into action at high speed on groomers. Wimps, stay away; the Peak 88 is a serious bruiser’s delight. “A peak performer in the hands of a strong, focused athlete,” was one tester’s summary.

Like a bracing shot of caffeine, The Answer delivers an eye-opening jolt. If you’re not willing to punch the power meter into the red zone, forgetaboutit. The ski is really looking for a speed-loving muscleman at the controls. “Suited for a more aggressive skier with an established skill set,” is the way one tester put it. Once warp speed is achieved, the ski delivers a big-turning beauty of a ride, but for short turns at slower speeds, it’s a bull in a china shop.

07 | ATOMIC

07 | ROSSIGNOL

Savage Ti 82.99% | 133-93-122@186 cm | R 19 | FLEX Medium | $1,349 w/b

Phantom SC97 84.00% | 130-96,5-115@186 cm | R 24.6 | FLEX Medium | $900

Lay your head back on a cushy pillow, put your feet up, grab a cold frosty, and go into couch-potato mode. That’s about the amount of effort it requires to tame the Savage. Fast, round turns on ice are luxuriously easy; as one tester wrote, “Just put them on edge and carve all day.” The ski is light enough for decent float in softer snow, but listen up, couch potatoes: keep the channel tuned to in-bounds cruising, and happiness will be the reward.

Balance, sweet balance. When designing the Phantom, the Rossi R&D boys must have had a scale in mind. For every bit of carving, there is a balancing bit of flotation. With a bit of high-speed power comes an equal amount of easygoing forgiveness. The result is a ski that might not produce a thrilling ride, but will always deliver a competent performance wherever you take it on the mountain. “Good compromise,” was one tester’s snappy summary. Or a good balance of ingredients.

08 | DYNASTAR

08 | HEAD

6th Sense Distorter 82.70% | 119-87-109@179 cm | R 24 | FLEX Medium-soft | $640

John 83.84% | 132-94-119@187 cm | R 19.5 | FLEX Medium | $1,240 w/b

Zippidy-do-dah… this ski darts through turns with the light and lively dance steps of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Rare is the big-waisted ski that performs better at short turns than long turns, but the lightness of the Distorter allows it to make changes of direction with nimble quickness. The ski is “playful,” as one tester put it, relying on agility rather than brawny power. Bigger skiers craving big speed might look elsewhere, but smaller guys looking for an all-mountain dance partner, zippidy-eh.

Metaphors for lightness: a feather, a summer breeze, a balloon, a pair of Head Johns. For you little fellas looking for an all-mountain playmate, John can be an ideal partner. Yes, a ski this light can get a bit balky on ice, but in the softer stuff it delivers an almost perfect combination of fun and ease. What surprised testers was that the ski still packed an energetic punch even if it lacked a heavyweight’s bulk. In short: a breezy beaut of a ski.

40

BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

MORE WINNING SKIS, THE SKI FINDER AND ALL TEST SCORES CAN BE FOUND AT SKIPRESSWORLD.COM


XXXL

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Hear the call of the wild. The only time these fatties - about 110 mm or more underfoot, with rocker almost across the board - should touch hard snow is on the way from the lift to the deep-pow goods. The backcountry is where these skis rock.

01 | KÄSTLE MX 108 89.56% | 132-108-122@187 cm | R 31 | FLEX Stiff | $1,399 w/b Step into a phone booth, check that “S” on your chest, and grab a pair of MX 108s, skis that can turn you into a superman. Testers were unanimous — this is a hard-charging power board that can make an all-mountain hero out of any expert. Just leave your mild-mannered, Clark Kent attitude behind. This ski craves BIG-ness — big terrain, big snow, big speed. Or you could simply forget turning… according to one tester: “You can straightline everything and fly!” Superhero ripaholics… climb on board.

02 | NORDICA Girish 88.95% | 139-110-129@185 cm | R 26 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $900 Here’s a word that rarely gets used to describe a 110-mm-waisted fatty: nimble. The Girish takes the concept of power-packed, big-mountain ski to an exalted level, executing big, fast turns with exceptional ease. But what surprised testers was the versatility rarely encountered in a ski this big — the nimble agility to dart through sweet, small turns on hard snow when necessary. “Like watching a sumo wrestler break into ballet,” was one tester’s description. Big and nimble need not be contradictory.

03 | ELAN 1010 86.69% | 140-110-130@183 cm | R 23.9 | FLEX Soft | $1,150 w/b You little guys know the feeling — a big, beefy powder ski that’s so unwieldy it feels like trying to turn a battleship underwater. Along comes the 1010, the answer to your power problems. Here’s a light, soft sweetie that allows lighter skiers to dance circles around bigger guys in powder and crud. It might be a little chattery on the hard stuff, but clean turns of all shapes come with buttery ease as the snow softens. That’s a nice feeling.

04 | DYNASTAR Pro Rider XXL 86.44% | 132-109-122@187 cm | R 41 | FLEX Stiff | $990 The XXL is the class bully of this category. It’s a ski that doesn’t just want to meet the challenges of the mountain, it wants to bludgeon the mountain into submission. It’s a big, heavy bomber for big, heavy bombers — a ski that charges down the mountain without taking prisoners. The result is a ski unmatched in its long-turning stability. “A hard-charging ski for going Mach 2 everywhere, but only if you have the strength to hang on,” wrote one tester. Warning: For musclemen only.

05 | VÖLKL Katana 85.92% | 141-111-131@183 cm | R 25.2 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,065 If there’s room for only one ski in your budget and your tool chest, consider the Katana. You wouldn’t think a fat (141 mm at the tip, 111 mm underfoot), rockered ski would be anything but a powder board, but guess what? Carved turns on harder snow come with surprising ease. “For a strong skier to drop big lines,” wrote one tester. “Easy to turn in tight places,” wrote another. That’s the definition of versatility — a big ski with little-ski capabilities. A one-tool wonder.

06 | BLIZZARD Titan Argos IQ Max 84.48% | 135-105-119@186 cm | R 26 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,275 w/b The Titan Argos should come with a warning label: Go big and nothing but big. Big lines, big mountains, big turns, big ambitions — this is not a ski for anyone thinking small. It’s a stiff, power-packed monster that needs speed and space to do what it does best: charge. Uneven snow like crud or wind crust? No problem — the Titan Argos blasts right through it. “Best skied with brute force and big plans,” wrote one tester — a combination of praise and warning.

07 | ATOMIC Blog 83.67% | 134-110-126@185 cm | R 19 | FLEX Soft | $749 There is much to be said for the incredible lightness of skiing. The featherweight Blog flutters atop the surface of the snow like a butterfly, making it surprisingly deft at short turns for a wide-waisted ski. Just a quick flick of the feet and – zip! – the ski changes directions. Racy turns on hard snow might not be its forté, but dart through the trees in softer stuff, and the result, according to the word invention of one tester, is “butterific.”

08 | SALOMON Czar 81.86% | 131-111-121@182 cm | R 54.9 | FLEX Medium | $950 Is that the backcountry calling? Salomon thinks so, officially designating the Czar as a backcountry board. Testers, however, liked its crossover potential for in-bounds exploration, as long as you steer clear of really hard snow. The rocker shape makes turn initiation a snap, and an even flex pattern provides dependable stability through long turns. “The rockered tip makes the start of your turn easier than your drunk prom date,” wrote one tester. Whatever your analogy, this is big turning made easy, in-bounds or out.

MORE WINNING SKIS, THE SKI FINDER AND ALL TEST SCORES CAN BE FOUND AT SKIPRESSWORLD.COM

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42

BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

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BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

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Groomed Carve women top 8 HIGH-PERFORMANCE

G PERFORMANCE

(MSA)

For advanced and expert female skiers who like making fast, tight turns mostly on groomed and hard-packed snow. Deep sidecuts mean turn radii are mainly under 15 meters, typical of a slalom race ski. These are racy skis also able to tackle bumps and trees.

(MSA)

Designed for making slalom-shaped turns with a radius of under 15 meters, these skis - some of them made specifically for women - are for intermediate and advanced skiers getting a feel for what groomed-snow carving is all about. Moderate speeds are generally the name of the game here.

01 | VÖLKL

02 | BLIZZARD

01 | VIST

02 | ATOMIC

115-66-98@165 cm | R 13 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,235 w/b

121-68-105@160 cm | R 11.5 | FLEX Medium | $1,200 w/b

116-66-101@158 cm | R 12.5 | FLEX Stiff | $1,795 w/b

119-75-109@157 cm | R 12 | FLEX Medium | $1,000 w/b

A race tiger? Indeed. “OMG, can it get any better?!” asked one smitten tester. This Völkl’s got great edge grip and energy enough to fire you from one arc to the next. Best suited to short turns, but good marks for versatility and long radius, too. Völkl’s Race Tiger is a tigress… an absolute carving machine.

This Blizzard’s IQ is so high it’s at the top of its class. Our testers raved over its energy and versatility. It handles both short and long turns with ease. Just stay centered and tighten those abs… the Blizzard IQ may be easy to initiate, but it’s got plenty of whip through the end of each turn.

Race Tiger SL Racing 92.26%

SLR Magnesium IQ 91.71%

SUPER FRONT TWO LADY 89.92%

VF 75w 88.43%

Newcomer Vist aces the race with a beefy ski that offers even beefier rewards. “This ski has muscle,” warns one tester. “You must be in the driver’s seat.” Once you establish who’s boss, you’re rewarded with energy, tenacious edge grip and unmatched stability. Sure, the Vist takes effort, but your efforts are rewarded with excellent all-around ski-ability.

Liked for its edge grip, short radius and versatility, the VF 75w earned consistently good marks in all categories. It’s light, lively and easy to turn, yet very stable. “Strong enough for a man,” said one tester, “but definitely made for a woman.” Best part? Its user-friendly feel makes it ideal for skiers hoping to progress this season.

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03 | ATOMIC

04 | HEAD

03 | NORDICA

04 | HEAD

117-70-107@156 cm | R 11 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,499 w/b

115-66-97@155 cm | R 12.5 | FLEX Medium | $1,670 w/b

120-70-103@162 cm | R 13 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,350 w/b

120-65-105@155 cm | R 10 | FLEX Stiff | $1,440 w/b

“Awesome… if you’re looking for the best dancer at the prom,” quipped one breathless tester. Brush up on your moves ‘cause this ski is for expert dancers only. Gals who can take the lead will adore the precise edge grip, rock-solid stability and hip-hop energy of this club-lovin’ ski.

Powerful, demanding, with a kick at the end of the turn, Head’s i.SL serves up platefuls of tasty short turns with healthy sides of stability. “This ski likes full throttle,” said one tester. “There’s nooo sweet-spot searching required.” Long turns? Forget ‘em. Like ribs, this Head prefers its radii short, hot and spicy.

Marks for edge grip and energy were over the top for Nordica’s Spitfire Pro… but be warned: this Dobermann is no cuddly, forgiving puppy. Short radii are favored over long, as is strong, aggressive skiing. Advanced to expert, athletic ex-racers, line up to the left. You’ll be runnin’ with the big dogs on this ski, sister.

More aggressive females wanted! Energy, stability and short radius are among the Super Shape’s strengths. While stiff, they are easy to initiate. “So energetic!” commented one tester. Like a ripped cardio instructor, the Super Shape will push you hard from one fun turn to another.

05 | NORDICA

06 | FISCHER

05 | ELAN

06 | VÖLKL

120-67-103@155 cm | R 11.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,400 w/b

118-66-99@155 cm | R 11 |

116-65-104@155 cm | R 11.5 |

124-72-93@158 cm | R 14.6 |

FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,395 w/b

FLEX Medium-soft | $1,000 w/b

FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,125 w/b

Like a dog on a bone, this Dobermann hangs onto short-radius turns with fierceness, insatiable hunger and a ton o’ tenacity. With fantastic energy and edge grip…it’s still not as versatile as some. This wellmuscled Best in Show is about as forgiving as a ravenous Doberman.

Our women labelled Fischer’s RC4 as “a World Cup classic.” It’s easy to get short turns slicing and dicing on these knife-like skis. Long turns and versatility were not rated as highly. The SC Pro is a powerful, aggressive short turner best suited for a hard-working, harddriving… and yes, powerful skier.

Elan’s Speed Magic skis like the perfect chocolate chip cookie, commented one of our testers. “It’s crisp on the outside, yet deliciously soft in the middle.” Easy initiation leads to precise edging and lively shortradius performance, which is ideal for experts. Yet this Elan is forgiving enough for intermediates, too.

This flaming red Völkl is a stable good-looker that was rated equally proficient at both long and short radius. Some testers found it stiff and unforgiving. Medium to heavier skiers, however, loved it in softer conditions. “Perfect,” said one tester, “for skiing corn bumps and wearing red lipstick!”

Race Ti SL 91.47%

Dobermann SL PRO 88.55%

i.SL 89.53%

RC4 Worldcup SC Pro 85.69%

Dobermann Spitfire Pro 88.02%

Super Shape 87.67%

Speed Magic 85.56%

Attiva Fuego 84.30%

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07 | ELAN SLX 84.24%

116-66-104@155 cm | R 11.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,350 w/b

Snazzy graphics and a light-as-a-feather feel are trademark Elan. “This ski is springy like a trampoline,” commented one tester. “It’s fantastic for short turns!” Versatility is not this ski’s forte. For what it’s meant for — short rads — it leaps with a gymnast’s effervescence, energy, ability and tenacity.

07 | ROXY

To see all the winning skis , and to use our fabulous Ski Finder,

logon

08 | STÖCKLI

Joyrider 80.45%

Laser SC 80.03%

126-74-105@154 cm | R 12 |

114-63-95@163 cm | R 13.5 |

FLEX Medium-soft | $960 w/b

FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,239

Roxy’s rad-looking, easygoing Joyrider spread joy among our testers with its effortless initiation, resolute edge grip and sunny, forgiving nature. “A fun-loving all-terrain ski,” said one tester, “but it’s not made for racers!” Testers especially appreciated the Joyrider’s talent for handling multi-shaped turns at a variety of speeds.

The Laser SC has heaps of energy, solid stability and strong edge grip. Its energy showed in its short-turn performance. Be sure to stay centered and ready to rock! “Loved the snap, crackle and pop at the end of the turn!” Long turns happened if you worked for them.

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MORE WINNING SKIS, THE SKI FINDER AND ALL TEST SCORES CAN BE FOUND AT SKIPRESSWORLD.COM


Groomed Cruise women top 8 HIGH-PERFORMANCE

PERFORMANCE

(MSA)

Ladies think of these skis as groomed and hard-snow rippers, for women who like barreling down the mountain making round, high-speed turns. Turn radii are typically between 15 and 20 meters, comparable to the shape of a giant-slalom turn.

(MSA)

For the woman who wants to ski it all, but who doesn’t want to work hard doing it. Intermediates and advanced skiers who spend most of their time on softer snow groomers, crud, and in-bounds powder, this is your category. Many of these skis are made specifically for women.

01 | FISCHER

02 | VÖLKL

01 | FISCHER

02 | BLIZZARD

112-66-96@170 cm | R 15 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,395 w/b

121-75-104@161 cm | R 16.8 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,525 w/b

120-72-103@160 cm | R 11-15 | FLEX Medium-soft | $1,199 w/b

118-71-102@160 cm | R 13 | FLEX Medium-soft | $700 w/b

Our women raved over this Fischer’s high-speed cruisability and overall edge grip. “This ski wants to fly,” said one tester. “It’s perfect for a multi-tasker who only wants one pair of skis for GS and slalom,” said another. Fischer’s RC4 Pro is a fantastic combo of lightness, quickness, energy and stability. Best part? It’s got short-, medium- and longradius proficiency underfoot.

A switch on the back allows riders of Völkl’s multitalented Tigershark to vary flex from soft to stiff. The result? A ski with impressive range. Dial it to soft for cruising; dial it to stiff for carving on hardpack and ice. Stiffness on demand… what a concept. Best part? The concept works!

Wow! Fischer’s Progressor 8+ certainly is progressive. It’s easy to turn and comes packed with persistent edge grip. Ski short, medium and long turns, all with lightning-quick snap. It’s stable, yet lively, and funtablulous in bumps. Best part? “Push it or ski it lightly,” says one tester. Either way, the Progressor 8+ works!

Blizzard’s Viva is as forgiving as your mom, but with better turn initiation! Also, like your mom, it likes short turns at moderate speeds best, but can cut through crud or carve the corduroy on request. “Versatility ought to be its middle name,” declared one tester. Best part? Moms rock at handling the multi-task!

03 | BLIZZARD

04 | ATOMIC

03 | VIST

04 | VÖLKL

123-72-105@167 cm | R 13.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,200 w/b

109.5-70-99@179 cm (Tested: 169) | R 18.4 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,499 w/b

123-71-105@162 cm | R 15.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,395 w/b

124-73-94@158 cm | R 14.8 | FLEX Soft | $825 w/b

Blizzard’s G-Force hits a girl’s G-spot with versatility and flexibility. It dips into turns easily, then holds onto them with a Velcro-like grip. Plus, the Supersonic really is supersonic in both long turns and short. Best part? “You can feel the rebound,” declared one breathless convert.

Wanted: female speed demons with XX chromosomes. Atomic’s D2 Race de-to-nates. Says one tester: “These babies are on fire!” High-speed GS is the D2’s strength, but short and medium radius are wonderful as well. These skis initiate easily and have unrelenting edge grip. Best part? They can burn and turn.

Big marks for this Vist’s stability and long-radius turnability. It initiates easily and provides lots of grip. Not quite as forgiving as some of its competitors, the beefy feel and carvaciousness lend it to strong skiers best. One powerful tester declared: “This Vist is as versatile as the little black dress!”

Völkl’s Estrella ought to be renamed easy-rella. It starts each turn smoothly and simply — no muss and zero fuss. Plus, it’s got Völkl’s trademark snap at the finish of each arc. The Estrella is stable, energetic and capable of handling varied conditions at moderate speeds. Best part? Says one tester: “Everything is easy on this ski.”

RC4 Worldcup RC Pro 90.92%

Tigershark 11 feet Power Switch 90.11%

G-Force Supersonic IQ 89.50%

Progressor 8+ 92.81%

Viva G-Three IQ 89.89%

ws D2 Race GS 89.43%

Super Mountain One Lady 89.36%

Attiva Estrella 88.49%

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05 | NORDICA

06 | DYNASTAR

119-72-104@162 cm | R 14.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,250 w/b

120-72-104@165 cm | R 15 |

118-66-102@160 cm | R 12 |

126-74-105@162 cm | R 13.3 |

FLEX Medium | $940 w/b

FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,100 w/b

FLEX Medium-stiff | $800 w/b

Tenacious edge grip and rock-solid stability make Nordica’s Speedmachine a veritable snow rocket. Starting the turn requires some patience, and the ski can be stern if you dare any backchat. But ladies… use the muscle your mama gave you, ‘cause this ski can fly. Best part? Flying fast with no speed limits.

One thing’s for sure: Dynastar has produced a looker. Women were wild for the Elite’s In Style good looks. On snow, the ski is flexible, easy to ride and has a broad range of abilities… if not a lot of energy. Best part? Did we mention the Elite’s supermodel good looks? Mah-vellous.

When you groove Dynastar’s Groove, the ski responds with stability, grip and rhythmical long and short radius. This ski has talent, our testers told us, as well as some heft, strength and aggressiveness. Stretch out your turns and rocket, get forward and grab… whatever you do, you’ll learn smooth moves you didn’t know you had.

Stable as a table, Mabel! Rossi has nailed grip, versatility and ease of initiation with the Attraxion 6… Now they have to go back to spelling class! Testers reported low and moderate speeds are best, but plowing through varied snow conditions is doable and simple if you insist. Best part? In this day and age, stability is a must.

Speedmachine Mach 3 87.54%

05 | DYNASTAR

Exclusive Elite 84.93%

07 | HEAD

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08 | ROSSIGNOL

Power One 84.47%

06 | ROSSIGNOL

Contact Groove 88.48%

Attraxion 6 87.62%

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07 | ATOMIC

Attraxion 12 83.90%

08 | HEAD

Cloud 9 86.35%

Icon 80 85.90%

111-66-97@163 cm | R 14.2 |

124-70-112@165 cm | R 12.3 |

117-73-106@158 cm | R 12 |

117-66-101@164 cm | R 12.4 |

FLEX Medium | $1,270 w/b

FLEX Soft | $1,150 w/b

FLEX Soft | $749 w/b

FLEX Stiff | $1,225 w/b

Those who liked it liked it a lot. The Head Power One is a lightning-quick cruiser that’s also a super easy turner. “Don’t bother slowing down,” said one tester. “Speed is this ski’s magic ingredient!” Best part? The faster you go, the better it gets.

Soft flex gives the Rossignol Attraxion 12 an easy turn initiation; the ski produces smooth, round arcs at medium speeds. It’s not all race ski… the attraction here is the Attraxion’s versatility and forgiveness. Best part? The Attraxion may be mutual!

Atomic takes you to Cloud 9 by getting each turn started easily, then holding onto it regardless of snow conditions or turn shape. Versatile, lightweight and forgiving, the ski favors moderate speeds. Our women loved its understated cosmetics. Best part? No turbulence on this smooth flight.

Head’s husky Icon 80 provides a stable base for longradius turns. Snappy short turns have to be earned, but this ski starts to hum at high speeds. Said one tester, “This Head skis like a tank when going fast.” The Icon 80 handles crud and chop with equal aplomb, laying treads in the off-piste. Best part? It’ll plow through anything.

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All-Terrain Medium women top 8 HIGH-PERFORMANCE

PERFORMANCE

(MSA)

These skis are designed for athletic, demanding skiers who like to tear up the whole mountain - steeps, bumps, trees, groomers - at high speed. But with waist widths of about 80 mm, they can still handle the occasional foray into powder.

A

(MSA)

These skis are for women who like to explore the mountain, but who like to stay in a relatively easygoing comfort zone. Everything but super-steep double blacks are in the game plan, with a premium on the versatility to handle a variety of snow conditions.

01 | NORDICA

02 | ELAN

01 | HEAD

02 | FISCHER

124-78-108@162 cm | R 13.5 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,000 w/b

123-78-105@166 cm | R 15.4 | FLEX Medium-soft | $875 w/b

122-72-106@156 cm | R 11 | FLEX Soft | $920 w/b

122-78-107@159 cm | R 15 | FLEX Medium-soft | $729

Our female testers thoroughly enjoyed their Victory laps. “Super dynamic and very versatile,” commented one. “Will take your skiing to pro level!” added another. Nordica’s Victory — No.1 in this category — does it all. It’s grippy, rippy, easy to turn, and stable in short and long arcs. Best part? Its adaptability in bumps, ice, chop, pow…

Elan’s Pure Magic looks like pure magic, and it turns terrifically, too. It tips in easily and is miraculously stable. This ski casts a spell on bumpy conditions. Short to medium turns at moderate speeds are the Magic’s kingdom. Best part? “For those who want performance,” says one skier, “it’s more than just a detuned race ski.”

Head’s eZn-like woman-specific Every One initiates turns almost omnisciently and oh-so-easily that its scores soared across the board. uQick and secure edge bite, versatility, tranquil graphics and happiness in all conditions define this quiver of one. Group hug, everyone. Best Part? The Every One may be heaven-sent, but as one tester says: “It still goes like hell!”

In Hawaiian, Koa translates to bravery and fearlessness. Fischer’s Koa fits its big-island bill. A skilled female skier can demand a forceful edge grip, clean initiation and dynamic energy. Short and long turns were equally well executed. Best part? Fischer’s woman-specific Koa bravely plows through pow and crud.

03 | HEAD

04 | DYNASTAR

03 | ROSSIGNOL

04 | STÖCKLI

123-77-109@165 cm | R 13.5 | FLEX Medium | $1,070 w/b

122-75-106@178 cm (Tested: 172) | R 16@178 | FLEX Medium | $1,220 w/b

127-75-108@162 cm | R 12.8 | FLEX Medium-soft | $950 w/b

118-72-106@167 cm | R 13.5 | FLEX Medium | $1,199

No, ladies, Wayne Gretzky does not come with this ski. What you will get with Head’s Great One is grrrreat initiation, versatility and forgiveness. Best part? The ski is stable, turny and lightning quick — a consistent goal scorer. Say, that does sound like Gretzky!

Dynastar’s Contact 4x4 is no fashionable crossover… it’s a sturdy old-school SU V! Said one tester: “You can really give ‘er!” This 4x4 plows through crud, powers through long turns at high speeds, and can shorten up radius quickly. Strength and power are rewarded. Finesse? Not so much.

Our women testers echoed a common theme for Rossignol’s Attraxion Echo: it’s a forgiving and excitingly versatile ski. Lightweight, sturdy and made just for her, the Echo executes each turn cleanly and easily. It prefers short rads to long, but can hold its own on the big mountain. Best part? The Echo’s eco-friendly cosmetics: “Groovy, fun and energetic,” according to one tester.

Stöckli’s Rotor — a unisex ski — earned stratospheric marks for superior edge grip and long-radius performance, as well as simple turn initiation. With a stable platform and smooth control, GS-sized arcs are ideal, but shorter rads are doable if you work them. Best part? Our testers agreed, this good-stock Stöckli is “reliable.”

Victory 86.26%

Pure Magic 85.15%

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Great One 82.95%

Every One 86.15%

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Contact 4X4 82.89%

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KOA 78 My Style 85.41%

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Attraxion Echo 83.54%

Rotor 72 83.29%

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05 | SALOMON

06 | ATOMIC

120-77-105@159 cm | R 15.6 | FLEX Soft | $1,100 w/b

110,2-79-104,5@164 cm | R 16.5 |

121-74-101@160 cm | R 13.1 |

120-74-102@160 cm | R 13.6 |

FLEX Soft | $879 w/b

FLEX Medium | $750 w/b

FLEX Medium | $975 w/b

Atomic’s Seventh Heaven delivers on the promise, especially if you are a finesse skier searching for versatility and grace. Moderate speeds are best in short and long turns… but girls, be patient. Heaven can wait. These skis respond to a gentle, loving touch.

Elan has the Hallowe’en colors afire on its new Magfire. The look? Polarizing. But how does it ski? This unisex Elan’s best traits include tenacious edge hold and rock-like stability. Women testers raved over its round turns at medium and high speeds. Best Part? Ripping arcs on the hardpack.

Yes, the Opal is precious. Gorgeous cosmetics, easy initiation into each turn and stone-hard stability sparkle on this all-terrain gem. Testers loved its grip on corduroy at high speeds, but on icy crud? Not so much. Best Part? Jewel-like graphics and the Opal’s groomed-run perfection.

07 | VÖLKL

08 | BLIZZARD

122-76-105@163 cm | R 14 | FLEX Medium | $750 w/b

Origins Diamond 82.75%

05 | ELAN

Seventh Heaven 79 81.32%

Black diamonds can be a girl’s BFF, especially on this multi-dimensional ski. Salomon Origins Diamond’s allterrainability inspires confidence enough to venture around every kind of condition on the ski hill. Jewel cut initiation leads to precise short and long turns — the Diamond is responsively quick edge-to-edge. Graphics split testers: some said “too girly-girl” while others said “attractive and awesome.” You be the judge.

06 | SALOMON

Magfire 74 81.93%

Origins Opal 81.81%

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07 | BLIZZARD

08 | ROSSIGNOL

Viva Magnum 8.1 IQ Max 79.76%

Classic 80 Ti 79.27%

Attiva Sol 81.32%

Viva Magnum 7.6 IQ 81.27%

123-81-108@165 cm | R 16 |

124-80-112@165 cm | R 15.5 |

126-75-96@158 cm | R 14.7 |

FLEX Soft | $1,025 w/b

FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,250 w/b

FLEX Soft | $875 w/b

Viva la diva! A strong and skilled diva, that is. Blizzard’s Viva responds instantly to aggressive skiing. Vice-like edge grip and stability through slow to medium speeds are its best assets. The ski can be chattery at higher tempos. Stay centered! Says one tester: “You need muscles to turn these skis.”

Classic style meets New Age technology. U pdated graphics top Rossignol’s Classic — a ski that’s strong, aggressive and extremely evenly balanced from tip to tail. In fact, the Classic aced the stability test. Best part? Rossi’s Classic will plow through crud, float in pow, and bash the bumps… but girls, you’ve got to be willing to work.

Another stunner, with a mind to match. Völkl Attiva Sol blends pink with silver — it positively glows! Starting the turn is easy, and the ski follows up with good grip and a forgiving style. High marks for both short and long turns. The Sol also shone in varied conditions. Best Part? Killer looks and a winning personality!

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Magnum-sized performance in a wide variety of conditions for Blizzard’s Viva Magnum, with generous marks in both short- and long-radius turns. Smooth initiation and strong edge hold in this all-terrain ski led to a big “Viva Blizzard!” from testers. Best Part? Easy initiation, plus versatility and forgiveness.

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All-Terrain Large women top 8 HIGH-P ERFORMANCE

E PRFORMANCE

(MSA)

Think of these as all-day, every-day Western skis, or as a do-everything ski for Eastern skiing women taking regular vacations to the West. With waist widths between 82mm and 85mm, there’s a touch of powder flotation to go with all-mountain versatility.

(MSA)

For the woman who wants to ski it all, but who doesn’t want to work hard doing it. Intermediates and advanced skiers who spend most of their time on softer snow groomers, crud, and in-bounds powder, this is your category. Many of these skis are made specifically for women.

01 | ELAN

02 | NORDICA

01 | SALOMON

02 | NORDICA

126-82-109@160 cm | R 13.4 | FLEX Medium | $1,150 w/b

126-84-112@162 cm | R 15 | FLEX Stiff | $1,400 w/b

120-75-103@168 cm | R 15.3 | FLEX Medium-soft | $975 w/b

126-84-112@162 cm | R 15 | FLEX Medium | $1,200 w/b

This No.1 unisex Magfire from Elan lit it up across the board. It turns in strongly, holds exceptionally, and gives the skier a stable platform from which to paint flaming arcs on the snow. Long, short, crud, hardpack… the Magfire scorches them all. Best Part? “A go-anywhere, do-anything ski.”

You better fuel up to ski Nordica’s Jet Fuel Ti! A strong, stable feeling produced superb long-radius control without sacrificing short-turn performance. There’s solid edge grip and tanks full of energy in this unisex ski that’s equally good at handling varied conditions. Best Part? Rocket-assisted long-radius arcs.

“These skis are like a good bra,” said one earnest tester. “They’re totally supportive and they make you look good in all the right places!” Salomon’s XW Storm also comes with talon-like edge grip, a solid feel and a light touch at initiation. A unisex ski, it’s stable and able to slice through everything from ice to powder. Best part? It’ll make you feel good all under!

Nordica’s Conquer captured the hearts of our testers. This fine-looking, woman-specific ski dipped into each turn with plenty o’ gusto, ripped long and short radius, and was stable and responsive through crud and chop. “A versatile East and West ski,” commented one tester. “Feels like a second skin,” said another.

03 | VÖLKL

04 | HEAD

03 | ELAN

04 | ATOMIC

132-82-103@161 cm | R 15.1 | FLEX Medium | $1,150 w/b

121-82-107@166 cm | R 16.5 | FLEX Medium | $1,130 w/b

123-78-105@160 cm | R 13.8 | FLEX Medium | $875 w/b

119-82-108,5@166 cm | R 16.5 | FLEX Medium-soft | $1,249 w/b

This woman-specific Völkl Attiva Aurora shimmers like the Northern Lights themselves. Heavenly edge grip and easy initiation create long turns that will light up the sky. Short turns aren’t too shabby, either. Best Part? Experiencing the mastery of long turns on a plasma blade edge.

Multi-dimensional graphics on Head’s Wild One cloak a long-radius Lindsay Lohan. But unlike our Lindsay, this Wild One’s got good stability and a pretty solid (edge) grip. Patience is needed for initiation. Short turns and energy aren’t as strong as long-turn performance. And yes… Head’s Wild One is woman specific.

Another Magfire from Elan, this one prefers rapidly executed short-radius turns. Always eager to initiate an arc, the Magfire 78 also maintains a solid edge grip and a snappy rebound. “It’s an energetic and lively ski,” commented one tester. “It’s all-mountain capable and as nimble as a cougar,” said another. Best part? It’s a short turner that still earned good marks for stability and handling in varied conditions.

Atomic’s Double Deck technology is front and center here, along with Vario Flex… a.k.a. VF. All this innovation creates a ski with quick initiation, a solid feel and strong edging power. Strong skiers get sturdy longturn performance. “Just put it on edge and…Yahoo!” said one happy Atomic tester.

05 | LBIZZARD

06 | VÖLKL

Magfire 82 XTi 87.40%

Jet Fuel Ti 83.31%

Attiva Aurora 81.24%

XW Storm 86.28%

Wild One 80.41%

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Conquer 84.17%

Magfire 78 82.80%

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VF 82 82.39%

05 | ATOMIC

06 | FISCHER

127.5-92-116@168 cm | R 18 | FLEX Medium | $749

126-84-112@167 cm | R 17 |

123-88-109@166 cm | R 17 |

130-92-112@169 cm | R 17.9 |

FLEX Medium | $829

FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,025 w/b

FLEX Medium | $725

Fischer’s Koa 84 likes it fast and straight. Want to turn? Oookay… so long as it’s long radius, which is this woman-specific ski’s natural arc. Says one tester: “It’s a strong, stable ski that says ‘Let’s ride!’” Patience is needed at initiation. Let the edges grip… then they’ll rip. Best part? The Koa’s awesome looks!

A giant when it comes to stability, the Titan also has solid edge grip and stellar long-turn performance. Best for skiers who ride with force; there’s no doubt the ski prefers titan-sized long rads over short. It’s stiffer and heavier than most skis in this category. “Smooth” and “solid” are two words that sum up testers’ comments. Advises one: “Don’t rush it. Let this ski follow its own smooth trajectory.”

“If Gwen Stefani was a ski,” said one tester, “she’d be a Völkl Cosmo!” Flashy, fast and a little tough, the Cosmo has wild cosmetics. It’s an all-mountaineer that bubbles with rock star energy, especially in long turns. Best part? This ski will last the whole concert.

Elysian 78.47%

KOA 84 My Style 77.06%

Awesome graphics! Twin tips! Wide enough to float a boat! With its new Elysian, Atomic has created an allmountain ski that can do double duty in the terrain park. Its long-radius prowess earned good marks, yet the Elysian is also quick and maneuverable. “Versatile in varied snow conditions,” commented one tester. Best Part? “All that performance, and good looks to boot!”

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07 | SALOMON XW Fury 76.40%

Titan EOS IQ-Max 77.59%

Cosmo 76.74%

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08 | DYNASTAR

Exclusive Legend Eden 75.91%

Looking for the Perfect Match?

126-83-113@170 cm | R 14.6 |

126-85-110@165 cm | R 16 |

FLEX Stiff | $1,300 w/b

FLEX Soft | $760

With red fading to black, the XW Fury’s cosmetics rock! This unisex Salomon has edge grip, stability and longradius expertise. “Robust,” warns one tester, “but not for the faint of heart.” Short radius? If you have to. But the Fury handled varied snow with prowess, plowing through crud and absolutely rrrripping freshies apart.

The Eves of the world will like this woman-specific Dynastar Eden for its tranquil, garden-like initiation and heaven-sent long-radius turns. Forgiving? Yep. Edge grip and solid feel? Check. Short radius? Yes… but you’ll need to work it. Now where’s that goodlookin’ Adam for a cruise test…?

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We know how you feel. With all those awesome skis out there, it can be a little difficult to commit to one pair, while still wondering if another pair might be better for you. The SKI PRESS SKI FINDER is here to help. B y matching the findings of our legendary ski test with all your hopes, goals and needs in a ski, WE CAN FIND THE PERFECT MATCH FOR YOU. Personal ski-finding help is available 4 2hours a day, 7 days a week, at SKIPRESSWORLD.COM. JUST FOR YOU.

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BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

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Freeride women top 8

F

XL

XXL

With waist widths starting at around 87 mm, these skis are the bridge between all-mountain masters and deep-powder blasters. Waist width provides float, but there’s still plenty of sidecut for carving when the snow gods decide to take a day off.

Here’s where the balance shifts decidedly in favor of soft snow. These skis generally have enough sidecut for competent carving, but that’s not their forte. At around 100 mm underfoot and often with rocker technology, versatility ebbs in favor of deep-snow performance. Many of these boards are unisex, while some are made specifically for women.

01 | KÄSTLE MX 88 88.96%

02 | VÖLKL Aura 86.46%

01 | KÄSTLE

02 | NORDICA

MX 98 91.31%

Nemesis 87.39%

128-88-113@178 cm | R 20 |

130-94-113@170 cm | R 21.1 |

132-98-117@173 cm | R 24 |

FLEX Stiff | $1,359 w/b

FLEX Medium | $825

FLEX Stiff | $1,399 w/b

135-98-125@177 cm | R 17 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $900

Men like this are hard to find, and skis even harder: confident, utterly dependable, yet easygoing, never demanding, and good-looking to boot. The MX 88 finds that perfect balance between power and gentility. “Stiff but easy to ski,” was one tester’s assessment.

Beauty is not just skin deep. The Aura is a looker, but inside is also a ski of substance. A perfect balance of ingredients means an all-mountain all-star that simply does everything well — no weaknesses. “Looks fantastic, but skis fantastic, too!” gushed one tester. A thing of beauty.

The MX 98 is about as subtle as a Roseanne Barr comedy routine. This bold and bodacious ski brooks no compromise — it’s a brawny board meant to go all big, all the time. “Definitely for an aggressive, big-mountain mama,” wrote one tester. Big really is beautiful.

Get set to pull the ripcord. The Nemesis is for a female skier who wants to reach terminal velocity as quickly as jumping out of a plane. It’s a big-mountain bomber’s delight — a power player for aggressive gals who tear up big lines. A no-nonsense Nemesis.

03 | HEAD

04 | ROSSIGNOL

03 | ROSSIGNOL Voodoo Pro BC110 86.34%

6th Sense Big 84.95%

126-88-112@175 cm | R 19.2 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,290 w/b

120-92-115@170 cm | R 20 | FLEX Medium-soft | $550

140-110-118@176 cm | R 14.8 | FLEX Medium-soft | $850

124-92-114@176 cm | R 23 | FLEX Medium | $760

The Peak 88 wants to be your new BFF — a ski you can take anywhere and never feel let down. Testers loved its all-mountain, all-snow versatility. “Fast, fun and super friendly; they play with the snow,” wrote one tester. Eat your heart out, Paris Hilton.

If V is for Voodoo, it could also be for versatility. The Voodoo is capable of taking on all manner of mountain challenges without ever putting up a fight. Relatively soft and light, it glides easily, like a hovercraft, atop the snow. An intermediate’s dreamboat.

The Voodoo Pro turns so easily, it’s as if you’re a glamor girl with a limo driver doing the steering for you. Its all-mountain versatility made one tester effusive: “The best female big-mountain ski ever!” Just keep speed in check, and enjoy this Rossignol’s allmountain magic.

The ‘B’ here isn’t really for Big… it’s for balance. Big skis often lack versatility in their quest for deep-snow flotation. Yet Dynastar’s Big is so well balanced in its design, test scores formed an almost perfect flat line. A jacklyn of all trades, and a mistress of many.

05 | SCOTT

06 | HEAD

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Peak 88 85.98%

Voodoo BC90 84.41%

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05 | NORDICA

06 | DYNASTAR

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04 | DYNASTAR

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Helldiver CA 84.21%

6th Sense Distorter 84.04%

132-90-118@170 cm | R 17 | FLEX Stiff | $1,250 w/b

119-87-109@173 cm | R 24 |

133-92-122@179 cm | R 15 |

131-93-118@173 cm | R 17.9 |

FLEX Medium | $640

FLEX Medium-stiff | $925

FLEX Medium | $1,240 w/b

This meaty monster is a carnivore’s delight, a ski that wants to attack the mountain with a ravenous appetite. A ski for strictly big women ripping big lines at big speeds. Finesse-loving petites — find satisfaction elsewhere on the buffet table.

East or West? The Distorter’s mid-fat profile provides sufficient float for soft snow and in-bounds powder, yet testers liked its agility in handling tight, Easternstyle turns. “Snappy and fun in short turns, bumps, and trees,” wrote one tester. East or West? Maybe both.

Clear the way — Scott’s Crusade is coming through. “It marches over everything,” was one tester’s description of this powerful board that lets nothing stand in its way. Best for big turns, but it can still cut a quick shortie when necessary.

Head’s simply named ‘John’ is like an enthusiastic boyfriend, always game for anything. Big-mountain exploration? Let’s go! In-bounds cruising? Why not? “Fun” and “versatile” were testers’ favorite descriptive words, though the light feel requires some disciplinary control. Best part? This boyfriend is handsome, too.

07 | ATOMIC

08 | SCOTT

07 | VÖLKL

08 | SALOMON

Savage Ti 83.92%

Crusade 83.88%

Rosa 82.82%

John 82.72%

Kiku 82.69%

Geisha 82.61%

131-93-120.1@177 cm | R 18 |

126-89-115@178 cm | R 14.7 |

137-106-122@178 cm | R 26.1 |

128-99-118@173 cm | R 23.1 |

FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,349 w/b

FLEX Medium | $825

FLEX Stiff | $825

FLEX Medium | $925

It requires an aggro babe to tame this Savage. This burly ski wants to run big and fast. It can handle small turns at moderate speed, but the inner beast is really released when the speedometer goes into the red zone. Oh, Savage.

You know the type… the voluptuous blonde who, at first glance, looks to be an airhead but who turns out to be very smart and as tough as nails. Scott’s slicklooking Rosa might be a sluggish starter, but once up to speed, it’s a clever, smooth-sailing beauty. Bring on the soft snow.

Don’t let that pretty top sheet fool you. Underneath is a power-packed all-American woman, eager to be let loose in the wild. Testers thought the backcountry was the Kiku’s calling. “They make you want to go big,” wrote one tester. Pretty? Or pretty cool?

Women… this is your loyal Geisha, reporting for duty. Like its namesake, this ski is a multi-talented lass dedicated to keeping you happy. With no discernible weaknesses, versatility wins the day. “Responds well to all commands,” wrote one tester. Ask and you shall receive.

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48

BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

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Freeride women top 8 XXXL Hear the call of the wild. The only time these fatties - about 110 mm or more underfoot, with rocker almost across the board - should touch hard snow is on the way from the lift to the deep-pow goods. The backcountry is where these skis rock.

01 | HEAD

02 | SALOMON

129-108-119@171 cm | R 30 | FLEX Medium | $1,435 w/b

FLEX Medium | $950

Stable, dependable, confident, never ruffled, goodlooking. The basic makeup of your dream man is the basic makeup of Head’s Jimi. An easy-turning ski, the Jimi is especially dreamy in powder. Take it from one tester: “Like a faithful boyfriend — this is the complete package.”

Salomon’s Czar rules as a multi-tasker, able to solve a variety of terrain puzzles despite its imperial size. Powder, hard-pack, moguls, even park features — testers were impressed with its all-mountain capabilities. “Perfect harmony between energy and control in all conditions,” wrote one female tester.

03 | ATOMIC

04 | ELAN

134-110-126@177 cm | R 19 | FLEX Medium | $749

130-105-122@175 cm | R 25.1 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $950 w/b

Hush, hush, sweet Blog. Get away from the rattle of hard-pack and take the Blog into the muffled whoosh of powder. As the snow deepens, this ski’s talent to execute a variety of turn shapes grows proportionally. Hear the call of the backcountry wild.

Whap! Bam! Boom! The Spice is not nice to the mountain — it wants to do battle. Rather than floating over powder or crud, the Spice just blasts through it. Girls who like turning big and fast… this could be the spice of your life.

Jimi 86.57%

Blog 84.36%

Backpacks

Czar 85.49%

128-108-118@174 cm | R 40 |

TRV Pro

Deep Spice 81.40%

XT Pro

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05 | 4FRNT

06 | ROXY

128-116-122@179 cm | R 40 | FLEX Medium-stiff | $1,200 w/b

FLEX Medium-soft | $870

A lady should be gentle, charming and dainty, right? Nah! 4FRNT’s EHP insists on hooking up with a toughas-nails, hard-charging chick. “Cruiser skiers should stay away,” warns one tester. This ski is all about big-mountain bombing — and looking good while doing it.

If your ego needs a little stroking, strap on a pair of pretty Mumbo Jumbos. “This ski can make an average skier look great,” commented one tester. The reason? Turning is absolutely effortless on this rockered ski. In soft snow at moderate speed, your ego will bloom like a flower.

07 | FISCHER

08 | SCOTT

EHP 81.06%

Watea 114 80.71%

Mumbo Jumbo 80.77% 140-110-118@176 cm | R 15 | XT1: Print

XTW

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P4 80.37%

146-114-128@176 cm | R 25 |

134-108-128@181 cm | R 21 |

FLEX Medium-soft | $950

FLEX Medium-stiff | $895

Go on, girl, get outta here! Venture beyond the inbounds groomers and hard-pack to the OB land of the untracked. Testers likened the Watea to a big boat, needing deep water to float in. Big turns in big, beautiful snow. Beautiful.

The P4 is like a sleepy teenager in the morning who comes to life only when given a good kick in the pants. Push hard, and the P4 charges. One tester called it “sleepy” in short turns, but you’ll live big by blasting through long turns.

XT1: Special Edition

SIDEKICK Pro

CARRY BOOTS, HELMET, & GEAR Patented

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www.transpack.net

800.778.5735

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Photo: Marc Archambault

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When spring comes to Mont-Sainte-Anne, trails on the south side of the mountain appear like white streamers fluttering from the mountaintop ridge, while below, the sun produces a gilded shimmer on the ice floes and waters of the St. Lawrence River. It is a beautiful sight.

Photo: Gillian Morgan

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Photo: Marc Archambault

But on the mountain’s north side, the snow remains protected from the spring sun, and Ski Press testers gather there to take advantage of the still-wintry snow. That’s one of the great beauties of Mont-Sainte-Anne — with its multiple exposures, it is a mountain for all seasons, regardless of the time of year. Plentiful snow late into the season, plentiful on-mountain lodging, plentiful natural beauty, plentiful fun — all combine to make Mont-Sainte-Anne a logical choice as the perfect springtime site for the Eastern Ski Press Ski Test.

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50

BUYERS’ GUIDE 2010

Photo: Gillian Morgan

As music, art, sport, comedy and film entertain the village masses, Ski Press testers gather at Whistler’s Peak and prep themselves for two kickass days of Freeriding. Whistler Mountain’s feral terrain — gullies, trees, powder and bumps — is made for Canada’s top pros to put dozens of Freeride skis through a series of demanding tests. If a Freeride ski can make it here, it can make it anywhere. Whistler is a logical choice as the perfect springtime site for the Western Ski Press Ski Test.

Photo: Gillian Morgan

When spring comes to Whistler, ski season is just ramping up. As other North American ski areas close one by one with the melting snow, skiers pack up their stuff and migrate west, converging on this BC hotspot just as its annual Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival is heating up.


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Ski Press USA Vol 9-1  

Ski Press USA Vol 9-1