Gear: A Slice of Heaven, Part 2

Gear
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Gear

Atomic BetaCarv/X 9.11

Features:

Widest tip of any carving ski. Asymmetrical shape designed to keep the inside ski tracking parallel with the outside ski.

The company line:

"A ski for carving experts and professionals. Draws curves as if on tracks."

Tester talk:

"Good for two-footed GS turns." "Likes to make long carves." "Powerful carver." "Stable at speed." Some of the testers said the ski resists skidding¿it only likes to carve. "Chatters on hard snow when you try to skid it," said one tester.

In a word:

powerful.

Brings to mind:

Pontiac WideTrack Grand Prix.

Who it's for:

expert carvers.

Cost:

$815, includes Carv/X Charger plate

Length tested:

160 cm

Tip/waist/tail (mm):

125/65/108

Sidecut radius:

10 meters (160 cm)

Dynastar Rip Stick
Features: Symmetrical twin-tip shape for spinning and tricks. The company line: "Brings a new world of trench carving, big jumping, and halfpipe riding to aggressive freestyle skiers and gravity junkies." Tester talk: "Light and playful." "Fun in the air." "Quick from edge to edge." "Really easy to turn." "For carving or spinning." "Tip gets bounced around in heavy, chopped-up crud." In a word: playful. Brings to mind: motocross bike. Who it's for: carvers who also like doing tricks, including skiing backwards.
Cost: $450; $550 with Power Stacks lifters
Length tested: 150 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 103/64/94
Sidecut radius: 9 meters (150 cm)

Elan Darkside T
Features: Equal-width tip and tail with binding mounted exactly in the center for balanced feel and easy turn entry. Available with 12-mm or 20-mm Elan Synchroflex carving plate. The company line: "Enter the darkside ... where lifters are mandatory and poles are not. No rules, no limits, no tracks but your own." Tester talk: "Handles full-bore tilts with strong confidence." "Stable and comfortable. Huge sweet spot." "Light tip is easy to slide into the turn." "Quick and fun." "Good short-turn carver." "Equal tip and tail power." In a word: versatile. Brings to mind: Toyota Camry. Who it's for: skiers who want a carving ski that doubles as an in-bounds all-mountain ski.
Cost: $625
Length tested: 173 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 105/62/105
Sidecut radii: 11 meters (163 cm), 13 meters (173 cm)

Fischer Radarc X-treme
Features: Asymmetry and offset sidecuts¿has a smaller sidecut radius on the inside ski than on the outside ski, so the two will track parallel. The company line: "For carving fanatics. The emphasis is on fun." Tester talk: "Short-feeling, light tip pops into the turn easily." "Awesome tight arcs." "Can change from edge to edge very quickly." "Snappy carver." "Inside ski carves well." "Not as good for high speeds and long GS turns." In a word: snappy. Brings to mind: superbike. Who it's for: the carver who likes to ride both skis with equal weight.
Cost: $450
Length tested: 150 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 106/64/99
Sidecut radii: 11 meters, outside ski; 9.5 meters, inside ski (150 cm)

Hart Free Ride
Features: Very short length; wide waist for stability. The company line: "No restrictions. The weapon for power carving." Tester talk: "Light and short. Versatile ski that you can tip on edge or steer into the turn in the classic way." "Works well in variable snow and crud." "Will carve or skid¿your choice." "Good ski for tricks." "Not a lot of carving power for laid-out, hard-snow arcing." In a word: versatile. Brings to mind: dirtbike. Who it's for: short-ski aficionados.
Cost: $595 with bindings
Length tested: 140 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 109/69/99
Sidecut radius: 9 ters (140 cm)

Head Cyber Space XT
Features: Wide tip for aggressive turn initiation; metal laminates for torsional reinforcement and edge hold. The company line: "For the skier who dreams of carving in his sleep." Tester talk: "Exceptional tip power. Pulls you through the turn and across the fall line effortlessly." "Quick from edge to edge." "Don't need high speeds to carve tight arcs." "A quick and awesome carver. Just tip it on edge and haul ass." "Lots of rebound and liveliness, yet also stable." "Super fun in a variety of terrain. Good for all carver abilities." In a word: fun. Brings to mind: cherry-red Porsche of your dreams. Who it's for: the accomplished skier who wants a lively carver for all-terrain use.
Cost: $525; $575 with carve plate
Length tested: 160 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 111/62/99
Sidecut radius: 14 meters (180 cm)

Kästle Pro XTZ
Features: Kästle's World Cup sandwich construction (straight sidewalls); Extender antivibration arm on forebody. The company line: "Designed for competitive extreme carving, these skis have already won the World Carving Championship." Tester talk: "Wow! Incredible stability and edge hold. Awesome carving power." "Precise slalom turns and edge sets." "Carving speed control is better than excellent." "On this ski you have full confidence that the edge will hold even with your hip on the snow." "High-powered water-ski-style turns are easy." "Hero carver." "Not much of a skidder." "Less forgiving for the inexperienced skier." In a word: awesome. Brings to mind: Lamborghini Diablo SV. Who it's for: expert carvers who want to hang way out there and feel the g-forces.
Cost: $525
Length tested: 160 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 111/62/95
Sidecut radius: 15 meters (170 cm)

Kneissl Ergo CG
Features: Symmetrical shape with equal tip and tail width. The company line: "A carving tool for the ultimate gravity challenge, including the 360-degree swing." Tester talk: "A soft and smooth feel. Nice terrain conformity." "A supple ski." "A friendly carving ski." "Will skid if you need to skid." "Goes easily from groomed to crud." "An all-mountain carver." "Wonderfully smooth but not very responsive." In a word: comfortable. Brings to mind: Mercedes CLK cabriolet. Who it's for: advanced and expert skiers who want a cruising-style carver for all-mountain use.
Cost: $659; $819 with plate
Length tested: 165 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 108/62/108
Sidecut radius: 10 meters (165 cm)

Rossignol Nightmare
Features: Versatile sidecut for carving or all-mountain speed. The company line: "Leave your poles at home, add a lifter for extra leverage, and leave a massive trench." Tester talk: "A GS carver." "Damp and stable feeling." "Good for high speed and big turns; not as good for slow-speed carves." "A carving ski you could race on." "Powerful feel. Great grip." "Not enough sidecut for pure carving speed control on narrow slopes¿you get going too fast." In a word: brawny. Brings to mind: Audi Quattro. Who it's for: the carver with a yen for velocity.
Cost: $469
Length tested: 170 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 104/62/94
Sidecut radius: 15 meters (170 cm)

Salomon Axe Cleaver Series
Features: Comes with a center-mounted, 18-mm Hangl plate. The company line: "Meets the demands of very good extreme carvers and good sport skiers." Tester talk: "This ski does it all." "Smooth yet quick." "Light-feeling carver, good for short or long carved turns." "Skids or carves at slow and medium speeds." "Very easy to start the turn." "Super fun. Eats up any terrain or snow condition." In a word: versatile. Brings to mind: high-performance jet ski. Who it's for: the carving skier who wants it all¿carving, tricks, or all-mountain use.
Cost: $650 with plate
Length tested: 152 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 108/68/98
Sidecut radius: 10 meters (152 cm)

Volant Surfer
Features: Volant's patented steel-cap construction for stability at high speeds or in difficult snow. Relatively soft flex. The company line: " Ideal for crossover snowboarders and skiers who live for trench carving. Carves circles ... maintains stability at high speeds." Tester talk: "New style, old style¿both work." "You can do both skidded arcs or carved turns." "Good all-mountain carver, with poles or without." "Great in all snow conditions." "You can use any technique, and it's quite forgiving, yet it also has enough power for speed and carving." "Sidecut is not quite deep enough for locked-on-edge carving on steeper, narrower slopes." In a word: go-anywhere. Brings to mind: Chevy Blazer. Who it's for: the skier who wants a small all-mountain ski with good carving capability.
Cost: $479
Length tested: 163 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 102/66/94
Sidecut radius: 14 meters (163 cm)

Völkl FunCarver 58
Features: Can be matched with Völkl's Free Carve System 25 or Free Carve System 18 plates (25-mm or 18-mm lifters, respectively). The company line: "While not in the mainstream, funcarving shows the limitless possibilities that shaped skis have. Völkl's funcarvers represent the highest performance skis in this underground category." Tester talk: "A smooth-riding, likable carving ski." "Excellent full-body-tilt carves." "A neutral stance does it all." "Comfortable in high-speed arcs." "Easy to keep your speed under control." "Good grip." In a word: crisp. Brings to mind: Cadillac Catera. Who it's for: the carver who wants a smooth, comfortable ride.
Cost: $695
Length tested: 158 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 108/65/95
Sidecut radius: 13.5 meters (158 cm)

Top Carvers

For hang-it-out-there corduroy freecarving:

  1. Kästle Pro XTZ

    Salomon Axe Cleaver Series

  2. Head Cyber Space XT

For groomed carving and halfpipe tricks:

  1. Dynastar Rip Stick

    Hart Free Ride

  2. Salomon Axe Cleaver Series

For all-mountain carving:

  1. Volant Surfer

    Elan Darkside T

  2. Salomon Axe Cleaver Series

Go back to A Slice of Heaven.o mind: high-performance jet ski. Who it's for: the carving skier who wants it all¿carving, tricks, or all-mountain use.
Cost: $650 with plate
Length tested: 152 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 108/68/98
Sidecut radius: 10 meters (152 cm)

Volant Surfer
Features: Volant's patented steel-cap construction for stability at high speeds or in difficult snow. Relatively soft flex. The company line: " Ideal for crossover snowboarders and skiers who live for trench carving. Carves circles ... maintains stability at high speeds." Tester talk: "New style, old style¿both work." "You can do both skidded arcs or carved turns." "Good all-mountain carver, with poles or without." "Great in all snow conditions." "You can use any technique, and it's quite forgiving, yet it also has enough power for speed and carving." "Sidecut is not quite deep enough for locked-on-edge carving on steeper, narrower slopes." In a word: go-anywhere. Brings to mind: Chevy Blazer. Who it's for: the skier who wants a small all-mountain ski with good carving capability.
Cost: $479
Length tested: 163 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 102/66/94
Sidecut radius: 14 meters (163 cm)

Völkl FunCarver 58
Features: Can be matched with Völkl's Free Carve System 25 or Free Carve System 18 plates (25-mm or 18-mm lifters, respectively). The company line: "While not in the mainstream, funcarving shows the limitless possibilities that shaped skis have. Völkl's funcarvers represent the highest performance skis in this underground category." Tester talk: "A smooth-riding, likable carving ski." "Excellent full-body-tilt carves." "A neutral stance does it all." "Comfortable in high-speed arcs." "Easy to keep your speed under control." "Good grip." In a word: crisp. Brings to mind: Cadillac Catera. Who it's for: the carver who wants a smooth, comfortable ride.
Cost: $695
Length tested: 158 cm
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 108/65/95
Sidecut radius: 13.5 meters (158 cm)

Top Carvers

For hang-it-out-there corduroy freecarving:

  1. Kästle Pro XTZ

    Salomon Axe Cleaver Series

  2. Head Cyber Space XT

For groomed carving and halfpipe tricks:

  1. Dynastar Rip Stick

    Hart Free Ride

  2. Salomon Axe Cleaver Series

For all-mountain carving:

  1. Volant Surfer

    Elan Darkside T

  2. Salomon Axe Cleaver Series

Go back to A Slice of Heaven.