Kid's Gear 2000: All-Mountain Expert

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Gear

K2 Killer Bee J

120-150 cm

$215

Talk about a winner: Every tester returned with high ratings, a big grin and fun tales of where they'd taken this ski. The Killer Bee was probably the most versatile ski we tested: Amy loved it for jumps; Rebecca liked its edgehold; and all agreed it was snappy in either bumps or gates. Tyler gave it his only perfect "5."

Head Carve 4
80-160 cm
$155-$175
Another favorite¿the Carve 4 is versatile and easy to turn. Schuyler loved it, and his coaches saw cleaner turns with less skidding. Trevor C. exhibited more confidence and better balance, and Coach Christi noted less "breaking" on his downhill leg. All testers said it was fun, smooth and fast.

Kneissl White Star M1 Team
150-175 cm
$450
Testers found the M1 soft and forgiving, preferring it as an all-mountain ski. Rosemary tested it in all types of snow and was very impressed, comparing it to a dolphin gliding effortlessly through the snow. Korrina liked the good hold in both GS and slalom, and had fun with it in the bumps.

Volant SuperKarve X
148-163 cm
$329
The SuperKarve X is heavier than other models, but bulletproof. Cody was amazed at how quickly and easily it turned, and Amy put down some of what the coaches agreed were her best arcs of the day on it. With a little patience and a relaxed, balanced stance, this ski really came around, even in slush, crud and powder.

Salomon X-Scream Team
120-160 cm
$255
The testers unanimously agreed that the X-Scream Team is best suited for freeskiing: It excels in crud and variable terrain. Light and easy to maneuver, it was equally at home in slushy bumps, on the groomed runs and even in the terrain park.

Dynastar Team 4X4
80-160 cm
$200-$225
Testers have had great results on the 4X4 since it debuted, and they were clearly reluctant to write it off, but in the end it wasn't as popular this year as it was last year. Testers didn't trust the edge and reported unfriendly tip vibrations. Lighter testers who stuck to the groomed slopes got the best results. Stronger and heavier Cody had a great time with it in the powder and bumps.