Rossignol Viper X 9.9

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1998 All-Mountain Expert-Gold Medal Winner

Size: 170-198 cm
Price: $699
Details: For strong experts who want a modern shape that can handle speed, the tough, curvaceous Viper X 9.9, with its 99.5-mm tip profile, will let you cut permanent trenches all over the mountain. All it takes is ankle pressure to point the 9.9 in the right direction. "This ski has a huge range," said Thys of the Viper's all-terrain aplomb. And the hefty Viper has tenacious edgehold. "It hugged the snow, no matter how hard it got," said Forland. But along with all that comes its need for attention. "Don't fall asleep at the wheel on this one," said Lewis. Not for the shake-and-bake bump skier, but great for anybody looking for high performance and big-G thrills anywhere on- or off-piste.

Positives: Snow-seeking missile
Negatives: At longest lengths, not a short turner