Salomon X-Free 09

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1998 Newcomer-Gold Medal Winner

Size: 155-188 cm
Price: $445
Details: Like flying first class, the Salomon X-Free 09 makes you feel comfortable and confident from the moment you buckle up. The 09's "Y-shaped" design, with a wide tip, narrow waist and narrowish tail offers forgiveness and lots of turn shape choices. "The X-Free 09 gives you fun and performance," said Palmer. The ski is gently mannered yet it also has zip. "It's easy to turn, easy to skid, easy to carve," said Doug Lewis. "Newcomers will love it, but they'll also love it when they've improved."

Positives: A great ultralight ski for east or west
Negatives: Carved turns are not automatic