Volkl Carver XT

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1998 Aspiring Carver-Gold Medal Winner

Size: 170-198 cm
Price: $525
Details: Unchanged from last year's gold medal ski (although it has two sets of cosmetics for 1998), the Völkl Carver XT is once again the ski for discriminating Aspiring Carvers and lighter intermediates who have designs on becoming experts. Higher-end skis frequently distinguish themselves with their ability to "hug" the snow, giving the user a more accurate feel. The Carver XT delivers that in spades. "Automatic," said Thibeault. "From tip to tail, this ski stays on the snow and lets you do any kind of turn you want. Easily." Moscarella admired the XT's "fun, zippy feel," while Carmichael noted the XT's great edgehold.

Positives: Sophistication and performance in an easy-to-use package
Negatives: A stiffish tail could surprise you if you get in the back seat