Our expert gear testers—World Cuppers, Olympians, top instructors, retailers and SKI staffers—hit the slopes at Deer Valley, Snowbird and Stratton to put more than 200 skis and boots through the ringer...and the trees, pow, bumps, crud and corduroy. To see what passed the test, click on our gear galleries.
Given the conditions (hardpack), the Gotamas, Mantras and Katanas and Kikus mostly stayed in the rack. Folks were more interested in the narrower waists. We had some racers in the house, as evidenced by the cards we got on the Racetiger competition boards. But the ACs (AC50 and AC30) were the most popular test models, followed by the narrower, racier Tigersharks(11 Foot, 10 Foot and 8 Foot). On the women’s side, the Fuego and Aurora were the most-tested. If citizen testers vote with their feet—testing the brands they think they like best—then Volkl was the top vote-getter. Among skis that got enough test runs for a valid result, here are the rankings:
No surprise—the Supershape, an unabashed carver, was Head’s most-requested model. New Englanders still like to set an edge, and aren’t embarrassed to admit it. The Peak 76, a little wider and a little less demanding, also garnered interest—and enough test runs to earn a rating.
The Phantoms and SASes didn’t see much action, given the early-season Eastern conditions, but testers beat a path to the midfats. The Classic series (Classic 70 Ti, Classic 80 Ti) and the Avengers (82 Ti, 82 Carbon) were popular with the men, while the women headed for the Attraxion 12 and AttraxionEcho. Among skis that got enough test runs for a valid result, here are the rankings:
Elan was busy, sending out lots of test skis over the weekend. We apparently had some racers among our testers, and they B-lined for the Elan tent and cranked out a healthy number of test cards on the SLX and GLX race skis (mostly quite favorable, though we won’t deal with race skis here). Meanwhile, the Speedwave 14 and the 888 were the most-tested—apparently folks weren’t deterred by the 88 waist on the latter. Among skis that got enough test runs for a valid result, here are the rankings: