Atomic Crimson TI (2011)

No. 1 in Stability at Speed, No. 2 in Hard-Snow Grip…. Yeah, it’s an Atomic. And a No. 2 Overall Impression ranking shows that testers were more than willing to overlook the tradeoffs in forgiveness and quickness. The Crimson­—traditionally cambered, metal- reinforced and a perennial tester favorite—loves to go fast, and doesn’t seem to care what the snow conditions are like. That big tip hooks up with ease, and thrilling rebound propels you from one turn to the next. It’s not for sissies, though. “Rewards those willing to set an edge an stand on it,” said Casey.
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Atomic Crimson TI

Rating: / 5
Price: $1199.00
Year: 2011
Level: 3
Gender: Male
Waist Width:
Tip/Tail/Waist: 131.5/88.117
Lengths: 178

Stability at speed: 4.03 / 5
Hard snow performance: 4.03 / 5
Crud performance: 3.44 / 5
Forgiveness: 2.66 / 5

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2011 Atomic D2 VF 82

Atomic D2 VF82 (2011)

Was it the biggest, baddest carver in the test? Yes it was: No. 1 in Stability at Speed and Hard-Snow Grip. D2 stands for “double deck”: It has a primary core plus a secondary structure on top. The second core’s shearing action insulates skiers from vibrations and beefs up tip and tail stiffness when the ski is flexed at speed (hence the VF, for “vario flex”). Testers kept trying to find its speed limit, but chickened out every time. Nothing shakes its quiet stability, and yet for all its raciness, it’s wide enough for soft snow. Beware, it’s the least forgiving among winners. “As long as I was willing to go way too fast, this ski lit it up,” said Elling.

Dynastar Course TI

Dynastar Course TI (2011)

We said “hard snow,” and Dynastar took us at our word. Straight out of the race collection comes the Course Ti. It’s a full-on, metal-reinforced, square-sidewalled speed demon with an ice-biting 72-mm waist. Flotation and Crud Performance? Not its bag. But it’s so good at what it does—medium-radius arcs on hard snow, the faster the better—that testers loved it. (Check out the Overall Impression ranking: No. 3.) Forgiving? Only compared to FIS-level race skis. But carve technicians and citizen racers will rip the groomed with confidence. “Exemplifies the best attributes of the ‘cheater race ski,’” said Garrett.

2011 Atomic VF75W

Atomic D2 VF75W (2011)

Our testers were shocked by this ski: It was so heavy they had to drag it to the lift, but it zipped playfully—joyfully—down the hill. Atomic’s “double deck” construction is responsible: Two independently flexing decks are stacked on top of each other. The lower deck absorbs the shock, and the upper deck distributes your power to stiffen the tip and tail as needed at higher speeds (hence the energetic pop). The end result is a ski that’s both damp and stable and snappy and lively. It is still an Atomic, though, so you’d better be in for a race-like ride. “A great hard-snow and crud-buster ski,” said Gibbons.

2011 Atomic Seventh Heaven 79

Atomic Seventh Heaven 79 (2011)

The Seventh Heaven has a quick, racy feel that’s ideally suited for harder snow. (Not surprising, given that it has the narrowest waist of the group.) Most testers wrote “good frontside ski,” or “great for an East Coast everyday ski,” which means it’s the least versatile in the group. But what it does—carve—it does well. (Atomic edge-grip? Check.) A slight rise in the tip (Atomic calls it “adaptive camber”) makes it easy to pivot in transitions between turns, which accounts for a high score in Forgiveness (No. 4), but otherwise it’s built like a traditional groomer ski. “Feels powerful underfoot, but easy to initiate,” said Moscarella.