Atomic Elysian (2011) - Ski Mag

Atomic Elysian (2011)

Atomic has two winners in this category. The wider-waisted Elysian shined in soft snow; the narrower Seventh Heaven (see No. 10) in hard. A twin-tip with traditional camber—one of the few in the category with no rocker—the Elysian lays its whole edge on the snow, making it supremely stable at speed. Try to rein it in, though, and it will groan and drag, feeling sluggish underfoot. Nothing flashy here; just a simple, solid ski that performs. For Westerners skiing mostly off-piste, it’s a great ski. “Very solid base without feeling heavy or damp,” said Wilde. (Easterners: Look to the right. The Seventh Heaven is a better bet.)
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2011 Atomic Elysian

Rating: / 5
Price: $699.00
Year: 2011
Level: 2
Gender: Female
Waist Width:
Tip/Tail/Waist: 127.5/92/116
Lengths: 168

Stability at speed: 3.29 / 5
Hard snow performance: 3.06 / 5
Crud performance: 3.45 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.15 / 5

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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.

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 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.

2011 Fischer KOA84

Fischer KOA84 (2011)

We’re still scratching our heads: A tank that plows through crud like this one does shouldn’t be able to effortlessly dice up tight trees, too. The Koa 84 is a standout for striking the perfect balance: a solid powerhouse that’s ridiculously easy to ski. Its hallmark is a glued-to-the-snow feel (it’s No. 1 in Hard-Snow Grip), which lends the driver the assurance to send it into the trees without checking speed. It’s predictable, stable, and has a ripping, racy feel. Its heavier weight is comforting, but it sinks more than most in powder. “A stable ski that rips in all conditions,” said Beale. “I was a charging animal on this ski!”

2011 Rosignol S86W Freeski

Rossignol S86W Freeski (2011)

Rossignol’s S86 ranked No. 1 in the Men’s Mixed Snow category (see p. 73). The women’s version is, thankfully, not watered down: Vertical sidewalls, two sheets of metal and a full wood core give it plenty of hard-snow integrity. Meanwhile, a rockered tip and tail ease through crud and bumps like water running downhill. (It scored No. 3 in Forgiveness.) Testers agreed that the S86W suited the category perfectly: a Jill of all trades that scored highly in every criterion, but didn’t stand out in any one. A very versatile ski for all levels. “Super fun and smooth,” said Gillet. “You could really take them anywhere.”

Atomic Crimson TI

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.

Nordica Conquer

Nordica Conquer (2011)

One would expect a hard-snow ski with a waist width of 84 mm to be the most versatile in the category (No. 1 in Flotation, Stability and Crud Performance). But what surprised us was that it still managed a No. 2 ranking in Quickness edge-to-edge. The Conquer is everything for everyone. It’s solid and predictable yet humming with energy; smooth and powerful yet—with a 20-percent lighter wood core than last year’s model—surprisingly easy to ski. Simply put, it’s fast, and it’s a blast. “The Conquer will never give up on you,” said Moscarella. “It continues to provide tenacious grip no matter what you throw at it.”

2011 G-Power

Blizzard G-Power FSIQ (2011)

While it’s amazing what some of the wider skis in the category can do, nothing beats a narrow waist for quickness and edge-grip. Throw in a dose of exciting rebound energy and a ton of sidecut, and you’ve got one thrilling ride. The G Power is a race ski with manners—quiet, confident and obedient in high-speed arcs. Carve technicians will love it, and corduroy is its preferred medium, but its supreme Quickness (No. 1) translates well to moguls. (Hence its No. 1 ranking in Balance of Skills.) Little ski; big fun. “Super lively feel combined with superior carving performance,” said Scholey.