Dynastar Exclusive Eden (2011)

Some skis are like Meryl Streep, expressive and sensitive to your every thought. This one is like Rambo—out for first blood. Our stronger and/or heavier testers were huge fans, feverish about its wood-core, sandwich/sidewall construction and scoring it highly in Overall Impression—perhaps the most important criterion in the test. Our lighter girls, though, found it a bit bullheaded and ranked it last among winners in Forgiveness. But everyone agreed that when crud comes your way, the Eden will flex all its muscles, if only you have the strength to hang on. “A powerhouse!” said Shultz.
Author:
Publish date:
2011 Exclusive Eden

Rating: / 5
Price: $1000.00
Year: 2011
Level: 3
Gender: Female
Waist Width:
Tip/Tail/Waist: 126/85/110
Lengths: 165

Stability at speed: 3.16 / 5
Hard snow performance: 3.03 / 5
Crud performance: 3.51 / 5
Forgiveness: 2.54 / 5

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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.

Dynastar Sultan 94

Dynastar Legend Sultan 94 (2011)

Here’s a super-sized version of the Sultan 85 (see No. 2). Dynastar gives it the same burly construction (it scored a shade higher in Stability); the differences are simply width (94 mm instead of 85) and rocker (about 23 cm in the tip instead of 18), plus a slightly longer sidecut radius that prefers going down the hill instead of across it. The result is a surfier, floatier feel that’s more at home in soft snow and a little less versatile for frontside applications, though it’s still among the favorites. Testers gave it the top score in Crud Performance. “Strong, well balanced; perfect for rooting out the last pockets of powder,” said Elling.

Volkl Tierra

Volkl Tierra (2011)

If precision and control are what you’re after, the Tierra is your ski. Its aptly named “double grip” construction adds more material to support the edges and distribute pressure evenly down the ski when it’s flexed at high speeds. Translation: It has the control of a Ferrari and edge-bite of an ice skate. It should come with a warning label for non-experts, though: The Tierra always revs high, and it refuses to deviate from the fall line. Scoring first in Hard-Snow Grip and last among winners in Forgiveness, it makes you pay for your mistakes. “Begged for speed and didn’t get nervous or break away,” said Schultz.

dynastar exclusive legend eden thumb 2010

Dynastar Exclusive Legend Eden (2010)

Category: Women's Freeride; Category ranking: No. 6 (tie); Average score: 3.29; Balance of skills: 3.37; Best for: Maching through soft snow; Not for: Lighter, less aggressive skiers

2011 Kastle LX

Kastle LX82 (2011)

This one should come with a helmet. A damp powerhouse that insists on speed, the LX 82 goaded our testers to the edges of their comfort levels. We should have expected as much from the only unisex ski entered in the category (see also: Men’s Hard Snow) but its lightweight construction—the trademark of the new LX line—had us fooled. The secret is a light, soft wood core sandwiched in metal then wrapped in fiberglass, giving it the torsional rigidity to bite on ice. It only has one speed, though: hauling butt. “Good for someone who charges all the time,” said Gillet.