Hart Contour EXC

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1998 Newcomer-Gold Medal Winner

Size: 160-190 cm
Price: $350
Details: The Contour EXC, which has an ultralight Densolite core, is an EXCellent offshoot of Hart's popular Contour series. The energetic, fun EXC is a great ski for that nonskiing friend of yours who wants to see why you're so passionate about the sport. It's like a friendly horse that respects tight reins but will gallop if you let it. "The EXC is deceptively energetic," said McMenamy. "At slow speeds, it's nimble and easy. But get some speed, and you have a real performer."

Positives: Energetic and responsive
Negatives: Best suited to western, soft-snow skiing