Indie Ski Test 2012 - Ski Mag

Indie Ski Test 2012

Smaller brands build great skis. We set out to find the best.
Publish date:
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Early last April, Skiing Magazine set up shop at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado, for the 3rd annual Independent Ski Test. It was an open invite. Any brand that wanted to put their skis through the ringer could show up. We set up camp on A-Basin's infamous beach, fired up the grills, and stocked the coolers for three days of rigorous testing. We brought testers in from around the country and skied almost 80 models from 20 brands. Of the 80 skis, 45 rose to the top and were selected to appear in the Indie Gear Guide in the November issue of Skiing, available now on newsstands across the country (or buy subscriptions here).

A huge thanks goes out to our sponsors:

Arapahoe Basin, Helly Hansen, Odell Brewing Company, Boulder Sausage, Dakine, Etón Solar, Kelty, Key to the Rockies, Probar, Skiing Business, Sierra Designs

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And thanks to the brands that participated:

Bluehouse, DPS, Faction, Fat-ypus, Folsom Custom Skis, G3, Goode, Grace Skis, H20 Outdoor Gear, Hart, Icelantic, KLINT, Lib Tech, Liberty, Meier, Moment, Movement, Rocky Mountain Underground, SkiLogik, and Wagner Custom Skis.

Check out the gallery here.

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at what went down at the test.


126)/136/115/133/(123) | $900 The new shape of powder skiing debuted in 2008–09: camber and sidecut underfoot; rocker and reverse sidecut tip and tail. The result: loose, slashy, floaty, get-after-it goodness—fresh as ever as the JJ heads into its fourth season. Testers still love it. Everyone loves it.  Lengths: 165, 175, 185 Turn Radius: 14 at 185ABOUT ARMADAHe weighed only about 140 pounds, but when seven-time ESPN Winter X Games gold medalist Tanner Hall stomped his landing on the burgeoning new-school scene, the ski world shook. The Montana-bred Hall, never comfortable with authority, promptly ditched Rossignol and banded with other luminary park skiers to form Armada in 2002. The concept was brilliant: Star athletes would run the show, pimp the brand, design the skis they wanted, and control the message. Sales immediately took off, and now Armada, the giant of indies, rivals some of the mainstream brands for U.S. market share.

The Best Indie Skis

Dozens of new ski companies have sprouted in the last decade. Are they making good skis? Last spring, we went to Aspen to find out. The answer is yes, and here are our favorites.