Atomic Beta Race 8.14 Jr.
Overheard at lunch: "I'll trade my cookie for a turn on No. 61." Strong praise indeed for the Beta Race, which was the favorite among GS models. Everyone wanted to try it, and it worked for all testers, regardless of height or ability. The 8.14 excelled everywhere, from GS to slalom, bumps to jumps. "It was the best," said Mike. "I could really go fast and not lose it."
K2 Merlin ME Team
Certainly one of the fastest skis in the test, the Merlin ME Team had testers bragging about how fast they went and whom they beat. "Awesome, smooth speed," said Jeff, while Matt praised the ME Team's maneuverability. Strong, balanced testers liked it best; younger, lighter testers struggled some to make it work.
Salomon Equipe Axe Team
160, 168 cm
Testers loved the strong, long-radius turns they got on the Equipe Axe and the way it held throughout the turn, especially on the GS course. It's fast and tenacious, grippy on ice and unperturbed by slush, though Elisa noted it wasn't quick in short turns.
Rossignol 9X Pro Racing Jr.
160, 170 cm
Testers kept using the same words to describe this winner: "awesome," "effortless," "fun," "autopilot." The 9X Pro got its best marks in long-radius turns, but it worked for slalom and freeskiing as well. "Very smooth," observed Elisa. "It came around quickly in GS." Coach Jeff especially liked the well-pressured turns Spencer got from it.
Elan MBX GS Jr.
Eminently fun and turnable, the MBX became a real favorite. "A very nice ski," said Cody. "It was fast and fun and didn't rail out." Even the coaches liked it, taking it into the gates as short, shaped slalom skis.
Dynastar Team Speed SF
This ski got thumbs up in GS gates and for long-radius arcs everywhere on the mountain. Pat even liked it in an open slalom, though for tight turns it took a little too long to initiate. Karinna liked it at speed: "Really nice for GS and SG because the edge held all the way through the turn," she said.
Völkl P40 F1 Race Carver Jr.
This newly designed junior race ski got rave reviews from several testers. "Very smooth from side to side," said Jacob. "It started and released very easily and was quick in and out of the turn." Stephan even had good results in slalom. Testers liked the F1's speed, power and turning ease, everywhere on the mountain.
Atomic Beta Race 10.26 Jr.
Last year's favorite got only mixed reviews this year. The testers found it lacked edgehold, but they did like its snappy rebound. Overall, the kids thought it was best for high-speed GS turns. Many juniors have raced on this ski with great success, but it must be properly sized and tuned.
Nordica Grand Prix GS RJ WC
Testers either loved or hated this ski, but all agreed it was strictly a GS model. Stronger testers got good results and liked the way it held throughout turns. Coach Scott noticed extra power in Chris's turns when he used the Grand Prix. In the proper size, strong well-balanced skiers had the most fun.