Rating: / 5
Stability at speed: 2.90 / 5
Hard snow performance: 2.20 / 5
Crud performance: 3.20 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.50 / 5
Pro The Z5 shares the shape and, largely, construction of the Z9. Rossignol replaces the metal of the Z9 with carbon-fiber reinforcement. Gone is some of the Z9’s quiet and power, but the Z5 brings its own strengths—namely, a livelier feel and greater overall comfort—and it shares the Z9’s go-anywhere versatility. The 5’s best attribute is its can’t-miss carvability. An Aspiring Expert will love the ease with which it hooks up at the start and then finishes every turn, never running away down the hill. It’s a sensible choice, especially for relaxed Western Cruisers content to link automatic medium-radius turns, but there’s versatility in there, too. "Great ski for mixing up turn shapes, seeking fall lines and using the whole hill," said Morgan. Con Indifferent hard-snow grip; can be overpowered.