Salomon Lady (2011)

One of our testers had “so much $%^&%^* fun” on this ski, her comments were anything but ladylike. A winner in last year’s test, too, the Lady is a floaty, fun, playful and forgiving ride that surfs through powder and sucks up bumps. (Salomon’s early-rise tip is the key in both instances.) With a softer, easier flex that rewards finesse over power, it’s not a hard-snow specialist, but it is beautifully balanced for soft and variable snow. The sweet spot is huge—you can get back on your tails and it gently corrects you—but it’s not a pushover: As Beale, its strongest proponent, put it, “It may be a Lady, but it’s got grit.”
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2011 Solomon Lady

Rating: / 5
Price: $685.00
Year: 2011
Level: 3
Gender: Female
Waist Width:
Tip/Tail/Waist: 128/85/113
Lengths: 169

Stability at speed: 3.51 / 5
Hard snow performance: 2.85 / 5
Crud performance: 3.38 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.34 / 5

Related

Twenty Twelve

Salomon Twenty Twelve (2011)

Here’s an interesting design that elicited strong reactions, mostly positive. Salomon bills the Twenty Twelve as a park/freeride hybrid—but if you’re not a park rat, don’t dismiss it yet. Yes, it’s aggressively rockered, tip and tail. Its sidecut carves as well backward as forward. And our test model felt forward-mounted. Yet it surprised us with easy-going, fluid freeriding skills and supreme forgiveness. All that rocker smooths the ride in bumps and harbor chop. It’s nimble and buoyant. And on the groomed, well, you get used to it. All in all, a refreshing eye-opener. “Easy skiing; requires very little effort,” said Gleason.

2011 Rosignol S86W Freeski

Rossignol S86W Freeski (2011)

Rossignol’s S86 ranked No. 1 in the Men’s Mixed Snow category (see p. 73). The women’s version is, thankfully, not watered down: Vertical sidewalls, two sheets of metal and a full wood core give it plenty of hard-snow integrity. Meanwhile, a rockered tip and tail ease through crud and bumps like water running downhill. (It scored No. 3 in Forgiveness.) Testers agreed that the S86W suited the category perfectly: a Jill of all trades that scored highly in every criterion, but didn’t stand out in any one. A very versatile ski for all levels. “Super fun and smooth,” said Gillet. “You could really take them anywhere.”

Volkl Kiku

Volkl Kiku (2011)

Gradual rocker from tip to tail is the Kiku’s secret to unsurpassed smoothness. It’s steady, damp and humming with Völkl power. Testers scored it high in Flotation (No. 3), Crud Performance (No. 3) and Overall Impression (No. 2). It craves long turns and virgin powder the most, but when prodded, it’s not too stubborn to hustle through tight trees and bumps, too. You do have to steer it from exactly the right spot; but for those who find that spot, the rewards are rich. “A strong and powerful ski, it delivers performance in perfect fluff and the more- challenging chop,” said Moscarella.

Salomon Enduro

Salomon Enduro (2011)

Salomon blazed a trail with subtly rockered frontside skis, and the new, refined Enduro is a shining example of the benefits. One of the favorites in the category, it blends hard-snow excellence (vertical sidewalls, metal laminates, grippy construction) with an 84-mm waist and a touch of tip rocker. The result is a supremely smooth and versatile ski that trenches on the groomed but loves soft snow, too. Testers praised its confidence in crud and gave it the No. 1 ranking for Flotation, too. “Versatile in seemingly all conditions,” said Garrett.

2011 Volkl Kenja

Volkl Kenja (2011)

Völkl’s got a thing for Japan. We suspect it’s because they craft skis as fine as samurai swords—and the graphics are cool, besides. Enter Kenja (“wise one”). It has the same hip freeride feel as the wider Aura and Kiku—plus Völkl’s classic edge-grip to rail on the groomed. It’s No. 1 in Stability and Rebound and last in Quickness/Bumps, which tells you it likes speed and power. It’s stiff, too, but a tapered tail scrubs speed in powder and releases relatively easily on groomed, earning it respectable scores in Forgiveness. Still, its talents are best suited for experts. “Stable, yet not heavy,” said Gibbons. “Performs best when pushed.”V

salomon lady thumb 2009

Salomon Lady (2010)

Category: Women's Freeride; Category ranking: No. 4 (tie); Average score: 3.31; Balance of skills: 3.3; Best for: Powder; Not for: Those who prize power over ease

2011 Salomon Czar

Salomon Czar (2011)

Last year’s Czar struck testers as easy, but a little boring. This year’s model, with its wood core a little more sturdily reinforced, made a huge run up the ranking. It’s still an easy-going ride, but now noticeably snappier and more dynamic. No ski was deemed more forgiving, but now the Czar puts up No. 1 ranking in Quick- ness and a No. 4 in Rebound Energy as well. Meanwhile, its rocker extends about a third of the way back from the tip—plenty of float and maneuverability in powder that both experts and intermediates will enjoy. “Well balanced; quick, snappy; some of the best rebound among the big skis,” said Gleason.