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.
Author:
Publish date:
Twenty Twelve

Rating: / 5
Price: $750.00
Year: 2011
Level: 2
Gender: Male
Waist Width:
Tip/Tail/Waist: 123/91/116
Lengths: 171

Stability at speed: 2.67 / 5
Hard snow performance: 2.14 / 5
Crud performance: 2.81 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.21 / 5

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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.

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 Gotma

Volkl Gotama (2011)

The original backcountry twin-tip returns with minor modification this year. It’s fully, but subtly, rockered, with a long, gradual tip-to-tail bend. Völkl takes care to make sure rocker and sidecut work together: Tip a Gotama up on groomers, and there’s plenty of edge-to-snow contact for easy carving. But it’s built for soft snow. It surfs and smears readily in powder and smoothly manages crud. There were more dynamic skis in the test, but the Gotama won accolades for versatility and mellow user-friendliness. “A versatile tool for powder and crud—even carves on hardpack; fun and easy,” said Casey.

2011 K2 Rictor

K2 Rictor (2011)

Where the After Shock (see No. 5) features K2’s “all-terrain” rocker, its little brother the Rictor gets “speed rocker.” Just the forward 10 percent is rockered—the rest is traditionally cambered. K2 pairs that profile with a huge tip and aggressive sidecut for an 80-mm ski that carves with enthusiasm but never talks back. It gets excellent marks in Forgiveness—truly an everyday frontside ski and a worthy successor to the late, great Apache Recon. “The tip rocker loosens up the front of the ski, making it just plain easy to turn and more versatile off–piste for such a narrow ski,” said Elling.

2011 Solomon Lady

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.”

2011 Line Prophet 90

Line Prophet 90 (2011)

Line this year introduced the Flite (see No. 10) as a dialed-back, lighter, more forgiving version of the venerable 90. Interestingly, while the 90 is still marketed by Line as the “higher-performing” model, testers found the Flite more to their liking, scoring it slightly higher across the board. Still, hard chargers will love the 90’s hefty, powerful, damp vibe, and the metal-reinforced construction feels especially rugged and durable. Like the Flite, it’s also one of the better values in the test. “Built for the all-mountain ripper: stable, solid and well balanced, though you have to be ready to work a little,” said Scholey.

Rosignol S86

Rossignol S86 Freeride (2011)

Rossignol had a great test this year, and here’s the poster child of the Rooster’s fully fledged return to relevance. The S86 is an accomplished generalist. Sidecut and traditional camber underfoot combined with a wood-core, metal-reinforced construction make it surefooted on hard snow. But rocker and reverse camber tip-and-tail make it fun and easy in powder, crud, even bumps. It pivots, skids, smears, carves—whatever is asked of it—making it a great choice for anything but the deepest powder or hardest ice. “Hungry for fun in all conditions, especially crud and bumps,” said Scholey.

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.”