Salomon X-Drive 8.8 (2017)

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Price: $850.00
Year: 2017
Gender: Female
Waist Width: 88
Tip/Tail/Waist: 130-88-116
Lengths: 165, 172, 179, 184

The 8.8 FS is the widest and most expensive model in Salomon's X-Drive series of all-mountain skis. The FS in its name denotes full-sidewall sandwich construction, which is employed for maximum edge power and overall durability and responsiveness. A single sheet of metal plus a layer of basalt fiber give it dampness and torsional rigidity for high-speed, expert-level performance. That combined with its X-Chassis reinforcement gives it plenty of hard-snow carving capability, while its 88-mm width plus moderate tip and tail rocker give it a measure of soft-snow and powder versatility. It's only sold flat. Salomon's X-Drive series, now in its third year, is a broad collection that includes six models of frontside all-mountain skis ranging in width from a versatile, expert-level 88-mm mid-fat (X-Drive 8.8 FS) down to a groomer-specific, novice-friendly 75-mm cruiser (X-Drive 7.5). The top two models, 8.8 FS and 8.0 FS, are expert level generalists built for high speeds and variable snow, featuring edgy, full-sidewall, laminate constructions. Salomon's Koroyd Tip module-an air-filled honeycomb structure-gives them reduced swing weights. The lower models are built for increasing forgiveness and value for lower ability levels and aggressiveness, with increasingly softer flexes, lighter cores, and lower prices. The common technology in all models is Salomon's X-Chassis construction: X-shaped layers of reinforcement (a mix of lively carbon and durable aramid fibers) are placed beneath the toe and heel, where they focus skier energy into key transmission zones just for and aft of the foot, for sure-footed edge power without the addition of unnecessary weight. The top models have full wood (poplar) cores; Salomon preselects its lightest cores for the X-Drive series. All have moderately rockered tips and tails, for shock-absorption, soft-snow flotation, and loose turn finishes. To prevent the tip-flap that plagues some rockered skis, Salomon installs its RKS Rocker Stabilizer-aramid fibers placed where the profile changes from cambered to rockered, in order to reinforce that zone for reduced chatter tip and tail. The flagship 8.8 FS model is only sold flat; all other X-Drive models come with binding. Salomon has been headquartered in Annecy, France, since its founding there in 1947. Along with sister brands Atomic and ArcTeryx, it is a division of Amer Sports of Finland, which acquired it in 2005. Its U.S. headquarters are in Ogden, Utah. -J.C.