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SKI Magazine Gear Tester: Kelli Gleason

As the manager and head hardgoods buyer for BootDoctors, Kelli knows a thing or two about skis.

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SKI Magazine Gear Tester Kelli Gleason
SKI Magazine Tester Kelli GleasonPhoto credit: Keri Bascetta

Kelli Gleason comes from a family of official SKI Testers (her dad is renowned bootfitter Bob Bleason and her sister Galena also tested for SKI for a number of years). As the manager and head hardgoods buyer for BootDoctors in Telluride, Colo., Kelli is an expert on all things ski construction and performance—and as such, our go-to gearhead when it comes to our Women’s Ski Test. Kelli was raised on the ski slopes, and thanks to a ski racing background, she is an athletic skier with great technical form. After racing, Kelli went on to compete on the Freeride World Tour. These days, she spends most of her time touring in the backcountry in search of steep and deep. 

SKI: What makes you qualified to test?

Kelli: Welp, I haven’t been fired from my day job yet. No but seriously, analyzing the shape and flex patterns of the ski, taking some turns on that ski and figuring out who this ski is perfectly suited for is what I do for my job as a hardgoods buyer.

Favorite part of SKI Test?

Kicking back in the Hot Tub Time Machine with amazing, fun, talented skiers.

What don’t people know about SKI Test?

Each day the test has a separate category differentiated by waist widths. The tester skis about 14-20 pairs of skis a day mostly taking the same run each time. The tester rates and analyzes the skis on the chairlift after each run. The tester picks the top 5 skis for its category and there is a group discussion on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Why should people trust the SKI Test?

SKI’s team of testers come from many diverse aspects within the skiing industry, from top ski instructors to sales associates on the retail floor, to hardgoods buyers. The pool of talent is incredible as you learn what amazing accomplishments your fellow testers have done in their skiing careers.


  • Height: 5’2″
  • Weight: 125 lbs.
  • Age: 34
  • Years testing for SKI: 13
  • Avg. days per season: 51+
  • Home mountain:  Telluride, Colo. 

Skiing Style & Terrain Preference

SKI Test 2020 Taos
Kelli Gleason (right), likes to bring the party to SKI Test with the help of an impressively well-stocked and elaborate costume trunk. Photo credit: Keri Bascetta
  • Wide opened, untracked couloirs
  • Slushy groomers
  • Trees and bumps in low light days
  • Ex-racer turned backcountry fanatic

Ski Preference

  • 105-115mm waist width
  • Rocker in the tip, slight rocker in the tail, and most definitely camber under the foot
  • Favorite ski from 2021 SKI Test: Nordica Santa Ana 93
2020 Nordica Santa Ana 93
2020’s Nordica Santa Ana 93Photo courtesy of Nordica

In Kelli’s Gear Closet

2020 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free
The Nordica Enforcer 104 Free has more rocker in the tip and tail to make this hard-charging ski more playful and forgiving. Photo courtesy of Nordica
2020 Salomon S/Max 110 W
Salomon Women’s SMax 120 Ski BootPhoto courtesy of Salomon
  • Outerwear: Flylow bibs; Helly Hansen kit 
Helly Hansen Women's Whitewall Lifaloft Jacket
Helly Hansen Women’s Whitewall LifaLoft JacketPhoto courtesy of Helly Hansen
  • Favorite Accessories: Skida neckwarmer; Pret Helmet; Smith I/O S Mag
Skida men's nordic wear in the pattern
Skida Neckwarmer Photo courtesy of Skida

If you like Jessi’s take on skis, you may also agree with…

  • Jenny Wiegand. “Jenny has a solid racing style and stance yet can narrow her stance in the bumps, trees and has a very balanced yet powerful center of gravity.” 
  • Tracy Gibbons: A fellow hardgoods buyer for Sturtevant’s ski shop, Tracy is also an expert on ski construction and how it affects a ski’s performance. More often than not, Kelli and Tracy end up agreeing on the performance traits of skis at our annual SKI Test.