SKIING Magazine Gear Testers Hit the Slopes

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Copper Mountain, CO, April 4, 2001-Spring means ski testing for the staff of

SKIING Magazine

. The gear editors have rounded up 55 expert testers--pro skiers and instructors--to try out 150 pairs of next season's skis at six different ski areas across the country: Sugarbush, VT, Stratton, VT, Copper Mountain CO, Breckenridge, CO, Squaw, CA, and Alpine Meadows, CA.

I caught up with the SKIING testers last week at Copper Mountain, where they spent five days testing 47 models of next year's freeride skis.

The assortment of hard core testers included several top skiers on the freesking circuit:

Anne Dowling, ex-pro moguls skiers and former US freestyle team member who took second place in an extreme competition last month in Tigne, France.

Scott Ewing, former BMX competitor turned freeskier

Tina Fraccola, well-known freeskiing competitor who lives in an RV in the parking lot at the base of Arapahoe Basin.

Rex Wehrman, champion freeskier who skis about 200 days each year"I'm constantly struck at how very different every ski is from one another," said Bruce Bedell, a tester of three years."People that don't test many skis argue that skis are similar, but every ski really has a unique personality," said Heather Bedell, a four-year tester."The freeride skis that we were testing had different feels to people with different skiing backgrounds," said Heather Bidell."So the skis got put through several levels of testing," added Bruce Bedell.This was no huckfest, however. Run after run, the team methodically tested out the different models on a variety of terrain and snow conditions. A week of spring skiing at Copper brought a choice of loose granular, groomed corderoy, packed powder, and a fresh dusting of snow."They were some of the most consistent conditions we've ever had," said Bill Grout, a ski tester for 22 years. "The snow was basically the same every day we tested, but there were a variety of conditions between groomed, crud, and packed powder, which is perfect for testing freeride skis as they're intended for a variety conditions." For the complete results of the ski tests check out SKIING Magazine's annual Gear Guide, due out next October.