Skiing Mag's Gear Guide FAQs

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Q: I don’t ski in the park, so I don’t need twin tips, right?


If you aren’t skiing switch, you don’t


twin tips, but don’t be scared of them. The curved-up tails make the skis feel shorter and more playful. Plus, they’ll motivate you to explore new terrain.

Q: I’m a girl who skis harder than the guys. Should I buy women-specific skis?


You have the luxury of choosing any skis – they come in unisex or women’s. But ski manufacturers have stepped up the quality of their female boards, so they’re not just softer and painted pink.

Q: I’m an intermediate skier, but I plan on becoming an expert soon. Should I buy advanced or expert skis?


If you’re a strong athlete and a quick learner, try expert. But you may be overpowered. The advanced skis are more forgiving, meaning they won’t punish poor technique as much.

Q: Why are all the gear reviews so nauseatingly happy?


Manufacturers submitted 263 skis to our test. We tested all of them and chose the top 133 – the top performers – to be reviewed in our 2008-09 gear guide. Each review has both positive and negative analysis built in (our website only shows the positives – snag a copy of


’s September 2008 issue for the full guide, on newsstands now). See a ski in a shop that’s not here? It either wasn’t entered or didn’t perform well.



Skiing Magazine's 2008-09 Backcountry Gear Guide

Last March, our two dozen testers hammered laps on Crested Butte’s bony steeps for two days, filling out evaluation cards after each run. The results are listed here. “AT” means the gear was reviewed by alpine-touring skiers. “Tele” means tested by telemark skiers. Some skis were tested by both groups. Our goal: to help you find your perfect backcountry setup.