Why We Test at Snowbird

SKI Magazine wraps up a week of testing skis at our favorite venue.
View from Snowbird test corral

If you’re a red-blooded skier, you’ve heard how fun Snowbird is. While funness may be the biggest reason SKI and Skiing conduct our annual ski tests at Snowbird, it’s not the only one. The Bird is also convenient. To get here from out of state, catch an early morning flight to Salt Lake and grab a shuttle up Little Cottonwood Canyon. You’ll be clicking into your bindings within two hours of leaving the luggage carousel. Next, Snowbird’s terrain diversity is mind-boggling. Within one run, a tester can thoroughly work a test model through groomers, trees, chutes, powder, and bumps. Of course, our ski testers don’t live on snow alone. Snowbird might not rock a faux-Austrian village, but there are plenty of ways for a large group to get in trouble. We certainly tried—ask the staffs at the Lodge Bistro, El Chanate, and Aerie restaurants and the Tram Club bar. But we always did return to the task at hand: skiing 32,886 feet a day (per tester) for five consecutive days on dozens of new models. Along the way, we gleaned insights on how best to ski our test lab. Look below, and learn from our R&D.


How We Test Skis tout

How We Test

Last spring our testers logged about 5 million vertical feet in Snowbird's Gad Valley to evaluate 2014-2015’s new skis, which is why ours is the most trusted, legit test in the world. Here's how we do it.