SKI TEST

2012

2012 saw us return to Stubai, one of the many beautiful valleys of the Tirol region. We were staying at the excellent Hotel Medrazerhof, situated just ouside the town of Fulpmes. The testing was held on the glacier, a short bus ride up the valley. With us we had over 75 pairs of skis, nearly 30 pairs of boots, helmets, goggles, protection and assorted other bits of equipment and sample clothing. The aim was to give staff the first hand knowledge of the ski and equipment range that only testing on a real mountain can provide, and, whilst we were there, to also film video reviews for the website.

The views and reports of all the testers are listed below.

 

Staff Ski Test Diary, 22nd April – Stubai Glacier

After a long drive we arrived at the Hotel Medrazerhof to late afternoon sunshine. 16 testers all keen for a shower and something to eat. Freshened up we kicked the training off with a visit from the Armada skis’ European marketing director, Tom, who was accompanied by a special guest, Hans, the CEO/founder of Armada. Together they introduced their range and answered many questions regarding new products, R&D and the inside story of the company history. A great way to start the test!

Day 1

As we stepped out of the Gamsgarten mountain station we realized that we couldn’t have timed it better, the conditions were perfect. Blue skies, pristine pistes and untracked soft snow. Directly next to our test site was the 6-person chair lift Eisjoch, reaching an altitude of almost 3130m. The test run consisted of two joined 3km runs, the Eisjochferner and Eisjochzunge, fast and perfectly groomed, they were flanked by accessible off-piste. As the forecast was for heavy snow fall later the testers jumped straight into action on the narrower piste skis. Getting special attention and rave reviews were the Rossignol Attraxion and Pursuit skis, new to our range for 2012/13, the combination of deep side-cuts and quality wood cores provided amazing performance and excellent test results. After a hard day of skiing the evening training session consisted of boot-fitting assessment and problem solving.

Day2

Overnight the heavy snow fall had transformed the valley and the staff found fresh powder conditions upon returning to the test site. Wider skis with rocker constructions were quickly snapped up and all of the freeride category skis were getting great reviews. The width and shape/camber profiles made skiing the deep snow (and it was deep) so simple, with everyone, including the less experienced skiers, finding effortless turns. Come the evening there were some very tired legs, so it was a relief to be sitting for the Rossignol presentation from the UK Brand Manager.

Day 3

After the ‘dump’ on the previous day the clouds cleared and once again we had ideal testing conditions. Filming for the website reviews was also back on track so the test site was buzzing. Conditions were still fantastic on and off piste, perfect for some of the all-mountain models to shine. On the men’s side, the Salomon Enduro and Dynastar Outland ranges stood out as consummate performers; the ladies were raving about the Salomon BBR Sunlite and the Atomic Affinity skis. Rockered tips helped with float and turn initiation in unpisted snow and the medium radius and mid-sized waists ensured the perfectly groomed pistes were carved apart in no time! Before the staff could recuperate with a good nights sleep to prepare for the last day of skiing (for some) we all sat down to a relaxed training session. Working in groups we broke down the categories for next year’s ski range and really looked into how a ski’s construction, radius, dimensions and flex pattern influenced its position within our range.

Day 4

Once again the skies remained clear allowing filming to continue whilst testers jumped on the final few skis they needed to demo. Again the all-mountain skis were shining, and as the wind was filling in previous tracks the off-piste was near-perfect. Clearly, it was time to take out the wider twin tips and all-mountain skis. The Blizzard Flipcore skis including the Bushwacker and ladies Black Pearl, plus the Salomon Rocker2 90 were amongst the stars, their extra width providing floatation without affecting ease of use or maneuverability on the pistes.

Day 5

For a lucky few there was a fifth day of testing; trying skis in different conditions, completing the final online reviews and maybe getting to ski some favourites again! It was another bluebird day, with perfect grooming and fresh tracks to be found. It was an eclectic collection of favourites that hit the slopes, proving that great skis come in all shapes and sizes, for all abilities. With 5 days testing and training done it was time to pack up and head home. Stubai proved once again that glaciers offer late season skiing that rivals, even beats, some of the best that winter can offer. We had ideal conditions to try every type of ski, and give the staff the very best opportunity to form first-hand opinions on the products that they will advise on. Thanks once again to Stubai Glacier, the Hotel Medrazerhof and especially to the Tirol tourist board for helping to organise the trip.

Eddie

Name: Eddie Thelwell
Age: 26
Weight: 60kg
Height: 165cm
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 21 years (since age 5)
Describe your skiing: I’m from a park skiing and piste blasting background but spend more time now doing backcountry freestyle and freeriding. Proper all-mountain skiing!

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
K2 Iron Maiden – This ski was built for me: sturdy, good waist width for all types of snow, rocker twin tip with positive camber underfoot, all makes for an awesome ride, and the graphics rock.
Line Mr Pollard's Opus – For a big freeride twin tip, this is so easy to manoeuvre!
Scott Jib TW – Lightweight, snappy yet smooth and solid underfoot. Really responsive ski, ideal for piste and side piste cruising as well.
Salomon Rocker2 90 – Perfect ski for someone who wants to start freeriding / touring.
Dynastar Outland 80 Pro – Easy to use in all conditions but still a solid ride on the hard pack.

What is your personal favourite: K2 Iron Maiden

Thoughts on this years range: A great selection from some quality brands, there is something for every type of skier at any level.

Ben

Name: Ben Malam
Age: 24
Weight: 15st
Height: 6'4"
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 13 years
Describe your skiing: Aggressive, freestyle orientated skier and aspiring backcountry freestyler.

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
K2 Pettitor – Crazy camber, powerful all over the mountain.
Armada TST – Great freeride ski easy to use and awesome fun, for me it delivers in all conditions.
Line Sir Francis Bacon – Amazing ski, awesome flex and feel thanks to the wood core, smooth and buttery in pow but remains stable when charged hard.
Line StepUp – Great flex pattern, stiff enough to respond, soft enough for jibbing around and pressing. Good ski for switch riding.
Head i.Supershape Titan – Fantastic edge grip and rips at mach 10. Makes you feel like a racer (minus the spandex).

What is your personal favourite: Line Sir Francis Bacon. Really good fun and very versatile. Lets the skier make the rules, this is a ski I need for everything.

Thoughts on this years range: A great selection of skis. There is something for everyone and the freestyle range is particularly refreshing. Good to see some new brands within the range.

Other comments: New skis such as the Atomic Alibi and Salomon Rocker2 90 are going to be a great success. Rossignol Pursuit range seem really appealing to the piste skiers out there.

Mark

Name: Mark Nunn
Age: 28
Weight: 76kg
Height: 6'
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 20+ years / 100+ weeks but mostly snowboarding
Describe your skiing: Uh, yeh… kinda has to be seen to be believed really. If you imagine the speed of a cobra, the grace of a dolphin & the understated power of a mountain gorilla you’re getting close. Biggest influence on my career? Probably zoolander. I’m like, a pretty big deal…

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
On piste the Salomon Enduro XT800 & Head i.Supershape Titan exemplify power, grip and stability – willing you on to push your comfort zone. For a bit more versatility the awesome Movement Jam & the Atomic Crimson Ti are guaranteed to put smiles on faces whatever the conditions. Lastly the Line Sir Francis Bacon, great off piste, in the park & slays the groomers. What more can you ask?

What is your personal favourite: I think for pure versatility the Movement Jam just shades it. The 85mm waist gives great stability throughout a range of speeds, the oversized tips give fantastic float and, crucially, the Jam does not sacrifice any of its on piste liveliness. True 1 ski quiver.

Thoughts on this years range: With skiers getting ever more adventurous and manufacturers increasingly experimental it is harder than ever to choose a range that represents the best of what is available. I think once again we have achieved just that with a diverse collection offering the very best skis for all types of skier and every budget.

Other comments: Great to see Rossignol back in our range. Judging by opinions on the test, they will be a big hit.

Dave B

Name: David Buswell
Age: 19
Weight: 13st
Height: 5'10"
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 6 years
Describe your skiing: Lazy/relaxed freestyle skier but loves a freshly groomed piste and masses of fresh powder!

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
K2 Pettitor – Amazing on and off piste, great edge control on and so much fun off piste.
K2 Bolt – Perfect for a freshly groomed piste, made for going fast and hard! Will defiantly wake you up in the morning.
Atomic Punx – Stiff freestyle ski with a lot of stability when riding switch and jumping around the piste.
Atomic Alibi – Good versatile all mountain/freeride ski, powering through everything in its way, but also a lot of edge control on piste meaning a very good all mountain ski
K2 Iron Maiden – Soft, fun, poppy, playful ski, defiantly one of my favourite ski’s for playing around the mountain with, even though it is a soft ski it is also very stable riding switch and going hard down a groomed piste.

What is your personal favourite: My personal favourite skis are the K2 Iron Maiden, K2 Pettitor, K2 Bolt.

Thoughts on this years range: This year has a lot of different skis suiting all styles of skiing, it’s good to see even more freestyle skis this year, customers will not be disappointed with this range.

Other comments: You shall not be disappointed! Once again an amazing range of skis!

Dave B

Name: Mark Watson
Age: 28
Weight: 12st
Height: 5'8"
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 14 years
Describe your skiing: Fast and lazy

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
Volkl Shiro – so much float, poppy from turn to turn in the deep, you don’t have to be skiing super steep to get it to work (the side of a red was fine).
K2 Bolt – Solidity, stability through high speed turns. Brilliant for eating up miles of ski runs as fast as you can.
K2 Press – Surprisingly agile and held an edge a lot better than I thought, completely chuck-able ski.
Head i.Supershape Magnum – Nippy from turn to turn and rides on rails while carving. You can really load up the turns and accelerate out. Always a favourite of mine and it never disappoints.
Rossignol Pursuit 16Ti – It felt very similar to the Magnum, but perhaps a little easier to use, not quite so grabby at the end of the turn?

What is your personal favourite: Volkl Shiro and K2 Bolt.

Thoughts on this years range: Definitely feels a lot more oriented towards freeride, but a good mix of all abilities for all types of user.

Magda

Name: Magdalena Wojtkowiak
Age: 28
Weight: 47kg
Height: 162cm
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 41 weeks in past 21 years (a holiday-skier)
Describe your skiing: It totally depends on my mood. Sometimes my skiing is aggressive and competitive, sometimes very lazy from side to side, and sometimes crazy and totally unpredictable.

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
Scott Layla – This ski feels extremely powerful, nicely balanced and smooth. It is so chilled and relaxed, but on the other hand you can power this one up and not even realize how fast and aggressive you are skiing. It’s amazing everywhere, deep-fresh off-piste or icy piste it doesn’t matter. It will give you 100% fun!
K2 SuperStitious – It is like a part of my body, like “an extension of my thoughts” ...it is listening to you ssoooo carefully...it can be fast and aggressive on black runs and lazy, smooth on blue runs. I like it when a ski is predictable.
Armada TSTw – You can take this ski deep in the mountains! Ski feels so light and precise... and even though you realize that it is quite wide under foot, it still has very nice grip and cuts the snow very smoothly and totally under your control. I’m in love with it, especially when I ski with TSTw in soft, deep, fresh powder. It’s a pure freeride lover!
Rossignol Attraxion 8 Echo – It is very aggressive, edgy, precise woman’s ski. I really like dimensions of this one – especially the camber!!! I would say it is our best piste ski! This ski will revitalise you.The best ski for icy, cold mornings.
Salomon BBR Sunlite – It’s one of the most universal skis in our range. You can take this ski everywhere! The ski is very specific speaking of shape and look, but it runs very smoothly and naturally in any conditions! I had so much fun with the Sunlite! It was my biggest surprise on the ski test!

What is your personal favourite: Scott Layla was probably my favourite among all I have tested in my life so far. I totally fell in love with it.

Thoughts on this years range: I like the diversity of skis in our range and the confidence that I can find a ski for every kind of skier, especially for a female skier.

Other comments: Big thanks to all involved in making the test happen. It was an amazing time and left unforgettable memories. Cheers!

Katie

Name: Katie Smyth
Age: 27
Weight: 55kg
Height: 5'2"
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 23 years
Describe your skiing: Aggressive, all mountain skier - I grew up on steep mountains with loads of deep, heavy snow in the Pacific Northwest but am enjoying a recent transition to the joys of off piste powder skiing!

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
Salomon BBR Sunlite – This ski was a pleasant surprise. I used them for my first experience with touring bindings and despite being the narrowest ski in the group, they handled the deep snow with total comfort!
Volkl Kenja – Always a favourite and this year was no exception. I skied them in really poor conditions – poor visibility, deep, chewed up snow and they were totally confidence inspiring.
Volkl Aura – Another firm favourite. Like the Volkl Kenja but fatter, stiffer and even better in the crud and off piste.
Blizzard Black Pearl – This was really nice, also really good at powering through deep chunky snow but equally good at speed and off the side of the piste.
K2 MissDemeanor – I love the whole K2 park range, really poppy, fun skis and a fantastic price!

What is your personal favourite: My personal favourite has been the Volkl Aura for the last few years and this year was no exception. They plough through deep, heavy crud better than anything else I tested and floats beautifully in the powder. Super stiff though so definitely a ski that demands you’re A-game!

Thoughts on this years range: As always our range covers just about anything you’d like to do. Particularly for women it’s nice to see a good range from a beginner right through to an expert or someone who loves the park!

Dave C

Name: Dave Casey
Age: 33
Weight: 9.5st
Height: 5'7"
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 30 years
Describe your skiing: Aggressive piste, aggressive freeride and aspiring freestyle.

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
Rossignol Pursuit 16Ti – Rossignol have certainly come back strong with their new piste range. I was pleasantly surprised by all of them but limiting my choice to just one I’ve gone with the Pursuit 16 Ti, the most advanced option, simply as it suits my dynamic skiing the most (it was nice to see it win Fall-Line magazine‘s piste ski of the year too!). Nevertheless, I felt the winning theme running through the whole range was their ability to cope with a range of piste conditions whilst simultaneously remaining lively and responsive. With well thought out constructions, just pick the right one for your ability and hit the piste with confidence, you won’t be disappointed!
K2 Bolt – Won’t be for everyone this one as it’s quite full-on but it certainly put a smile on my face! In this case it was nice to see that it got the industry ISPO award in the piste performance category. Certainly not a category you would’ve even associated with K2 in recent years thus making the achievement and indeed the ski all that more remarkable! With a flat tail not seen on K2 skis for a long while and all the hallmarks of a hot rod you know this ski’s of a different breed from the outset! Being fairly narrow, with a comparatively straight turning radius and solid construction, this ski’s all about quick edge changes, broad powerful carves and running like you’re on rails. A second run was definitely calling, alas other skis awaited testing unfortunately!
Salomon BBR 8.9 – Salomon’s new ski made my overall favourite last year so given that they’ve sensibly left it unchanged it was always a good bet to see it make this list again. From my review last year… Bringing radical water-ski shapes (usually the preserve of dedicated powder skis) to the more traditional end of freeride skis was always going to be a bold move by Salomon but I found myself only too happy with the result. The water-ski concept leads to a very oversized and 'rockered' tip tapering to a noticeably narrower and more traditionally shaped ski and tail. The overall water-ski shape instantly helps the ski punch well above its width off-piste but coincidentally the narrower waist rear naturally keeps it surprisingly lively back on the piste.
Armada AK JJ – With dimensions like the AK JJ’s (120mm waist and no less than 195cm long) you’d be right to feel a little intimidated but what sets this ski apart is just how surprisingly easy to use it is regardless of its size. Make no mistake though, the AK is built specifically with bottomless powder in mind (the AK obviously standing for Alaska after all!) but it carries this off with an agility and playfulness not usually seen on skis of this size. There are wider skis out there but the AK’s appear to have successfully traded a bit of this width for length in order to keep the size underfoot down. Ordinarily it would now be the 195 length that would be cumbersome instead but the trick is Armada’s EST tech. which minimises the side effects of extending the tip and tail. Combined with a decent turning radius under the middle portion of the ski the result is possibly the most effortless powder ski I’ve been on!
Volkl Ledge – We’re stocking Volkl’s Ledge and Kink freestyle skis this year, I could’ve been sold on their bold graphics alone but I’m glad to report both skis back up their looks! Both felt like well built, lively freestyle skis, the Kink being the slightly wider of the two had the edge in stability but for me the Ledge earned its place here for its liveliness and value for money. The flex is dialed in just right to make it a perfect jib ski without compromising on responsiveness. The full sidewalls and relaxed symmetrical sidecut mean it rips up the mountain regular or switch too!

What is your personal favourite: I’d be tempted to give it to the Salomon BBR 8.9 again (as I did last year) as it’s still such an outstanding example of an all-mountain ski but just to highlight something else I think I’ll go with the AK JJ. My comments above break it down but as I said it’s basically possibly the most effortless powder ski I’ve been on. As the AK JJ’s perhaps a little excessive for most people’s needs however, I think it’s worth mentioning the regular JJ. The JJ can best be regarded as a slimmed down AK, retaining all of the key features of the AK but in a slightly more sensible and indeed affordable package!

Thoughts on this years range: Once again it appears we have a well thought out range, with excellent skis for every level and type of skier. Particularly nice to see Rossignol with their new piste range back in our racks!

Other comments: If there was one thing to report about this year it simply has to be the ridiculous levels of fresh snow we had considering the time of year. Perfect testing conditions for the big skis this year! Aside from this, the other highlights would have to be a very rewarding meeting with some of the founders of the Armada company and also having the company of the Rossignol representative for the duration of the test. Once again thanks to the Tirol tourist board for their amazing hospitality and everyone else involved in another successful test!

Justyna

Name: Justyna Wiklik
Age: 31
Weight: 63kg
Height: 169cm
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 26 years
Describe your skiing: I am fine on piste (any run, any speed, any slalom) but would like to be braver off piste – on some steeps it was really hard to keep up with my brother (I think I should quit my ambition to do more freestyle as I am getting hurt every second time I’m trying something in the park).

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
Atomic Elysian – Was among my favourites last year, and it will still be this coming season. As it was amazing and they didn’t change anything but the graphics. It is perfect.
I loved all 3 Blizzard skis I got to test. Viva Ultrasonic didn’t have any competition in the women’s advanced piste skis category. Solid at speed, it remained responsive and I had loads of fun charging down the piste. Her little sister, the Viva 7.4 is equally impressive, it just prefers more sensible speeds. I love the Black Pearl for exploring the off-piste, with some kick, and that makes 3 Blizzards in my top 5!
The most impressive, however, was the Salomon BBR Sunlite. I couldn’t believe just how easy that ski was. I enjoyed the smooth pistes, some powder but it was just crazy fun in the bumps – once I spent last 2 hours just skiing moguls (normally by the end of the day I have no power left in my legs, and it doesn’t look graceful – but I was flying on BBRs through that terrain!)

What is your personal favourite: The Scott Layla has to be up there with my TOP TOP favourites! It is my new ultimate ski. I don’t want anything else for 2013. Usually 50/50 skis are good on piste and off-piste but don’t excel in either. Layla is superb on piste and a dream to ski off-piste!

Thoughts on this years range: We might have the strongest women’s range ever! Love the Blizzards, obviously, great to have Rossignol back in women’s range too! Dynastar and K2 staying strong and for those who know what they are doing with BC freestyle (unlike me) there is ladies Armada!!! Cannot wait for the snow now.

Steve

Name: Steve Wells
Age: 38
Weight: 85kg
Height: 6'
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 25 years
Describe your skiing: All-mountain, still trying to find some style.

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
Rossignol Pursuit 16 Aramid – The effortless energy and precise turns of the Pursuit 16 Aramid make any piste a joy to ski. Rocker at the nose provides easy initiation, sidewalls underfoot ensure grip and the wood core delivers energy and life. A brilliant ski for piste skiers wanting something to mix performance with smooth cruising.
Dynastar Outland 80 Pro – This is an exceptionally versatile ski that feels totally comfortable (and fun too) wherever you take it. Stress-free turns, solid edge grip, power and energy when you want it, and the balance to inspire confidence, it’s the epitome of an all-mountain ski. (The standard Outland 80 is very impressive too).
Blizzard Bushwacker – Another all-mountain ski, but this one is slightly more off-piste focused than the Outlands. It’s ideal for pretty much anything you’ll face if you enjoy skiing anywhere: lively and fun on firm snow, manoeuvrable and easy in tricky conditions, and, smooth and balanced in deeper stuff. Flipcore works and the Bushwacker is the perfect introduction to Blizzard’s freeride range.
Volkl Shiro – Not your everyday ski but if conditions come good then the Shiro really shines. Unsurprisingly the massive width and the low profile rocker guarantee unforgettable powder runs, but where the Shiro surprises is the fact it’s surprisingly simple to handle away from deep snow too.
Whitedot Director – I love the shape, camber and flex on this ski! Combined they create a ride so effortless in soft snow, and yet solid when you want grip. This ski makes you want to go fast and find soft snow, whether it’s fresh and unskied, or tracked out.
Picking just 5 was tricky, and if only I was allowed I’d have a top 10, to include Salomon Rocker2 90 and Enduro XT800, the Scott Jib TW, Movement Jam and the K2 Bolt.

What is your personal favourite: If I was to go away and take only 1 pair of skis it would be close between the Jam, the Enduro XT800, the Outland 80 Pro but the winner would probably be the Bushwacker. I’ve had so many good runs on this ski, on a variety of snow and conditions from knee deep pow to horrible chopped up bumps in zero visibility, and every single turn has always been fun!

Thoughts on this years range: So many good skis for so many different types of skier. Some real surprises too, like the way K2 have nailed piste performance with the Bolt or how much ski you get for your money on models like the Enduro LX800 and the Line Celebrity 85. There isn’t a ‘filler’ to be seen, every single model stands out as a quality option.

Other comments: Massive thanks to everyone who helped with the testing, especially to all the staff, Stubai Gletscher, the Hotel Medrazerhof and the Tirol – definitely the best place to ski!

Mell

Name: Mell Moss
Age: 23
Weight: 9.5st
Height: 5'7"
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 15 weeks
Describe your skiing: Can be aggressive, confident piste skier but eager to progress off piste.

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
Salomon BBR Sunlite – Great control on and off piste. The ladies specific BBR is softer than the last seasons BBR, making it that little bit more forgiving but still stable.
Scott Layla – Lively, fun and quick from edge-to-edge, copes really well in all sorts of conditions and all over the mountain, plus looks great!
Rossignol Attraxion 8 – Fantastic, fun piste ski, brand new to our range this year and I’m so glad we have it. Really soft and forgiving, bounces from edge-to-edge yet still stable.
Movement Jam – A versatile ski, great for exploring the mountain, would suit a mixed ability.
Atomic Alibi – Really stable, smooth, great edge control and easy to use.

What is your personal favourite: The Atomic Alibi and the Rossignol Attraxion 8, both skis surprised me and were so much fun!

Thoughts on this years range: Really high standard across the range and all ability levels, very impressed.

Gordon

Name: Gordon Rae
Age: 26
Weight: 75kg
Height: 5'10"
Years skiing / weeks on snow: Several years / 30+ weeks
Describe your skiing: Medium to fast pace coming from a piste background and instructor trained. Not overly aggressive and prefer smooth lines in soft snow and off piste terrain.

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
Line Sir Francis Bacon – I loved the stability of this ski when charging off of the piste in search of steeper and deeper soft snow conditions. The wood core flex pattern and tip/tail rocker made the ski really manoeuvrable and ‘feel good’ everywhere.
Salomon Rocker2 90 – This ski really impressed me, for the aspiring freerider this is a flattering ski which could take you almost anywhere on the mountain and offers a surprising amount of float for its dimensions.
Movement Jam – As soon as I got onto this ski my skiing jumped up a notch. Manoeuvrable and lively, the early rise tip really compliments this classic.
Atomic Alibi – Atomic has hit it on the nail with this ski, wider dimensions with rocker and a wood core will take any good freerider on a real adventure and beyond.
Rossignol Attraxion 8 – I had to try at least one of the Attraxion range and I’m glad I did. For the higher performance female skiers not wanting to move into race performance this ski provides grip, excellent manoeuvrability and a hint of forgiveness to make sure your turns look and feel amazing.

What is your personal favourite: On the Movement Jam I feel invincible, it encourages me to push myself and suits my ‘go everywhere’ curious side.

Other comments: Great experience and wonderful resort and hotel. If only we could do this more often.

Sandy

Name: Sandy Ewen
Age: 28
Weight: 10st
Height: 180cm
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 23 years
Describe your skiing: Mix of terrain and conditions, like going fast.

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
Head i.Supershape Titan
Head i.Supershape Magnum
Line Sir Francis Bacon
Movement Jam
Scott Punisher
I found all of these respond great and are easy to use, great fun!

What is your personal favourite: Line Sir Francis Bacon, great easy fun ski!

Thoughts on this years range: I think we have a wide choice of skis in our range, we should have something for everybody.

Luke

Name: Luke Watkins
Age: 32
Weight: 88kg
Height: : 6' (stretched out)
Years skiing / weeks on snow: Started skiing aged four but kept the good days (all days) for snowboarding over the last 18 years
Describe your skiing: Non graceful.

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
K2 Pettitor – you could really feel the grip from the camber underfoot, very surprising.
Armada JJ – smooth to ski, really interesting 5 point side cut, and amazing float through the deep snow. Closest feel to snowboarding!
Armada TST – great all over the place, fluid.
Salomon Rocker2 90 – Fun! Worked everywhere, good confidence builder.
Movement Jam – The true 50/50 ski, an all rounder.

What is your personal favourite: Armada JJ – First time I had skied powder in years and it made it feel so easy and fun.

Thoughts on this years range: A ski for everyone, from one week a year low end intermediates, seasoned freeriders and anyone else. A range of the best skis offering the best VFM (value for money!).

Marcin

Name: Marcin Wiklik
Age: 32
Weight: 80kg
Height: 177cm
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 23-24 years
Describe your skiing: Ski instructor, ex-racer, love speed and steeps, as much off piste as possible.

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
Line Mr Pollard's Opus – Worked brilliantly in the powder and didn’t feel too chunky around the piste. Easy to ski and very enjoyable from the top to the bottom of the mountain. Skiing on such a beautiful ski is a pure pleasure.
Blizzard Bonafide – Amazing mid-fat set to ski wherever you are. Behaves like a regular GS ski on the piste (very smooth, loves the speed), fantastic in the deep powder. Biggest surprise – tail rocker does wonders if you need to cut shorter turns through tree runs (or even pivot on it!)
Blizzard Cochise – Not really made for speed – made purely for charging! Stiff and rock solid piece of art. Not much shape in it so everything is up to the user. Loved it!
Volkl Shiro – Gave me my best powder runs on ski tests so I can’t skip it. Made me feel absolutely comfortable and happy in softer snow. Looks big (it is big!) but it’s very easy to ski.
Head i.Supershape Magnum / Titan – (Can’t decide which one) Best skis for the piste maniacs. It’s a bit annoying but I haven’t skied anything better than Head piste skis for years. No other competitor is coming close to the power you can release from these two models.

What is your personal favourite: Everything above 100mm underfoot (every year there is more and more of them!) – TST, JJ, AK JJ, all of Whitedot skis, Bacon ,Opus, Pettitor, Shiro, Cochise, Rocker2 108

Thoughts on this years range: Love it!

Other comments: Thank you, Stubai (Tirol) guys for everything!

Rob

Name: Rob Evans
Age: 35
Weight: 14.5st
Height: 6'4"
Years skiing / weeks on snow: 29 years
Describe your skiing: Having gone down the steeper is better route, I’m now starting to chill. Give me a nice waist deep open meadow anytime.

List the 5 skis that impressed you most, and explain why:
Armada TST – Being a huge fan of directional twins, due to their “one ski for everything” nature, the TST certainly didn’t disappoint. Super smooth and lively at a variety of speeds, with the ability to switch from carving down the hard-packed piste one minute and then blasting through the soft stuff the next. Add the fact that they look amazing and you have got all the ingredients of a true “one ski quiver”.
Atomic Crimson Ti – For those wanting an all mountain ski which performs to the highest level in any snow conditions. Powerful but predictable and smooth throughout turn makes this enjoyable in any snow conditions (even made the heavy wet snow with zero visibility enjoyable). Stiffer than the Blackeye Ti, but still effortless to initiate and vary the turn radius due to the shape and rocker tip.
Rossignol Pursuit 16 Ti – Aimed at the more piste oriented skier, the Pursuit 16 Ti has excellent stability at speed and has an abundance of power oozing from the construction. Predictable in both short and long radius turns and the ability to give you confidence in knowing that it will remain solid and surefooted whilst ripping down the piste, even at the end of the day when your tired and your thighs are burning.
Salomon Rocker2 90 – Probably the easiest mid fat ski I have ever tried. Very flattering to ski, no matter how much trouble you get yourself into the Rocker 90 give you the confidence and encouragement to get through it. Effortless turn initiation through the rocker technology and a core that feels light and nimble with user friendly energy. Coupled with the new Guardian binding, this would make an ideal package for someone wanting lift accessed off piste but doesn’t mind a short hike/skin.
Head i.Supershape Titan – The Titan still amazes me every time I ski it. Full of life with bags of power. The energy out of the tail is mind blowing and the rebound into the next turn is an awesome feeling. Really stable and a solidness under the foot that gives you the sensation of security when also laying out big carves. Also loving the dash of yellow on the new graphic (matches my pants).

What is your personal favourite: Has to be the Armada TST for myself, but still loving the Head i.Supershape Titan for those groomed days.

Thoughts on this years range: As always lot of thought and debate has gone into the range to pick the best skis in each category for performance and valve. I truly believe that we have got all bases covered and that we can be confident that every ski is a winner.

Other comments: BIG thank you to all involve in making the test happen and I’m pretty sure that wearing a cape in the halfpipe will catch on, hehe!