THE PATROL’S NOT JUST FOR EXPERTS
New last year, the Whistler-made Prior Patroller showed itself to be a versatile pair of skis in our testing, capable of exploring the whole mountain no matter the conditions. This year, Prior tweaked the secret sauce to make it a little more approachable and a little more playful. The maple wood core overlaid with carbon fibre and Titanal returns, but Prior softened up the tail a smidge. With an option of a 95 or 100mm waist and a traditional camber profile, it can hold the hardpack and missile through the soft. A little less grab in the tail will make the steeps easier and allow intermediate skiers to get onboard and improve. ($1,149; priorsnow.com)
$1,149 * BEST FOR: Doing it all at Whistler.
LENGTHS: 153, 161, 169, 176, 184 * RADIUS: 20@176 * SIDECUT: 135/100/118
A Whistler ski patroller could be cutting 45-degree chutes in the morning, ripping through tight trees on his lunch break, pulling a toboggan out of the park and sweeping a mogul field at the end of the day—all with no time to switch skis in between. So the ski needs to be a versatile tool that can stand up to the abuse of full-time work, and that’s what Prior created the Patroller to do. It debuted last year and testers found themselves thinking it was a German-made ski, not one hand-built in Whistler. “Carves powerful, bigger turns on-piste,” wrote Ian March. “Solid yet turns in the bumps. Good float in powder.” This year Prior wanted to ease up on the GS ski performance to make the Patroller a little more forgiving and less work. To that end, it softened the tail and testers noticed. Skiing a longer length than she usually does, Sandra Haziza “found it incredibly stable, easy to work, and an all-round fun ski on- and off-piste.” While last year’s Patroller was best left to professionals, this year anyone from advanced and up will find it an all-mountain performer that has the quality construction to warrant the price tag and many years of use.