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Mid-range performance in long and short turns

By Test Editor RON BETTS

Imagine if there were a shortcut to becoming an advanced skier, some magic pill that
instantly made you feel like Eric Guay or Alexandre Bilodeau. Well, there’s a way to get there and it isn’t in pill form. It’s more a matter of picking the right ski for the right stage in your skill progression.

Many of the best surfers in the world ride boards that are in the five-foot-five to six-five
range, but they got there through a progression. When I started surfing, I saw all the hotshots on short boards and thought that was the way to go. Instead of learning on a longer board that was appropriate for my skill level, I wallowed and floundered on a board that was miles ahead of my skills. I ultimately added a significant amount of time to my learning curve, all because I thought a short board looked way cooler under my arm.

Extend that analogy to skiing and you can see why people get frustrated. They look at the racks of skis and usually, through influence or peer pressure, end up on a ski that’s too long, too stiff or not the right radius for that stage of their skiing.

This is where the Easy Cruising category comes in. These skis are a bridge from Intermediate-ville to Expert-town. They are designed to give you a solid foundation from which to progress. They initiate easily and grip and carve at lower speeds, but they have performance characteristics that will grow with you as your skills increase. Easily a win-win situation.

So now it’s up to you. Take a good hard look at how you ski and where you want to progress. If you spend more time on the groomed than in the bumps, if you still occasionally skid your turns rather than carve, if you take the blue run more often than the black, these might be the skis for you. They certainly will help you progress more quickly than you would otherwise. Enjoy the ride!

length marked with † is length tested; prices marked with * include bindings

Average score based on average of all tester scores for the 8 categories of characteristics – initiation, edge grip, stability, agility, versatility, short radius, long radius and overall. Point system is 1 to 10.

ATOMIC | BLIZZARD |DYNASTAR| FISCHER | GOODE| HEAD | K2 | KASTLE|NORDICA
|ROSSIGNOL | SALOMON |VOLKL

 

ATOMIC VF75 .. men

$999 sidecut: 126, 75, 112 radius: 14 @ 175
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 148, 157, 166, 175 †
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP
This was a ski that our testers felt was right at home in this category. They thought that the VF 75 would appeal to a wide weight and skill range, and would also allow for skill growth. They also felt that it worked well at a variety of speeds.

“This ski has great initiation and edge grip. Heavier skiers will appreciate the stiffness in the tail.” » MIKE MANARA ” It’s a stable, smooth ski with lots of room in which to grow.” » GUY PAULSEN

average score: 7.4

 

ATOMIC VF75W .. women

$999* sidecut: 117, 75, 109 radius: 12 @ 157
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 148, 157 † , 166
BEST IN: STABILITY, LONG RADIUS
The ladies really liked the solid, stable feel of this ski. They felt that a longer turn with a bit of speed is where they really shone. This ski might suit a skier who is starting to get comfortable in her equipment and doesn’t mind letting the ski run a little.

It turned like a charm and responded to a bit of speed and pressure.” » NIKI COCHREN “This ski likes bigger, long radius turns. It’s super-stable at speed” » ROBYN BEAUDRY

average score: 6.5

BLIZZARD G-FORCE G-PRO IQ .. men

$999* sidecut: 120, 71, 104 radius: 14 @ 167
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 153, 160, 167 † , 174
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP
A good ski in this category should have a series of checks and balances: a great carver, but still able to skid and slide; easy for less aggressive skiers, but can still hang in there with speed; the ability to do both short and long turns with ease; and precise enough to give a fun ride, but still forgiving for those who need it. By all accounts this ski hit all those marks.

“This ski has a wide performance bandwidth and will inspire confidence. Well done!” » GUY PAULSEN “A delicious ski for all appetites! It created a true sense of confidence in all turns.” » JARED HETHERINGTON

average score: 7.8

BLIZZARD VIVA G-PRO IQ .. women

$999* sidecut: 123 72 105 radius: 12@ 160
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 146, 153, 160 † , 167
BEST IN: STABILITY, SHORT RADIUS, LONG RADIUS

The skis in this category should help a beginner or intermediate skier improve. That said, the Viva G-Pro easily lives up to that. Our women testers came away smiling after their runs on this ski. It had all the characteristics necessary to help beginners progress, but also would keep a more adventurous skier entertained all day.

“The ski inspires confidence, and it’s effortless to turn. Fun and improvement are guaranteed.” » MARTINA OSMAN “Beautiful, confidence, strength, easy—these are all words for this ski. It will progress you from a skidded turn to an edged, carving turn with ease.” ROBYN BEAUDRY

average score: 7.9

DYNASTAR CONTACT CROSS .. men

$799* sidecut: 120 72 104 radius: 15 @ 172
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 158, 165, 172 † , 178
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP
If you’re already familiar with the feeling of carving, or you want to get there quickly, this ski from Dynastar is worth checking out. It hits the category on the higher end and, according to the tester comments, will appeal to skiers who want to start ramping up the speed. It has a wide shovel for easy turn initiation and seems to handle speed well. “Yeah, now that’s carving. This ski has fantastic edge grip and stability.” » SAMUEL WÜRSCH“It’s stable in all turn shapes and speeds. The ski has a slightly stiffer flex, but is very forgiving if you stay centred.” » MIKE MANARA

average score: 7.2

DYNASTAR EXCLUSIVE ELITE .. women

$799* sidecut: 120 72 102 radius: 15 @ 172
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 153, 158, 165 † , 172
BEST IN: STABILITY
According to our women testers, the Exclusive Elite has a ton of energy and life, and it carves up the green and blue runs with ease. There was nothing timid about this ski in terms of speed or radius. A bit of speed, no problem. Change up the radius, no problem. It might be more suited to a skier with a bit of experience and know-how.

“This ski will appeal to a confident skier who knows how to carve her turns. It can handle some faster turns as well.” » MARTINA OSMAN“It’s extremely stable at speed, as well as smooth, fun and agile. It put a smile on my face.” » NICOLA WIDSSON

average score: 7.5

FISCHER PROGESSOR 8+ .. men & women

$1,125 sidecut: 120 72 103 radius: 12/15 @ 165
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 150, 155, 160 † , 165, 170 † , 175
BEST IN: INITIATION
, AGILITY, LONG RADIUS Our testers found this ski from Fischer to be a category definer. The men thought it was easy to pivot, had great edge hold and a big sweet spot, making it user-friendly. And the women couldn’t stop smiling, using words like fun, predictable and stable in their comments. If they like it this much, I’m sure you will too.

“As playful as a puppy with a ball of yarn.” » JARED HETHERINGTON“This ski is a great game-improving tool.” » HANK SHANNON“Wow! A great combination of agility and stability. An outstanding ski for this category” » CHRISTA CHAPMAN “You will not want to take this ski off. It’s pur enjoyment on every turn.” MARTINA OSMAN

average score: 8.5 men; 8.4 women

GOODE CARBON 74 .. men & women/span> $1195 sidecut: 117 74 103 radius: 14 @ 164
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 154, 164 † , 174 † , 184
BEST IN: LONG RADIUS, INITIATION, VERSATILITY
The men appreciated the light weight and soft flex pattern of the Carbon 74, which make it user-friendly for lighter, less aggressive skiers. The women thought that if you like the feel of wind in your face and the rush of speed, this ski might be for you. They liked the versatility of this ski. Good performance at moderate speeds and very user-friendly.

“Good perfromance at moderate speeds and very user-friendly.” » GEROGE TERWEIL“No surprises. It’s easy to ski with decent edge hold at medium to slower speeds.” » GUY PAULSEN “You choose how you want this ski to perform. Push it hard or leisurely—versatility is huge.”» NICOLA WIDSON “It’s a little stiffer, giving it lots of life and pep, and is effortless from one turn to the next.” » WENDY ANDERSON

average score: 6.0 men; 7.0 women

HEAD ICON TT 60.0 .. men

$850* sidecut: 116 67 100 radius: 14 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 146, 152, 158, 164, 170 † , 176
BEST IN: LONG RADIUS, EDGE GRIP
This ski hit the nail on the “head” in terms of the category. Skiers in this category will appreciate a ski that does a lot of the work for them. This means that if the terrain is appropriate and the ski is tipped on edge, it should carve effortlessly. And that’s exactly what our test team had to say about the Icon TT 60.0.

” A great ski to last you a few years. Edge hold and stability give you great confidence.” » HANK SHANNON“It’s like riding on velvet fog. The ski held an edge really well and loved to link mid-sized arcs.” » DREW BRAGG

average score: 7.5

HEAD PERFECT ONE

$850* sidecut: 115 67 99 radius: 12 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 146, 152, 158, 164 † , 170
BEST IN: INITIATION, STABILITY
While there was agreement about the excellent carving capabilities of this ski, there was disagreement on who would best suit it. The consensus, though, was that this ski would be great as a first ski purchase for someone going from the rental fleet to her own ski, or for the novice ready to commit to getting better by improving her gear.

“This is a confidence-building ski. You will feel great on it no matter what level you are.” » JULIE MARKUSSEN“The ski was solid and stable from tip-to-tail, and the large tip engages with ease.” » KATE HOPLEY

average score: 7.6

K2 A.M.P. PHOTON .. men

$600* sidecut: 118 74 103 radius: 15 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 149, 156, 163 † , 170
BEST IN: INITIATION
This ski hit all the marks for the category. It will take the work out of your ski day and let you concentrate on the things you need to improve, like balancing in your boots properly and letting the skis run with some speed. All in all, it’s a predictable, medium-speed performer.

“A great cruising ski for aspiring novice riders. It’s strong edge hold helps inspire confidence.” » BARTON LANE“The ski needs a bit of speed to come to life, but when it does, it’s awesome. Fun, agile, responsive.” » IAN MARCH

average score: 7.1

K2 TRU LUV .. women

$600 sidecut: 118 74 103 radius: 14 @ 163
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 158, 168, 178 † , 188
BEST IN: INITIATION
The Tru Luv is a ski that will help the aspiring beginner get to and beyond intermediate in the shortest time possible. After all, nobody wants to be a beginner forever. The testers really liked the radius and grip that this ski offered. They found that it performed best at slow to moderate speeds.

“This ski is mellow and smooth. It’s easy to turn and capable of a nice speed progression.” » NIKI COCHREN“A beginner aspiring to quickly become an intermediate will grow with this ski.” » KATE HOPLEY

average score: 7.0

KÄSTLE LX82

.. men

$999 sidecut: 127 82 109 radius: 16.5 @ 172
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 156, 164, 172 † , 180
BEST IN: STABILITY
The LX82 certainly seemed to inspire confidence. The test team felt that this was a ski that most skiers would enjoy because of its predictability, which helps to anticipate what the ski will do in any given situation. This ski is best suited to skiers who want to carve, but have a less aggressive style.

“This ski locked onto a controlled medium-radius arc. No surprises—really, really friendly.” » DREW BRAGG“It inspires confidence. You can take this one all over the mountain.” » BARTON LANE

average score: 7.0

KÄSTLE LX72 .. women

$899 sidecut: 117 72 99 radius: 16 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 154, 162, 170 † , 178
BEST IN: STABILITY, LONG RADIUS
When skied in softer snow, the testers found that the LX72 easily found its grip and they enjoyed the ride. There were a couple of comments about the sweet spot being a bit harder to find in firmer snow. Most testers found that this ski was in its comfort zone at slow to moderate speeds.

“A nice ski for the aspiring intermediate looking to gain experience through mileage.” » CHRISTA CHAPMAN“A softer tip and stiffer tail make it more forgiving for those in the front seat.” » WENDY ANDERSON

average score: 7.0

NORDICA DOBERMANN SPITFIRE .. men

$1049 sidecut: 122 70 105 radius: 14 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 154, 162, 170 † , 178
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP, SHORT RADIUS
Our test team’s appraisal was that this is a ski that likes to carve and might prefer a more skilled pilot. The Dobermann Spitfi re seemed to have a bit more aggression, so if you’re looking for a ski that carves like a dream, this might be the weapon for you.

“Strong edge hold and energetic flex pattern requires attention and a bit of aggression. The payoff is big though.” » DREW BRAGG“Attention! This ski turns fast. On a nice groomed run, you’re going to be the king of carving.” » SAMUEL WÜRSCH

average score: 7.1

NORDICA FIREFOX .. women

$1049* sidecut: 120 70 103 radius: 13 @ 162
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 154, 162 † , 170, 178
BEST IN: STABILITY, LONG RADIUS
The women were amped after a run on this ski. They loved its energy and agility. There were multiple comments about the stability of the platform when they found the sweet spot. If a skier is comfortable in her ski boots to play with her stance, this ski offers a big reward.

” This ski loves to be on edge, and once there it provides a super-stable ride.” » ROBYN BEAUDRY“Wow! Once the sweet spot was found, my balance on this platform was amazing.” » NICOLA WIDSSON

average score: 7.7

ROSSIGNOL AVENGER 76 Ti .. men

$899* sidecut: 127 76 108 radius: 15 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 154, 162, 170 † , 176
BEST IN: INITIATION, VERSATILITY
The Avenger 76 Ti had no problem in the carving department. Tip it over and enjoy the ride. Some testers felt it was best suited to a lighter skier, but all agreed that this was a great ski for progression. If you ski at moderate speeds and want to learn to carve, this could be the ski for you.

“This ski has a lovely easy-turning feel. It initiates and finishes turns with ease.” » IAN MARCH“The ski likes to turn, but you need to be smooth and light on it.” » MATHIEU LETOURNEAU

average score: 7.2

ROSSIGNOL ATTRAXION 3 ECHO .. women

$799* sidecut: 121 72 100 radius: 14.6 @ 162
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 146, 154, 162 †
BEST IN: STABILITY, LONG RADIUS
Really good skis garner really good comments from our testers. That was certainly the case with the Attraxion 3 Echo. Our testers said they would be happy to ski on it from first lift until the last chair ride of the day. They were unanimous that this ski would help most skiers’ skills improve.

“I would be happy to ski on this from 8:00-4:00 every day. This is a hero ski—it makes you look good.” » CHRISTA CHAPMAN“This is a super-smooth ski that makes you feel like a rock star.” » NINA GRETZMACHER

average score: 8.7

SALOMON 24 DAYTONA .. men

$975* sidecut: 119 71 103 radius: 13.1@162
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 148, 155, 162, 169 † , 176
BEST IN: INITIATION
Most skiers who are looking to improve need to play with a variety of turn shapes and speed limits. Our testers felt that this ski would do just that. It performed well when pushed, and one tester said it would offer years of enjoyment.

“This was my favourite of the afternoon. It’s fun, smooth and solid. It’s easy to initiate, and has enough power to hold an edge.” » MATHIEU LETOURNEAU“This is a ski you can push. It feels powerful and provides confidence for a stronger intermediate.” » IAN MARCH

average score: 7.7

SALOMON ORIGINS OPAL .. women

$899* sidecut: 120 73 101 radius: 12 @ 152
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 144, 152, 160 † , 168
BEST IN: STABILITY
The women disagreed about who would like this ski best. Some felt it was a wonderfully forgiving ski that would suit a novice skier, while others felt it was a little stiff for the category and preferred a longer turn shape. Who to believe? Salomon has demo days at most major ski hills across Canada, so try it yourself and make up your own mind.

“The follow-through of each turn was easy. It loved to do short turns, but was fine with bigger ones as well.” » JULIE MARKUSSEN“With a little bit of speed while carving, this ski shines. It preferred to do medium to long turns.” » ROBYN BEAUDRY

average score: 7.1

VOLKL UNLIMITED AC20 .. men

$900* sidecut: 118 74 103 radius: 16.1 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 156, 163, 170 † , 177
BEST IN: INITIATION
There was no shortage of superlatives used to describe the Unlimited AC 20, an impressive feat considering that this can be a hard crowd to impress. What the testers liked best was the ease of carving—the ski felt as though it had an autopilot switch.

“It’s easy to turn and a pleasure to ski—a great ski to carry you to the next level.” » D’ARCY SEGO“Tip it over and stand there— it’s that easy. It’s really fun in short turns. It was difficult to overpower this ski.” » RON BETTS

average score: 7.6

VOLKL ATTIVA SOL .. women

$800* sidecut: 126 75 96 radius: 14.7 @ 158
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 144, 151, 158 † , 165
BEST IN: VERSATILITY, SHORT RADIUS
This was another of the skis in this category that had the ladies smiling. The Attiva Sol impressed with its big sweet spot, solid edge grip and ability to handle a variety of speeds. If you’re looking for a ski to grow with, this could be the one.

“This ski did everything I asked of it and more. It truly out-performed its price point.” » CHRISTA CHAPMAN“It’s very responsive and predictable. This is a great ski to improve on. It has a huge sweet spot.” » KATHY BRODERICK

average score: 8.1

Mid-range performance in long and short turns

By Test Editor RON BETTS

Imagine if there were a shortcut to becoming an advanced skier, some magic pill that
instantly made you feel like Eric Guay or Alexandre Bilodeau. Well, there’s a way to get there and it isn’t in pill form. It’s more a matter of picking the right ski for the right stage in your skill progression.

Many of the best surfers in the world ride boards that are in the five-foot-five to six-five
range, but they got there through a progression. When I started surfing, I saw all the hotshots on short boards and thought that was the way to go. Instead of learning on a longer board that was appropriate for my skill level, I wallowed and floundered on a board that was miles ahead of my skills. I ultimately added a significant amount of time to my learning curve, all because I thought a short board looked way cooler under my arm.

Extend that analogy to skiing and you can see why people get frustrated. They look at the racks of skis and usually, through influence or peer pressure, end up on a ski that’s too long, too stiff or not the right radius for that stage of their skiing.

This is where the Easy Cruising category comes in. These skis are a bridge from Intermediate-ville to Expert-town. They are designed to give you a solid foundation from which to progress. They initiate easily and grip and carve at lower speeds, but they have performance characteristics that will grow with you as your skills increase. Easily a win-win situation.

So now it’s up to you. Take a good hard look at how you ski and where you want to progress. If you spend more time on the groomed than in the bumps, if you still occasionally skid your turns rather than carve, if you take the blue run more often than the black, these might be the skis for you. They certainly will help you progress more quickly than you would otherwise. Enjoy the ride!

length marked with † is length tested; prices marked with * include bindings

Average score based on average of all tester scores for the 8 categories of characteristics – initiation, edge grip, stability, agility, versatility, short radius, long radius and overall. Point system is 1 to 10.

ATOMIC | BLIZZARD |DYNASTAR| FISCHER | GOODE| HEAD | K2 | KASTLE|NORDICA
|ROSSIGNOL | SALOMON |VOLKL

 

ATOMIC VF75 .. men

$999 sidecut: 126, 75, 112 radius: 14 @ 175
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 148, 157, 166, 175 †
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP
This was a ski that our testers felt was right at home in this category. They thought that the VF 75 would appeal to a wide weight and skill range, and would also allow for skill growth. They also felt that it worked well at a variety of speeds.

“This ski has great initiation and edge grip. Heavier skiers will appreciate the stiffness in the tail.” » MIKE MANARA ” It’s a stable, smooth ski with lots of room in which to grow.” » GUY PAULSEN

average score: 7.4

 

ATOMIC VF75W .. women

$999* sidecut: 117, 75, 109 radius: 12 @ 157
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 148, 157 † , 166
BEST IN: STABILITY, LONG RADIUS
The ladies really liked the solid, stable feel of this ski. They felt that a longer turn with a bit of speed is where they really shone. This ski might suit a skier who is starting to get comfortable in her equipment and doesn’t mind letting the ski run a little.

It turned like a charm and responded to a bit of speed and pressure.” » NIKI COCHREN “This ski likes bigger, long radius turns. It’s super-stable at speed” » ROBYN BEAUDRY

average score: 6.5

BLIZZARD G-FORCE G-PRO IQ .. men

$999* sidecut: 120, 71, 104 radius: 14 @ 167
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 153, 160, 167 † , 174
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP
A good ski in this category should have a series of checks and balances: a great carver, but still able to skid and slide; easy for less aggressive skiers, but can still hang in there with speed; the ability to do both short and long turns with ease; and precise enough to give a fun ride, but still forgiving for those who need it. By all accounts this ski hit all those marks.

“This ski has a wide performance bandwidth and will inspire confidence. Well done!” » GUY PAULSEN “A delicious ski for all appetites! It created a true sense of confidence in all turns.” » JARED HETHERINGTON

average score: 7.8

BLIZZARD VIVA G-PRO IQ .. women

$999* sidecut: 123 72 105 radius: 12@ 160
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 146, 153, 160 † , 167
BEST IN: STABILITY, SHORT RADIUS, LONG RADIUS

The skis in this category should help a beginner or intermediate skier improve. That said, the Viva G-Pro easily lives up to that. Our women testers came away smiling after their runs on this ski. It had all the characteristics necessary to help beginners progress, but also would keep a more adventurous skier entertained all day.

“The ski inspires confidence, and it’s effortless to turn. Fun and improvement are guaranteed.” » MARTINA OSMAN “Beautiful, confidence, strength, easy—these are all words for this ski. It will progress you from a skidded turn to an edged, carving turn with ease.” ROBYN BEAUDRY

average score: 7.9

DYNASTAR CONTACT CROSS .. men

$799* sidecut: 120 72 104 radius: 15 @ 172
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 158, 165, 172 † , 178
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP
If you’re already familiar with the feeling of carving, or you want to get there quickly, this ski from Dynastar is worth checking out. It hits the category on the higher end and, according to the tester comments, will appeal to skiers who want to start ramping up the speed. It has a wide shovel for easy turn initiation and seems to handle speed well. “Yeah, now that’s carving. This ski has fantastic edge grip and stability.” » SAMUEL WÜRSCH“It’s stable in all turn shapes and speeds. The ski has a slightly stiffer flex, but is very forgiving if you stay centred.” » MIKE MANARA

average score: 7.2

DYNASTAR EXCLUSIVE ELITE .. women

$799* sidecut: 120 72 102 radius: 15 @ 172
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 153, 158, 165 † , 172
BEST IN: STABILITY
According to our women testers, the Exclusive Elite has a ton of energy and life, and it carves up the green and blue runs with ease. There was nothing timid about this ski in terms of speed or radius. A bit of speed, no problem. Change up the radius, no problem. It might be more suited to a skier with a bit of experience and know-how.

“This ski will appeal to a confident skier who knows how to carve her turns. It can handle some faster turns as well.” » MARTINA OSMAN“It’s extremely stable at speed, as well as smooth, fun and agile. It put a smile on my face.” » NICOLA WIDSSON

average score: 7.5

FISCHER PROGESSOR 8+ .. men & women

$1,125 sidecut: 120 72 103 radius: 12/15 @ 165
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 150, 155, 160 † , 165, 170 † , 175
BEST IN: INITIATION
, AGILITY, LONG RADIUS Our testers found this ski from Fischer to be a category definer. The men thought it was easy to pivot, had great edge hold and a big sweet spot, making it user-friendly. And the women couldn’t stop smiling, using words like fun, predictable and stable in their comments. If they like it this much, I’m sure you will too.

“As playful as a puppy with a ball of yarn.” » JARED HETHERINGTON“This ski is a great game-improving tool.” » HANK SHANNON“Wow! A great combination of agility and stability. An outstanding ski for this category” » CHRISTA CHAPMAN “You will not want to take this ski off. It’s pur enjoyment on every turn.” MARTINA OSMAN

average score: 8.5 men; 8.4 women

GOODE CARBON 74 .. men & women/span> $1195 sidecut: 117 74 103 radius: 14 @ 164
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 154, 164 † , 174 † , 184
BEST IN: LONG RADIUS, INITIATION, VERSATILITY
The men appreciated the light weight and soft flex pattern of the Carbon 74, which make it user-friendly for lighter, less aggressive skiers. The women thought that if you like the feel of wind in your face and the rush of speed, this ski might be for you. They liked the versatility of this ski. Good performance at moderate speeds and very user-friendly.

“Good perfromance at moderate speeds and very user-friendly.” » GEROGE TERWEIL“No surprises. It’s easy to ski with decent edge hold at medium to slower speeds.” » GUY PAULSEN “You choose how you want this ski to perform. Push it hard or leisurely—versatility is huge.”» NICOLA WIDSON “It’s a little stiffer, giving it lots of life and pep, and is effortless from one turn to the next.” » WENDY ANDERSON

average score: 6.0 men; 7.0 women

HEAD ICON TT 60.0 .. men

$850* sidecut: 116 67 100 radius: 14 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 146, 152, 158, 164, 170 † , 176
BEST IN: LONG RADIUS, EDGE GRIP
This ski hit the nail on the “head” in terms of the category. Skiers in this category will appreciate a ski that does a lot of the work for them. This means that if the terrain is appropriate and the ski is tipped on edge, it should carve effortlessly. And that’s exactly what our test team had to say about the Icon TT 60.0.

” A great ski to last you a few years. Edge hold and stability give you great confidence.” » HANK SHANNON“It’s like riding on velvet fog. The ski held an edge really well and loved to link mid-sized arcs.” » DREW BRAGG

average score: 7.5

HEAD PERFECT ONE

$850* sidecut: 115 67 99 radius: 12 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 146, 152, 158, 164 † , 170
BEST IN: INITIATION, STABILITY
While there was agreement about the excellent carving capabilities of this ski, there was disagreement on who would best suit it. The consensus, though, was that this ski would be great as a first ski purchase for someone going from the rental fleet to her own ski, or for the novice ready to commit to getting better by improving her gear.

“This is a confidence-building ski. You will feel great on it no matter what level you are.” » JULIE MARKUSSEN“The ski was solid and stable from tip-to-tail, and the large tip engages with ease.” » KATE HOPLEY

average score: 7.6

K2 A.M.P. PHOTON .. men

$600* sidecut: 118 74 103 radius: 15 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 149, 156, 163 † , 170
BEST IN: INITIATION
This ski hit all the marks for the category. It will take the work out of your ski day and let you concentrate on the things you need to improve, like balancing in your boots properly and letting the skis run with some speed. All in all, it’s a predictable, medium-speed performer.

“A great cruising ski for aspiring novice riders. It’s strong edge hold helps inspire confidence.” » BARTON LANE“The ski needs a bit of speed to come to life, but when it does, it’s awesome. Fun, agile, responsive.” » IAN MARCH

average score: 7.1

K2 TRU LUV .. women

$600 sidecut: 118 74 103 radius: 14 @ 163
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 158, 168, 178 † , 188
BEST IN: INITIATION
The Tru Luv is a ski that will help the aspiring beginner get to and beyond intermediate in the shortest time possible. After all, nobody wants to be a beginner forever. The testers really liked the radius and grip that this ski offered. They found that it performed best at slow to moderate speeds.

“This ski is mellow and smooth. It’s easy to turn and capable of a nice speed progression.” » NIKI COCHREN“A beginner aspiring to quickly become an intermediate will grow with this ski.” » KATE HOPLEY

average score: 7.0

KÄSTLE LX82

.. men

$999 sidecut: 127 82 109 radius: 16.5 @ 172
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 156, 164, 172 † , 180
BEST IN: STABILITY
The LX82 certainly seemed to inspire confidence. The test team felt that this was a ski that most skiers would enjoy because of its predictability, which helps to anticipate what the ski will do in any given situation. This ski is best suited to skiers who want to carve, but have a less aggressive style.

“This ski locked onto a controlled medium-radius arc. No surprises—really, really friendly.” » DREW BRAGG“It inspires confidence. You can take this one all over the mountain.” » BARTON LANE

average score: 7.0

KÄSTLE LX72 .. women

$899 sidecut: 117 72 99 radius: 16 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 154, 162, 170 † , 178
BEST IN: STABILITY, LONG RADIUS
When skied in softer snow, the testers found that the LX72 easily found its grip and they enjoyed the ride. There were a couple of comments about the sweet spot being a bit harder to find in firmer snow. Most testers found that this ski was in its comfort zone at slow to moderate speeds.

“A nice ski for the aspiring intermediate looking to gain experience through mileage.” » CHRISTA CHAPMAN“A softer tip and stiffer tail make it more forgiving for those in the front seat.” » WENDY ANDERSON

average score: 7.0

NORDICA DOBERMANN SPITFIRE .. men

$1049 sidecut: 122 70 105 radius: 14 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 154, 162, 170 † , 178
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP, SHORT RADIUS
Our test team’s appraisal was that this is a ski that likes to carve and might prefer a more skilled pilot. The Dobermann Spitfi re seemed to have a bit more aggression, so if you’re looking for a ski that carves like a dream, this might be the weapon for you.

“Strong edge hold and energetic flex pattern requires attention and a bit of aggression. The payoff is big though.” » DREW BRAGG“Attention! This ski turns fast. On a nice groomed run, you’re going to be the king of carving.” » SAMUEL WÜRSCH

average score: 7.1

NORDICA FIREFOX .. women

$1049* sidecut: 120 70 103 radius: 13 @ 162
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 154, 162 † , 170, 178
BEST IN: STABILITY, LONG RADIUS
The women were amped after a run on this ski. They loved its energy and agility. There were multiple comments about the stability of the platform when they found the sweet spot. If a skier is comfortable in her ski boots to play with her stance, this ski offers a big reward.

” This ski loves to be on edge, and once there it provides a super-stable ride.” » ROBYN BEAUDRY“Wow! Once the sweet spot was found, my balance on this platform was amazing.” » NICOLA WIDSSON

average score: 7.7

ROSSIGNOL AVENGER 76 Ti .. men

$899* sidecut: 127 76 108 radius: 15 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 154, 162, 170 † , 176
BEST IN: INITIATION, VERSATILITY
The Avenger 76 Ti had no problem in the carving department. Tip it over and enjoy the ride. Some testers felt it was best suited to a lighter skier, but all agreed that this was a great ski for progression. If you ski at moderate speeds and want to learn to carve, this could be the ski for you.

“This ski has a lovely easy-turning feel. It initiates and finishes turns with ease.” » IAN MARCH“The ski likes to turn, but you need to be smooth and light on it.” » MATHIEU LETOURNEAU

average score: 7.2

ROSSIGNOL ATTRAXION 3 ECHO .. women

$799* sidecut: 121 72 100 radius: 14.6 @ 162
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 146, 154, 162 †
BEST IN: STABILITY, LONG RADIUS
Really good skis garner really good comments from our testers. That was certainly the case with the Attraxion 3 Echo. Our testers said they would be happy to ski on it from first lift until the last chair ride of the day. They were unanimous that this ski would help most skiers’ skills improve.

“I would be happy to ski on this from 8:00-4:00 every day. This is a hero ski—it makes you look good.” » CHRISTA CHAPMAN“This is a super-smooth ski that makes you feel like a rock star.” » NINA GRETZMACHER

average score: 8.7

SALOMON 24 DAYTONA .. men

$975* sidecut: 119 71 103 radius: 13.1@162
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 148, 155, 162, 169 † , 176
BEST IN: INITIATION
Most skiers who are looking to improve need to play with a variety of turn shapes and speed limits. Our testers felt that this ski would do just that. It performed well when pushed, and one tester said it would offer years of enjoyment.

“This was my favourite of the afternoon. It’s fun, smooth and solid. It’s easy to initiate, and has enough power to hold an edge.” » MATHIEU LETOURNEAU“This is a ski you can push. It feels powerful and provides confidence for a stronger intermediate.” » IAN MARCH

average score: 7.7

SALOMON ORIGINS OPAL .. women

$899* sidecut: 120 73 101 radius: 12 @ 152
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 144, 152, 160 † , 168
BEST IN: STABILITY
The women disagreed about who would like this ski best. Some felt it was a wonderfully forgiving ski that would suit a novice skier, while others felt it was a little stiff for the category and preferred a longer turn shape. Who to believe? Salomon has demo days at most major ski hills across Canada, so try it yourself and make up your own mind.

“The follow-through of each turn was easy. It loved to do short turns, but was fine with bigger ones as well.” » JULIE MARKUSSEN“With a little bit of speed while carving, this ski shines. It preferred to do medium to long turns.” » ROBYN BEAUDRY

average score: 7.1

VOLKL UNLIMITED AC20 .. men

$900* sidecut: 118 74 103 radius: 16.1 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 156, 163, 170 † , 177
BEST IN: INITIATION
There was no shortage of superlatives used to describe the Unlimited AC 20, an impressive feat considering that this can be a hard crowd to impress. What the testers liked best was the ease of carving—the ski felt as though it had an autopilot switch.

“It’s easy to turn and a pleasure to ski—a great ski to carry you to the next level.” » D’ARCY SEGO“Tip it over and stand there— it’s that easy. It’s really fun in short turns. It was difficult to overpower this ski.” » RON BETTS

average score: 7.6

VOLKL ATTIVA SOL .. women

$800* sidecut: 126 75 96 radius: 14.7 @ 158
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 144, 151, 158 † , 165
BEST IN: VERSATILITY, SHORT RADIUS
This was another of the skis in this category that had the ladies smiling. The Attiva Sol impressed with its big sweet spot, solid edge grip and ability to handle a variety of speeds. If you’re looking for a ski to grow with, this could be the one.

“This ski did everything I asked of it and more. It truly out-performed its price point.” » CHRISTA CHAPMAN“It’s very responsive and predictable. This is a great ski to improve on. It has a huge sweet spot.” » KATHY BRODERICK

average score: 8.1

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