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Ski Test 2011: Expert All-Mountain

All-terrain cruising, long and short turns

By Test Editors IAN MARCH, RON BETTS, ANNE SLADE AND IAIN MACMILLAN

Silver Star provided the perfect All-Mountain testing ground for Ski Canada in early March with just what these skis love: a wide range of snow, conditions and terrain. From packed-powder to firm-’n’-slick groomers, bumps, crud and powder in the trees, 51 models of skis did more runs over two days than most do in a year. Far and away, the largest category of skis sold today is All-Mountain and although Ski Canada breaks the colossal group into something more manageable—“Adventure” and “Expert”—the dividing line can be a bit blurry. Testers repeatedly commented that many skis in the Adventure group could easily have been tested with the Experts, for instance—a compliment to the overall quality of what manufacturers offered for us to test. But whether you’re from the East or West, if you’re still looking for that perfect, do-it-all ski for your one-ski quiver, it’s on these pages.

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.

ARMADA | ATOMIC | BLIZZARD |DYNASTAR| FISCHER | GOODE| HEAD | K2 | KASTLE |LIBERTY |MOMENT |NORDICA | PRIOR | ROSSIGNOL | SALOMON |VOLKL

ARMADA ALPHA 1

$775 sidecut: 113 83 102 radius: 15.5 @ 182
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 170, 176, 182 †
BEST IN: INITIATION, AGILITY
.. tested men only The challenges of the Alpha 1 when compared with more traditional ski models in the category weren’t as dramatic as editors expected. The general consensus seemed to be that this ski is fun and comfy in short turns and crud—even in firmer conditions and bumps, said many testers—but big, honkin’ high-speed turns required softer snow, especially by beefier guys. “I stepped into this ski and into uncharted territory. I was very impressed. It’s fun in short turns and long turns. It felt a bit long in the bumps.” » ROBIN BAYCROFT “The ski has interesting geometry and it works. It has a really powerful feel in the soft crud. I loved it. It’s surprisingly versatile.” » RON BETTS “This is a good all-mountain ski. It handles bumps well down the fall line, and plows through crud with ease. The ski enjoys medium- to long-radius turns.”» HANK SHANNON

average score: 6.6

 


ATOMIC NOMAD CRIMSON TI

$1,099* sidecut: 130 88 116 radius: 16 @ 171
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 164, 171 † , 178, 185
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP, STABILITY
.. tested men only The Nomad Crimson Ti was a category favourite with many testers. It was well liked for its macho ability to handle speed, quick transitions, aggressive behaviour, strength, stability and so on – a real deliverer of confidence. There were no truly lightweight skiers on the day’s roster of testers, but one of the bigger boys aptly referred to it as “a screaming, all-mountain vertical gobbler.” “Even-flexing, solid performance through all snow conditions. Its very stable and predictable nature made this ski a joy to use.” » GEORGE TERWIEL “Best-in-class candidate. It performs all turns with ease. Great edge hold and stability allow you to tear up the mountain with confidence.” » HANK SHANNON “I felt confident taking this ski anywhere. It has amazing edge grip and easy initiations, and inspired confidence in all terrain and at all speeds.”» RON BETTS

average score: 8.4

ATOMIC SEVENTH HEAVEN 7

$849* sidecut: 118.5 79 104.5 radius: 16.5 @ 164
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 150, 157, 164 † , 171
BEST IN: STABILITY, EDGE GRIP, LONG RADIUS
.. tested women only Seventh Heaven was a hit with our more aggressive advanced and expert female testers, especially when it was cruising and carving up the groomers. A stiffer flex was easy to control in long-radius turns, and it was even easier to find and use its edge. Women who appreciate power will like this ski. “Good girls go to heaven and bad girls go everywhere. This ski is definitely bad—but in a good way: bumps, short and long turns, soft and hard.” » GILLIAN BROWNING “It’s very solid on the groomers, and held an edge like it was on rails. The stiff tail made short turns fun. A more powerful skier would probably rock it all over the hill.” » MELANIE KAMPHUIS “This ski excels at speed. The edge is easy to fi nd and hold. It’s a carving special that won’t get you stuck off-piste. It possesses a great can-do attitude that will give you confi dence.” » NIKI COCHREN

average score: 7.8

 


BLIZZARD M-POWER FS IQ

$1,649* sidecut: 128 87 113 radius: 18.5 @ 174
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 167, 174 † , 181, 189
BEST IN: STABILITY, EDGE GRIP, LONG RADIUS
.. tested men only Blizzard’s return to the Canadian ski scene was a welcome one with Ski Canada testers. The big guys especially liked the M-Power FS, with memorable comments like“built like a tank,” “bombproof” and “strong and stable at mach schnell.” A slightly wider platform slowed initiation. It was a bit stiff for the lighter guys, but even they appreciated its solid feeling on edge. “Hot ski, precision personified! It’s agile and versatile in short, long and medium turns, and stable in bumps. It’s not a ski for the weak-minded, so be on your game.”» JARED HETHERINGTON “This is a podium player with race-performance qualities. You have to push to play, and it needs an expert master in hard or soft stuff.” » MIKE WEISS “It’s quick and agile in bumps and short turns. Strong edge hold gripped the snow like a cat’s claw. Let this baby fly.”» BARTON LANE

average score: 8.0

 


DYNASTAR CONTACT 4X4

$1,055* sidecut: 122 75 106 radius: 16 @ 178
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 158, 165 † , 172 † , 178, 184
BEST IN: INITIATION, EDGE GRIP
.. tested by men & women You don’t have to be an expert to appreciate the Contact 4×4. It was well liked across the board, including by our heavier male testers. Both men and women recommended it for advanced skiers and up, medium to heavier in weight with a more athletic style. With great edge hold and grip, it offered a well-balanced stable ride on the groomed, off-road and the bumps. “A playful, creative ski with a forgiving sidecut. It’s a user-friendly, go-anywhere ski that builds great confidence. Turn initiation and completion were effortless.”br> » JARED HETHERINGTON “Amazing! Where have you been all my life? This is perfect for every expert. I am speechless—a perfect 10!” » JULIE MARKUSSEN “Fun and quick for short turns and bumps, and stands up nicely when you lay down the gas and carve up big turns. It will not disappoint.” » KATHY BRODERICK

average score: 8.2 men; 8.1 women

 


FISCHER MOTIVE 80

$1,249* sidecut: 122 80 110 radius: 17 @ 175
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 161 † , 168, 175 † , 182
BEST IN: SHORT RADIUS, EDGE GRIP, LONG RADIUS
.. tested by men & women Our female testers rated the Motive 80 in the top three. Stable and with a large, forgiving sweet spot, the ski was quick and lively and from edge-to-edge. “Solid” and “powerful” surfaced in the men’s comments as often as “easy” and “go anywhere.” Overall, this ski would suit an advanced skier who likes to charge it once in a while, especially on the groomers. “It requires a soft touch in both short and long turns. The soft tip and tail make this one a winner for those who don’t want to hammer, but want a feel-good, playful buddy.” » DREW BRAGG “A real all-mountain ripper! It’s easy to get the turn started and it just keeps on going. This ski is stable at speed and surprisingly agile in bumps.” » ROBIN BAYCROFT “This is a go-anywhere, do-anything ski—a phenomenal combination of fi nesse and power.” » MARTINA OSMAN

average score: 7.7 men; 8.2 women

 


GOODE CARBON 82

$1,195 sidecut: 119 82 109 radius: 16 @ 166
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 156, 166 † , 176 † , 186
BEST IN: AGILITY, LONG RADIUS, INITIATION
.. tested by men & women One tester wrapped up the Carbon 82 succinctly: a bit like high school calculus, hard to figure out but once you do a world of opportunity opens up. This soft ski was easy-turning and predictable, and comments like “responsive,”“stable” and “confidence builder” were well used. It impressed the test team with its delicate mix of power and finesse. Bumps, crud, groomers—the ski seemed at home all over the mountain. “Quick, light and lively—a fun all-mountain ski that you hardly notice on your feet. You’ll last all day on this one.” » JOSH FOSTER “Lighter skiers will appreciate the soft shovel and flex of this ski, which make for easy initiation and fun in bumps. At speed, it was solid.” » MIKE MANARA “Bumps were smooth and easy. It really shone in short turns. Large, high-speed turns were stable and fun.” » JULIE MARKUSSEN

average score: 6.4 men; 7.4 women

 


 

HEAD PEAK 82

$1,075* sidecut: 122 82 108 radius: 18 @ 172
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 161, 172, 177 † , 183
BEST IN: SHORT RADIUS
.. tested men only After short radius, the Peak 82 scored a close second in initiation, edge grip, agility, versatility and long radius—in other words, it does it all well. More than one tester commented that it fi t the category well as a true all-mountain ski for advanced to experts of all weights who prefer medium- to longer-radius turns, especially when you know how to crank ’em. “Great all-mountain tool! Ski it fast and it’s your friend. It’s rock-solid in bumps, nice round short turns and carves like a dream in long turns.” » ROBIN AYCROFT “This ski has a very nice touch on the groomers and plows through everything else. It skis like sand through an hourglass. It’s smooth and consistent in short and long turns.” » BARTON LANE“A great ski for this class! An all-mountain ski for experts. With great balance and a big sweet spot, bumps, crud, speed, what-ever, bring it on.” » RON BETTS

average score: 7.9

HEAD WILD ONE

$1,025* sidecut: 121 82 107 radius: 16 @ 166
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 150, 156, 161 † , 166, 172
BEST IN: SHORT RADIUS, INITIATION
.. tested women only Most of the testers thought lighter females would like the Wild One, especially those with a fi nesse style. The women who ski with a bit more power found the ski soft, but the general consensus was that this ski from Head was easy-peasy with no unwanted surprises. “This is a perfect ski for a light, finesse skier who does not ski with too much power. It has lots of energy in the bumps and is very easy to manoeuvre, with smooth and easy turn initiation.” » NINA GRETZMACHER “So much fun! This ski loved to rock-and-roll from top to bottom. It’s great edge-to-edge, versatile, and consistent and responsive on all terrain.” » CHRISTA CHAPMAN “It’s fun and lively in the bumps, and quick edge-to-edge on steep short-radius turns. The ski’s effortless edge-to-edge initiates turns well.” » KRISTIN WOHGLEMUTH

average score: 7.6

 


K2 A.M.P. AFTERSHOCK

$1,050* sidecut: 130 86 114 radius: 17 @ 174
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 167, 174 † , 181
BEST IN: INITIATION, AGILITY
.. tested men only There’s always a range in the speed limits in this category. Some skis are made for the hair-straight-back crowd, while others are built to perform all over the mountain and in many conditions. The Aftershock fits the latter. One tester said this ski was suited to a black bear, but couldn’t handle a grizzly. I didn’t even know bears could ski. Most testers thought it handled nearly every condition with very little effort. “It loves the bumps and performs short turns effortlessly. Incredibly easy and versatile in all conditions. Tenacious edge hold and stability inspire confidence.” » HANK SHANNON “You can feel this ski wants to take you up to another level of ability. It’s a beautiful mixture of strength, ease and liveliness. Wow!” » GUY PAULSEN “Best in the west—awesome! A champion for either cruising or carving. It’s versatile on all terrain and conditions.” » MIKE WEISS

average score: 7.7

K2 LOTTA LUV

$950* sidecut: 125 82 110 radius: 14 @ 163
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 149, 156, 163 † , 170
BEST IN: SHORT RADIUS, AGILITY
.. tested women only In this economy you have to appreciate skis that do more than one thing. A ski that takes the place of your old quiver is very special, indeed. The Lotta Luv transitioned from the piste to the bumps with ease. Testers found that it took some experimenting to fi nd the sweet spot, but once you did you were rewarded with a ski that wanted to turn. “It literally danced through the bumps, and performed well on hard and soft snow. Pressure the heel coming out of the turns to open up a whole world of fun.” » MELANIE KAMPHUIS “It moves quickly and gracefully from solid edge to solid edge. It’s a great carving ski, but is still lively in the bumps.” » NIKI COCHREN “You really need to be balanced over this ski and fi nd the centre before it shines. It has good turn-to- turn transition, and holds a great edge in a longer-radius turn.” » NINA GRETZMACHER

average score: 7.5

 


KÄSTLE MX88

$1,199 sidecut: 128 88 113 radius: 20 @ 178
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 158, 168, 178 † , 188
BEST IN: STABILITY, LONG RADIUS
.. tested men only The MX88 is one of the rare breeds that got the test team to agree—almost every comment was singing its praises. The testers were excited by this ski because it went everywhere without missing a beat, it felt light underfoot without sacrificing stability and rewarded aggressive skiing with amazing performance. “I love this ski. It’s quick and nimble in bumps, predictable in medium-size turns, and solid and stable in larger radius with speed. Awesome! It likes hard as well as soft snow.” » GLEN HYLAND “What a fun ride! It’s nimble in bumps, tight spaces, on rails and in the crud. The ski is light, but with a solid, stable platform—a great combination.” » RON BETTS “Be aggressive and this ski will reward you with amazing performance. It has unreal edge hold in all turn shapes and speeds, and is nimble and quick in the bumps.” » HANK SHANNON

average score: 8.1

KÄSTLE MX78

$1,199 sidecut: 121 78 105 radius: 16 @ 168
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 152, 160, 168, 176 † , 184
BEST IN: STABILITY
.. tested by women only This ski inspired a wide range of comments from our female test team: some loved the energetic feel and stable ride, while others found it a bit stiff and better suited to more powerful skiers. If you’ve been hitting the gym, love the feel of wind in your face and the rush of scenery passing in a blur, this is probably the ski for you. “Great ski! It’s energetic and fun. Moguls and soft snow are perfect, and groomed is easy on this ski.” » JULIE MARKUSSEN “This one responds the best to a powerful and skilled operator. It has fantastic stability at speed. Throw anything at it and it will hold.” » MARTINA OSMAN “I really enjoyed this ski. It loved the bumps and short-radius turns. Stiffness in the tail gave a good kick out of the turn. When I let it run, it went fast and really held an edge. It’s forgiving enough for a confident intermediate.” » MELANIE KAMPHUIS

average score: 7.0

 


LIBERTY MORPHIC

$675 sidecut: 126 94 119 radius: 19.5 @ 181
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 164, 171, 181 † , 186
BEST IN: INITIATION
.. tested by men only There was no consensus on the Morphic, with some testers finding it best suited to lightweight finesse skiers and others recommended it to heavier more aggressive ones. No surprise that all agreed it was better off-piste than on groomers since it’s at home in soft snow, but it could also hold its own in the park. Demo this ski to see if it’s the right fit for you. “It’s quick and agile in bumps, but nervous on groomers at speed. Lighter skiers will be able to find this ski’s niche. It’s better in short turns.” » BARTON LANE “A really enjoyable ski. It’s easy in short turns and happy in big arcs with the speed ramped up. The ski was tricky to control in short bump turns because of the wide waist.” » DREW BRAGG “This is a heavy, solid ski well suited for the big and bold who really want steep and deep. Speed or strength is needed to get the ski working.” » MIKE WEISS

average score: 5.8


MOMENT BIBBY PRO

$775 sidecut: 143 118 134 radius: 26.5 @ 190
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 174, 184, 190 †
BEST IN: LONG RADIUS, INITIATION
.. tested by men only I’ve skied on some Moments that blew me away but when more than a dozen pro skiers can’t seem to make a masked ski work, it might mean that the design needs some revision. As well, this particular ski probably didn’t fit this category. Soft snow yes, carving a groomer, not so much. But it’s fun to try for yourself and decide if it’s for you. “Easy turning for a big ski once you find the sweet spot. It’s not much of a carver, but would be a good friend in the deep stuff.” » JOSH FOSTER “It’s a tough ski to ski on. It feels wide underfoot and needs much deeper snow. This ski is in the wrong category. It has great stability and powers through the rough stuff with ease.” » HANK SHANNON “If pivot and skidding is your gig, then this ski is for you. It needed more snow to get it to perform.” » DREW BRAGG

average score: 3.8

MOMENT SIERRA

$575 sidecut: 127 96 118 radius: 15.2 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 150, 160 † , 170
BEST IN: AGILITY, INITIATION
.. tested by women only This ski was a little like a Suduko puzzle, some testers loved it and others needed more time to fi gure it out. The geometry seemed to challenge some of the test team’s ability to carve on the groomed. As well, many thought this ski needed more snow to really shine, and might be more suited to the pipe and park. “Great for jibbers. It was so surfy and new school that I was inspired to ride switch, which it did brilliantly. You just gotta play with this puppy.” » JANET KUIJT “This is not a good ski for this category. It was hard to determine the turning radius, but seems to prefer bigger turns. This ski challenged my skills.” » KATHY BRODERICK “This ski grew on me with each turn. It will reward an aggressive approach, yet is quick and responsive in moguls and short turns. A sweet powder ski.” » MARTINA OSMAN

average score: 5.6


NORDICA HR-PRO JET FUEL I-CORE

$1050 sidecut: 126 84 112 radius: 18 @ 178
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 162, 170, 178 †
BEST IN: LONG RADIUS, EDGE GRIP
.. tested by men only Heavier advanced-expert skiers with quick feet will appreciate the HR-Pro Jet Fuel all over the mountain. As one tester put it, this ski has the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel, with a soft tip that engages nicely, and a firm tail that explodes out of the turn then flows smoothly into the next. It excels in long-radius turns, but also handles short turns and bumps with ease. “It has a big sweet spot and a stable, solid feel with silky, responsive edge grip. It’s easy to ski well in all conditions with this ski.” » GEORGE TERWIEL “This is a very round arcing ski with a smooth switch every turn. It’s super-quick in the bumps and charges on the groomed. Go for it with this one.” » MARK STEIN “The ski has a perfect flex that gives you a feeling of confidence, balance and power. The sidecut works for all turn shapes and provides great edge grip. It’s agile and powerful.” » MIKE MANARA

average score: 8.0

NORDICA CONQUER iCORE

$1,049* sidecut: 126 84 112 radius: 15 @ 162
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 154, 162 † , 170, 178
BEST IN: LONG RADIUS, EDGE GRIP, STABILITY
.. tested by women only The girls agreed that the Conquer would take your skiing to the next level. Most found it to be stable and versatile. There was some consensus that you needed to be centred to really enjoy what this ski had to offer; backseat driving was not as enjoyable. It’s best suited to the advanced-expert skier who stands in the middle of her skis. “A great all-mountain ski. It’s easy and fun to ski—a good choice for this category. Women who buy this will not be disappointed.” » KRISTIN WOHGLEMUTH “Wow! What a confi dent and trustworthy ride. This versatile ski just wanted to rip it up. It’s forgiving in bumps and fl uid on the groomed. One of the best skis of the day.” » CHRISTA CHAPMAN “Absolutely brilliant. Solid underfoot, it dishes up deliciously carved turns in bumps as well as powerfully sliced high-speed big-mountain turns.” » JANET KUIJT

average score: 8.0


ROSSIGNOL AVENGER 82 TI

$1,125* sidecut: 126 82 112 radius: 18.3 @ 177
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 162, 170, 177 † , 182
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP, STABILITY, LONG RADIUS
.. tested by men only When asked who would like this ski, the most common response our testers gave was “everybody.” This was one of our team’s favourites. It got great marks for versatility and performed at a variety of speeds. One thing’s for sure: if 16 well-versed skiers can’t fi nd a fl aw, then this is a ski the average skier will absolutely love. “I loved this ski so much. It’s playful and powerful, yet forgiving. I couldn’t stop smiling on this one. It has such a smooth fl ex and great rebound.” » JARED HETHERINGTON “It’s a big, stable, solid ride with responsive edge grip. This ski fl ew through heavy snow effortlessly with great flotation.” » GEORGE TERWIEL “This ski rockets smoothly from turn-to-turn doing any size of arc. It’s extremely movable underfoot in bumps and softer snow as well. A true all-mountain performer.” » MARK STEIN

average score: 8.1

ROSSIGNOL ATTRAXION 8 ECHO

$899* sidecut: 127 75 108 radius: 12.8 @ 162
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 146, 154, 162 †
BEST IN: SHORT RADIUS, AGILITY
.. tested by women only The Attraxion 8 Echo was a real crowd-pleaser, making it one of the top skis in the category. The women enjoyed its lively and enthusiastic nature, whether it was in the bumps or on steep groomers. This versatile, responsive ski could handle all turn shapes and terrain with ease. Strong intermediate to advanced skiers will love its perfect blend of power and fi nesse. “A magic ride. This is a ski with a huge sweet spot, making transitions from tight terrain to big-mountain skiing a breeze. Loved it!” » JANET KUIJT “What an energetic ski! This is a lot of fun. It’s great in short turns, stable at bigger turns and speed, and fun in the bumps. Light and lively.” » KATHY BRODERICK “Everything I want in a ski. It’s soft enough to skip through bumps and glide through soft snow, yet has enough stiffness for carving up a storm on hardpack.” » MELANIE KAMPHUIS

average score: 8.5


SALOMON X-WING ENDURO

$1,249* sidecut: 127 84 111 radius: 17.4 @ 177
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 163, 170, 177 † , 184
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP
.. tested by men only If you’re looking for a ski that you can put on your feet in December and take off in April, this might be the ski for you. This offering from Salomon seemed to defi ne the category for many of our testers. It was well liked by a wide range, from our heavier testers to the lightweights, easterners to westerners. “An ultimate all-mountain ski, it rolls onto the edge easily in all turn shapes and speeds, it’s superb on groomers, rough stuff, bumps, you name it. Unreal stability.” » HANK SHANNON “Unleash the beast! It ripped everything, bumps to groomers and back, tight turns in the trees to fast turns on the piste. Category poster child.” » DREW BRAGG “It’s quick and precise in arc-to- arc-type turns, agile and easy to steer in bumps, great in longer-radius turns at speed, and super-stable and solid. It blasts through crud.” » GLEN HYLAND

average score: 8.1

SALOMON X-WING TORNADO Ti POWERLINE

$1,249* sidecut: 120 78 106 radius: 15.6 @ 166
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 152, 159, 166 † , 173, 180
BEST IN: STABILITY
.. tested by women only Our testers know a great ski when they see one. The adjectives in the comments for the X-Wing Tornado included words like “strong and stable” and “rock-solid.” The women pushed the limits of this ski in all conditions and it didn’t fl inch. This is a dependable, versatile ski for a wide range of skiers. “It’s rock-solid on edge and likes to have the pedal down from start to fi nish. I liked this ski because it really stores the energy.” » KATHY BRODERICK“The ski is super-fun, agile through bumps and quick edge-to- edge on groomers. It felt solid slicing through hard or soft snow.” » MELANIE KAMPHUIS “For a good time, try this ski. It had consistent stability all over the mountain. It sliced through bumps just as easily as it left clean lines through groomers, and edged and turned with ease— good for a wide range of skiing styles.” » NIKI COCHREN

average score: 8.2


VÖLKL KENDO

$800 sidecut: 127 88 109 radius: 19.9 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 163, 170, 177 † , 186, 191
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP, LONG RADIUS
.. tested by men only The boys were impressed, and it isn’t always easy to impress this crowd. What they liked about the Kendo was its solid feel, its width underfoot, and its responsive and energetic feel. Testers felt that the more they gave, the more the ski gave back. They also agreed that this ski is better suited to a more skilled operator, and best results came from a solid, balanced stance. “It has surprising power for such a light-feeling ski. It’s a great carver with beautiful round, clean arcs and cuts through crud easily, but stay on top of it in bumps. This is a great carving ski for those who like to venture off-piste.” » HANK SHANNON “An agile, versatile ski with some spunk. For such a wide platform, it’s very quick edge-to- edge. It likes a little forward pressure on the tip to initiate the turn. The ski has a stable platform at all speeds.” » IAN MARCH

average score: 8.1

VÖLKL KENJA

$800 sidecut: 129 86 105 radius: 17.7 @ 163
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 149, 156, 163 † , 170
BEST IN: STABILITY, AGILITY, SHORT RADIUS
.. tested by women only Judging by the comments for the Kenja, there was a lot of smiling happening during the testing of this ski. I couldn’t find a negative comment in any of the write-ups, testament to the fact that this is a ski that easily fits the category and suited to a wide range of skiers. “Wow! A perfect ski for the whole mountain. It’s wide and stable underfoot and gave me the confidence to let go.” » KATE HOPLEY “This is a ski that does everything, from awesome big turns to zippy short turns. It’s encouraging, supportive and easy in the bumps. It doesn’t expect expert skills and still excels.” » MICHELLE OSTAFEW “What a great ski! It’s light and lively, and surprisingly rock-solid for such a light ski. This is a ski to take chances on. A great ski for this category.” » KATHY BRODERICK

average score: 8.8


Ski Test 2011: Expert All-Mountain

All-terrain cruising, long and short turns

By Test Editors IAN MARCH, RON BETTS, ANNE SLADE AND IAIN MACMILLAN

Silver Star provided the perfect All-Mountain testing ground for Ski Canada in early March with just what these skis love: a wide range of snow, conditions and terrain. From packed-powder to firm-’n’-slick groomers, bumps, crud and powder in the trees, 51 models of skis did more runs over two days than most do in a year. Far and away, the largest category of skis sold today is All-Mountain and although Ski Canada breaks the colossal group into something more manageable—“Adventure” and “Expert”—the dividing line can be a bit blurry. Testers repeatedly commented that many skis in the Adventure group could easily have been tested with the Experts, for instance—a compliment to the overall quality of what manufacturers offered for us to test. But whether you’re from the East or West, if you’re still looking for that perfect, do-it-all ski for your one-ski quiver, it’s on these pages.

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.

ARMADA | ATOMIC | BLIZZARD |DYNASTAR| FISCHER | GOODE| HEAD | K2 | KASTLE |LIBERTY |MOMENT |NORDICA | PRIOR | ROSSIGNOL | SALOMON |VOLKL

ARMADA ALPHA 1

$775 sidecut: 113 83 102 radius: 15.5 @ 182
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 170, 176, 182 †
BEST IN: INITIATION, AGILITY
.. tested men only The challenges of the Alpha 1 when compared with more traditional ski models in the category weren’t as dramatic as editors expected. The general consensus seemed to be that this ski is fun and comfy in short turns and crud—even in firmer conditions and bumps, said many testers—but big, honkin’ high-speed turns required softer snow, especially by beefier guys. “I stepped into this ski and into uncharted territory. I was very impressed. It’s fun in short turns and long turns. It felt a bit long in the bumps.” » ROBIN BAYCROFT “The ski has interesting geometry and it works. It has a really powerful feel in the soft crud. I loved it. It’s surprisingly versatile.” » RON BETTS “This is a good all-mountain ski. It handles bumps well down the fall line, and plows through crud with ease. The ski enjoys medium- to long-radius turns.”» HANK SHANNON

average score: 6.6

 


ATOMIC NOMAD CRIMSON TI

$1,099* sidecut: 130 88 116 radius: 16 @ 171
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 164, 171 † , 178, 185
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP, STABILITY
.. tested men only The Nomad Crimson Ti was a category favourite with many testers. It was well liked for its macho ability to handle speed, quick transitions, aggressive behaviour, strength, stability and so on – a real deliverer of confidence. There were no truly lightweight skiers on the day’s roster of testers, but one of the bigger boys aptly referred to it as “a screaming, all-mountain vertical gobbler.” “Even-flexing, solid performance through all snow conditions. Its very stable and predictable nature made this ski a joy to use.” » GEORGE TERWIEL “Best-in-class candidate. It performs all turns with ease. Great edge hold and stability allow you to tear up the mountain with confidence.” » HANK SHANNON “I felt confident taking this ski anywhere. It has amazing edge grip and easy initiations, and inspired confidence in all terrain and at all speeds.”» RON BETTS

average score: 8.4

ATOMIC SEVENTH HEAVEN 7

$849* sidecut: 118.5 79 104.5 radius: 16.5 @ 164
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 150, 157, 164 † , 171
BEST IN: STABILITY, EDGE GRIP, LONG RADIUS
.. tested women only Seventh Heaven was a hit with our more aggressive advanced and expert female testers, especially when it was cruising and carving up the groomers. A stiffer flex was easy to control in long-radius turns, and it was even easier to find and use its edge. Women who appreciate power will like this ski. “Good girls go to heaven and bad girls go everywhere. This ski is definitely bad—but in a good way: bumps, short and long turns, soft and hard.” » GILLIAN BROWNING “It’s very solid on the groomers, and held an edge like it was on rails. The stiff tail made short turns fun. A more powerful skier would probably rock it all over the hill.” » MELANIE KAMPHUIS “This ski excels at speed. The edge is easy to fi nd and hold. It’s a carving special that won’t get you stuck off-piste. It possesses a great can-do attitude that will give you confi dence.” » NIKI COCHREN

average score: 7.8

 


BLIZZARD M-POWER FS IQ

$1,649* sidecut: 128 87 113 radius: 18.5 @ 174
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 167, 174 † , 181, 189
BEST IN: STABILITY, EDGE GRIP, LONG RADIUS
.. tested men only Blizzard’s return to the Canadian ski scene was a welcome one with Ski Canada testers. The big guys especially liked the M-Power FS, with memorable comments like“built like a tank,” “bombproof” and “strong and stable at mach schnell.” A slightly wider platform slowed initiation. It was a bit stiff for the lighter guys, but even they appreciated its solid feeling on edge. “Hot ski, precision personified! It’s agile and versatile in short, long and medium turns, and stable in bumps. It’s not a ski for the weak-minded, so be on your game.”» JARED HETHERINGTON “This is a podium player with race-performance qualities. You have to push to play, and it needs an expert master in hard or soft stuff.” » MIKE WEISS “It’s quick and agile in bumps and short turns. Strong edge hold gripped the snow like a cat’s claw. Let this baby fly.”» BARTON LANE

average score: 8.0

 


DYNASTAR CONTACT 4X4

$1,055* sidecut: 122 75 106 radius: 16 @ 178
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 158, 165 † , 172 † , 178, 184
BEST IN: INITIATION, EDGE GRIP
.. tested by men & women You don’t have to be an expert to appreciate the Contact 4×4. It was well liked across the board, including by our heavier male testers. Both men and women recommended it for advanced skiers and up, medium to heavier in weight with a more athletic style. With great edge hold and grip, it offered a well-balanced stable ride on the groomed, off-road and the bumps. “A playful, creative ski with a forgiving sidecut. It’s a user-friendly, go-anywhere ski that builds great confidence. Turn initiation and completion were effortless.”br> » JARED HETHERINGTON “Amazing! Where have you been all my life? This is perfect for every expert. I am speechless—a perfect 10!” » JULIE MARKUSSEN “Fun and quick for short turns and bumps, and stands up nicely when you lay down the gas and carve up big turns. It will not disappoint.” » KATHY BRODERICK

average score: 8.2 men; 8.1 women

 


FISCHER MOTIVE 80

$1,249* sidecut: 122 80 110 radius: 17 @ 175
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 161 † , 168, 175 † , 182
BEST IN: SHORT RADIUS, EDGE GRIP, LONG RADIUS
.. tested by men & women Our female testers rated the Motive 80 in the top three. Stable and with a large, forgiving sweet spot, the ski was quick and lively and from edge-to-edge. “Solid” and “powerful” surfaced in the men’s comments as often as “easy” and “go anywhere.” Overall, this ski would suit an advanced skier who likes to charge it once in a while, especially on the groomers. “It requires a soft touch in both short and long turns. The soft tip and tail make this one a winner for those who don’t want to hammer, but want a feel-good, playful buddy.” » DREW BRAGG “A real all-mountain ripper! It’s easy to get the turn started and it just keeps on going. This ski is stable at speed and surprisingly agile in bumps.” » ROBIN BAYCROFT “This is a go-anywhere, do-anything ski—a phenomenal combination of fi nesse and power.” » MARTINA OSMAN

average score: 7.7 men; 8.2 women

 


GOODE CARBON 82

$1,195 sidecut: 119 82 109 radius: 16 @ 166
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 156, 166 † , 176 † , 186
BEST IN: AGILITY, LONG RADIUS, INITIATION
.. tested by men & women One tester wrapped up the Carbon 82 succinctly: a bit like high school calculus, hard to figure out but once you do a world of opportunity opens up. This soft ski was easy-turning and predictable, and comments like “responsive,”“stable” and “confidence builder” were well used. It impressed the test team with its delicate mix of power and finesse. Bumps, crud, groomers—the ski seemed at home all over the mountain. “Quick, light and lively—a fun all-mountain ski that you hardly notice on your feet. You’ll last all day on this one.” » JOSH FOSTER “Lighter skiers will appreciate the soft shovel and flex of this ski, which make for easy initiation and fun in bumps. At speed, it was solid.” » MIKE MANARA “Bumps were smooth and easy. It really shone in short turns. Large, high-speed turns were stable and fun.” » JULIE MARKUSSEN

average score: 6.4 men; 7.4 women

 


 

HEAD PEAK 82

$1,075* sidecut: 122 82 108 radius: 18 @ 172
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 161, 172, 177 † , 183
BEST IN: SHORT RADIUS
.. tested men only After short radius, the Peak 82 scored a close second in initiation, edge grip, agility, versatility and long radius—in other words, it does it all well. More than one tester commented that it fi t the category well as a true all-mountain ski for advanced to experts of all weights who prefer medium- to longer-radius turns, especially when you know how to crank ’em. “Great all-mountain tool! Ski it fast and it’s your friend. It’s rock-solid in bumps, nice round short turns and carves like a dream in long turns.” » ROBIN AYCROFT “This ski has a very nice touch on the groomers and plows through everything else. It skis like sand through an hourglass. It’s smooth and consistent in short and long turns.” » BARTON LANE“A great ski for this class! An all-mountain ski for experts. With great balance and a big sweet spot, bumps, crud, speed, what-ever, bring it on.” » RON BETTS

average score: 7.9

HEAD WILD ONE

$1,025* sidecut: 121 82 107 radius: 16 @ 166
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 150, 156, 161 † , 166, 172
BEST IN: SHORT RADIUS, INITIATION
.. tested women only Most of the testers thought lighter females would like the Wild One, especially those with a fi nesse style. The women who ski with a bit more power found the ski soft, but the general consensus was that this ski from Head was easy-peasy with no unwanted surprises. “This is a perfect ski for a light, finesse skier who does not ski with too much power. It has lots of energy in the bumps and is very easy to manoeuvre, with smooth and easy turn initiation.” » NINA GRETZMACHER “So much fun! This ski loved to rock-and-roll from top to bottom. It’s great edge-to-edge, versatile, and consistent and responsive on all terrain.” » CHRISTA CHAPMAN “It’s fun and lively in the bumps, and quick edge-to-edge on steep short-radius turns. The ski’s effortless edge-to-edge initiates turns well.” » KRISTIN WOHGLEMUTH

average score: 7.6

 


K2 A.M.P. AFTERSHOCK

$1,050* sidecut: 130 86 114 radius: 17 @ 174
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 167, 174 † , 181
BEST IN: INITIATION, AGILITY
.. tested men only There’s always a range in the speed limits in this category. Some skis are made for the hair-straight-back crowd, while others are built to perform all over the mountain and in many conditions. The Aftershock fits the latter. One tester said this ski was suited to a black bear, but couldn’t handle a grizzly. I didn’t even know bears could ski. Most testers thought it handled nearly every condition with very little effort. “It loves the bumps and performs short turns effortlessly. Incredibly easy and versatile in all conditions. Tenacious edge hold and stability inspire confidence.” » HANK SHANNON “You can feel this ski wants to take you up to another level of ability. It’s a beautiful mixture of strength, ease and liveliness. Wow!” » GUY PAULSEN “Best in the west—awesome! A champion for either cruising or carving. It’s versatile on all terrain and conditions.” » MIKE WEISS

average score: 7.7

K2 LOTTA LUV

$950* sidecut: 125 82 110 radius: 14 @ 163
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 149, 156, 163 † , 170
BEST IN: SHORT RADIUS, AGILITY
.. tested women only In this economy you have to appreciate skis that do more than one thing. A ski that takes the place of your old quiver is very special, indeed. The Lotta Luv transitioned from the piste to the bumps with ease. Testers found that it took some experimenting to fi nd the sweet spot, but once you did you were rewarded with a ski that wanted to turn. “It literally danced through the bumps, and performed well on hard and soft snow. Pressure the heel coming out of the turns to open up a whole world of fun.” » MELANIE KAMPHUIS “It moves quickly and gracefully from solid edge to solid edge. It’s a great carving ski, but is still lively in the bumps.” » NIKI COCHREN “You really need to be balanced over this ski and fi nd the centre before it shines. It has good turn-to- turn transition, and holds a great edge in a longer-radius turn.” » NINA GRETZMACHER

average score: 7.5

 


KÄSTLE MX88

$1,199 sidecut: 128 88 113 radius: 20 @ 178
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 158, 168, 178 † , 188
BEST IN: STABILITY, LONG RADIUS
.. tested men only The MX88 is one of the rare breeds that got the test team to agree—almost every comment was singing its praises. The testers were excited by this ski because it went everywhere without missing a beat, it felt light underfoot without sacrificing stability and rewarded aggressive skiing with amazing performance. “I love this ski. It’s quick and nimble in bumps, predictable in medium-size turns, and solid and stable in larger radius with speed. Awesome! It likes hard as well as soft snow.” » GLEN HYLAND “What a fun ride! It’s nimble in bumps, tight spaces, on rails and in the crud. The ski is light, but with a solid, stable platform—a great combination.” » RON BETTS “Be aggressive and this ski will reward you with amazing performance. It has unreal edge hold in all turn shapes and speeds, and is nimble and quick in the bumps.” » HANK SHANNON

average score: 8.1

KÄSTLE MX78

$1,199 sidecut: 121 78 105 radius: 16 @ 168
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 152, 160, 168, 176 † , 184
BEST IN: STABILITY
.. tested by women only This ski inspired a wide range of comments from our female test team: some loved the energetic feel and stable ride, while others found it a bit stiff and better suited to more powerful skiers. If you’ve been hitting the gym, love the feel of wind in your face and the rush of scenery passing in a blur, this is probably the ski for you. “Great ski! It’s energetic and fun. Moguls and soft snow are perfect, and groomed is easy on this ski.” » JULIE MARKUSSEN “This one responds the best to a powerful and skilled operator. It has fantastic stability at speed. Throw anything at it and it will hold.” » MARTINA OSMAN “I really enjoyed this ski. It loved the bumps and short-radius turns. Stiffness in the tail gave a good kick out of the turn. When I let it run, it went fast and really held an edge. It’s forgiving enough for a confident intermediate.” » MELANIE KAMPHUIS

average score: 7.0

 


LIBERTY MORPHIC

$675 sidecut: 126 94 119 radius: 19.5 @ 181
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 164, 171, 181 † , 186
BEST IN: INITIATION
.. tested by men only There was no consensus on the Morphic, with some testers finding it best suited to lightweight finesse skiers and others recommended it to heavier more aggressive ones. No surprise that all agreed it was better off-piste than on groomers since it’s at home in soft snow, but it could also hold its own in the park. Demo this ski to see if it’s the right fit for you. “It’s quick and agile in bumps, but nervous on groomers at speed. Lighter skiers will be able to find this ski’s niche. It’s better in short turns.” » BARTON LANE “A really enjoyable ski. It’s easy in short turns and happy in big arcs with the speed ramped up. The ski was tricky to control in short bump turns because of the wide waist.” » DREW BRAGG “This is a heavy, solid ski well suited for the big and bold who really want steep and deep. Speed or strength is needed to get the ski working.” » MIKE WEISS

average score: 5.8


MOMENT BIBBY PRO

$775 sidecut: 143 118 134 radius: 26.5 @ 190
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 174, 184, 190 †
BEST IN: LONG RADIUS, INITIATION
.. tested by men only I’ve skied on some Moments that blew me away but when more than a dozen pro skiers can’t seem to make a masked ski work, it might mean that the design needs some revision. As well, this particular ski probably didn’t fit this category. Soft snow yes, carving a groomer, not so much. But it’s fun to try for yourself and decide if it’s for you. “Easy turning for a big ski once you find the sweet spot. It’s not much of a carver, but would be a good friend in the deep stuff.” » JOSH FOSTER “It’s a tough ski to ski on. It feels wide underfoot and needs much deeper snow. This ski is in the wrong category. It has great stability and powers through the rough stuff with ease.” » HANK SHANNON “If pivot and skidding is your gig, then this ski is for you. It needed more snow to get it to perform.” » DREW BRAGG

average score: 3.8

MOMENT SIERRA

$575 sidecut: 127 96 118 radius: 15.2 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 150, 160 † , 170
BEST IN: AGILITY, INITIATION
.. tested by women only This ski was a little like a Suduko puzzle, some testers loved it and others needed more time to fi gure it out. The geometry seemed to challenge some of the test team’s ability to carve on the groomed. As well, many thought this ski needed more snow to really shine, and might be more suited to the pipe and park. “Great for jibbers. It was so surfy and new school that I was inspired to ride switch, which it did brilliantly. You just gotta play with this puppy.” » JANET KUIJT “This is not a good ski for this category. It was hard to determine the turning radius, but seems to prefer bigger turns. This ski challenged my skills.” » KATHY BRODERICK “This ski grew on me with each turn. It will reward an aggressive approach, yet is quick and responsive in moguls and short turns. A sweet powder ski.” » MARTINA OSMAN

average score: 5.6


NORDICA HR-PRO JET FUEL I-CORE

$1050 sidecut: 126 84 112 radius: 18 @ 178
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 162, 170, 178 †
BEST IN: LONG RADIUS, EDGE GRIP
.. tested by men only Heavier advanced-expert skiers with quick feet will appreciate the HR-Pro Jet Fuel all over the mountain. As one tester put it, this ski has the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel, with a soft tip that engages nicely, and a firm tail that explodes out of the turn then flows smoothly into the next. It excels in long-radius turns, but also handles short turns and bumps with ease. “It has a big sweet spot and a stable, solid feel with silky, responsive edge grip. It’s easy to ski well in all conditions with this ski.” » GEORGE TERWIEL “This is a very round arcing ski with a smooth switch every turn. It’s super-quick in the bumps and charges on the groomed. Go for it with this one.” » MARK STEIN “The ski has a perfect flex that gives you a feeling of confidence, balance and power. The sidecut works for all turn shapes and provides great edge grip. It’s agile and powerful.” » MIKE MANARA

average score: 8.0

NORDICA CONQUER iCORE

$1,049* sidecut: 126 84 112 radius: 15 @ 162
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 154, 162 † , 170, 178
BEST IN: LONG RADIUS, EDGE GRIP, STABILITY
.. tested by women only The girls agreed that the Conquer would take your skiing to the next level. Most found it to be stable and versatile. There was some consensus that you needed to be centred to really enjoy what this ski had to offer; backseat driving was not as enjoyable. It’s best suited to the advanced-expert skier who stands in the middle of her skis. “A great all-mountain ski. It’s easy and fun to ski—a good choice for this category. Women who buy this will not be disappointed.” » KRISTIN WOHGLEMUTH “Wow! What a confi dent and trustworthy ride. This versatile ski just wanted to rip it up. It’s forgiving in bumps and fl uid on the groomed. One of the best skis of the day.” » CHRISTA CHAPMAN “Absolutely brilliant. Solid underfoot, it dishes up deliciously carved turns in bumps as well as powerfully sliced high-speed big-mountain turns.” » JANET KUIJT

average score: 8.0


ROSSIGNOL AVENGER 82 TI

$1,125* sidecut: 126 82 112 radius: 18.3 @ 177
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 162, 170, 177 † , 182
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP, STABILITY, LONG RADIUS
.. tested by men only When asked who would like this ski, the most common response our testers gave was “everybody.” This was one of our team’s favourites. It got great marks for versatility and performed at a variety of speeds. One thing’s for sure: if 16 well-versed skiers can’t fi nd a fl aw, then this is a ski the average skier will absolutely love. “I loved this ski so much. It’s playful and powerful, yet forgiving. I couldn’t stop smiling on this one. It has such a smooth fl ex and great rebound.” » JARED HETHERINGTON “It’s a big, stable, solid ride with responsive edge grip. This ski fl ew through heavy snow effortlessly with great flotation.” » GEORGE TERWIEL “This ski rockets smoothly from turn-to-turn doing any size of arc. It’s extremely movable underfoot in bumps and softer snow as well. A true all-mountain performer.” » MARK STEIN

average score: 8.1

ROSSIGNOL ATTRAXION 8 ECHO

$899* sidecut: 127 75 108 radius: 12.8 @ 162
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 146, 154, 162 †
BEST IN: SHORT RADIUS, AGILITY
.. tested by women only The Attraxion 8 Echo was a real crowd-pleaser, making it one of the top skis in the category. The women enjoyed its lively and enthusiastic nature, whether it was in the bumps or on steep groomers. This versatile, responsive ski could handle all turn shapes and terrain with ease. Strong intermediate to advanced skiers will love its perfect blend of power and fi nesse. “A magic ride. This is a ski with a huge sweet spot, making transitions from tight terrain to big-mountain skiing a breeze. Loved it!” » JANET KUIJT “What an energetic ski! This is a lot of fun. It’s great in short turns, stable at bigger turns and speed, and fun in the bumps. Light and lively.” » KATHY BRODERICK “Everything I want in a ski. It’s soft enough to skip through bumps and glide through soft snow, yet has enough stiffness for carving up a storm on hardpack.” » MELANIE KAMPHUIS

average score: 8.5


SALOMON X-WING ENDURO

$1,249* sidecut: 127 84 111 radius: 17.4 @ 177
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 163, 170, 177 † , 184
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP
.. tested by men only If you’re looking for a ski that you can put on your feet in December and take off in April, this might be the ski for you. This offering from Salomon seemed to defi ne the category for many of our testers. It was well liked by a wide range, from our heavier testers to the lightweights, easterners to westerners. “An ultimate all-mountain ski, it rolls onto the edge easily in all turn shapes and speeds, it’s superb on groomers, rough stuff, bumps, you name it. Unreal stability.” » HANK SHANNON “Unleash the beast! It ripped everything, bumps to groomers and back, tight turns in the trees to fast turns on the piste. Category poster child.” » DREW BRAGG “It’s quick and precise in arc-to- arc-type turns, agile and easy to steer in bumps, great in longer-radius turns at speed, and super-stable and solid. It blasts through crud.” » GLEN HYLAND

average score: 8.1

SALOMON X-WING TORNADO Ti POWERLINE

$1,249* sidecut: 120 78 106 radius: 15.6 @ 166
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 152, 159, 166 † , 173, 180
BEST IN: STABILITY
.. tested by women only Our testers know a great ski when they see one. The adjectives in the comments for the X-Wing Tornado included words like “strong and stable” and “rock-solid.” The women pushed the limits of this ski in all conditions and it didn’t fl inch. This is a dependable, versatile ski for a wide range of skiers. “It’s rock-solid on edge and likes to have the pedal down from start to fi nish. I liked this ski because it really stores the energy.” » KATHY BRODERICK“The ski is super-fun, agile through bumps and quick edge-to- edge on groomers. It felt solid slicing through hard or soft snow.” » MELANIE KAMPHUIS “For a good time, try this ski. It had consistent stability all over the mountain. It sliced through bumps just as easily as it left clean lines through groomers, and edged and turned with ease— good for a wide range of skiing styles.” » NIKI COCHREN

average score: 8.2


VÖLKL KENDO

$800 sidecut: 127 88 109 radius: 19.9 @ 170
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 163, 170, 177 † , 186, 191
BEST IN: EDGE GRIP, LONG RADIUS
.. tested by men only The boys were impressed, and it isn’t always easy to impress this crowd. What they liked about the Kendo was its solid feel, its width underfoot, and its responsive and energetic feel. Testers felt that the more they gave, the more the ski gave back. They also agreed that this ski is better suited to a more skilled operator, and best results came from a solid, balanced stance. “It has surprising power for such a light-feeling ski. It’s a great carver with beautiful round, clean arcs and cuts through crud easily, but stay on top of it in bumps. This is a great carving ski for those who like to venture off-piste.” » HANK SHANNON “An agile, versatile ski with some spunk. For such a wide platform, it’s very quick edge-to- edge. It likes a little forward pressure on the tip to initiate the turn. The ski has a stable platform at all speeds.” » IAN MARCH

average score: 8.1

VÖLKL KENJA

$800 sidecut: 129 86 105 radius: 17.7 @ 163
LENGTHS AVAILABLE: 149, 156, 163 † , 170
BEST IN: STABILITY, AGILITY, SHORT RADIUS
.. tested by women only Judging by the comments for the Kenja, there was a lot of smiling happening during the testing of this ski. I couldn’t find a negative comment in any of the write-ups, testament to the fact that this is a ski that easily fits the category and suited to a wide range of skiers. “Wow! A perfect ski for the whole mountain. It’s wide and stable underfoot and gave me the confidence to let go.” » KATE HOPLEY “This is a ski that does everything, from awesome big turns to zippy short turns. It’s encouraging, supportive and easy in the bumps. It doesn’t expect expert skills and still excels.” » MICHELLE OSTAFEW “What a great ski! It’s light and lively, and surprisingly rock-solid for such a light ski. This is a ski to take chances on. A great ski for this category.” » KATHY BRODERICK

average score: 8.8


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