Each tester evaluates a number of characteristics out of 10 points to help present a complete picture of how a ski stacks up after a single run. This data is provided for the reader without alteration. At the end of each day, the testers meet to compare their impressions and offer a consensus on which type of skier would enjoy the ski. Testers have their preferences relating to their skiing background and style, so factors such as the length of the ski tested and the tune affects each skier’s opinion. Weigh their comments against what’s important to you and how you ski.
Here’s what they are measuring:
INITIATION: How easily the ski releases its edge and enters into the turn when steering is applied. Skis with greater shape usually initiate more easily.
EDGE GRIP: How well does the ski hold its line once it’s tipped on edge. Usually the stiffer the torsion, the better the edge grip. Edge grip is important for carving. Remember the test skis were tuned by factory technicians for the test day and checked during the day for any deterioration. It makes a huge difference.
STABILITY: As speed and snow conditions vary, so does the feel of the ski underfoot. A ski that is too soft may feel loose and floppy, while a stiff ski may feel heavy and be diffi cult to initiate into a turn. Well-balanced skis tend to be stable at designed-for speeds, but still retain liveliness for turning.
AGILITY: The result of easy initiation at a variety of speeds, energy transfer from edge-to-edge and good acceleration. When the wow factor is there, the skis are matching the skier’s weight and skiing style, and feel light, responsive and inspire confi dence. For big cruising turns, agility is a good thing but don’t confuse it with wandering instability.
VERSATILITY: Versatility continues to be one of the most important factors and for good reason. Ski manufacturers continue to offer innovations in ski profi les and materials to defi ne the perfect ski. Conditions change with every run and skiers live for the freedom of moving from the bumps, through the crud to carving at speed. In some cases the changes feel seamless to the testers, while in other cases the testers (who are only allowed one run per ski) have to really look for the sweet spot.
SHORT RADIUS: How the ski performs in short radius turns. Testers look for characteristics such as quick edge to edge turning which is a strength of deeper sidecut, smaller turn radius and shorter length skis.
LONG RADIUS: How the ski performs in long radius turns. Testers discover if the ski’s strength is in GS style turns with large arcs.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: How much (or little) did the tester enjoy skiing the test ski.