Ski Canada Test 2022
Almost 40 years ago, Ski Canada was the first magazine in North America to test skis when we started doing laps on next year’s gear at Marmot Basin above Jasper. We’ve moved many times over the decades with Mount Washington on Vancouver Island now hosting all the hard workers. No really, it is work! Okay, we do enjoy it. But mostly we’re in it for you. Our ultimate goal with the ski reviews that follow is to help you have more fun when you’re out skiing.
We believe finding the right ski will make you a better skier. To that end, last spring we researched all the new skis set to launch this autumn, handpicked the 40 most interesting new models, and gathered them together at Mount Washington. With the help of 30 testers—of every shape, style and ability—we skied them all, over two days and in a variety of conditions.
We wanted to cut through the marketing babble and find out for ourselves where each ski excels and what kind of skier would like it the most. You’ll find a summary of what we learned on the following pages for All-Mountain and On-Piste skis, and coming next issue, our favourites in Freeride and Backcountry skis.
Keep in mind, even with a quorum of testers providing feedback, our reviews remain suggestions. We recommend you use our opinions as a guide. Read through the reviews, be honest about your own needs and wants, and find the models that best fit your style and ability. Narrow it down to two or three skis and then demo them for yourself. Play around with widths, lengths, constructions and shapes, especially if you haven’t bought new skis in a while. Most ski shops have demo fleets for this purpose.
We think trying for yourself remains the best strategy for finding the right ski for you. And it’s our humble hope that our hard work on ski test day will lead to you having more fun every time you go skiing. To us, that’s a sacrifice worth making. Yep, we’re just that selfless.
METAL ALL-MOUNTAIN SKIS
Metal is now one of the biggest trends in All-Mountain skis. Sandwiching one or two sheets of (typically) Titanal, an aluminum alloy, adds torsional rigidity and power. We like it in All-Mountain skis because it takes shapes that excel in powder and off-piste conditions, and adds hard-snow carving performance and stability to crash through crud. In other words, metal offers even more All-Mountain credentials. Of course there are costs: metal is heavy and stiff. So, while it adds thrill to any run, it demands fitness and technique. That’s becoming less of an issue as brands tune shape and materials to make metal skis more approachable.
This is the more traditional style of all-mountain ski construction, when it’s really anything but. The only thing these skis share is that they don’t have metal. Instead brands use complex mixes of different wood, carbon, rubber and other materials. The result is a diverse mix of performance and purpose. They tend to be lighter and easier to ski than metal skis, which make them suited to a wider range of skiers and purposes. From the Selkirk backcountry to Ontario resorts, these skis can do it all.
Sure, powder gets all the attention, but there’s plenty of fun to be had on an immaculate groomer—and far less competition for first tracks! These skis are optimized for holding carves and generating G-forces on firm snow. Some can give a race ski a run for the podium, while others happily hop through the bumps and rip up the tracked-up back bowls. They’re a diverse bunch and shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you’re looking to add hard-snow performance to your quiver.
Ski Canada Test 2022 Freeride, Powder, Backcountry
Welcome to the Freeride, Powder and Backcountry portion of our ski test. Last winter, we split up our testing over two days: one for the skis in these categories, and one for the All-Mountain and On-Piste skis that ran in our last issue, Buyer’s Guide 2022.
To test these 14 skis, we enlisted the help of instructors, patrollers and recreational skiers of all shapes, sizes and abilities. Most of the testing occurred on a snowy day in Mount Washington Alpine Resort’s Outback, a mostly trail-less playground of glades, meadows, cliffs, pillows and lots of powder. For the Backcountry skis, we also took them for a walk beyond the resort in a variety of conditions. Back at the computer, we combined feedback on how the skis performed with notes on construction and design to build the reviews on the following pages.
We work hard to make this information as useful as possible in your new-ski-buying process. Yes, you could just use our words to pick your next ski, but we hope our input only helps you narrow down the vast field of choices to a few likely candidates. Then take them for a spin; think of it as an excuse to ski. We believe actually skiing on a pair of skis is the best way to find your perfect pair. Our ultimate goal is to play a small part in your next powder day.
ski tests will post daily until complete at end of NovemberMt. Washington, Ski Canada Test, ski test, Test22