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2013 Test Skis: The Field is Set

2013 Test Skis: The Field is Set

Ski Mag is ready to head for Snowbird for our annual five-day ski test. Here’s what manufacturers have entered. May the best skis win.
By Joe Cutts
posted: 02/24/2012
Our Favorite Skis with Rocker

Womens: Atomic Century, Rossignol S7W, K2 SuperBurnin

Unisex: Volkl Shiro, Line Mr. Pollard's Opus, Salomon Rocker 2

With just days before our ski tests commence at Snowbird, Utah, we’re buttoning up final plans. That means a hundred details, but the most important one is finalizing the list of skis we’ll test.

For the first time, we’re sharing that list (below) with skimag.com readers. It’s a long list—about 150 skis, which is the most we can effectively handle in five days of testing. But you’ll notice that they’re divided into categories according to their intended use—this is how we make sure we’re testing “apples to apples” on a given day.

As regular readers will recall, we group the skis by the snow-type they’re best designed for, which comes down to waist widths:

- Hard Snow, up to 85 mm, for speedy frontside cruising on groomers.

- Mixed Snow East, 85-95 mm, for everyday use in typical Eastern conditions.

- Mixed Snow West, 95-105 mm, for everyday use in typical Western conditions.

- Deep Snow, 105 mm and up, for powder days.

The remaining category is Value, where manufacturers may enter a ski of any waist width provided it costs not more than $699 (Minimum Advertised Price, which is typically about $200 less than the MSRP).

We’ll test one category each day, waiting till the last possible moment to announce the category in case there is (or isn’t) snowfall in the forecast, so that we can match the conditions to the category as best as possible.

You’ll notice that some companies get more skis than others. It’s a controversial approach among the manufacturers who get fewer entries, but we do it for the reader. The number of skis allowed each brand is based on two factors: market share and performance in last year’s test. By factoring in market share, we reflect what’s actually out there in the shops. (No use giving a ski a Gold Medal if you can’t find it for sale anywhere.) By factoring in past-year’s performance, we reward companies, however small, for doing well in the test—because we want to focus on the good skis and waste less time on the dogs. In the end, doing well in the test is the quickest way for a brand to get more skis in next year’s test, which should in turn help them to sell more skis and gain larger market share. Makes sense to us.

You know the rest: Every tester tests every ski. Debriefs/discussions are held daily at the end of testing. Test-card data is entered in our customized Filemaker Pro program, adjusted for standard deviation among testers, and sorted according Average Overall Score (scale of 0-5). Then we publish the data, so that readers can see exactly how every winning ski ranked in relation to the field according to our team of seasoned testers. (No other publication does this, but we think it’s worth the heat we take from manufacturers in order to give you the straight scoop.) Oh, and it should go without saying, but we have to say it anyway: Manufacturers are not charged money to participate in the test, and any quick comparison between advertising pages and test results will show no correlation.

So here’s the list.* Remember, we don’t write about skis that don’t medal in our Buyer’s Guide, so this will be the last you hear from us about roughly half these skis. And bear in mind that these are the skis each company thinks have the best chance of medaling in our test; even if they don’t medal, they’re probably still better than the average ski.

Now we’ll go back to watching the Snowbird weather report and looking forward to five days of testing the latest stuff on the awesome GadZoom terrain. Watch this space for testing updates.

Brand

Model

Waist

Gender

Length

Category

Atomic

Black Eye Ti

82

M

181

Hard

Atomic

Crimson Ti

88

M

185

Mixed East

Atomic

Ritual

103

M

190

Mixed West

Atomic

Automatic

117

M

186

Deep

Atomic

Theory

95

M

178

Value

Atomic

VF75

75

W

166

W Hard

Atomic

Affinity Storm

84

W

167

W Mixed East

Atomic

Elysian

95

W

168

W Mixed west

Atomic

Millenium

110

W

177

W Deep

Atomic

Century

100

W

176

W Value

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blizzard

Magnum 8.0 Ti

80

M

179

Hard

Blizzard

Magnum 8.5 Ti

85

M

187

Mixed East

Blizzard

Bonafide

98

M

187

Mixed West

Blizzard

Cochise

108

M

185

Deep

Blizzard

Gunsmoke

114

M

186

Deep

Blizzard

Bushwacker

88

M

180

Value

Blizzard

8.0 Viva

80

M

165

W Hard

Blizzard

Black Pearl

88

W

173

W Mixed East

Blizzard

Samba

98

W

173

W Mixed West

Blizzard

Dakota

108

W

177

W Deep

Blizzard

Viva 7.6 IQ

76

W

163

W Value

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dynastar

Outland 87

87

M

177

Hard

Dynastar

Cham 97

97

M

178

Mixed East

Dynastar

Cham 107

107

M

184

Mixed West

Dynastar

Cham 127

127

M

184

Deep

Dynastar

Exclusive Elite

74

W

170

W Hard

Dynastar

Exclusive Eden

85

W

165

W Mixed East

Dynastar

Exclusive Paradise

98

W

175

W Mixed West

Dynastar

Exclusive Idyll

78

W

162

W Value

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fischer

Hybrid 8

tk

M

182

Mixed East

Fischer

Watea 96

96

M

186

Mixed West

Fischer

Big Stix 110

110

M

186

Deep

Fischer

Motive 86

86

M

182

Value

Fischer

Koa 88

88

W

168

W Mixed East

Fischer

Koa 98

98

W

176

W Mixed West

Fischer

Koa 110

110

W

176

W Deep

Fischer

Koa 78

78

W

168

W Value

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head

Rev 85

85

M

177

Hard

Head

Rev 105

105

M

177

Mixed West

Head

Hammered

115

M

163

Deep

Head

Oblivion

90

M

165

Value

Head

Mya 9

93

W

163

W Mixed East

Head

Mya 8

84

W

170

W Value

Head

Mya 6

79

W

163

W Hard

 

 

 

 

 

 

K2

Rictor

80

M

174

Hard

K2

After Shock

86

M

181

Mixed East

K2

Hardside

98

M

181

Mixed West

K2

Sideseth

118

M

181

Deep

K2

BackDrop

102

M

174

Deep

K2

Photon

80

M

167

Value

K2

Superglide

80

W

160

W Hard

K2

Brightside

90

W

167

W Mixed East

K2

Sidekick

108

W

167

W Mixed West

K2

Missdirected

117

W

169

W Deep

K2

Superific

76

W

160

W Value

 

 

 

 

 

 

Line

Prophet 85

85

M

186

Hard

Line

Prophet 90

90

M

186

Mixed East

Line

Prophet 98

98

M

186

Mixed West

Line

Influence 115

115

M

186

Deep

Line

Prophet Flite

85

M

179

M Value

Line

Celebrity 90

90

W

165

W Mixed East

Line

Soul Mate

98

W

172

W Mixed West

Line

Pandora

115

W

172

W Deep

Line

Celebrity 85

85

W

158

W Value

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nordica

Firearrow 84 EDT

84

M

181

Hard

Nordica

Steadfast 90

90

M

178

Mixed East

Nordica

Hell & Back

98

M

185

Mixed West

Nordica

Helldorado or Patron

113

M

185

Deep

Nordica

Soul Rider

97

M

185

Value

Nordica

Wild Belle

84

W

172

W Hard

Nordica

Hells Bells

90

W

169

W Mixed East

Nordica

Nemesis

98

W

170

W Mixed West

Nordica

La Nina

113

W

 

W Deep

Nordica

Belle to Belle

84

W

 

W Value

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rossignol

Pursuit HP

81

M

177

Hard

Rossignol

Experience 88

88

M

180

Mixed East

Rossignol

Experience 98

98

M

178

Mixed West

Rossignol

Squad 7

120

M

176

Deep

Rossignol

Super 7

115

M

188

Deep

Rossignol

S3

98

M

186

Value

Rossignol

Attraxion 8

75

W

170

W Hard

Rossignol

Temptation 88

88

W

168

W Mixed East

Rossignol 

S3 W

98

W

168

W Mixed West

Rossignol

S7W

110

W

178

W Deep

Rossignol

Temptation 82

82

W

168

W Value

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salomon

Enduro XT 800

80

M

184

Hard

Salomon

BBR 8.9

89

M

182

Mixed East

Salomon

BBR 10.0

97

M

184

Mixed West

Salomon

Rocker 2

115

M

191

Deep

Salomon

Lava

75

W

167

W Hard

Salomon

Rockette 90

90

W

161

W Mixed East

Salomon

Geisha

99

W

 

W Mixed West

Salomon

BBR Sunlite

79

W

TBD

W Value

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volkl

V-Werks RTM

84

M

181

Hard

Volkl

Kendo

89

M

184

Mixed East

Volkl

Mantra

98

M

177/184?

Mixed West

Volkl

Shiro

118

M

 

Deep

Volkl

Gotama

107

M

193

Deep

Volkl

Bridge

95

M

179

Value

Volkl

Charisma

78

W

161

W Hard

Volkl

Kenja

87

W

170

W mixed East

Volkl

Aura

96

W

170

W mixed West

Volkl

Kiku

107

W

178

W Deep

Volkl

Viola

74

W

171

W Value

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goode

Impact

88

M

177

Mixed East

Goode

Scorcerer

106

M

177

Mixed West

Goode

Rahu

116

M

189

Deep

Goode

Opus

82

W

 

W Hard

Goode

Nirvana

88

W

 

W Mixed East

Goode

Affinity

98

W

161

W Mixed West

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kastle

MX 83

83

M

173, 183

Hard

Kastle

MX 88

88

M

188, 178

Mixed East

Kastle

FX 104

104

M

184, 174

Mixed West

Kastle

BMX 108

108

M

188

Deep

Kastle

FX 84

84

W

168

W Hard

Kastle

LX 92

94

W

174

W Mixed East

Kastle

XX110 West

110

W

170

W Deep

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott

Reverse

87

M

176, 184

Mixed East

Scott

Venture

98

M

178, 188

Mixed West

Scott

Punisher

110

M

183, 189

Deep

Scott

Luna

85

W

166

W Mixed East

Scott

Rosa

86

W

168

W Mixed East

Scott

Lola

98

W

175

W Mixed West

 

 

 

 

 

 

* At the time of this post, we had not received final entries from Armada and Elan.

 

reviews of 2013 Test Skis: The Field is Set
image-picture-27500-1273128954
Every time I think I should give Ski or Skiing Magazine another chance to entertain or inform me, they come up with another reason to dump their rags in the recycling bin. Read their "2013 Ski Test" lineup blurb. To quote: Quote: "You’ll notice that some companies get more skis than others. It’s a controversial approach among the manufacturers who get fewer entries, but we do it for the reader. The number of skis allowed each brand is based on two factors: market share and performance in last year’s test. By factoring in market share, we reflect what’s actually out there in the shops. (No use giving a ski a Gold Medal if you can’t find it for sale anywhere.) By factoring in past-year’s performance, we reward companies, however small, for doing well in the test—because we want to focus on the good skis and waste less time on the dogs. In the end, doing well in the test is the quickest way for a brand to get more skis in next year’s test, which should in turn help them to sell more skis and gain larger market share. Makes sense to us." This pisses me off to no end. "Do it for the reader"? Are you frigging kidding me? There are nearly 300 OTHER ski companies out there besides Atomic, Blizzard, Head, K2, Volkl, Dynastar, Nordica, Rossignol...etc. Sure, the big ski companies can make some kick-ass skis, and I like them just fine, but to limit the test universe based on market share, "performance in last year's test" and availability in retail stores is a serious disservice to the skiing population out there. With direct-to-consumer sales from hundreds of websites (should we name a few innovators like Praxis, DPS, ON3P or not?), the idea of limiting the test field like that tells me Ski Magazine has no clue about the kick-ass skis made by small businesses out there. Personally, I like the idea of giving my hundreds of dollars per-pair of skis to someone I can email or call on the phone, knowing that money goes toward paying their bills and feeding their families without huge corporate overhead sucking up a chunk of that cash. With tons of people wanting to "buy local" and "support small companies" these days (for good reason in my book), limiting a field of ski companies in an annual test to the criteria stated at Ski Magazine is seriously deficient and serves to perpetuate ignorance in the buying population. I am all for shopping at small shops and supporting small shops, and nearly every small company will put their product in shops if they are asked and a reasonable profit can be had by all, so the "available in shops" argument rings hollow with me. Case in point: The new Blossom Skis importer told me the total time from customer inquiry to delivery of the ski to the skier's door was 8 days, even when the ski had to be sourced from the factory in Italy. In this day and age, you can get nearly anything you want very quickly. They did include Goode and Line (a rep told me this month that Line expects to press 30,000 pairs of skis this season..so they are not really "small"..being under the K2 corporate organization), but that really does not cut it. Ski Mag should rename their test "2013 Skis from the largest companies". Anyway...just venting....I knew I should ignore Ski and Skiing Magazine (again)....but the criteria just burns my biscuits...
image-picture-27500-1273128954
P.S. I like the categories: - Hard Snow, up to 85 mm, for speedy frontside cruising on groomers. - Mixed Snow East, 85-95 mm, for everyday use in typical Eastern conditions. - Mixed Snow West, 95-105 mm, for everyday use in typical Western conditions. - Deep Snow, 105 mm and up, for powder days. These are much more helpful than "big moutain", "all-mountain", "Freeride"...etc. to my mind... Thanks for the effort to pull off this test of 150 skis....it's no small feat. Cheers.
image-picture-23495-1330206440
Great to see Goode included in this years test! Looking good for snow in Utah next week. Go to http://utahweather.blogspot.com for some detailed snow fall projected maps and forecasts.
Exotic: Props for sharing our enthusiasm for what we at SKI call the Indy Brands. Don't forget, we DO test those guys—anyone who wants to come--at the Indy Test we created three years ago. And we do use the Indy Test as a pipeline for what testers consider to be the worthiest brands to get into the mainstream test. We don't care if their marketshare is small IF they make great skis that could compete against the big boys. Congrats to Movement, out of Switzerland, for being this year's invitee. (Due to a change in distribution, they can't attend.) Also congrats to other standout performers at the Indy Test: SkiLogik, Wagner, Moment, DPS, Hart. This year's Indy Test is scheduled for April 5 at A-Basin, Colo., and we expect it to include more brands than ever. All brands welcome. The Indy Test has become more the property of sister pub Skiing Mag, but SKI will be involved and will publish the results as well. Meanwhile, fish your November issue of Skiing out of your recycling bin and check out full coverage of last year's test. And here's a much abbreviated summation of it from the website: http://www.skinet.com/skiing/photo-gallery/best-indie-skis - J.C.
image-picture-27500-1273128954
Snowmaker: I am definitely psyched about Skiing Mag's indy coverage which has grown over the last couple seasons nicely. I enjoy reading the coverage and comments about these brands. What I wish was the Ski Magazine test would mention the "Indy Test" in its promotion of the "Mainstream Test" so people would get excited about BOTH. Besides...mentioning the "Indy Test" might lead to selling 2 magazines to the same population...not just one....maybe... I understand the demographic and topical focus of each publication, just hoping there would be more cross-pollination to promote the whole industry in every issue to keep things vibrant and diverse. I would also guess that mentioning more brands might lead to more potential advertising opportunities in the magazines...and that pays the bills. Cheers - E. E.
Am I crazy here? Some of the best skis are missing on the list: RX 12, Kung Fujas, Opus, Bent Chetler, JJs, etc Not to mention the categories at the top are off the wall. What are you doing with a waist greater than 72 on groomers? I'm sure you're not looking for speed, or fun. Why not do the reviews in the following way. Break up the reviews for 2 group of skiers: ski experts, and the rest. For the experts create specific scenarios (setups/snow/location/etc) and do a great review of those skis. For the rest just tell them to buy something in the middle of the road (74-90 waist - everything and nothing ski). This way everyone will be happy as this is exactly how the skiing sport is divided. Do not believe me? Just go to any ski resort and take statistics of how many people can ski, and what ski they have at a given moment. Only 3% or so of those know what they are doing. The rest is wearing whatever they bought in the store by saying: "I want THIS". 95% of what is in the store is the "middle of the road" stuff. It makes 95% of buyers super happy, because they do not know better, or they do not want to have more than one ski. So what is missing at the end is a review for the 5% of us who actually need a specific product. That review is almost impossible to find, so one has to read on forums/demo/buy in order to find something great.
Thanks for this. Look forward to the final test results!
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