Aspen, CO, Dec. 12, 2000--The "butterfly theory" follows that a butterfly flapping its wings in one geographical location can alter the weather patterns on the opposite side of the world. However unlikely this theory may sound, many monarchs must have undertaken some serious fluttering to cause perfect all-mountain skiing conditions, complete with over ten inches of fresh snow, at Aspen, CO this past weekend.
There were hard moguls and soft ones; groomed hard-pack and knee to waist-deep powder; flats and steeps; and obstacles galore, which demanded precision turning and performance from the skis I demoed: Atomic's Beta Ride 10.20 (180cm); Rossignol's Bandit XX (177cm); Salomon's XScream (180cm); and Salomon's Pilot 10 Scream (180cm). For comparison's sake, I'm in my early 20's, 6'1", 180 lbs., and a former ex-racer from Maine and Dartmouth College, NH.
Atomic Beta Ride 10.20 180cm
This ski is a monster. Every turn I initiated drove itself through the apex and on to each turn's completion. The ski is not for the faint of heart or the "Sunday driver." A "Formula One" mindset better suits this model, which has incredible stability at high speed. In moguls and powder, the ski seemed a little stiff and heavy, most likely due to the layer of titanium within the model's construction. I highly recommend the 10.20 for advanced to expert skiers who enjoy arcing on groomers, especially if you're skiing on eastern glass.
Rossignol Bandit XX 177cm
The Bandit XX is a great free-ride ski designed to float through powder without sacrificing the stability and torsional rigidity needed to hold an edge on hard-pack. In soft moguls, this ski is an ace- responsive and agile as a squirrel bounding from branch to branch. At high speeds, the XX is a bit unstable though. I recommend going a little longer than you might choose of a model with similar sidecut dimensions in order to maintain stability. This ski is a good choice for forgiving western conditions. The XX's slimmer brother, the Bandit X (see "Donations and Demos in Telluride"), is a better choice for those skiing hard, groomed runs.
Salomon XScream 180cm
The XScream has been a traditional favorite of all mountain skiers; some might even consider it the beginning of the freeride revolution. I found the ski excellent for all types of snow and conditions. It was lively through short radius terms and stable through long GS arcs. The XScream's soft tail makes it easy to stay forward and very reactive in bumps. This ski is a good anytime, anywhere, any condition option.
Salomon Pilot 10 Scream 180cm
One ride on this stick will make a believer out of any skier. This is the crème de la crème of the crop. It was tight and agile through the bumps, crud, powder, and ice. Big turns, little turns, no turns- the ski kept on going and going like the Energizer Bunny, never faltering in stability or responsiveness, no matter what line I dictated. It clung to the snow as if on a bobsled track, ripping through curves and ruts. I recommend this ski for all intermediate to expert skiers looking for a plush ride and plenty of screams. Wow!
These models offer a great all-mountain ride. The only way to discover which ski is perfect for you is to demo as many as possible before making a purchase. In my opinion, that's the only way to go. Check with your local ski or demo shop, on-mountain demo shop, or read SkiNet's "Demo Days" calendar for a chance to try out your dream skis.