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Junior Gear 2002: Junior Ski Reviews

Junior Gear 2002: Junior Ski Reviews

Gear
By Doug Lewis
posted: 03/05/2001

RACE/AME A Race/All-Mountain Expert ski is built for two reasons: 1) to fly down a race course; 2) to be a willing companion wherever an advanced skier chooses to take it. It should be versatile in both GS and slalom, but when training time is over, it should be ready for bumps, trees, powder and anything else, because all race and no play makes for one-dimensional skiers-and dull skis.

ATOMIC
Beta Race
10.22 Jr.
120-170 cm, $395
Performance Factor 5
Fun Factor 5
The 10.22 was No. 1 in its category for both Performance and Fun. "It responds to any pressure you put on it," said Mallory. "I could depend on a solid, smooth arc at all times." This ski scored high in every category, particularly Long-Turn Carving and Short-Turn Quickness. Both the younger and older skiers rated it No. 1 in the group-evidence that Atomic has enlarged the sweet spot on a notoriously hardcore ski. It's easy to control, or as Jim put it: "It reacts to your command like it'sunder a curse."

K2 MACH
SL TEAM
120-140 cm, $150
Performance Factor 5
Fun Factor 5
Asked what this ski did worst, David responded, "nothing." The Patriot proved to be both fast and smooth in the gates, as well as easy to control and versatile all over the mountain. The testers thought it best suited to an advanced skier or better-someone who would appreciate its balanced feel and "need for speed." As Taylor said, "It does everything well, effortlessly. This ski improved my abilities."

DYNASTAR
TEAM COURSE
138-178 cm, $425
Performance Factor 5
Fun Factor 4
Comments on this ski focused on its outstanding performance. The ski engages quickly and holds throughout the turn. Its sidecut makes it easy to initiate and carve clean arcs. "I liked its control," said David. "I could turn, lean and jump and always stay balanced. Someone will win a lot of races on this ski." The Speed 64 is lightweight and easy to handle for both boys and girls. Who should ski it? "Someone at least as good as me or better," said Jim (modestly).

SALOMON
EQUIPE 3V
136-152 cm, $425
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 5
"This ski is perfect," said Mallory. "Not too little, not too soft, not too light. Just plain fun." Of the two Salomon race skis, this one rated higher because it was more versatile. Unlike the 2V, which was "more suited for GS turns," the 3V is great for slalom as well. It was off the charts in Rebound Energy and Short-Turn Quickness. "This is a slalom ski," said Emma. "I felt like I had rocket boosters on the backs of my skis. They rolled from edge to edge so quickly they exploded."

ROSSIGNOL
POWER 9 PRO
140-160 cm, $399
Performance Factor 5
Fun Factor 4
The buzz-words for this ski: "stable," "solid,""versatile," "easy." The 9 Pro got top scores from the younger and lighter skiers in the test, striking a balance between weight and length for carving clean, fast arcs in the race course and playing in the trees. It ranked No. 1 with Hedda. "Not only does it look cool and fast, it carves so easily," she said. "I felt like I had knives on my feet!"

ELAN
CRX JR.
138-173 cm, $415
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 4
Joining the Elan F1 in the race category, this ski ranked higher because of its deep sidecut and smooth feel. Its shape will help intermediate skiers learn how to perfect their carves and help racers ski cleanly in both slalom and GS. "I got going so fast I thought I would lift off at any second," Emma exclaimed. "Does everything best. I want them."

FISCHER
JR. WORLD CUP GS
141-171 cm, $395
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 3
So easy to ski, this one would be great for beginners and intermediates, as wells racers looking to improve. Nolan credits the sidecut, noting it was very quick edge-to-edge. Mallory liked its lightweight, balanced feel. Whatever it is, this ski is forgiving: never hard to handle.

Và–LKL
P50 F1 ENERGY JR.
138-168 cm, $329
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 4
The testers decided that smaller, lighter free-skiers and racers would get the most from the F1. "This ski can skid or carve, and it makes a variety of turn shapes easily," said Toby. Almost every tester mentioned its energy. Nolan put it most succinctly: "This ski hauled butt! Easy to turn and could handle everything I put it through."

ALL-MOUNTAIN CRUISER
This category answers the call for a lighter, more versatile and more controllable ski that is huge on fun, whether you're in the terrain park, on a race course or on a black-diamond trail. Because they're generally softer and lighter than race skis, yet still responsive, they're easy to control. That builds confidence and puts smiles on young faces. These skis go off-piste with ease-and offerperformance that rivals race skis.

SALOMON
CROSSMAX 10 T
150-160 cm, $345
Performance Factor 5
Fun Factor 5
"This ski made me want to hit every jump on the hill," said Katherine, "and I don't particularly like jumps." The Crossmax defines the category, as it really can do anything on any terrain. It's light and fun, yet rugged and ready for the gnarliest terrain on the mountain. "It's for skiers who love to play-especially in the air!" said David.

ATOMIC
9.16 JR.
120-150 cm, $198
Performance Factor 5
Fun Factor 5
This ski was at home all over the mountain, fast in the race course and even fun in the terrain park. "It allows you to go on all of your adventures and keeps you in control," said David. The 9.16 is light and energetic for easy handling in the woods and halfpipe, yet strong enough to rip a GS course at full speed. "From beginners to Olympic racers, this ski makes you better," said Katherine.

K2
MIN ENEMY
124-146 cm, $225
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 5
This twin-tip is more than a 'pipe ski. It'll take Freeriders to new heights and teach them to carve. It will also help racers enjoy the entire mountain. "I felt like I could do a thousand things I couldn't do before," said Emma. "It made me a better all-around skier." To Pete, it was just plain fun. "I could go anywhere, do anything-rip fast nasty turns, then spin and ride switch to the lift."

FISCHER
FREERIDE ALLTRAX
118-158 cm, $250
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 4
"This ski is an SUV with power steering, power brakes and power fun!" raved Katherine. For a recreational skier who has mastered the whole mountain and is ready to try gates, this would make a great ski. "It is soft and easy to control, but I could win races on this ski," said David. The Freeride Jr. version also scored well.

ROSSIGNOL
BANDIT JR.
80-150 cm, $209-$239
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 4
"If you're going to buy one ski, this should be it," said Meghan, referring to a ski our testers unanimously described as versatile, effortless, quick and great at everything. The Bandit is a quasi twin-tip (with what Nolan called "a tail-tip"), which our testers found fun and useful. In fact, twin-tips are even helping grown-ups with their easy turn-release. Anybody from a beginner to a hardcore racer could excel on these skis, but it's best suited for the lightweight, intermediate skier/racer looking to improve.

Và–LKL
FUNCARVER F5 JR.
118-148 cm, $265
Performance Factor 5
Fun Factor 4
The overall opinion: Here's a ski you can trust. It's smooth, stable and versatile. The Funcarver is also comfortable at speed. Or, as David put it,"I could fly fast and still have ultimate control.I was the fastest skier on the hill with thesebabies on my feet!" Others commented on how well it carved-and held-a turn. "Perfect for an all-mountain skier who may race, but mostly wants a ski for every day and every condition," concluded Taylor.

DYNASTAR
TEAM SX
130-170 cm, $325
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 4
Described as light and easy to control, this ski would suit the lightweight, beginner or intermediate skier who wants to feel confident. "It helps you ski better in the woods, gates and on the groomed," said Hedda. All the testers commented on how much energy and bounce it had.

HEAD
CYBER TEAM
140-170 cm, $295
Performance Factor 3
Fun Factor 3
Here's the perfect ski for stronger, heavier kids looking to cruise the whole mountain. It carries speed easily and plows effortlessly through any conditions. Taylor found it "soft and controllable," whether on the groomed or in the woods. One key: the ski's easy initiation and clean, powerful finish.

ELAN
INTEGRA JUNIOR
93-153 cm, $150-$170
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 5
This little 93-cm wonder got excellent marks from testers, who were surprised by how much fun they had on a lightweight ski made for young beginners. "Easy and fun for those first-timers, but also a great carving ski," said Pete. "Huge Fun Factor," said Caroline.

VALUE/LEARNERS
Looking for an affordable ski that makes turns easy and fun for a beginner? Here they are. These skis are light and soft-flexing, which makes them easy to handle. They are meant for slow speeds and should be kept on easy to intermediate terrain. They are also skis that the beginner can grow with-two years at least if the length is right.

SALOMON
XSCREAM T
120-160 cm, $240-$255
Performance Factor 5
Fun Factor 5
"The control, ease and quick response makes this ski perfect for beginners," said Meghan. The XScream may have an "extreme" name and a racy look, but it also has the control and moderate feel of a learner ski. "It made my whole body smile," said Caroline.

ELAN
TEAM CARVE
78-158 cm, $150-$170
Performance Factor 3
Fun Factor 5
Especially in its shorter lengths, this ski is for the younger, smaller skier who wants a fun, easy ski to rip the whole mountain. "So light it feels like you're not even wearing a ski," said Chad. The length, along with the Carve's balanced feel, made it easy to control.

ATOMIC
BETA RACE 8.12 JR.
130-150 cm, $130
Performance Factor 5
Fun Factor 4
This ski is for the beginner skier who has had a few lessons and is looking for a ski to make that jump to intermediate. With lots of control and plenty of pop, "it can make you better and more confident," said Pete.

HEAD
MAD TRIX TEAM
67-157 cm, $175
Performance Factor 5
Fun Factor 4
This Value ski made even our expert testers ski better. They loved how easily it carved throughout the entire turn. Plus, they thought its energy and quickness made it fun. The optimal speed is medium, and it skis best on the groomed. "This is a great, inexpensive ski that a beginner skier would go far on," said Hedda.

FISCHER
PRO JR. RC4
78-158 cm, $195
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 4
The RC4 is tailored for the older, heavier beginner who will appreciate its stability and ease. "A beginner will definitely start to carve with this one," said David. It goes on edge easily, and then just cruises through the turn, testers concurred. While lighter testers needed to stay aggressive, nearly everybody found these to be loads of fun.

DYNASTAR
TEAM SX
130-170 cm, $325
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 4
Described as light and easy to control, this ski would suit the lightweight, beginner or intermediate skier who wants to feel confident. "It helps you ski better in the woods, gates and on the groomed," said Hedda. All the testers commented on how much energy and bounce it had.

HEAD
CYBER TEAM
140-170 cm, $295
Performance Factor 3
Fun Factor 3
Here's the perfect ski for stronger, heavier kids looking to cruise the whole mountain. It carries speed easily and plows effortlessly through any conditions. Taylor found it "soft and controllable," whether on the groomed or in the woods. One key: the ski's easy initiation and clean, powerful finish.

ELAN
INTEGRA JUNIOR
93-153 cm, $150-$170
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 5
This little 93-cm wonder got excellent marks from testers, who were surprised by how much fun they had on a lightweight ski made for young beginners. "Easy and fun for those first-timers, but also a great carving ski," said Pete. "Huge Fun Factor," said Caroline.

VALUE/LEARNERS
Looking for an affordable ski that makes turns easy and fun for a beginner? Here they are. These skis are light and soft-flexing, which makes them easy to handle. They are meant for slow speeds and should be kept on easy to intermediate terrain. They are also skis that the beginner can grow with-two years at least if the length is right.

SALOMON
XSCREAM T
120-160 cm, $240-$255
Performance Factor 5
Fun Factor 5
"The control, ease and quick response makes this ski perfect for beginners," said Meghan. The XScream may have an "extreme" name and a racy look, but it also has the control and moderate feel of a learner ski. "It made my whole body smile," said Caroline.

ELAN
TEAM CARVE
78-158 cm, $150-$170
Performance Factor 3
Fun Factor 5
Especially in its shorter lengths, this ski is for the younger, smaller skier who wants a fun, easy ski to rip the whole mountain. "So light it feels like you're not even wearing a ski," said Chad. The length, along with the Carve's balanced feel, made it easy to control.

ATOMIC
BETA RACE 8.12 JR.
130-150 cm, $130
Performance Factor 5
Fun Factor 4
This ski is for the beginner skier who has had a few lessons and is looking for a ski to make that jump to intermediate. With lots of control and plenty of pop, "it can make you better and more confident," said Pete.

HEAD
MAD TRIX TEAM
67-157 cm, $175
Performance Factor 5
Fun Factor 4
This Value ski made even our expert testers ski better. They loved how easily it carved throughout the entire turn. Plus, they thought its energy and quickness made it fun. The optimal speed is medium, and it skis best on the groomed. "This is a great, inexpensive ski that a beginner skier would go far on," said Hedda.

FISCHER
PRO JR. RC4
78-158 cm, $195
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 4
The RC4 is tailored for the older, heavier beginner who will appreciate its stability and ease. "A beginner will definitely start to carve with this one," said David. It goes on edge easily, and then just cruises through the turn, testers concurred. While lighter testers needed to stay aggressive, nearly everybody found these to be loads of fun.

DYNASTAR
TEAM SPEED
80-160 cm, $150
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 4
This smooth, light and willing ski responds to every command, just as a good learners' ski should. "It's almost too easy to ski," said Meghan. "It's a ski that a beginner can ski for a while; they'll like it even more as they get better," said Pete.DYNASTAR


TEAM SPEED
80-160 cm, $150
Performance Factor 4
Fun Factor 4
This smooth, light and willing ski responds to every command, just as a good learners' ski should. "It's almost too easy to ski," said Meghan. "It's a ski that a beginner can ski for a while; they'll like it even more as they get better," said Pete.

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