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Speed

These skis are for experts who spend most of their time carving at speed. Wasp-waisted (70-80 mm) carving machines make it easy to tip and rip, even on the hardest snow. Most at home on hardpack, soft or frozen cord, Eastern ice and NASTAR courses

X-Wing Tornado TI

Salomon

2010

price$1500

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.72 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.71 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.53 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.48 / 5
Quickness: 
3.14 / 5
Average Score: 
3.00 / 5

YEAR2009/2010

WAIST WIDTHmm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST120/79/107

LEVELAdvanced

LENGTHS

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Some skis in this category can be a bit too serious. The Salomon, by contrast, never forgets to have fun, demonstrating an agility that belies its relative width. The sidecut is moderate, but the flex pattern is spot on and pleasantly energetic. The result is uncommon versatility for a speed ski. Tip it high, and it bounds across the hill; keep it low, and the Tornado soars down the fall line in stable GS arcs. “Smooth, steady, no unwanted surprises: great way to start my day,” said Rogan.

Classic 80 TI

Rossignol

2010

price$1250

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.45 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.47 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.12 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.56 / 5
Quickness: 
3.04 / 5
Average Score: 
3.28 / 5

YEAR2009/2010

TIP/TAIL/WAIST124/80/112

LEVELAdvanced

LENGTHS

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Here’s Rossi, back on its game, showing off a little with a blend of ripping hard-snow performance on a wide waist. The result is a versatile tool that’s by turns thrilling and playful. Stout construction and metal laminates give it a GS-racy feel. (There’s a quicker-turning version, too: the Classic 70.) But the extra width keeps it from getting too serious. (The 80 put up the top score in forgiveness in a category of Type A carvers.)  “It’s a race ski, toned down to crush the entire mountain,” said Lewis.

Speedmachine Mach 4

Nordica

2010

price$1449

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.56 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.37 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.83 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.18 / 5
Quickness: 
2.79 / 5
Average Score: 
3.07 / 5

YEAR2009/2010

WAIST WIDTHmm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST121/74/106

LEVELAdvanced

LENGTHS

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We remembered this ski being burlier. And while it’s still no wimp—with metal laminates, a precise binding interface and race-ready construction—there’s a noticeable difference to this year’s Mach 4. Nordica softened the tip and stiffened the tail, and the result is a slightly less demanding ride, though it’s still game for high-speed arcing on hard snow. Its wide tip hooks up with ease, and that new tail delivers a strong finish. “Amazingly versatile in terms of speeds and turn shapes,” said Moffatt.

Apache Crossfire MX

2010

price$1250

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.53 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.33 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.53 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.54 / 5
Quickness: 
2.99 / 5
Average Score: 
3.28 / 5

YEAR2009/2010

TIP/TAIL/WAIST122/74/106

LEVELAdvanced

LENGTHS

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Hard snow? Not K2’s favorite subject. So like the ADD kid who manages an A in math, they deserve extra credit for the Crossfire, which holds its own against the Eurocarvers. Square sidewalls, metal laminates, tons of sidecut, the powerful Marker Inter-Pivot heel and vibration dampeners give it power and hard-snow edge-grip. And yet the K2 personality still lurks in there, so the Crossfire scored top marks for both forgiveness and crud performance. “Versatile, fun, fast,” said McGrath.

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