Rossi adds the 100-mm-waisted Temptation 100 to its all-mountain series this year. It joins other Temptations ranging in width from 75 mm to 88 mm. It's a likely choice for a Western resort-based skier who wants more a more traditional feel than the freeridey 7 Series offers, but a more playful, soft-snow oriented feel than the groomed-snow-specific Unique series. With its midfat waist, it'll excel in all but the deepest snow, but it brings plenty of sidecut, edge-grip, and carvability to firmer surfaces. It's a wood core, metal-free construction. It features Rossi's AutoTurn Rocker profile: 30 percent rocker in the tip and tail (for shock-absorption and soft-snow flotation) with 70 percent camber underfoot (for edge grip and rebound).
The Super 7 isn't the widest or most buoyant ski in the Deep Snow category, but it surfs deep snow with a speed-loving confidence that experts will admire. And its combination of easy swing weight, overall light- ness, and deep-sidecut carve- ability give it an approachable ease that less skilled skiers can use to up their game. In pow- der, it's supremely easy to pivot and smear. But partial sidewalls and that huge tip combine for credible arcs on the softpack. Elling: "Light, easy, fun."
LENGTHS162, 170, 178, 188
RATING: 3.41 / 5
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Some testers felt this ski was supremely effortless for all abilities, while others advised wearing "big-girl pants" when skiing it. They're both right: This ski is both easy and strong, a rare combo. Rossi's lightweight honeycombed Air Tip gives it incredible pivotability, but a beefy cap-sandwich con- struction (the same as the unisex Super 7's) and strong tail get after big lines. "Point it down the fall line and it magically does the work for you," said McElroy.
The men's version is the seminal Soul 7; both are cult favorites. The Savory does almost everything well: slarves, floats, pivots, skids. It's the widest in the catego- ry, so naturally it earned top scores in Flotation and lower ones in Hard Snow (smaller women generally have a harder time laying wide skis over on hardpack). Good for a range of ability levels too. "Put this on a gal who wants her ski to grow with her," said Barnes.
How does a ski that ranks a mediocre 10th in Hard-Snow Grip still manage to crack the top three in this category? By standing out with a fun, up-for-anything personality on a rack crowded with one-track carvers. The combination of the Experience 84's lightweight, honeycombed Air Tip and its extra width (widest in the category) gives it a quick swing weight and buoyancy that the more surefooted ice schralpers lacked. Plenty competent on hard snow, it's also game for cruddy off-piste conditions and even bumps. Bass: "Really snappy. Loads and releases cleanly. Easy to deal with in different conditions."
Spend most of your time on soft Western groomers? Testers adored the Experi- ence 100's flat-snow perfor- mance-its reassuring grip, spring-loaded rebound, and stable exuberance at high speeds. The trade-off: a lack of buoyancy in deep snow. But it's sufficiently wide and rockered to arc aggressively without trenching too deeply, and testers loved its whippy swing weight. Britt: "Knows exactly where to put itself for every turn."
With a new, more playful tip and tail shape, the 2015 Wild Belle floated through pow (No. 1 in the category), smoothly surfed over chop, and ab- sorbed bumps much better than testers expected the long 177-cm test ski would, with only a modest sacrifice in Nordica's trademark bite on ice. It is more versatile terrainwise than in years past, but testers weren't convinced it's any more accessible for those on the lower end of the skill spectrum.
A lightweight but torsionally rigid core saves 25 percent of the weight of the men's version, the NRGy 90. "Performs as well in bumps and crud as on hardpack," said Cunningham.
LENGTHS177, 185, 193
RATING: 4.01 / 5
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Words testers used to de- scribe the Patron: fun, playful, quick, nimble, friendly, easy, easy, easy. That's how a ski that ranks a respectable No. 7 in the category manages a No. 1 ranking for overall Impression. The Patron is a metal-free version of the Hell- dorado. Testers had to ding it for lacking traits that heavier, damper skis offer, but they agreed that it's greater than the sum of its parts. Casey: "A playful charger."