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Gear

Experience 80 HD

Rossignol

2017

rating2.92

price$750

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.77 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.04 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.26 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.64 / 5
Overall: 
2.92 / 5
Flotation: 
2.03 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH80mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST125-80-114

LEVEL

LENGTHS144, 152, 160, 168, 176, 184

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The Experience 80 HD returns with the same shape for 2017, but with a new graphic and with Rossi's new Carbon Alloy Matrix reinforcement layer. Soft-flexing and lightweight, it's built for light, quick, forgiving performance, with just enough width to venture off-trail in search of soft snow. Its Central Dualtec construction (edgy vertical sidewalls underfoot; softer-flexing, less-edgy cap construction tip and tail) is more forgiving than the top models. It's sold only as a system, with an 11-DIN Look Xpress binding. (Rossignol-branded bindings have been discontinued for 2017. Sister-brand Look now provides all bindings for Rossignol system skis.) The Experience 80 HD is part of Rossignol's All Mountain collection, designed for maximum versatility in all terrain and snow types that resort skiers encounter. The Experience line splits the difference between the powder/soft-snow smeariness of the highly successful 7 Series and the groomer/hard-snow carviness of the Pursuits. Waist widths range from 100 mm in the flagship model down to 75 mm in the value-priced model, with target abilities decreasing with size (fatter models for experts, narrower ones for intermediates and novices). The top four models in the line (100, 88, 84, and 80) all bear the new HD designation, meaning they are reinforced with Rossignol's new Carbon Alloy Matrix layer, which is a loose weave of carbon fibers (for energy and lightweight responsiveness) combined with basalt fiber (for mellowing dampness). All feature Rossi's Auto Turn Rocker-early rise in the tip and tail for shock absorption, soft-snow float, and smearable turn finishes-with camber under foot for hard-snow carvability. Rossignol's Extended Sidecut design moves the widest part of the ski beyond the fore and aft contact points: The ski won't feel hooky or unmanageable at low speeds and edge angles, but when pushed to higher speeds and edge angles the sidecut engages more edge for maximum stability. Air Tip-a translucent honeycomb of empty pockets-keeps the swing-weight down for enhanced quickness. The top four models (100, 88, 84, and 80) are wood-core, laminate constructions for maximum durability and edginess, with full or partial vertical sidewalls for edge strength. The value models (77 and 75) feature more forgiving and economical cap constructions, which are softer-flexing (for better performance at slower speeds) and less edgy (for optimal speed control). Rossignol, along with sister brands Dynastar, Lange, and Look, is based in Voiron, a small town near Grenoble in southeastern France, where it was founded in 1907 by avid skier Abel Rossignol. Its U.S. headquarters are in Park City, Utah. -J.C.

Temptation 84

Rossignol

2017

rating2.92

price$650

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.80 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.93 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.79 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.29 / 5
Overall: 
2.92 / 5
Flotation: 
2.07 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH84mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST133-84-120

LEVEL

LENGTHS146, 154, 162, 170

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With a narrower, carvier waist than either of the top two models in the series, the 2017 Rossignol Temptation 84 is more trail-oriented. It's also appreciably lighter, softer-flexing, and livelier on the snow, with a lightweight paulownia wood core reinforced with carbon-fiber laminates instead of the basalt fibers or metal (in the 88 and 100, respectively). But vertical sidewalls underfoot and a wood core are designed to give it good hard-snow grip and integrity. It returns unchanged for 2017. It's sold flat or as a system, with an upgraded 11-DIN (last year it was 10) Look Xpress binding. (Rossignol-branded bindings have been discontinued for 2017. Sister-brand Look now provides all bindings for Rossignol system skis.) Rossignol's six-model Temptation collection of women's all-mountain skis splits the difference between the brand's freeride-oriented 7 Series of wide soft-snow skis and frontside-oriented Unique line of hard-snow carvers. Waist widths range from 88 mm down to 74 mm, with stouter constructions for expert women at the high end of the line and softer, more economical rides for novice and intermediate women at the low end. All have wood cores reinforced with varying fiber laminates. (Only the 100 is metal-reinforced.) Rossi's Air Tip design-a distinctive translucent honeycomb of air pockets in the tip-lightens the swing weight. And as with the men's Experience line, all feature Rossignol's Auto Turn Rocker, which is a blend of 30 percent tip and tail rocker for shock absorption, soft-snow flotation, and easy turn release with 70 percent camber for carvability and rebound energy. Rossignol, along with sister brands Dynastar, Lange, and Look, is based in Voiron, a small town near Grenoble in southeastern France, where it was founded in 1907 by avid skier Abel Rossignol. Its U.S. headquarters are in Park City, Utah. -J.C.

Peacemaker

Blizzard

2017

rating2.90

price$720

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.79 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.91 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.20 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.78 / 5
Overall: 
2.90 / 5
Flotation: 
3.13 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH104mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST134-104-124

LEVEL

LENGTHS165, 172, 179, 186

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With its 104 mm waist, the 2017 Blizzard Peacemaker is a likely everyday ride for freeriders who ski mostly Western locales. It's a looser, smearier, bidirectional alternative to the similarly wide, flat-tailed Cochise (which is also more expensive, at $900). Like the wider Gunsmoke, it's built on a foam-lightened core, but it'll be quicker edge to edge and more versatile in everyday (non-powder) resort conditions. Blizzard's Freeride Twin men's collection comprises four twin-tipped versions of the Austrian brand's highly successful bull-themed all-mountain skis (each is named for a famous rodeo bull). All models return unchanged for 2017, except for new graphics on all but the Latigo. The Freeride Twin collection's broad span of waist widths ranges from powder-specific (Gunsmoke, 114 mm) to Eastern-knifey (Latigo, 78 mm), with a couple of soft-snow generalists (Peacemaker, 104 mm; Regulator, 94 mm) in between. Compared to the flat-tailed freeriders (Spur, Bodacious, Cochise, Brahma) the twins offer smearier, more youthful, bi-directional performance, but the constructions are the same. All are sturdy laminate layups with edgy, full-length/full-height vertical sidewalls. The wider models are built on cores of durable bamboo and poplar mixed with foam stringers to keep things light (Blizzard's ISO Core). The narrower models are all wood for maximum durability and strength. All are rockered in the tip in tail, for soft-snow flotation and easy-to-pivot steering, with positive camber underfoot for enhanced edge grip and rebound energy on hardpack. Tapered tips (where the widest part of the ski is moved toward the binding) give all models an added measure of slashy surfiness in deep snow. All are built with Blizzard's Flipcore construction method: The ski mold is built with rocker in it, and the wood core is flipped so that it fits the rockered mold (arched surface down; flat surface up). Blizzard says no extra pressure is needed tip and tail to bend the ski into a rockered shape, so there's no material-memory tendency to spring back to an unrockered shape, and pressure distribution is even along the ski's length. The newer Carbon Flipcore, in all models, has a layer of strong, light carbon-fiber reinforcement through the rocker area in the tip to save weight, increase stability, and reduce the tip-flap that plagues some rockered skis. Blizzard, founded in 1945, is based in Mittersill, Austria, about 15 minutes from Kitzbuehel. It's part of the Tecnica Group, which includes Tecnica and Nordica (also Rollerblade, Lowa, and Moon Boot). The Mittersill factory produces both Blizzard and Nordica skis, as well as some skis for other brands. -J.C.

Gemma

Salomon

2017

rating2.91

price$850

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.40 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.06 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.57 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.17 / 5
Overall: 
2.91 / 5
Flotation: 
2.00 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH85mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST131-85-112

LEVEL

LENGTHS157, 163, 170

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The Salomon Gemma is a lightweight, mid-fat all-mountain generalist for women who stick mainly to the trail and expect to encounter both hard and soft snow in their everyday skiing. It has the same 85-mm waist width as the new QST Myriad 85, and both are metal-free (for light, lively performance). But while the QST is more freeride-oriented, with a tapered shape (for easy-pivoting looseness in soft snow) and a longer sidecut radius (16.4 meters at 169 cm), the Gemma is carvier, with a full-width tip that dives more eagerly into the carve when tipped on edge, and a tighter sidecut (14.9 meters at 169 cm). The Gemma gets a layer of basalt that dampens vibrations at high speeds. And it comes with a 10-DIN Salomon XT binding. Salomon has been headquartered in Annecy, France, since its founding there in 1947. Along with sister brands Atomic and ArcTeryx, it is a division of Amer Sports of Finland, which acquired it in 2005. Its U.S. headquarters are in Ogden, Utah. -J.C.

Speed Zone 12 Ti SPX 12 Konect

Dynastar

2017

rating2.89

price$1000

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.11 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.39 / 5
Crud Performance: 
1.77 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.30 / 5
Overall: 
2.89 / 5
Flotation: 
1.44 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH72mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST121-72-106

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS158, 166, 174, 182

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Skis with spring-loaded rebound energy can be tricky to stay balanced on. Not the Speed Zone. It’s a slingshot and you’re the projectile, so prepare to be launched. It’s a racy ride that adores the fall line and loves short turns on hard snow but isn’t too edgy or heavy. Light- touch testers were the biggest fans of this small, stout slicer and dicer. Elling: “Mad crazy arcs. Clean at any radius or speed. Acid-fueled mad- scientist scalpel skiing.” 

Backland FR 109

Atomic

2017

rating2.88

price$725

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.80 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
1.85 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.96 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.90 / 5
Overall: 
2.88 / 5
Flotation: 
3.24 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH109mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST134-109-124

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS175, 182, 189

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AlLuvit 88

K2

2017

rating2.87

price$800

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.65 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.54 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.00 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.11 / 5
Overall: 
2.87 / 5
Flotation: 
3.11 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH88mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST128-88-110

LEVEL

LENGTHS156, 163, 170

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K2 adds the new 2017 AlLUVit 88 to its women's Freeride collection to "bridge the gap between freeride and all-mountain." It retains a freeride sensibility with generous rocker and tip/tail tapering for surfy fun in loose snow, but its 88-mm waist won't pout on hardpack the way wider skis sometimes do. K2's expanded women's Freeride Collection now includes three skis: two wide-waisted soft-snow specialists, the 105-mm Luv Boat and the 98-mm FulLUVit, plus a new mid-fat model, the 88-mm AlLUVit, which has been added to bridge the gap between the Freeride collection and the narrower skis of the All-Mountain collection. All are flat tailed, "directional" designs built for a secure, traditional feel. (As opposed to the looser, smearier twin-tips of K2's Freestyle collection.) All models have tapered tips and tails (ie., the widest parts of the ski are moved closer to the foot), for lighter swing weight and a slashy, quick feel in loose snow. All feature new Konic versions of K2's Bioflex cores, with flex patterns specifically tuned for the needs of women. The Konic cores are a combination of lightweight Nanolite foam down the middle with wood and reinforcing metal used only over the edges, where they're most needed for edge grip and stability without excess weight. K2's HybriTech Sidewall combines a sturdy vertical sidewall underfoot for edge grip with rounded-over cap sidewalls fore and aft for supple flex. Moderate rocker adds a measure of surfiness in soft snow and powder as well as shock absorption in rough terrain; camber underfoot promotes positive edge grip and adds rebound energy. All Freeride Collection skis are sold flat (no binding). K2 was founded in 1962 by the Kirschner brothers, who pioneered the use of fiberglass in ski construction at their Vashon Island, Wash., factory. The brand is now based in Seattle and builds its skis in China. It is owned by Newell Brands, a consumer products conglomerate. -J.C.

Luv Boat 105

K2

2017

rating2.88

price$900

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.37 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
1.70 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.27 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.51 / 5
Overall: 
2.88 / 5
Flotation: 
3.59 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH105mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST137-105-121

LEVEL

LENGTHS163, 170, 177

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The new Luv Boat, which returns with a slimmer 105-mm waist and new construction for 2017 (it was 108 mm last year), is still the widest of the three skis in K2's Freeride collection of powder-ready fat skis. Its foam-down-the-middle construction and tip/tail tapering keeps it lively, light, and loose in the snow. Its generous waist width will float and smear in deep powder. K2's expanded women's Freeride Collection now includes three skis: two wide-waisted soft-snow specialists, the 105-mm Luv Boat and the 98-mm FulLUVit, plus a new mid-fat model, the 88-mm AlLUVit, which has been added to bridge the gap between the Freeride collection and the narrower skis of the All-Mountain collection. All are flat tailed, "directional" designs built for a secure, traditional feel. (As opposed to the looser, smearier twin-tips of K2's Freestyle collection.) All models have tapered tips and tails (ie., the widest parts of the ski are moved closer to the foot), for lighter swing weight and a slashy, quick feel in loose snow. All feature new Konic versions of K2's Bioflex cores, with flex patterns specifically tuned for the needs of women. The Konic cores are a combination of lightweight Nanolite foam down the middle with wood and reinforcing metal used only over the edges, where they're most needed for edge grip and stability without excess weight. K2's HybriTech Sidewall combines a sturdy vertical sidewall underfoot for edge grip with rounded-over cap sidewalls fore and aft for supple flex. Moderate rocker adds a measure of surfiness in soft snow and powder as well as shock absorption in rough terrain; camber underfoot promotes positive edge grip and adds rebound energy. All Freeride Collection skis are sold flat (no binding). K2 was founded in 1962 by the Kirschner brothers, who pioneered the use of fiberglass in ski construction at their Vashon Island, Wash., factory. The brand is now based in Seattle and builds its skis in China. It is owned by Newell Brands, a consumer products conglomerate. -J.C.

GT 80 Ti EVO

Nordica

2017

rating2.87

price$999

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.36 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.09 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.41 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.10 / 5
Overall: 
2.87 / 5
Flotation: 
2.06 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH80mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST130-80-110

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS156, 162, 168, 174, 180

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The GT 80 caused dis- sension. Some testers admired its versatility, thanks to its wide-ish, soft-snow-friendly waist. Others wanted more excitement from its flat- snow carving game. No one thought it was too much ski. It’s reinforced with a metal latticework that resists twisting without the weight of full sheets. It’s easy in and out of the turn, with a for- giving tail shape. Gleason: “Easygoing, predictable. Adjusts speed and varies turns easily.” 

QST Stella 106

Salomon

2017

rating2.85

price$850

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.34 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.57 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.07 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.83 / 5
Overall: 
2.85 / 5
Flotation: 
3.20 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH106mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST137.5-106-125

LEVEL

LENGTHS159, 167, 174

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It's the fattest women's ski Salomon makes. (Want more? Test drive the men's QST 118 in the 171-cm length; or the lightweight, 115-mm MTN Lab touring ski in a 176.) And it's built for aggressive deep-snow surfing, with plenty of flotation and a rockered, tapered, slashy newschool design. The QST Stella 106 is part of the new QST series of women's freeride skis, which replaces both the Quest and Rocker2 collections of years past in a single broad series ranging from 106 (QST Stella) down to 85 mm (QST Myriad). The QSTs are a showcase for Salomon's Spaceframe construction. Salomon builds in plenty of power: All models are wood-core, and a layer of CFX Superfiber (a weave of twitchy carbon mellowed by flax) adds energy. The Spaceframe layup method allows skis to be tuned to different needs at different widths. In the powder-ready 106, the core is shortened and narrowed to allow some surf-friendly flex both longitudinally and laterally (Bi-Directional Spaceframe). Where the core ends, airy koroyd honeycomb inserts take over tip and tail, reducing swing weight. In the frontside skis (99 and 92), the core extends to the tail, for secure turn finishes on flat snow (Directional Spaceframe). The 106 is rockered tip and tail, for maximum float and drift; the frontsiders are tip-rockered for shock-absorption and occasional deep-snow encounters. The top two models (99 and up) get a layer of metal in the binding area for both durability and a little extra power. Hook Free Taper (the widest points of the ski are moved closer to the foot) promotes a loose quickness in all models. All models are sold flat (no binding). Salomon has been headquartered in Annecy, France, since its founding there in 1947. Along with sister brands Atomic and ArcTeryx, it is a division of Amer Sports of Finland, which acquired it in 2005. Its U.S. headquarters are in Ogden, Utah. -J.C.

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