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.
After three years on the podium, the Experience 88 finally ascends to the top step. Rossi's recent resurgence owes a lot to the Experience line of frontside generalists, and the 88 has always been the testers' favorite. With its huge tip and deep shape it's a can't-miss carver with enough width and tip rocker for soft-snow fun too. It's metal- free but still awes testers with its speed-loving dampness (Air Tip concentrates mass underfoot; damper-than-fiberglass basalt fibers further quiet the ride). Added stiffness this year gives it more oomph. Beekman: "Balanced flex tip to tail. Feels agile and damp at the same time."
How fitting that a ski testers described as "perfect for the masses" should sell in massive quantities. This returning category crusher has perhaps the broadest ability envelope of any ski in the test. Ex- perts use its rockered, tip-tapered smearability to go crazy fast in terra incognita, knowing they can shut it down fast in "oh, $!*#!" moments. Inter- mediates can use that float and easy pivotability to finally master powder skiing. And sure, it's mostly a powder ski-but one that arcs readily enough on groomers to qualify for daily-driver status in soft- snow locales. Withey: "As versatile as any in this class. Could put anyone on this ski."
Gold Medal Gear
TIP/TAIL/WAIST123-78-109 (159, 167
LENGTHS157, 167, 175, 183
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At that price, the Laser AX had better be good. It is. Compare and contrast with Volkl's RTM, with which it ties for the top spot in the rankings: Where the Volkl aims for a measure of all-conditions, all-terrain versatility, the Laser, true to its name, focuses on hard-snow precision. It's a veritable GS race ski. Testers were awed by its "epoxied to the snow" edge grip and its pure greed for speed. Go find the hardest snow you can, then dice it with confidence-provided, as testers warned, you have the strength and ability to manage this ski. Luby: "What an exhilarating ride. Great suspension and dampness. Lives up to its price tag."