Name: Heather Schultz
Home hill: Vail, CO
Day Job: Boutique owner and gear tester/writer
What makes you qualified to test?: I've lived in Vail for 29 years and have been an A-contract instructor for 14 years - an elite pro instructor who teaches private lessons to adults only - Alpine and Telemark. Prior to that I was on skier services, for 3 years so I easily put in over 100 days per season for roughly 20 of the 29 years. I have lead numerous womens' clinics including ski/boot testing sessions geared to meet individual needs and styles of skiing. I was also on the women's Demo team for 3 years winning 3 consecutive World Championships against top ski schools from all over the US, Europe and Canada. Have also dabbled in Nordic racing.
Skiing background: PSIA level III Certification in both Alpine and Nordic (Tele); 14 years A-contract instructor for Vail Resorts; 3-time World Alpine Demo team Champion; Alpine gear tester SKIING Magazine from 2002 to present (including AT and Tele in 2008); Women's test director/writer SKIING Mag 2004-2008; Women's gear test director/writer OUTSIDE and MOUNTAIN Magazines 2009 - 2012;
Favorite type of terrain: Steeps, pow, wide open bowls of Vail, Snowbird, and fast and firm frontside groomers for carving trenches.
Ideal ski: I love a balanced, well-crafted precision tool with a race heritage for dicing up on-piste, and a 90-110mm more forgiving ski for hitting the chop and pow with just a smidge of rocker.....so it's not doing all of the work for me!
Favorite part of the Skiing mag ski test: I love the first morning of the test when the energy in the corral is palpable and everyone is psyched to get out and try all of next year's new technologies... AND it's just dumped 2 feet of new snow!!!!!
Funniest story from ski test (any year)?: One night in a swanky Aspen restaurant, (after having skied close to 20 runs that day, and having one too many cocktails), someone in the kitchen mistakably (or perhaps not) put pure butter instead of cream cheese in the cheesecake. Three or four of our testers ended up chowing their whole portion of cheesecake not noticing the "richness" of the dessert. Consequently, they all ended up being a bit late for the next day of testing after having been up all night with stomach ailments!
What don't people know about the ski test?: This test is not fixed or biased due to tester's ski affiliations, nor from how much a particular ski manufacturer advertises with the Magazine. It's a legitimate, qualitative, and UNBIASED test that is taken very seriously by the pro skiers who are carefully selected not only for their talents and backgrounds, but also for their abilities of articulating what they are feeling with each ski. It’s scored numerically on multiple criteria which are later balanced by standard deviation.
Why should people trust the Skiing mag ski test?: What I just said.....
Please translate the following phrase: Hafmeyjunum ekki skíði, þú kjánalegt manneskja! "You all rock and thanks for testing!"