Name: Megan Michelson
Home hill: Alpine Meadows, CA
Day Job: ESPN.com Freeskiing editor, freelance writer
What makes you qualified to test?: Former Skiing magazine editor and women's test director, former ski racer, been testing and reviewing gear for magazines for about 8 years now.
Skiing background: I grew up ski racing in the Tahoe area, started telemark skiing while in college in Vermont, won the 2008 telemark freeskiing world championships in Alaska, nominated for a Powder Video Award for best female performance in 2011 for Powderwhore Productions' "Television," now an alpine skier again and back in Tahoe.
Favorite type of terrain: Any terrain with powder on it
Ideal ski: 110 millimeters underfoot, slightly rockered tip, damp and stiff enough to handle high speeds, fat enough to float through powder
Favorite part of the Skiing Mag ski test: The first day of the test, we had six inches of new snow at Snowbird and everyone was fresh and eager, with legs ready to charge. There was a real buzz and energy in the air. I loved that feeling most of all.
Funniest story from ski test (any year)?: Three years ago, testers Mike Britt, Tim Dyer and I skied a rather-sketchy air into a narrow chute right below Gadzoom chair. You had to air over a log into a tiny little pocket between steep rock ledges, and then somehow dump speed before you lost control in the chute. We did this on test skis and demo bindings, of course. This year, the night before the last day of testing, Tim and I were reminiscing about this line and he declared, “I'm going to do it again. Tomorrow!" He may or may not have had a few beers at the time of this declaration. Snow conditions were barer this year so the line looked even more daunting. But the next day, I spotted Tim in the corral and said, “Ok, let's go check this thing out.” Mike Britt came with us as well and the three of us stood on top of it, staring down the gauntlet. Mike and I wimped out, but Tim just sent it and stomped the landing. Seeing his face at the bottom of that was the highlight of the test for me for sure.
What don't people know about the ski test?: At the end of each test day, the testers gather for a debrief meeting that can last hours, where they discuss and dissect nearly every pair of skis they rode that day. Debates can be heated and on at least one occasion, this meeting has occurred in the Cliff Lodge hot tub.
Why should people trust the Skiing mag ski test?: Who advertises in the magazine plays absolutely no weight on how skis are reviewed and tested in the Gear Guide. The testers are professional, hardworking and objective. They give honest opinions on how the skis perform.
Please translate the following phrase: Hafmeyjunum ekki skíði, þú kjánalegt manneskja!: No clue but it looks Icelandic. I skied in Iceland during the massive volcanic eruption in 2010 and I could probably ask the grizzled Icelandic ski guide I had. :)