We just spent the week at Snowbird testing next years skis. We know, skiing the new hotness all day sounds like the world's best week in the office, but we promise it's hard work. And our hot tub debrief sessions made the work days even longer.
Here's how it went down:
We skied between 13 and 20 skis each day, and, despite the fact that the conditions weren't particularly cooperative (What's up, one-inch powder day), we put them through their paces. We lapped the Bird's Gadzoom lift, which gave us access to everything from open groomers to mandatory-straightline chutes. Each ski got skied over a variety of terrain, with a focus on what it was designed for.
Our crew of testers, who range from former racers to freesking world tour athletes to ski patrollers, fill out a test card on every ski. They rank skis based on test categories ranging from forgiveness to stability at speed, but they also give us their written opinion of each ski. For instance, if a certain ski turns like a noodle, or is impossible to get on edge, we hear about it in great detail.
So, what's the verdict on 12-13? We have to crunch the numbers and results will be posted in our gear guide next fall, but we did notice brands playing with different ammounts of rocker and camber, and we skied a lot of versatile fat skis that held up well on firm snow. Plus, this year we saw a really strong crop of ladies skis.
"Women's skis in general have gotten so much better, no one is shrinking and pinking it anymore," says tester Quincy Young. "I was really impressed."