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posted: 08/01/2005
by Ben Hewitt

Rossignol Delta Course Classic $249
Rossignol's Delta Classic delivers top- rung performance at a middle-rung price. In fact, these are among the liveliest classic sticks I've skied. Thanks go to Rossi's Active Cap construction, which helps the tips and tails follow minute terrain contours.

GRIPES: The energetic Rossis demand attention: They'll put you on your tail if you're not on your game.

PROPS: Because these skis receive the same base prep as Rossi's race boards, they're screaming fast right out of the box. (Available in a waxless version.)

Rossignol Max Classic $159
Kicking and gliding doesn't place as much lateral force on the ankle as skate skiing does, so classic boots are lower, with less ankle support and a more flexible midsole. The Max's fit is hard to beat, especially if you spend a few moments dialing in the thermo-mold liner.

GRIPES: The boot's only compatible with NNN bindings, which are solid but lack fast-guy cachet.

PROPS: Heel and instep locks make on-trail adjustments quick and easy.

Rottefella NNN R3 Classic $85
Rottefella's NNN R3 Classic features a low-profile design that keeps your boot in close contact with the ski, improving power transfer and stability.

GRIPES: Salomon's excellent classic boots aren't compatible with NNN.

PROPS: Interchangeable flexors let you "tune the binding to your tastes: Stiffer for more power transfer; softer for a forgiving kick.

Exel Spectra Evolution $119
Like their skating cousins, the best classic poles strike a balance between stiffness and low swing weight. The 60/40 carbon-fiberglass composite Evolutions are surprisingly stiff, and the weight penalty isn't as noticeable with a shorter plant.

GRIPES: You could make faster plants with a lighter stick.

PROPS: Great price—it's easy to spend twice as much on a pole.

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