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2006 Gear Guide

posted: 10/27/2005

Looking for skis that'll let you knock the snot out of your buddies in the Wednesday-night beer leagues? Or do you just like speed? These skis lock into big-radius arcs like Six Flags roller coasters, and eat up corduroy and ice faster than you can say, "Stop the friggin' ride, Joey. I'm gonna boot."

$1,328 (WITH BINDING); 104/65/94; 19 M

The biting sounds emanating from the GS:11m as it chews its way through ice might make you imagine you're Bode or Hermann. It has the torsionally rigid feel of a World Cup race ski and executes tracklike carves across the fall line. GRIPES: Critical and unforgiving, especially when entering the turn. Needs a confident pilot to match. PROPS: More stable at top speed than any other ski we tested, even for the biggest skiers. TESTER'S TAKE: "Comments on this GS board? Dial 1-800-KICK-ASS." -Mike Britt

$1,300 (WITH BINDING); 103/66/88; 26 M

Slackers, beware. On early-morning glassy faces it has more tenacious gripping power than a set of crampons. And its preferred velocity will make you glad helmets were invented. GRIPES: Its beefy flex produces flawless medium and long turns, but it needs all the gas you've got. PROPS: Fast, stable, confident, and powerful. TESTER'S TAKE: "All the power you can handle and more." -Nicole Pelletier

$895; 107/65/94; 20 M

Best to ski the GSR with fresh legs: It's a speed-hungry stick with limitless top end. Perfect for heavier, power-oriented skiers, the GSR provides a damp, exhilarating ride and magnet-like edge grip. GRIPES: Best skied by those who resemble a fridge, or can lift one. PROPS: The buildup of energy during turns is scary, but if you can hold on, the acceleration is phenomenal. TESTER'S TAKE: "If this dawg fetches your paper or slippers, count on 'em being shredded." -Pete Webber

$1,079; 104/65/85; 24 M

The 9X's damp and balanced flex makes it accessible to young bucks and masters alike. Testers reported a smooth, refined feel that inspired confidence. GRIPES: If you're too far forward or back, it can feel as if you're overpowering the tip or tail. PROPS: You can feather turns without a thought. TESTER'S TAKE: "These are as tasty and satisfying as a $12 dessert." -Kalina Simeonova

$1,600 (WITH BINDING, NOT SHOWN); 105/66/89; 21 M

The manufacturer of many of the plate systems used on the World Cup is now making skis. The Race GS was exceptionally stable, but nimble enough to make quick directional changes. GRIPES: A soft flex makes the turn radius feel tighter than it really is. PROPS: One of the most maneuverable GS race boards. TESTER'S TAKE: "A stable pairing of power and finesse." -Jenn Gibbons

$1,200 (WITH BINDING); 110/67/96; 21 M

The Racetiger's power builds predictably through the turn and transitions smoothly to the next. Even at moderate speeds, it is so maneuverable that all its best qualities-edge hold, stability, flex-are accessible to any racer. GRIPES: At high speeds, bigger pros found a little more nervousness in the shovel than they wanted. PROPS: The best combo of power and pleasure in the category. TESTER'S TAKE: "Zen-like control through all phases of the turn." -Hilary Webb

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