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2006 Gear Guide

Features
posted: 10/27/2005



You're not attempting to hit terminal velocity on a make-believe GS course. But damned if you won't try to slice that corduroy into confetti. Enter the Carving Intermediate-softer and easier to handle than a Carving Expert, but by no means rubbery underfoot.

1) ATOMIC: IZOR 9:7
$849 (WITH BINDING); 116/72/102; 16 M

The Izor is the widest and shortest in this category-and it motors in and out of turns without a hiccup. Edge hold is superb, initiation is immediate, and it's easy to disengage and slide when you need to. GRIPES: Slightly demanding for an intermediate stick. PROPS: That demand makes the Izor a ski that encourages you to improve. TESTER'S TAKE: "Like a good lead-off hitter, the Izor has a great on-base percentage and inspires with its hustle." -Matt Redman

2) FISCHER: RX 6
$775 (WITH BINDING); 111/67/102; 13 M

The RX 6's light, strong carbon core creates a stable, easy-to-maneuver board that has very little torsional floppiness. Testers loved the RX 6's combination of energy-saving lightness and hard-snow liveliness. GRIPES: A bit more width would improve handling in crud. PROPS: Edge hold is phenomenal: It carves like a race ski on anything smooth-from packed powder to ice. TESTER'S TAKE: "Put me in a time warp and I could kick my own 20-year-old ass on this board." -Peter Nestor

3) K2: OMNI 5.5
$750 (WITH BINDING); 116/69/101; 15 M
BEST IN TEST

Testers raved about the Omni's "nuanced" edge grip. Translation: Edges could be feathered, and the ski could be carved easily at many different angles-turning wasn't an on-or-off experience. Plus, the sweet spot is huge, so staying balanced is easy. GRIPES: More of a cruiser than a quick turner; stay forward to nail short arcs. PROPS: A category-defining ski: carves like a dream and coaxes improvement out of you, but easily scrubs speed when you need it to. TESTER'S TAKE: "The Omnipotent ski for confident carving." -Becky MacLachlan

4) NORDICA: SUV 12.1
$895 (WITH BINDING); 115/70/99; 16 M

The X-Balance System (standard on all Nordica models) distributes pressure evenly throughout the ski during a turn. On the 12.1, it makes edging and pressuring adjustments easy to make from any stance. GRIPES: Tough to initiate turns at slower speeds. The X-Balance machinery seems to kick in at medium velocity. PROPS: A predictable, forgiving carver that likes speed. TESTER'S TAKE: "The 12.1 will take you over the ridge from Bachelor's Gulch to Birds of Prey." -Kevin Kaneda

5) Và–LKL: UNLIMITED S2
$650 (WITH BINDING); 112/68/99; 15.8 M

Considering its pedigree (see the reviews of Völkl's expert carvers, page 128), it's no surprise that the S2 is one of the best pure carvers in the category. It has nearly the same footprint as the 5 Star, but a slightly smaller tip means it hooks up less aggressively and is easy to steer. GRIPES: Stability deteriorates as speed increases. PROPS: A mellower flex and less torsional stiffness than racier Völkls make it forgiving and accessible. TESTER'S TAKE: "Like a retired rock star, the potential for outrageous behavior is there, but it's now in a more subtle, refined package." -Matt Redman

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