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Heather’s top female skis for 2009-2010:
Blizzard Viva 7.6
Elan Speed Machine
Vist Super Front
Atomic Double Deck
Greg’s top skis for 2009-2010 Skis
Volkl AC 50
Blizzard G Force
Dynastar Course 4X4
How we reviewed the best skis for 2010:
I am a kid in a candy store. It’s a bluebird ski day and I have about 900 skis to try at the snowy base of Stratton Mountain. The annual On Snow Demo assembles the top ski companies flaunting next winter’s skis, snowboards, boots, and goggles. You walk from tent to tent where technicians set you up on next year’s gear, you can take them for a spin or two.
I would love to tell you tried ‘em all, but in two days I sampled 26 pair of skis, enough to make my head spin. Without getting too technical, here’s what I learned.
First, you need to narrow down what type of ski you want. Each manufacturer has its own exhaustive line from all mountain ski to frontside carver to freestyle twin tip and park ski, to big mountain fat ski and powder ski with reverse camber (aka: rocker ski).
A common misnomer is that if you ski the whole mountain, all the trails on the map, you need an all mountain ski. Not necessarily, if you stick primarily to groomed surfaces you want a frontside carver. However, if you spend as much time in the glades, moguls and powder, then an all mountain ski may be the ticket- since it is wider under foot, throughout the shovel and tail. An all mountain ski won’t be as precise when it comes to carving but it offers the advantage of being a one ski solution for all the terrain you plan to tackle.
Another mistake folks make is insisting on a twin tip when they have no intention of riding “switch,” a.k.a.: backwards.
I focused my ski samplings on the new women’s ski for 2009-2010 while my husband Greg took on the best new men’s ski line up. I am tickled to report the women’s skis are worthy, no longer just a softer, pinker version of the men’s (now called unisex to be more p.c.).
I did not encounter a bad ski (see my favorites list, and Greg’s picks), although there was one I didn’t like, (sorry K-2, no Burnin’ Love for me) and one that was not properly tuned.
That’s the other pearl I can share, the tune of the ski is key. As Jeremy Nobis said, “I’d rather ski on a bad ski with a good tune, than a good ski with a bad tune.” Nobis, a former US Ski Team member and ski film star, was at the show representing Dynastar.
Nobis then told me, “I don’t sharpen my edges skiing at home in Utah’s powder, but here in the East you have to have a good tune.” Rub it in dude. Until you can afford next year’s gear, have your skis or snowboard tuned.