February 25, 2013

Salomon Rocker 2 108

Salomon Rocker 2 108

Salomon’s Rocker 2 108 returns for the 2013-2014 season as your go-to “everyday powder ski,” replacing Salmon’s excellent but highly specialized Czar. Compared to the Czar, we get undeniably better versatility in the Rocker 2, though perhaps at the cost of some of the Czar’s deep-snow magic. Both skis employ twin tip designs, adding park rider playfulness and looseness in the tail, and both skis (more…)

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February 23, 2013

K2 Backdrop

K2 Backdrop

K2’s touring-oriented Backdrop feels a lot like a big, heavy, in-bounds powder specialist. But surprise: the ski weighs only eight pounds per pair. The good news, then, is that the Backdrop does indeed fall into exactly the same category as skis like Volkl’s Nunataq or Black Diamond’s Justice—it’s a wide-bodied floater, tuned for powder performance at a touring-capable weight. In fact, the Backdrop gives you more (more…)

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February 18, 2013

Nordica Patron

Nordica Patron

Nordica’s much-heralded Patron Freeski/Big Mountain ski returns unchanged for the 2013-2014 season—it’s still a powder-devouring monster. Whether or not the Patron is a good or even great ski is not the question. What you should be asking is whether or not it’s the right ski for you. I can’t help thinking the Patron and I just didn’t meet under the right circumstances. We got acquainted on a sunny day (more…)

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February 17, 2013

DPS Wailer 99

DPS Wailer 99

A key task of an All-Mountain ski is dealing with challenging conditions. By that standard, DPS’s Wailer 99 is a big success, even a class leader. This is the ski you want to be riding on those days when the mountain seems committed to making you look bad. The Wailer is a tough snow specialist, employing experimental, non-traditional geometry (let’s call it “bent French Fry” tip and tail rocker) that makes the ski (more…)

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February 16, 2013

Dynastar Cham HM 97

Dynastar Cham HM 97

Dynastar’s oddly-shaped Cham 97 returns unchanged for the 2013-2014 season, in both standard (metal) and High Mountain (Paulownia) editions. The High Mountain versions of the Cham line were initially sold as touring-oriented skis. However, following their debut season, Dynastar realized skiers were finding the metal-free HM models to be outstanding (more…)

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February 14, 2013

K2 Bolt

K2 Bolt

K2 makes an unexpected but welcome return to the Thrill-Ride category with the Bolt, flagship of their 2013-2014 Precision/Piste ski series. The Bolt is in many ways similar to Nordica’s Fire Arrow EDT: both skis employ design elements stolen directly from their superhuman world cup race stock relatives, blended with cutting-edge technological advances plus of course modern ski geometry—ie, rocker (more…)

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February 13, 2013

Nordica Fire Arrow EDT

Nordica Fire Arrow EDT

The Fire Arrow tradition continues with Nordica’s flagship Fire Arrow 84 EDT EVO, an absolute screamer of a high-level carving ski. Compared to previous Fire Arrow models, the 2013-2014 EDT reduces sidecut, adds tip and arguably a bite of tail rocker, and delivers a ride that is unquestionably drawn directly from the race room. I think we have to consider the Fire Arrow EDT as basically a new species of ski (more…)

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February 12, 2013

Dynastar Chrome 78 Pro

Dynastar Chrome 78 Pro

Is the era of rockerless skis finally over? Dynastar’s tip-rockered 2013-2014 Chrome 78 Pro replaces one of the very last holdouts, the thrilling Speed Course Ti. Debuting for the 2013-2014 season, the Chrome Pro is part of a new all on-trail ski series designed to offer expert and even elite-level carving performance by updating Dynastar’s race-stock Speed-series skis with modern geometry (more…)

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February 9, 2013

SIA 2013: The New Skis

SIA 2013: The New Skis

As usual it was a fast and furious few days at this year’s SIA Snow Show in Denver. I did manage to get on an exhausting personal-best 19 pairs of skis during the Winter Park on-snow demo—reviews pending. And I also got a sense of where the ski makers are headed for the upcoming 2013-2014 season. But first, the big question: should you buy a new pair of skis? (more…)

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January 22, 2013

Lange XT 130

Lange XT 130

Lange officially enters the Alpine Touring market with the XT 130, a Freeride ski boot offering excellent downhill performance plus a first-ever Lange walk mode. Admittedly the XT 130 lies at the severe edge of the Touring category—it weights over nine pounds per pair, and its walk mode is limited—but there is still quite a thrill to be had putting your foot into an actual Lange ski boot and finding a walk mode switch (more…)

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