Stowe had a demo day on Saturday. I didn't realize it was being held until I got to the mountain, but once I realized it was being held, I happily partook in the fun. I skied most things for only two runs. Conditions were firm (i.e., Eastern firm) groomers and fairly icy bumps.
Me: 6'2", 175 pounds, level 8.5 or so. I like skis with some "pop" and playfulness to them.
- Kastle FX84, 176cm: This has been reviewed a lot here on Epic. I found it to be really nimble -- I could effortlessly transition from short to medium to long radius turns. I didn't feel a whole lot of energy coming out of the turn. Oodles of edge grip. It took until the second trip through the bumps before I figured out how to ski it in bumps. I felt it was a good, if not spectacular, bump ski. Definitely worth another demo once more of the mountain opens up.
- Kastle MX83, 173cm: If you tend to view the mountain as a GS race course, this is your ski. I was having way too much fun railing medium to large to larger radius turns to bother taking it into bumps. Short turns felt like a lot of work. One newly opened trail was covered in death marbles and ice and I just flew down it. The transitions between different snow conditions just disappeared under my feet. If there's a speed limit, it's way, way, way above mine. I'd never purchase it, but for those that like swallowing up big chunks of vertical in a hurry -- it's worth a look.
- Blizzard Brahma, 173cm. Wow. (Full disclosure: I own the Brahma's little brother, the Bushwacker -- same shape, same length, different construction). It is often said that you can't have a ski that carves and handles bumps, as the requirements of the two are too different. Well, now you can. They hook up beautifully in the top of a carved turn and yet the edge can be released oh-so-easily in bumps. They have a tremendous amount of energy coming out of the turn. I could do nothing wrong on this ski. Just an awesome ride.
- Head Rev 85, 170cm. And then after trying the Brahma, I tried this. I just couldn't figure this ski out -- no energy, no nothing from the ski. I had a horrible time with this in the bumps -- the tails just kept getting caught. Like I said, I just couldn't figure this ski out. I was probably skiing it too short, but the "other" length I'd have considered was out, and after a pretty negative experience, I wasn't terribly interested in trying it again.
- Rossi Experience 88, 170cm. It wasn't exactly a bright sunshiny day, but right when I went to demo this, the light really went flat, to the point that I couldn't see much of anything. I skied this pretty tentatively, so it's probably not a very fair test. The most that I could really tell was that it was a nice, dependable, "no surprises" type ski. I think the sweet spot on this ski extends the entire length of the ski. Very easy going, but then again -- I was taking it easy. Probably not going to bother demo-ing it again given how much I liked the Brahma.
- Rossi Soul 7, 180cm. This was really a totally unfair test. Trails were totally scraped down hockey rinks. I was mostly curious to see how bad powder skis are on ice, and I got my answer. Bad. It wasn't bad to the point of "I'm going to die", but yeah... not my ski. At least not under those conditions.