So in my quest to find a good frontside ski for an aggressive skier, I took a little time out this morning to demo 6 different ski's at a local hill. The hill opened at 10 and I knew I'd have to be outta there by 1:30, so I knew I'd be pushing it. Warning: For those of you who like to hear about every little nuance of a ski during a review, please, stop reading my review now and save yourself some frustration. My assessment of ski's is pretty basic: They either do what I want them to do, or they don't, and for the most part, that is about all the information I will be able to share, given my brief time on each ski (4-5 runs apiece). My boots are Lange Comp 110's.
The ski's I tested today were: 1) Atomic Redster Doubledeck GS in 174 cm's. 2) Volkl Racetiger GS in 175 cm's. 3) Rossignal Radical GS Master in 180 cm's. 4) K2 AMP Bolt in 182 cm's. 5) Head WC Rebels Ispeed in 175 cm's. 6) Salomon Enduro XT 800. I only tested the Salomon because the older fellow in the rental department asked me if I'd ski it and compare it to the "race ski's" for him.
Testing done in Minnesota on a groomed runs, 5-10 degrees F this a.m. A few smaller ice patches, but nothing to really test the true ice-worthiness of each ski, however, given the ski category, I'm sure they are all capable. We've only gotten around 8 to 10 inches total so far this year, so no mogul run available yet, however my take on ski's for 30 years running has always been - if I can make nice snappy turns on the groomed runs, I can ski moguls in them as well (works for me).
About me: 47 y.o., strong advanced/expert (it's the internet, I can say whatever I want, but it this case, I just might be telling the truth), prefer to ski aggressive (don't we all?).
1) Atomic Redster GS: This is the only ski that felt "stiff" to me, however anyone with a decent amount of athleticism (and some skill) would ski this ski just fine. I don't know if this ski felt stiff due to my weight, or lack thereof, and that I might be better suited to a 165-170 length, but this was the length they had, so I strapped it on with no arguments and found the lift line. It was easy enough to make quick turns and was extremely stable during hard GS turns. It definitely would pop me out of an aggressive turn, but I suspect I didn't have the weight to really push this ski. I was limited on time and didn't test it at mach speed, but my guess is this ski (as well as all the other GSers) would be stable at speed. The gentlemen who ran the rental area told me his racing pal preferred this ski to all the others. He was 70, which I'm assuming is too old to lie about such matters.
2) Volkl Racetiger GS: This ski felt much lighter (as did all the rest of the ski's) compared to the Atomic. Very easy to ski, very easy to snap off a bunch of tight turns (think bump skiing without the bumps). Felt very stable throughout GS-style turns. Would definitely snap you out of turns nicely. Fun ski.
3) Rossignal Radical GS: I only tried this ski because the demo pass that I paid for entitled me to 5 ski's and there were only 4 others that I wanted to ski, so I thought I'd give this one a try. Pretty much everything that I stated about the Racetiger applies to the Rossi GS. It ski'd very light compared to the Atomic. Easy for slalom and GS-style turns. Pretty good snap coming out of turns.
4) K2 AMP Bolt: I was pleasantly surprised with this ski, as I thought I probably wouldn't like it due to some reviews I read. Nope. It is a nice ski that does everything I want in a frontside ski. I'll sum it up like this: I really couldn't tell much difference between this ski and the Volkl and Rossi.
5) Head WC Rebels: Another fun ski to be on. A lot of snap coming out of turns; a couple time when I really dug into the hill, it flat-out smacked me back - and I liked it! Again, everything I look for in a front side ski, this one had it in spades!
I think if someone had each ski painted the same color and numbered them 1 - 4, I'd have a hard time coming up with a favorite between the Volkl, Rossi, K2 and Head. If I were given any one of the four, I'd be happy. They're all good ski's in my estimation. The Atomic had a little too-stiff feeling for me, so I knew it wasn't going to be a match, which was kind of surprising as I thought this was going to be the ski for me going into it (reading reviews online, you know).
6) Salomon Enduro XT: This ski felt much lighter than all the others and for me, it's just not a "feeling" that I would gravitate towards - not that it's bad, just not my cup 'o tea. I took a couple runs on this ski and it did everything well, but just didn't feel as "substantial" as the others. I really laid into some hard turns and it really held it's own. I think this would be an ideal ski for someone who is just a little less aggressive overall. I know it's designed as a all-mountain ski and in that respect, I'm sure it's a true winner - I just don't look at ski's through that prism.
I really liked ski's 2 through 5. I just liked the Head's a little more than the others. Please don't ask me to reduce it to specifics because in all honesty, I can't. I was basically looking to find a little shorter ski (than my Salomon Crossmax 10's in 185), for maybe just a smidge less work in the moguls but yet one that I could rip all day long on the hardpack. If I feel that I have anything else I can ad after a dozen or so outings, I'll ad an update in the future (I bought them today).