Products tested: 2014 Atomic Access 171 cm and Rossignol Sin 7 172 cm
Dimensions/Turn Radius: Access 128.5/100/120.5 @ 18.1 m Sin 7 128/98/118 @ 15.9
Camber: Access rocker/camber/rocker 20%/70%/10% Sin 7 50% rocker 50% camber
Binding: Access Salomon Z12 demo Sin 7 Rossignol PX12 demo
Mounting point: both on manufacturers recommended line
Location of test: Vail
Number of runs: full day on each
Conditions: Access - crusty snow in the morning that softened some in the afternoon; Sin 7 - ankle to shin deep powder in the morning that turned to crud in the afternoon
Demo or Own: demo
User name: ldrjax
Height/Weight: 5'8" 155 lbs
Skiing days/season: 15 to 20 (used to ski more, moved to Florida 22 years ago)
Years skiing: 45+
Aggressiveness: moderately aggressive
Current quiver: Rossignol S3
Home area: Vail
Preferred terrain: trees, bumps, powder
I was in Aspen a month ago and it seemed everyone was on Kastles, particularly the MX88. In Vail the most popular skis (I assume most were rentals, as were the Kastles in Aspen) were the Access and the Sin 7. For some background, I own the S3, and have been skiing it since the 2009, I think, maybe 2008. It was my first rockered ski, and I have used it as a daily-driver in Colorado. It lacks some on the groomers, but really shines in the soft snow, powder, trees and bumps. In spite of it's relatively tight turn radius it seems to work well for my me and my traditional technique. As much as I love the S3 I wouldn't mind a ski just a touch stiffer, and with a little less rocker, particularly in the tail. The new S3 (Sin 7) and the Access were available for test, and seemed to fit the bill.
I tested the Access first. The day started off sunny and cool (the previous day was probably about 45 degrees for the high), and the snow was crusty in the morning and softened some in the afternoon. My first impression, holding the ski, was for a relatively inexpensive ski it seemed well-made, and the Salomon demo bindings may be lighter than my non-demo PX12s. I skied mainly groomers in the morning. The Access has less rocker and a longer running surface than my S3s of a similar length, and this was evident as they held a better edge on the groomers and seemed more stable at speed, though I don't ski really fast. After lunch conditions had softened, so I skied some of the un-groomed areas of the Back Bowls, and some bumps. The Access is somewhat stiffer than my S3s and so, no surprise, was better in the crud, but was not so stiff that it wasn't fun in the bumps. Overall, I liked this ski a lot. I like the 100 mm waist as a daily-driver in Colorado. I liked the mix of camber and rocker, and it was stiffer than my S3, but not stiff. Perfect for a light-weight like me. This ski can be had at I really low price; I can see why Philpug had it as one of his "steals".
Two days later I tested the Sin 7. As I said above, I own the original version of the S3, and I really like it, but wish it were slightly stiffer, had a little less rocker, particularly in the tail. Enter the Sin 7. First impression is that I like the simple top sheet, and these demo PX12s are really heavy. It snowed about 11" in the previous 24 hours, and now the sun is out. I started off skiing as much un-touched snow as I could find. As with my S3, a 98 mm waist is plenty to float my 155 lbs. By 11:00 or so most of the powder was crud, so I hit the trees, then some groomers and bumps. As I expected the Sin 7 was better on the groomed and crud than my S3, presumably due to less rocker, particularly in the tail, and added stiffness. However, I didn't really feel like it gave away anything in the bumps or trees.
Conclusions: I would have no problem skiing my S3 into the ground. I really enjoy the ski. As I said above, I wish it were a little stiffer, and has a little less rocker. I liked both of these skis, and either one of them could be that replacement for my S3s. I also saw a lot of rental Soul 7s, and I contemplated doing a demo. I just don't think I need 107 mm under foot on a daily basis. I would have liked to try something from the Salomon Q series, but the 98 was only available in longer or shorter sizes than I need. There were also a lot of K2s out on the mountain, but nothing available in that 90 to 98 mm waist width available for demo at the shop I went to. Ditto for Volkl.