Testing conditions at Mammoth were “selective”, if you stayed on the wind buff, it felt typical Mammoth, but anything past that, was downright scary. The shiny that you see in these pictures is glaze from the past storm and had to be avoided to protect life and limb, if you did that you were rewarded with some fine test snow. The morning was beautiful but as the day went on and temps rose, it got a bit soft so I skied the narrower skis in the AM and went wider as the day progressed.
70-80mm Frontside, Hard Snow Bias:
Bliz Power S8 174cm (all new): This was another surprise ski for me, I was amazed how well this held and how solid this ski reacted especially for being just a 174cm. Blizzards in this range have always been smooth but lacked pop, not the S8, this was like a playful puppy.
Bliz Power RC 172cm (all new): I had no intentions on getting on this ski but the rep talked me into it because he said it is a very important ski for them because it is a “world ski”, a frontside ski that is as important in Europe as it is here. So be it. What impressed me about this ski was it’s price point, $799 with binding, thats pretty good for a ski with this hard snow feel along with being mounted with a solid 12DIN binding at a price point where most ski companies take a shortcut.
Elan Amphibio 16 T12 Fusion 172, 178cm (all new): This was one of the big surprises of the show for me. Elan has been working with the Amphibio design for a number of years now and now they wend from a 2D inside outside camber design to a 4D which brings the construction in to complete the design. Elan has taken the titanal in the core and on the forebody of the ski and make it convex then on the tail made the titanal convex. All of this is visual when you see the ski in person but it still comes down to how the it skis and theses skis ski fantastic. Of all the skis in this category, these were my favorite. These skis just felt glued to the snow. I skied the 172 in Colorado and the 178 at Mammoth.
Dynastar Omegas Pro 171/178cm (all new); The first Course Pro was one of my favorite skis, the recent generations, not so much, these new ones are closer in feel to the early ones, they make a nice round shape with out needing to be an ex world cup racer. Dynastar does what all manufacturers should do with all their skis in the category, offer them with a regular race plate so you have a choice of binding options.
Head Rally 177cm (NGT): The Rally was my reference ski in this category, while it is a carry over in design and just new graphics, it is still one of the best skis offered. My long term test still stands.
Nordica FireArrow 80ti 180cm (all new): I really enjoyed the previous FireArrow but these new ones are just better. The current FA76ti with it’s snub nose and square tail gave it a full on race feel. the new 80Ti now has a more gradual tip and a bit of roundness in the shape of the tail making it easier to work through the turn without loosing what you would expect from a hard snow bias ski. Those who used to ski the old FireArrow 80 EDT should rejoice.
Rossignol Pursuit 800 177cm (all new): Gone is the Avenger series, gone are the two digit Pursuits 16, 18 ect. Rossignol has done a really good job with the shape of the new 600. 700 and 800 Pursuits specifically at the extremities of the shape. Where the previous generations of Rossi’s would lock you into a turn until you said uncle, the new Pursuit is much more forgiving ski and relaxed attitude ski. The 800 entered the turn with ease and but held through the apex of the turn and the new tail, being not at square as the old one released smooth when you wanted it to but still held as you would want a ski of this design to hold.
Scott The Ski Black Majic 178cm (carry over): I got out on this ski for two reasons, 1. It’s part of Scott’s Sun Valley Collection and I am a sucker for anything The Ski related and 2. It’s a damn fun ski. The Black Majic, like the Blizzard Latigo is an upper 70mm flat (non system) ski that should be apart of most skiers quiver. It is narrow, quick edge to edge and promotes good technical skiing with having to be on a hard snow specific ski.
Stockli Y Alpha Medium (all new): OK, this series of skis, Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta in Small. Medium and Large are bought on couple of criteria, on or off piste and short or long turn. The Alpha I skied was on piste, short turn in a medium. System is reminiscent of the old Salomon “Power Rating” sizing method, not the worst thing but it could be tough to understand and confuse the consumer. I would have been just as happy on a Laser AX.