I supose a patroller would have to read between the lines to discern the info he needs. It is aimed at the sport/recreation skier and highlights the information needed by someone like me; that's part of it, but not all. Having reviews from last year and giving the "straight" goods is what I like.
1) Speed limits.
I, about a year ago, knowing nothing much about skis, nor exactly how I fit in to the scheme of things level-wise, modern technique, the short-shape revolution or anything else (I think I've learned something from this forum; as soon as my wife recovers from my subscribing to realskiers.com I' fork over a membership) go to rent skis for my daughter. I don't know what to say about her ability, but she seems to ski all-right on the blues to me, she's nowhere as adept as I am and I'm (being a humble CANADIAN member of this forum
)nowhere near an expert. For me it's easy I rent RX8 'cause SSH said I should try 'em. Besides I've been blasting everything in sight with SG racing skis for umpteen years; I can handle whatever you throw at me. For her I know she is going to ski at a fairly good clip compared to other people, but not what I would call fast; I still have to wait for her and I'm not even trying to go fast. I've heard that Head make some pretty good-performing skis and she is a woman, so I get these head lightning things. The shop seems to think they are appropriate for an intermediate as described above. She has difficulty, and decides "more advanced" skis are not for her. I see her struggling with rentals and suggest she try something like a Rossi 9S oversize or Equipe (which I find perform ok and are very very forgiving imho). She doesn't want to try an Oversize 9S; the Head Lightning was scary enough. I assume that maybe she had too much ski; what do I know
:. I Look at the review on Keelty's sight, and see a warning about the low speed limit on the demo ski she tried out. BINGO. Why didn't Ski Canada, Ski, or any other mag tell me these would wash out and rattle like a set of castonets on crack at 25 mph? I remember being told the old chicken hart dynastar comp slaloms were stable because of the damper thingy, I took a pair up to SG speeds one day, just to see if it was true. Since I knew what I was doing, I can only imagine how my daughter felt on a steep (for her) black with those abortions on her feet
This year the ratings include a "works best at" speed range. I demo SX10 and find it has a speed limit above which it does not operate effectively, a lower effective limit than an Equipe SC or SX11. Someone else posts that is not the case. I figure "bad tune" or trashed demo, and demo it again. Same results
:. Not surprising if one can count; 11 is more than 10. Keelty seems to agree that the 10 has more than the 11. I think the limit is higher, but at least he shows the difference.
3) Choosing skis
I recently go into a ski store and ask what ski for my daughter, for hard snow and ice, skis faster than the majority of skiers on the hill, carves most turns, but when the going gets hairy (blacks) she has diffuculty, won't even attempt double blacks, even on supposedly more stable longer rentals, but really for some reason liked Balanze 11. I do not buy skis; suggestions do not match up with what Keelty's reviews say about the skis; they do not have the same performance characteristics as a BALANZE 11. A burning Love was not suggested, but would have been more suitable, as would a Head I Monster 72, or possibly a Wild Thang (If I can ever get her on a pair of Heads again). By comparing what he says about skis I know I understand what he is saying about the other skis.
Keelty's reviews follow approximately the levels used in ski schools, and the appropriate symbol is placed beside each ski. Magazines and manufactures tend to overrate their skis skill requirements. Keelty even has a few symbols to take into account the people who are very proficient in "old-style" technique. I don't know if I totally agree with the number of skiing days/years it takes to reach a certain level, and I didn't follow the normal path in developing my skills, but I can understand what he means when he describes the ski.
The reviews of the rentals she has been on explain a lot, she will be skiing on Balanze 11s, Burning Loves, or some other similar ski.
Any good reviewer, doesn't tell you what he liked and didn't like, he tells you why. If he liked it because it worked so well in deep pow even though it was maybe not so good on hard ice, I know that it is not the best ski for Ontario. He doesn't just pick them he tells you a lot of information about the ski that you can use to make help up your own mind.