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During a week's holiday in Val D'Isere, France, I managed to try out 5 different skis with a view to buying for next holiday. Initially was thinking of trying SL orientated skis since I like short turns. However I also like cruising at high speeds and skis that are stable in a straight line so with SL-based skis now made very short (unlike my old Volkl P9 RSLs) I realised that is was better for me to either go for skicross or GS based skis instead given that I am 182 cm and 92 kg.

Areas tested- Olympic and world cup downhill runs, large mogul fields, moderate powder, long blue and green runs, moderate reds with small moguls

Rossignol 9X Oversize- Length 175 cm, Turn radius ?16 m. This is a ski with probably the best response and feel to it. It is surprisingly versatile, being quite happy to venture into powder as well as staying on the groomed runs. It always does what you tell it too, being quite happy to change direction or turn radius at any time. It is best at when carving on flat runs of medium steepness where it locks onto the edge and you can pretty much touch the slope with your hand on the way, a lot of fun. The disadvantage is that the edge hold on ice can sometimes falter when pushed and it gets a little wobbly in a straight line at high speed

K2 Apache Crossfire- Length 174 cm, Turn radius 16 m- A very unique ski as far as I am concerned in that it is soft with a smooth ride and probably the best ski in slushy uneven snow at the end of the day but also has one of the best edge grips and stablility at speed that is better than the 9X oversize and the Skiercross. It is not an all out carver in that you have a wide choice of turn patterns. The only real downer is that because of that it is not quite as much fun to ski as those that lock on the edge more. A great ski that is best at safely getting me through all conditions

Atomic SX 12- Length 174 cm, turn radius 18m. This ski is a bit like driving a high speed train, you stay on rails! Probably the fastest ski of the lot and has an edge lock like a razor when carving long turns. However this ski very much wants to be your master, it will not respond to being asked to do short turns- the edges will not grip in the same way and the ski will skid and it gives quite a rough ride off piste. Not versatile enough for me.

Dyanastar Skiercross- Length 182cm, turn radius ?18m Don't like this ski at all. Possibly related to the fact that I tested it too high in 182 cm but it really did not respond to what I wanted to do with it and the edge grip and stability were not better than the others.

Salomon Equipe GC Race- Length 170cm, turn radius 14.8 m This ski was tested out in quite poor conditions with a mix of ice and powder and low visiblity. I was glad that they performed very well. The faster you go for some reason the more edge grip you get which is always reassuring and they responded well to a variety of turn shapes on the flatter surfaces. I was able to go fast down a steepish red with a right mix of snow conditions and visiblity and they were holding their line very well even on ice. They were actually more stable at speed than the 9x oversize and Skiercross despite the 170 cm length. Need a bit more skier input than the K2s and 9X oversize in moguls/slush. Unfortunately the shop that I may eventually buy my ski from stocks the Crossmax V12 rather than the Equipe GC Race but I've heard that they are both very similar.

So all in all my top two skis were the K2 and the Equipe GC. Since the 178 cm version of the Equipe GC and Crossmax V12 still has a reasonably 16.2m turn radius I am very tempted to try out the Crossmax V12 in 178 cm length on the first day of my next holiday and buy it if it's acceptable, if not to then buy the K2 Apache Crossfire in 174 cm length.