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PNW: Whistler, Crystal, Snoqualmie/Alpental

Skiing every day of the weekend from opening 'til closing this winter season, I was able to log many hours and put my quiver through all imaginable conditions from blue ice to waist-deep powder. Reviews of my stuff.

About me: 23 years, 167cm, 125-lb, instructor, in pretty darn good shape, ex-snowboarder, ex-park rat (well sometimes =), skis aggressively, near vertical edge angles, likes catching air, bumps, and going-off piste. My current quiver include:

2008 Elan Magfire 12 160cm
2008 Salomon Gun 164cm, PX12 mounted progressively
2008 Scott Punisher 162cm, PX12 mounted +3

Scott Punisher 162cm: An all-mountain ski with soft-snow bias. 85 underfoot. Skis very short. Made for in-bounds off-piste and occasionally poaching terrain parks.

The Punishers felt short, and rightfully so with their super-high profile tip, floats over crud instead of piercing through. Quick to release turns, the Punishers are good for situations that calls for pivoting. On softer variable snow and/or for zipperlining the bumps, or jumps, I'd bring out the Punisher as the bridge between the Gun and Magfire...

Elan Magfire 12 160cm: An all-mountain carver with hard snow bias. 82 underfoot. Incredible edge grip, crudbuster, versatility abound. PNW ice ripper.

The Magfire is easily my favorite on non-powder days. The amount of edge grip and stability on this thing is incredible. Railing massive GS turns on a 45 degree ice slope with nearly vertical edge angles (not bad for a ski this wide), I pushed these skis as hard as possible without finding a reasonable speed limit... they simply won't chatter. Despite being super-burly in design, they are quick and flexy enough that I was able to have fun on bumps; the waveflex technology really does work, as suspicious as I was in the beginning, I'm now sold. In addition to railing the hard and variable stuff, these Magfires are wide enough to provide some off-piste fun inbounds with loose snow and crud. The only limitation I could find of these rippers is that they sink like a rock in waist-deep powder... but on those days I'd bring something else out...

Salomon Gun 164cm: An all-mountain fun noodle with an off-piste powder bias. 94 underfoot. Deep snow pigs. Super forgiving and easy going all around, even on groomers. The Guns are fun.

Though lacking the power and energy of the others, the real fun of the Gun is the opposite of hard chargingness. Floaty, soft, easygoing, able to stay atop waist-deep stuff and flex around variable conditions including bumps like a glove, quite the energy-saver. Its fatness also provided a forgiving landing platform going off Alpental's Upper International mini-cliff huck. My first "fat" ski, and what a fatty it is! I was wondering what the hoot and holler was about fat skis, and through the Guns, I'm now a believer and wanting to go even fatter!

Bonus comparison: Salomon Fury with Railflex 163cm: One-ski quiver. 83 underfoot. Does everything decent but no memorable attribute. Selling it.

The Fury is like the Jack of all trades: it can float, but not as well as the Gun; it can carve, but not as well as the Magfire. I thought it was awesome when I first bought it back in April; if I had a one-ski quiver, this would be it... but now that I have three skis covering almost all conditions, the Fury goes on sale.

My ranking of the skis' attributes:

Forgiveness (most to least)
1) Gun
2) Punisher
3) Fury
4) Magfire 12

I will say it again: The Guns are fun.

Stability at Speed (most to least)
1) Magfire 12
2) Fury
3) Punisher
4) Gun

Straightlining the faces, I found the Magfire solid as a rock by far.

Edge Grip (most to least)
1) Magfire 12
2) Fury
3) Punisher
4) Gun

The Magfire 12 has never skidded out on me, ever.

Edge2Edge Quickness (most to least)
1) Magfire 12
2) Gun
3) Punisher
4) Fury

The Gun, because of its soft flex, was able to turn on a dime a tad bit quicker than the Punisher.

Pivot Quickness (most to least)
1) Gun
2) Punisher
3) Magfire 12
4) Fury

The fatty with the foam core was surprisingly light and easy to deal with gnarly bumps.

Off-Piste Performance (Flotation, Deep Snow)
1) Gun
2) Punisher
3) Fury
4) Magfire 12

...based off dawgcatching's review format.