soooo...had manufacturers test days this week organised by the shop i work at..first day (wednesday) was about 5" of light fluff in the AM overtop of hard pack. when the fluff got tracked up we had soft light lumps with hard packed patches in between...as lunch hit it started coming down fairly hard and the afternoon was just awesome. thursday we had perfectly groomed hard packed corduroy in AM which got fairly lumped up by lunch, and then got nailed with a good amount of snow in the afternoon. all in all perfect conditions to test skis as we really saw it all, except full on ice.
head-not much changed for these guys. the peak series skis are sort of an amalgamation of the xenon and the monster...some of them are based off the monster constuction and some the xenon apparently...the test xenon ones werent ready so they had us on the xenon 10 from this year. i was pleasantly surprised by the 9 last year and id say that the 10 didnt disappoint. it seems to ski way above the skier its intended for and is super easy to ski. the new chip 78 i wasnt a fan of. not sure if it was the tune but it felt like skiing on marbles. super heavy and 0 confidence from that. conversely i was pleasantly surprised by the chip 71, which iirc shares the same footprint as the ss magnum. i tried it in a 170 and found it to be very nimble and quick. wasnt really blown away by much else. really enjoyed the ispeed and the isl world cup, but again...nothing new there.
fischer-unf. i was in the fisher group the morning of the groomers...would have loved to have tried some of the wateas when we actuall had snow. tried the 78, 94, and 101 waists, all in 186-ish length. all felt very heavy and overly damp. again, not the best conditions for those skis, but even still...the 78 felt like a dead plank and my everyday ski is an 80mm waist...also took a few rips on the gc and sc detuned racey skis. the gc was nice but i really wasnt feeling the sc at all. i didnt get a chance to try the progressor 9 last year, and it took me a run or so to get used to it. not sure how i feel about it. some turns i thought it was awesome some it felt like i was on rollerblades. i think id need to live with it for a few days.
atomic-lots of cool new stuff here. doubledeck race skis were wicked cool. the gs was fun but the sl was....wow. simply the best retail slalom ski i think ive ever had on my feet. unreal. super energetic but yet strangely easy to ski. seemed like the kind of thing that a LOT of peoplw could hop on and have a good time, racing or no. also saw some new oversize sandwich detuned race skis which apparently are around to compete with the cs70/cx80 etc...ran out of time before i had a chance with them though. hopped on the 82 waist of both the vario cut and vario flex. vario flex was fun. very stable and damp and smooth. vario cut i still wasnt nuts about...i just dont like the feel of it, but its a lot better than the prototype i tried last year. also tried the nomads which are more or less unchanged.
salomon-lots of new here too. tornado ti is updated with a new wider shape (79 underfoot) and 2 new sheets of metal in it. also a lab version of it with the full on race plate and a z14 lab binding. liked the lab version a lot...amazing the diference a good plate can make. you can just frigging tramp on the ski if you want and it just stays...x wing storm seems to be the replacement for the 10, which is always a really big ski for us. from what i can see the storm is more or less the tornado from like 3 years ago...same shape, same wood, no pulsepad. its going to be a great hit at the pricepoint its at. one of my favourites from the 2 days was the 24 hrs. its some weird variable radius (13-15-17m) ski..no idea if that baloney works, but the ski ripped. half monocoque, half sandwich construction (hello dualtec) that REALLY felt awesome and snappy and bouncy. loved it for short turns, also liked for longer and i only was able to try in a 170. i am a big dude...well over 6' and around 200 lbs..doing long turns on a 170 isnt something i normally like but this was actually ok. also tried the new beefed up fury (2 layers of ti)and the retail gs ski, which was ok.
rossi-cs70 and 80 are back, which is cool. gone are the zenith series, in are the avenger. we tried two models labeled avenger 82, but i think one was just a test graphic, as one (the carbon) definitely looked narrower underfoot than the other. the carbon one seems to replace the z6 and is a touch softer. it seemed to be a weird combo of more damp but yet not as stable, which i didnt like. the cooler one was the 82 ti, which actually looked 82 underfoot and had 2 layers of metal in it. great ski for a decent skier. nice edge grip, nice feel, nice balanced platform underfoot. i can see this doing really well next year.
volkl-always good times from these guys. i think the hit of the week was the tigershark 11ft. its a 76mm waisted cross between the 10ft and 12 ft. and it has the new, improved switch on it. switch or not this ski rocked. super lively, incredibly turny, rocking edge grip, very easy to change turn shape and good stability even at speed..... and all that from a 168!!! new ac30 as well...little wider underfoot (80mm) and new wideride binding. as with the difference between ac40 and 50 the ski is wider but with that binding you dont notice any sluggishness. ac50 and grizzly were unchanged and my legs were pooched at this point so i didnt hit anything else up
k2-really liked the explorer and recon...nothing new here just somewhat ugly new graphics. first chance ive had to ski the recons and tbh i was very impressed with how they dealt with me. i was only able to try a 170 and it was super fun. reminded me a bit of the old salomon x-screams...like little trampolines that just rocket you from turn to turn. hideous graphic though that will make it a tough sell to the average consumer.
thats about all i got.