Ski Diva Extraordinaire
2021-2022 Rossignol, Atomic, Salomon, and Head Demo Day
Kris: 55 year old heavyweight who prefers finesse and technique over power and has a love of high speeds and junky snow. Ex-PSIA level 2 instructor, league and Nastar racer.
Chet: 59 year old heavyweight who skis with power and speed. League and Nastar racer.
Solidly frozen groomers in the morning, softening through corn before lunch, and changing to scratch and deep slush bumps by early afternoon. Bright sunshine all day.
Skis listed in the order tested
Atomic Maverick/Maven 86c, 176 cm, 124.5-88-109.5, 18.2 radius: I asked the Atomic tent for something that would be zippy and fun on the early morning frozen groomers, and this is what they pulled out for me. I found the Maven to be a nimble ski and a solid performer with great grip and lots of zip. While the 176 cm length felt a tiny bit too short for me, they were fun and easy in medium and short turns, but required some finesse to excel at longer turns. The tips rolled easily into turns, and the tails held really well, but they still broke loose and skidded when asked. This would be a great ski for the advanced to expert skier who wants a capable all mountain ski that's also fun and easy, or an ambitious intermediate looking to up their game.
Salomon S/Force Ti.80, 177 cm, 128-80-112, 16 radius:Chet found this ski to be calm and grippy. He lauded its smooth nature, and found it held the turn really well, but remarked that it lacked any appreciable rebound. He felt it would be a great ski for beer league racers, since it didn't really punish the occasional lack of attention.
Head WC Rebels, e-SL 155 cm, 122-68-108, 10.7 radius: It's been years since I've been on anything as short as a 155 cm (my usual SLs are 165 cm), and I was a bit worried about keeping up with hubby, especially since he was on the e-Speed at the same time. From the very first turn, I couldn't help but laugh maniacally all the way to the bottom. This was the funnest ski I've been on in a very long time!! I couldn't wipe the grin off my face the whole time I was on them. They were even surprisingly stable in the sugar and death cookies that began to develop as the sun softened the snow surface, and they don't feel like full-blown race skis, either. For short turn lovers, these are the ticket!!!
Head WC Rebels e-Speed, 175 cm, 118-68-99, 16.9 radius: This was another Wheeeeeeee!!!! ski! Head has totally nailed this series of skis for groomers. I never did find a speed limit on these, no matter how hard I tried. This is a somewhat burly and stiff ski that stills breaks free easily when asked. Unlike the e-SL, though, it REALLY didn't like the developing sugar - it became increasingly cranky and got bogged down as the sugar got deeper. But for any speed demons that stay on the groomers (or as an addition to a quiver), this may be your ride! Chet dubbed them the "Wild Ponies".
Head Supershape e-Magnum, 177, 129-72-111, 14.3 radius: Chet found the e-Magnum to be a grippy and zippy choice that stayed exciting yet perfectly manageable on the groomers. This ski definitely favored the front side groomers and started flailing much like the e-Speed once the sugar and death cookies started building up.
Rossignol Black Ops Sender, 172 cm, 137-103-127, 16 radius: The Black Ops series is the replacement for Rossi's venerable "7" series, which I never developed a love for. I found all of the 7s that I tested to be too soft and too rockered for my liking, even in softer snow. Had I known this fact in advance, I may not have taken them out at all, and that would have been a huge mistake. The Sender ended up being our obvious winner in the afternoon slush and scratch. While I would probably go up a size if I were to buy them, I found the 172 cm to be solid on the groomers at eye-watering speeds, while remaining fun, poppy, and stable in the deeper slush. It zipped around the slush bumps like they weren't even there, and we even found ourselves aiming for the bumps and plowing into them, just for fun. It ripped off amazing short turns (for a 102 mm waisted ski) without feeling twitchy at all, and excelled at medium and long turns, even at slow speeds. This is just a fun, fun, FUN fat ski that doesn't feel as fat as it really is. All advanced and expert skiers who like mixed conditions should take this one for a spin!
Atomic Maveric 100 Ti, 180 cm, 129.5-100-120, 19.2 radius: I found the Maveric to be a stiff, steady ski that blasted the afternoon slush bumps and deep sugar with calm aplomb. While the Sender was all about fun in the slush, the Maveric was all business. It definitely preferred the plow-through-at-speed approach to the deep and cruddy conditions.
Salomon Luxe QST, 169 cm,130-92-113, 17 radius: The Luxe was steady in the slush and grippy on the ice in between, but its lack of rebound left me wanting more. It was really nimble in this length, but it was noticeably too short for me, and I found their speed limit really quickly. The Luxe's steadiness in even crappy conditions would make this a real winner for an advancing intermediate or an advanced "weekend warrior".
Head Kore 103 w, 177 cm, 132-103-123, 16.5 radius:The Kore was another ski that was just steady, regardless of conditions and speed. It's a surprisingly stiff ski that never got rattled, despite its remarkably light weight. It preferred medium to long turns, but could be coaxed into short turns with some determination. This one skis true to length, so don't size up.
Thank yous going out to Bill & Paul's Sporthaus and Caberfae Peaks for hosting the demo day, and to the reps and their helpers for bringing their gear out and getting everything adjusted so we could just grab and go.