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The 2015 Snowbird Resort Ski Smackdown

  • Ski Test 2015 winners: Atomic Ritual, Salomon Stella, Blizzard Bonafide, Blizzard Brahma, and Rossignol Super 7.

  • Swami oversees the test corral at Snowbird, UT.

  • A ski tech in his natural habitat: the binding adjustment pit.

  • More than 15 manufacturers participated in the 2015 ski test.

  • Testers diligently pencil in feedback between laps on the Gadzoom chair.

  • Action! Axie Navas talks ski tech for the camera.

  • Tester Gabe Glosband finds soft snow in the Gad Chutes at Snowbird, UT.

Ski Test Director Marc Peruzzi  | Women’s Test Director Olivia Dwyer

Photo Magnate Lee CohenGear Photographer Clay EllisIllustration Tavis Coburn

The results are in, and versatility wins. 

Over the past five winters we’ve been mightily impressed by the rapid development of surfy powder skis with five-point sidecuts (taper at the tip and tail) and an increasingly refined blend of rocker and camber. That crop of loose and smearable skis makes powder skiing—or any day spent off-trail—that much more fun. But this year our expectations and preset notions about ski categories took a hard slap to the head. That same tip taper and refined blend of rocker and camber has crept into all mountain skis. Plus, 2015 brings big breakthroughs in materials that allow manufacturers to pull heavy metal layers out of the skis without sacrificing stability. The payoff? Extreme versatility—especially in that vital 100mm waist width range.

Skis like the Rossignol Experience 100 and the Head Great Joy aren’t just chubby carving skis or skinny powder boards; they excel at both disciplines. Which is why they grace our cover. What’s more, like those surfy powder skis, the new all mountain skis are incredibly easy to ski at a range of speeds. An advancing intermediate can have fun on them, as can a seasoned expert. Like any stellar consumer product, they’re inclusive. And more than that, they have us rethinking who we are as skiers. Specifically, the type of skiers who pick their skis based on conditions. When a 100mm all mountain ski can actually live up to its name and handle everything the mountain throws at you—why wouldn’t you ski on it every day?


Big Mountain | 75 percent off-trail / 25 percent on-trail

All Mountain | 50 percent off-trail / 50 percent on-trail

Powder Surf | 90 percent off-trail / 10 percent in the bar

Frontside | 80 percent on-trail / 20 percent off-trail

Women’s Skis | Lighter weight, increased energy, decreased effort: Skiing gets more fun.

More: Women’s Apparel | Men’s Apparel | Breathable Puffies & Shells | Ski Boots | Helmets & Goggles | Poles & Gloves

From the Early Winter 2014 issue, also available on iTunes. Special thanks to our ski test 2015 testers: Mark Carroll, David Currier, Olivia Dwyer, Elisabeth Dwyer, Gabe Glosband, Matt Hart, Kji Helffenstein, Rob Hudson, Chad Jacob, Pedro Kray, Andrew McCloskey, Matt McDonald, Cait Morgan, Axie Navas, Megan Papineau, Greg Peruzzi, Jake Peruzzi, Marc Peruzzi, Tal-ee Roberts, Judd Salvas, Heather Schultz, Jace Wirth.

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