When there’s no powder or steeps to ski, there is the joy of leaving high-speed trenches in groomed snow. The Speed Zone 12 TI is a frontside revelation. Yes, it’s a specialty ski designed and engineered exclusively to shred trail. But it’s unlike anything we’ve ever tried at our annual Snowbird test. Credit goes to remarkable new engineering called Powerdrive. The easily digestible explanation: For a ski to both arc naturally into a carved turn, and contour the terrain silkily at speed, its guts must shear subtly as the bases elongate and the top sheets contract. All skis do this, but with the Speed Zone 12 TI, Dynastar incorporated that shearing into the sidewalls of the ski as well courtesy of Powerdrive, which places a vertical column of titanal (short for titanium alloy) between a visco/elastic shock absorber and a burly traditional sidewall. On the hill, all that engineering translates to a never-before-seen combination of edge penetration, vibration absorption, and ease of use. In some ways it’s like riding a 29-inch mountain bike: You don’t know you’re going faster, but you are. It’s World Cup edgehold for the masses.
Swami gripe: Nada. This is the only ski to earn a perfect score in our test director’s 16 years of ski testing.
Swami like: “I’ve never seen a ski that inspires this much confidence,” said a tester. “These just slink over terrain and the edges never chatter free.”
Overall: 5.0 Stability: 5.0 Carving Pleasure: 5.0 Dimensions: 121/72/106
From the Early Winter 2016 issue.