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Announcing TheSkiDiva’s First Best-Of Awards: The ’11 Mountain Top Picks. April 4, 2011

Posted by Wendy in Gear Review, Ski Gear.
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Everyone’s heard of the Oscars. The Emmys. The Grammys. There are tons of awards to celebrate the best of everything.

Which got me thinking. Why not let the world know what women skiers consider the best in the ski world? So a few weeks ago, I emailed a survey to all 2,700+ members of TheSkiDiva.com, the leading online community of women skiers, to determine their favorites in everything from skis and apparel to resorts. The winners would be named a 2011 Mountain Top Pick.

Now the results are in. No, there’s no prime time telecast on the major networks. Not even on cable (though who knows, maybe someday…..). In the meantime, imagine this: a ballroom filled with luminaries from the ski industry. Look — there’s Lindsay Vonn! Glen Plake! The CEO of Vail! Eddie the Eagle! Everyone dressed in their finest fleece and Gore Tex, sitting down to bowls of ski lodge chili and local microbrew.

Sigh.

For now we’ll have to make do with simply listing the results on this blog. So here are the winners of the 2011 Mountain Top Awards from TheSkiDiva.com

(Please hold your applause til all the winners are announced. )

Favorite Front Side Carver: Volkl Tierra

Favorite Powder Ski: Rossignol S110W

Favorite All Mountain Ski: Volkl Aura

Favorite Ski Boot: Dalbello Krypton Storm

Favorite Ski Goggle: Smith IO/S

Favorite Helmet: Smith Variant Brim

Favorite Base Layer: Patagonia Capilene

Favorite Ski Sox: Smartwool

Favorite Jacket brand: Arc’tyrex

Favorite Ski Pants: The North Face

Favorite Gloves or Mittens: Swany

Favorite Eastern Resort: Stowe

Favorite Western Resort: Alta

Favorite Midwestern Resort: Nub’s Nob

Favorite Eastern Canada Resort: Mont Tremblant

Favorite Western Canada Resort: Whistler Blackcomb

Favorite European Resort: Val d’Isere

Favorite Women’s Clinic: Okemo’s Women’s Alpine Adventures

Favorite Kids Ski School: Keystone

Unfortunately, we don’t have any statuettes or plaques to award. Just a handy dandy logo that the winners may or may not use.

2011 Mountain Top Picks

Congratulations to all those who were selected. To the Divas, you’re the best!

(You may now applaud.)

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

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A peek at the class of ’11/’12 March 3, 2011

Posted by Wendy in Gear Review.
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So many skis, so little time.

That was pretty much my mantra during the ski industry on-snow demo days, held this week at Loon Mountain, New Hampshire. For two days I got to try as many skis as I wanted. The problem: what to try, and what to leave out.

Poor me. 

Just the same, I gave it my best shot. It was absolutely dizzying. To fit in as many as possible, I could only spend a couple runs per ski. So it’s almost unfair to call this a demo. Think of it as speed dating with skis. Still, first impressions can be revealing. Then again, just as in real life, sometimes not. You never know.

On the whole, most of the skis I tried were quite good. IMHO, it’s almost difficult these days to find a ski that’s really bad. I think it mostly comes down to a matter of taste and what works best for (insert condition & level of skier here). For me it’s either “man, this is nice” or “meh, this is fine, just nothing to get excited about.” Maybe I’m not a sophisticated enough reviewer; that could easily be the case. For me, the bottom line is this: if it makes me smile, it’s a good ski.

The trend for next year can be summed up in three words: “Rocker” and “early rise.” These are everywhere, both in new models and in models that have been around for years. Call it a marketing ploy, call it a performance improvement, it’s the Next Big Thing. Used to be you only saw these in powder skis. Not anymore. According to the reps I spoke with, a raised tip has a couple of advantages, even when you’re not in a foot of freshies. First, shock absorption. It’s supposed to make the ski better in bumps. When the ski hits a bump, the raised tip keeps you from getting jolted around. Instead, there’s more of an up and over motion. And second, it makes the ski a bit more forgiving and turnable, since it’s a bit less grabby on the snow. Does it make a difference? I think so. The last change I remember this pervasive was when companies went from straight skis to shaped. So if you haven’t tried it yet, trust me — you probably will.

First, a little about me. I’m 5’1”, 110 lbs, an advanced New England skier. Which means I spend a fair amount of time on hard pack.

And second, conditions. The first day, the snow changed from hard pack to soft, as the temps warmed into the low thirties. The second day we had a couple inches of fresh snow. So no, I didn’t have the foot of fluffy powder which would have been ideal to try the fatter skis. What can I say – you work with what you have.

So here goes.

Nordica


Cinnamon Girl: You know the song in which Neal Young sings “I could be happy the rest of my life with my Cinnamon Girl?” This might’ve been what he had in mind. The Cinnamon Girl is Nordica’s spicy new front side carver, based on the men’s Fire Arrow. A traditional camber ski with a 74 waist, designed for medium and large turns. And yes, it’s that good. The CG is a responsive, grippy ski that’s easy to turn. Think of it as your front-side sports car. Vroom!


Nemesis: I almost hate to reveal this so close to the beginning, but this was my absolute fave of the day. I’d take these home in a minute, and one of these days, I just might. The Nemesis isn’t new; the only change they made from this year’s model is the topsheet. But why mess with perfection? These skis do it all. Even though they’re 98 underfoot, they’re easy to get on edge. A beefy ski that’s solid and smooth, yet playful. These skis will take you through anything. Love.

Fisher
I’ve always loved Fisher skis. Fishers are marvelous for eastern conditions, plus they’re reasonably priced. What’s not to love?

I tried the Fisher Koa 84, which is based on the men’s Watea. Again, not a new ski, though they’ve gone ahead and added some rocker and changed the top sheet (IMHO, they should have stuck with last year’s). The Koa will go through anything and make you feel like a champ. It’s incredibly stable and powerful, yet loads of fun, too. Great on the ice, and crud. I’d love to give these a shot in the powder. I demoed these in a 159. Another ski I’d definitely take tome.

Blizzards


Black Pearl: I don’t know what Blizzard was thinking, but these skis win the prize for the most schizo graphics. The tip features an evil looking purple bull’s head, with blazing hot pink eyes (Say in a Russian accent: “Unh. You are strong like bull!”) But picture this: you can’t tell from the photo, but a lot of the ski is sparkles and stars – the sort of thing that’d appeal to a third grade girl. Its bizarre. Be that as it may: these are fun skis. The Black Pearl features Blizzard’s new Flipcore technology. If I understand correctly, it works like this: most skis come out of the mold with a traditional cambered core. If they’re supposed to be rockered, they’re literally forced into that position. Blizzard doesn’t do this. Instead, it flips the core upside down to match the desired camber of a rockered ski. The ski is then pressed in a non-forced, natural way, which allows the rocker to be produced without bending or artificially shaping the ski in a press. According to the rep, the end result is a ski that’s more stable and easier to ski. All this is beyond me. All I know is that the Pearl is indeed a lot of fun and very responsive. 88 underfoot.


Blizzard Crush: I took these out because I’d heard great things about them, and I wasn’t disappointed. These skis can handle anything I threw at them. The 98 waist makes them great for deep conditions, but don’t let that fool you. These are crud busters, ice eaters, Plus they’re easy to turn, too. Here, too, not crazy about the graphics,. Skied in a 163.

BTW, didn’t try these, but the Viva Magnum’s, a great line that’s been out for a few years, all have rocker. I’d have loved to give these a try, but didn’t have the time.

Elan


Amphibio Insomnia: I don’t know who thought this up – based on the name, maybe someone with sleep issues — but this is one crazy ski. The inside edges are cambered, the outside edges are early rise. According to Elan, this gives you the edge grip and stability of a cambered ski but the versatility and ease of turning of an early rise. Yeah, yeah. I thought. What a gimmick. But does it work? Oddly enough, yes! The result is a great carver that’s loads of fun. I’d consider this a terrific front sider. They’re 74 underfoot. I tried them in a 152. Just be aware: these skis have a definite right and left ski. It says it right on the graphics so you don’t get mixed up. A good idea, I thought.


Zeal: This used to be the Free. They’ve changed the name and the top sheet and given it some rocker, but otherwise, it’s exactly the same. The Zeal isn’t as burly as some of the others I tried, so I think it’s better suited for in bounds skiing. Still, despite it’s width, this is a playful ski that’s nice and responsive. Fun. I think this was around 88 or 89 underfoot.

Volkl


Kenja: These skis absolutely rock. According to the rep, the Kenja is a narrower the Aura (88 underfoot), with a thin profile so it’s “nice and flexy.” The Kenja is fully cambered so it carves a nice turn, yet versatile enough all conditions. I skied it in a 162(?). Steady, stable, with that great Volkl edge. And SOOOO much fun. I heart these skis.


Aura: Yes, they’ve changed the Aura a bit. First, the graphics: the busty geisha girl is gone (good riddance, I say). Instead, there’s a big green hummingbird. It’s —- okay. I think they could do better, but that’s just me. As for its construction, they’ve given it an early rise in the tip, and made it a bit wider (I think it’s 96 now). All in all, a great ski made even better. Dust off your credit cards, ladies. This one’s for you.

Yes, Volkl’s still have the Bio-Logic. No changes to the Tierra (as the rep said, “why mess with perfection?” I think I agree).

Atomic


Elysian: This is a twin tip that’s 98 underfoot. It’s pretty burly, but it handles like a play thing. Turns like crazy, lively, and SOOOO much fun. You just float over the snow. I actually skied this in a 168 with no problem. Something I’d be happy taking home.


Affinity series: A step up from the popular Cloud series (which they incidentally still have). The Affinity Pure, with a 78 waist, is a more aggressive, a bit more turn-y. There’s also Affinity Storm, which is 84 underfoot. I thought the Pure was a great front side ski. Easy to get on edge, playful, responsive, a great carver. Skied the 160.

Rossi

I’m just not feeling the love here. I tried the Attraxion 8, and the new Temptation, and just didn’t feel the kind of energy I felt with the other skis I demoed. Of all the skis I tried, these were my least favorite. That doesn’t mean they should be yours.

Another cool thing from the demo day: Helmets with an integrated goggle that slides up and down. What a great idea! The goggle snaps out, so you can replace it with varying tints. I slid one on and it was waay too big, but the range of vision was phenomenal. Definitely something to watch for over the next few years.

So there you go. There are many other skis I would’ve liked to try. Never got to the K2s, the Lines, the Dynastars, Heads, or Salomons (I wanted to try the BBR, but the smallest length was a 177. No thanks). I also would’ve loved to have tried the Icelantics, but they weren’t there, so no luck.

I think I need another Demo Day. 

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

Forthright-itude December 19, 2010

Posted by Wendy in Gear Review.
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I think I just invented a new word: Forthrightitude. The quality  of being forthright or upfront, something you don’t see a lot in advertising.

Take Columbia and their OmniHeat technology. According to the company, OmniHeat consists of a reflective pattern on the liner of their jackets that bounces heat back toward the body to make you stay 20% warmer. Hmmmm, I thought, interesting, since I tend to get cold very easily. But when I went to their website to investigate this further, the specs made no mention of breathability or air permeability ratings — something I use to judge outerwear.

For anyone who doesn’t know, breathability represents how much perspiration vapor can escape through a fabric from the inside out, and air permeability measures how easily the breeze passes from the outside in.  The higher these numbers, the more technical the jacket. And the more apt I am to buy it.

Disappointed, I posted about this on TheSkiDiva.com. And shortly thereafter, I received an email from Columbia asking me to field test their OmniHeat technology.

Coincidence? Maybe. I’m not saying there was any cause and effect here. To be honest, it really doesn’t matter. I’m only to happy to test a product to see if it works as claimed.

So before long the company sent me the following — their Black Diamond Dash Parka:

Nice, huh?

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. I owned a Columbia jacket many years ago — a system jacket featuring a zip-out fleece liner — and found it extremely bulky and really, not all that stylish. But the Black Diamond Dash isn’t like that at all. It’s still a system jacket in that it consists of an outer shell and a standalone liner (it’s not zip-in-zip-out, but more like a separate jacket you could wear by itself). And it’s attractive, lightweight, and easy to move around in.

Other features include pit zips (essential), a removable hood, a powder skirt that snaps out of the way when not in use, sleeves with a thumbhole cuff, and a high collar with a fleecy liner that keeps the lower portion of your face toasty warm. I love the color, too. It looks all blue in this picture, but it has some flecks of red in it, too, to give it some dimension. The liner’s black.

There are a few cons. It could use a few more pockets on the inside. There is a mesh goggle pocket, and the liner has slash pockets on each side, but I carry a lot of crap. And a chest pocket would be nice, too.

As for keeping you 20% warmer, I have no idea whether or not that’s true or how they even arrive at those numbers. I will say that I’ve worn it on some very cold days, when the wind chill was in the single digits and below, and I was quite comfortable.

So yes, a thumbs up to Columbia’s Black Diamond Dash. It’s warm, easy to maneuver in, not bulky, and yes, this Ski Diva even found it stylish.

PS: I still have no idea what the wind or moisture resistance of this jacket is, but maybe this doesn’t matter. I did  some poking around the web and found a pretty good discussion about it here. Basically, the article says that in terms of real world testing, the ratings aren’t really all that applicable. Each manufacturer does its own testing and has its own standards. So maybe Columbia is right — maybe the numbers don’t tell the whole story, after all.

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

Demo Daze. December 10, 2010

Posted by Wendy in Gear Review.
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Over at TheSkiDiva.com,  we talk a lot about how to choose the perfect ski. Overwhelmingly, the advice is to demo, demo, demo. Why? Because choosing a ski is a very personal decision. You might hate the ski that I think is the greatest thing on the planet, and vice versa. Think of it as a test drive. Or even better, a date. Sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find Prince Charming.

In case you’re unfamiliar with demoing, here’s how it works. Essentially, you have two choices. Choice #1: You can go to your local shop and pay for a demo. In some cases, the shop may apply the charge toward the price of the ski, should you decide to buy. This is fine — unless you want to try different skis at different shops. You could end up spending a lot of money.

Then there’s Choice #2: You could hit an on-hill demo day at your local mountain. This lets you try a variety of  skis on the same day, so you can make back-to-back comparisons. Sounds easy, right?

Not necessarily. Because far too often there are loads of men’s skis on hand, and not too many women’s.

Why, you ask?

Oh, there are loads of excuses: Women don’t make up that much of the ski market. And since reps only have so much space in their vans, they can only bring the skis they know they’re going to sell. Besides, women don’t even demo. They’re only interested in graphics. Or they’ll buy whatever their husbands/boyfriends/salesmen point them to.

To this I say – well, something not very polite.  Let’s just call it baloney.

Yes, the women’s ski market is not as large as the men’s. But there are plenty of women who are intensely interested in evaluating ski performance. TheSkiDiva.com, for exmple, has more than 2,300 avid women skiers as members. And this is only the tip of the iceberg, since the majority of women skiers aren’t necessarily on the internet.

If I ran a ski company, I’d find this extremely dismaying. These companies have invested millions of dollars in developing and marketing women’s skis, and this is one part of the chain that’s obviously breaking down. I get the concept that reps’ vans have only a limited amount of space, etc. etc. No one expects every ski in every size at every demo day. That’d be ridiculous. Or ideal. I’d just like to see an attempt to explore ways to remedy the situation.

Any salesmen worth his salt knows that the greatest customer loyalty comes when you make an extra effort. So to whomever is hosting a demo day, whether it’s a ski company, a ski rep, a ski shop, or a mountain  — instead of coming up with excuses for why you can’t serve the women’s market, how about doing whatever it takes to get women on your side? Go the extra mile. Have women’s skis available. Maybe the answer is women’s only demo days. Hey, our money is as good as anyone else’s.

Or don’t you want the chance to find out?

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

SIA Demo Days. March 27, 2010

Posted by Wendy in Gear Review.
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This post is somewhat delayed. I actually tried all these skis back in February at the Snowsports Industry Demo Day at Stratton, Vermont, and then, well, I got busy skiing, living, etc., and neglected to post. My apologies.

The SIA Industry Demo Days is a fantastic event. Equipment manufacturers come together to display their gear for next season. And retailers and people from the press (that’s me!) get to try them out.

Unfortunately, I only got to attend for one day. A monster snow storm made driving to Stratton impossible for day #2. So sadly, there were a lot of skis that I wasn’t able to try. A clear case of too many skis, not enough time.

SO. Here’s my reaction to a few of the skis that I had the privilege of trying. Not all of them are new for next season, but they were new to me, so I guess that counts.

Salomon Diamond: This is the female version of the Tornado, and the highest end women’s ski that Salomon has to offer. It’s designed by Wendy Fisher, former Olympic skier and member of the US Ski Team. I found it very stable and easy to turn; a versatile ski that can take you all over the mountain.

Volkl Kenja: This is similar to the Aura but with an 88 waist, making it more of an All Mountain Ski. Unlike the Aura, the Kenja features the Biologic profile. This means that the tail is a bit more tapered so it can snap out of the turns more easily. This ski does it all – it skis the ice like it’s on rails, and it’ll bust through powder, too. If you’re looking for a ski that can take you everywhere, the Kenja will do it.

Dynastar Active: Even though the Active isn’t new, I thought I’d try it, anyway. An intermediate ski with a 70 waist, the Active features Autodrive-W technology to concentrate pressure over the tips for better turn initiation, and under the foot for maximum edgehold. A definite recommend for an intermediate skier. It’s lightweight, easy to turn, quick, and fun.

Blizzard Viva Magnum 7.6 and 8.1: Blizzard has a great line-up of women’s skis: the Blizzard Magnum 7.4, 7.6, and the 8.1. I skied the 7.6 last year and took it out again because, well, I could. I’m not sorry I did. The 7.6 is a fantastic ski. Blizzard hasn’t changed this at all from last year, which in this case, is a very good thing. The 7.6 will everywhere, do anything you want. However, they did change the 8.1; they removed some of the metal from it to make it a little less stiff. Nonetheless, it’s still a strong, expert level ski with terrific energy. Highly recommend.

Nordica Infinite: This was one my favs of the day. The Infinite replaces the Nordica Victory. It’s a little wider underfoot and has a new profile. I found this ski extremely energetic with great rebound, yet very stable, too. The Infinite is a little wider underfoot than the Victory and features a more modern sidecut profile.

Nordica Nemesis: These are great on powder, ice, crap, you name it. It’s a terrific great all mountain ski. If I didn’t have the Auras already (not that I’m unhappy with them), I’d get this in a heartbeat.

K2: News flash — ALL the K2 skis for 2011 are rockered. This means the skis bend up a bit fore and aft of the binding. The result is supposed to be better performance in powder and a smoother ride in crud. The Lotta Luv is included it this. I’ve been hearing a lot about the Lottas from the women on TheSkiDiva.com, though I didn’t have a chance to give them a try. These are definitely on my list, though.

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

Gear Review: Opedix S1 Ski & Snowboard Tight February 12, 2010

Posted by Wendy in Gear Review.
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I have a number of friends who suffer from knee problems, so I know the damper it can put on a good ski day. Some of them try to get by with ace bandages or braces, but these can be bulky and difficult to fit comfortably under base layers.

Enter Opedix S1 ski and snowboard tights. In full disclosure, Opedix’s PR firm sent me a pair to review. I can’t say I’m necessarily the best choice to do this. As of now (knock wood), I don’t have any knee problems. But  I do find the concept and technology behind the Opedix products quite intriguing.  So I figured I’d give it a go.

First, some background: Opedix developed the S1 was in conjunction with the Steadman Hawkins Foundation, a world renowned orthopedic clinic in Vail, Colorado. According to the company, the tights feature a patent pending anchor and sling design to provide support to the outside of the knee. This, they say, promotes proper alignment, which can lead to less strain and fatigue.

You can see the sling design as soon as you pull them out of the package. There’s a circular fabric cup that centers on the knee — sort of like a bull’s eye.  Slip them on, and you can feel the support right away. I think the idea is to distribute the stress around your knee, to keep it away the knee, itself. The tights are also quite snug fitting, with a “four way compressive fit” that the company says keeps your muscles fresher longer.

So I took these tights skiing. Even though they’re fairly thick, I supplemented them with another base layer. I’m always cold, and the wind chill was well below zero today. I’m sure the tights would be fine out west where it’s usually warmer. But it can be brutal here in New England.

How did the tights perform? They’re extremely well made, very comfortable, and quite supportive. You can feel the compressive fit against your muscles right away. But their strong suit is definitely knee support. I don’t know if they’d eliminate the need, say, for an ace bandage or a brace — I think that would depend on your individual situation — but for moderate support, I think they do a good job. Did it make my muscles feel fresher longer? That I honestly can’t say. But I’m sure it couldn’t hurt.

The S1 tights aren’t cheap, retailing for $190. But if it helps you ski longer, I’m sure it’s worth every penny. That’s a decision you have to make, yourself.

BTW, Opedix is offering a 15% discount if you use the promotional code “skistrongerdiva.” Go here. 

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

Ski Review: Volkl Tierra December 13, 2009

Posted by Wendy in Gear Review.
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I’ve spent two days on this ski now to give myself plenty of time to see how I liked it, and my verdict is in:

It’s a great ski.

Why? It can do it all. It rides the ice like it’s on rails. It has a huge shovel so it can go in the chop, the crud, and in several inches of pow without a hitch. It’s stable, steady, but with great energy. And it has a huge sidecut, so it turns like nobody’s business.

The dimensions: 129-78-99. I have it in the 156. I’m an advanced skier, 110 lbs, 5’1″.

The Tierra has Volkl’s new Bio-Logic system which they say puts a female skier in a more neutral stance. According to the rep I spoke with a while ago, traditional bindings have the heels jacked up. When you combine that with the higher ramp angle you typically find in a woman’s boots, you end up being tipped too far forward. To combat this, Volkl has raised the toe in the binding. The result is better balance of the hamstring and glutes and more efficient muscle use. They’ve also tapered the tail angle so it releases more readily at the end of a turn. The tip is a bit wider, and they gave the ski a more consistent flex pattern.

To be honest, I’d be hard put to evaluate the difference between the old and new Volkl technology, unless I skied the two back to back. What I will say is that I had no problem with it. I felt comfortable, in balance, and in control.

The ski is fun, fun, fun. What could be better than that?

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

A Peek at the 2010’s: Part 4 February 26, 2009

Posted by Wendy in Gear Review.
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Nordica
Nordica has made some modifications on the Drive, increasing its waist size from 74 to 76 and giving it an integrated binding. The Mint is also 74 vs. 72. I didn’t get around to skiing any of these.

They still have the Conquer, a ski I’ve demoed before and really like, but I’m not nuts about the new color scheme: black and white with chartreuse accents. Bleh.

K2
The Lotta Luv has gone up to 82 in the waist, and they’ve replaced the One Luv with the Free Luv. I took the Lottas out because I know a lot of women like them, but I couldn’t get these off my feet fast enough. I just felt like I was all over the place, forcing them into the turns and not having any fun at all.

Rossignol
Rossi has an extensive line of women’s skis. At the low end is the Harmony, with a side-cut tail that’s supposed to make it easier to come out of a turn. A new ski that I found especially interesting is the Eco(sp.?), which they say is an environmentally friendly ski. The base is made of recycled plastic, and they say they used less petroleum products in its production. 75 underfoot. They’ve also replaced the top end of the Attraxion Series, the 11, with the Attraxion 12, and done away with the arms they used last year (these were supposed to allow you adjust the ski’s flex, depending on conditions and terrain. I thought they were pretty gimmicky) This is based on the men’s Classic 70.

I had to try the Eco, which turned out to be a really nice ski. Responsive, a good carver, light, quick. And I tried the Voodoo 80, which has a slightly turned up tail. I tried the Voodoo last year, but maybe in a different waist size (it comes in several). Whether it was the conditions or the waist size, I liked it this year a lot better. Very responsive, came out of the turn nicely. I’d like to get this in some off piste stuff. I liked this even better than the Eco. A very fun ski.

SO – in a nutshell, my favs of the skis I tried:

Favs of the two days I was there:

Volkl Aurora (yes, I still love these skis)
Volkl Aura
Fischer Koa 84
Rossi Voodoo 80
Elan Free Spice
Head Wild One
Rossi Ecco
Head Perfect One

Thumbs down:

Atomic Double Deck
K2 Lotta Luv (sorry)

The bottom line: there’s something for everyone, and everyone’s different. What appeals to me may not appeal to you. So be sure to try before you buy.

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, the online home especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

A Peek at the 2010’s: Part 3 February 17, 2009

Posted by Wendy in Gear Review.
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Fischer

Fisher has replaced its popular Vision series with the Koa. Available in a variety of widths (75, 78, and 84) the Koa has a sandwich vertical wood core instead of the glass fiber wood core found in the Visions. The rep says this makes it a lighter, stronger ski with better edge hold. The graphics of the Koa are a big departure from the Visions, too. Dark with a bold, abstract design that’s not at all girlie. I really liked it.

Fischer still has the Vapor, which I really wanted to demo, but since they only had it in a 165, I decided to pass. Instead, I took out the Koa in the 75 and 84. The 75 was nice – lively, good rebound, good edging, easy to ski. But I liked the 84 even better. For a wide waisted ski, this thing skis like a carver. I’d give this a big thumbs up.

Blizzard Skis

Blizzard has an addition to their Magnum Series: the Magnum Viva 7.4. They also plan to introduce the Viva Max in a Magnum 8.1 soon (81 underfoot), but they don’t have it yet. Some of you will also be pleased to hear that they’ve brought back the Eos this year (88 underfoot; the same ski as the men’s Chronus.)

Anyway, I took out the Magnum Viva 7.4’s, and what a nice ski! Good edging, easy to turn, nice rebound. I also took out the Viva 7.6’s just for comparison — a more advanced, all mountain ski with a wood core and an integrated binding system. This ski wants to go, yet it’s stable and smooth with good edging.

Dynastar

Dynastar is adding two new women’s skis to its line-up: the Exclusive Eden, with an 85 waist, a wood core, and a vertical side-wall, and the Exclusive Elite, which will be a high-end groomer with a 72 waist, wood core, and a straight side wall (this’ll be above the Exclusive Fluid). Unfortunately, they didn’t have either ski at the Demo Day, so I couldn’t give them a try.

They’re also discontinuing the Exclusive Legend Powder.

All the skis have new graphics. I took out the Exclusive Legend, a carry-over ski and their top seller, It’s a very nice, maneuverable ski that’s a jack of all trades. The 2010’s have a new graphic that’s white with a weird pastel image of a woman’s face, which I really didn’t like.

(To Be Continued…..)

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, the online home especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

A Peek at the 2010’s: Part 2 February 12, 2009

Posted by Wendy in Gear Review.
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Head:

Yes, I have a weakness for Head skis, directly attributable to jealousy over my sister’s Head 360’s in 1969 or 1970. Actually, I had Head Monster IM-70’s a few years ago, and I really liked them.

In 2010, Head is offering the same line up with one new addition: the Perfect One, a carver with a 67 waist. It’s pretty bland looking, but a nice ski, nonetheless. The narrow waist makes it go from edge to edge very nicely, and it has good rebound. The other skis are carry-overs from this season, with new graphics. I also skied the Wild One and the Every One. The Wild One is the equivalent of the company’s Monster IM82. It’s a very stable, solid ski with an 81 waist and a vertical sidewall. Good energy to it, too. And I love the graphics. The Every One is white with the name available in either orange or blue. It’s a versatile, nimble ski that’s light and quick. I neglected to get the waist size on this; I think it’s in the lower to mid 70’s.

Elan

These take the prize for the most beautiful graphics. The Black Magic is gorgeous: black with little flecks of colors embedded throughout, and a little crystal embellishment. The ’10 Black Magic is a little stiffer than this year’s model (they added wave technology). I skied them, and found them to be a good intermediate ski.

I also skied the Free Spice. This is a wider ski (88 waist); I wish I could’ve tried this in powder , but alas – no new snow. It has really cool new graphics — kind of a splattered paint look. Other than that, the ski is the same as this year’s. The Free Spice is based on the men’s 888 Alu, without the metal.

Lastly, I tried the Speed Magic. This is Elan’s top of the line. It’s 67 or 70 underfoot (can’t remember), and very fast and responsive. A fine carver and very lively and easy to turn.

Goode

When you walk by a booth where there’s a sign saying they have the lightest ski out there, you just have to give it a try. I couldn’t resist. Goode Skis are made entirely of carbon fiber. And they ARE very light. You especially notice it when you go up the lift. But this lightness comes at a price: I found myself getting knocked around in the snow a bit. So no.

(To be continued…..)

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, the online home especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.