Gear Test 2015/16

Can great ski gear get any bet­ter? You bet it can, and it has. Sk­i­trax had the plea­sure of testing some of this sea­son's great gear at the fab­u­lous Cop­per Moun­tain Re­sort in Colorado in Jan­uary, and also testing more equip­ment on this state's trails follo

SkiTrax - - Contents - by Conor Wal­lace

by Conor Wal­lace

Fis­cher Speed­max Boot

The first thing I no­ticed when pulling on the new Fis­cher Speed­max boot was how light­weight and com­fort­able it is. Right out of the box, it fit uni­formly around my foot, with no pres­sure points. This new boot of­fers an in­cred­i­bly com­fort­able, light­weight and min­i­mal­is­tic feel. The two-piece Su­per Skate sole mounted to the In­te­gral Car­bon Chas­sis pro­vides great ski feel and power trans­fer, along with a com­fort­able bal­ance be­tween tor­sional rigid­ity and for­ward flex to move you nat­u­rally through the skat­ing mo­tion. The World Cup Car­bon cuff pro­vides just enough rigid­ity for good an­kle sup­port with­out re­strict­ing your lower leg. This is a great Skate boot for com­pet­i­tive ath­letes.

Salomon Salomon Car­bon Skate Lab Boot

The Salomon Car­bon Skate Lab boot is com­fort­able, rigid and light­weight. The 360° mono­coque frame mounted to the two-piece SNS Pi­lot sole is ex­tremely low pro­file and tor­sion­ally rigid, re­sult­ing in su­pe­rior ski and snow feel. When paired with the new Car­bon Skate Lab ski, the setup is so light­weight, you al­most for­get you're wear­ing skis. In­ter­change­able parts of this boot re­sult in great prod­uct longevity. I could feel a lit­tle move­ment be­tween the liner and the out­sole while ski­ing, but I didn't have the op­por­tu­nity to specif­i­cally heat-mold the liner to my foot, which would likely have re­solved this. This is a very com­pet­i­tive Skate boot for the elite ath­lete.

Salomon Car­bon Skate Lab Ski

At 490g, this ski is def­i­nitely in the light­weight cat­e­gory. Con­structed from thin-ply car­bon, it is tor­sion­ally rigid and rolls onto its edge with ease, even on hard snow­pack, though it still has enough tip splay to float over softer snow con­di­tions. Its low pro­file al­lows for su­pe­rior snow feel. It tracks straight and feels very sta­ble un­der­foot. The “wow” fac­tor of this ski is its swing­weight, which feels al­most nonex­is­tent. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how this ski per­forms on the World Cup cir­cuit in years to come.

Salomon Car­bon Skate Lab Pole

Salomon's 100% UHM car­bon pole is su­per-stiff and light­weight. It's a vi­able World-cup-level Skate rac­ing pole with good swing­weight and a great all-round feel.

Salomon Equip RC Skin

Salomon's ver­sion of the mo­hair-skin Clas­sic ski of­fers close to per­fect kick in al­most all con­di­tions. This ski was tested in 25°F con­di­tions on new snow, and while the kick was great, we were most sur­prised by its glide. Al­though the mo­hair-skin kick zone drags a lit­tle more than a tra­di­tional waxed ski, it glides much more freely than ex­pected. This is a great ski for tough wax­ing con­di­tions, for some­one who doesn't have the time or pa­tience to cork in some kick wax, or for some­one look­ing to get into Clas­sic ski­ing.

Ros­sig­nol Ros­sig­nol R-skin Clas­sic Ski

The R-skin skis fea­ture a Nomex hon­ey­comb core with cap con­struc­tion. While the cap con­struc­tion adds tor­sional rigid­ity and sta­bil­ity to the skis, the tips were still pli­able enough to pre­vent them from climb­ing out of the tracks in sharp cor­ners. Once again, I was sur­prised by its great glide.the mo­hair-skin kick zone is durable, re­place­able and of­fered a roller­ski-like kick. The ex­posed edges in the kick zone pre­vent drag while step-turn­ing.

One Way One Way Premio 10 Skate Boot

One Way hits it out of the park with the Premio 10 Skate Car­bon boot that boasts a car­bon cuff, an anti-tor­sion mid­sole, Thin­su­late in­su­la­tion and a 3D foam heel all mounted to the SNS Pi­lot sole for a light, stiff, warm and com­fort­able race boot to com­plete its Skate line. Join any start line with con­fi­dence in this boot.

Mad­shus Mad­shus Nanocar­bon Race UHM Poles

For 2016, Mad­shus made the Nanocar­bon Race UHM poles more durable and stiff with great swing­weight, and changed their graph­ics from white to black so these poles are eas­ier to see when ly­ing in the snow. These poles de­liver and you will get to any fin­ish line with a smile on your face.

Mad­shus Ter­ra­sonic In­tel­le­grip Clas­sic Ski

Mad­shus in­cor­po­rated its In­tel­le­grip mo­hair-/ ny­lon-skin kick zone into its pop­u­lar Ter­ra­sonic Per­for­mance Clas­sic ski. The Ter­ra­sonic was a plea­sure to test, and no dif­fer­ence was no­ticed in kick or glide be­tween the mo­hair/ny­lon blend and other pure mo­hair-skin Clas­sic skis. With per­fect kick and sur­pris­ingly free glide, this ski pro­vides a great hands-off Clas­sic-ski­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, and could even be a com­pet­i­tive Race ski in the right con­di­tions.

Ex­cel Exel X-HMC Curve Ski Pole

These new poles took a bit of time to get used to. The swing­weight is a lit­tle more sig­nif­i­cant than in tra­di­tional poles, and they re­quire some slight changes in tech­nique to achieve max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency. The curve of the pole dis­places the bas­ket far­ther for­ward, which makes it seem longer than it is. My op­ti­mal pole length turned out to be 2.5cm shorter than my stan­dard Skate-pole length, and it didn't take long for the poles to feel much more nat­u­ral. Dur­ing an in­ter­val ses­sion, I switched back and forth be­tween the X-curve poles and tra­di­tional ski poles and I found that my heart rate was slightly lower with the X-curve, while my in­ter­val times re­mained con­sis­tent. The X-curve just might rev­o­lu­tion­ize the Nordic ski-pole in­dus­try.

Start Start Race 1.0 Solid Pole

The Start Race 1.0 Solid pole has great swing­weight, a com­fort­able strap and great stiff­ness even while sprint­ing. This is a very ca­pa­ble rac­ing pole and is def­i­nitely worth a look.

Fis­cher Speed­max boot

(l-r) Salomon Car­bon Skate Lab ski, Car­bon Skate Lab pole and Equip RC Skin ski (be­low) Salomon Car­bon Skate Lab boot

Ros­sig­nol R-skin Clas­sic ski

Ex­cel X-HMC Curve Ski pole

Mad­shus Ter­ra­sonic In­tel­le­grip Clas­sic ski (l), and Nanocar­bon Race UHM poles One Way Premio 10 Skate boot

Start Race 1.0 Solid pole

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