SALOMON S/ LAB X ALP
OUR TAKE Testers reached for the toothpick-light X Alp for uphill missions and races—and it managed the accompanying downhills surprisingly well for such a skinny ski. Case in point: Our videographer flew up the hill on X Alps to get footage during our in-bounds test at Colorado’s Monarch Mountain, and then successfully skied down double-black Mirkwood Bowl while wearing a 20-pound pack. We don’t recommend that, but with a full wood core (made of lightweight karuba) and fiberglass reinforcements, the X Alps are just meaty enough to handle it.
THE DETAILS A barely-there sheet of basalt dampens the ski a bit, but still expect high-speed jitters with a ski this soft. The X Alp isn’t quite 1970s skinny, but there’s a learning curve to sub-80mm if you haven’t hotdogged before.
TRAIL CRED “I could dump speed while sliding into my next turn,” says a tester who used the X Alps in Colorado’s Power of Four ski-mountaineering race. “They have great tip engagement, while the tails release easily.” $850; 4 lbs. 3 oz. (164); 158, 164, 170 (113-79-99); salomon.com