GEAR TEST

Can great ski gear get any bet­ter? You bet it can, and it has.

SkiTrax - - Gear Test - By Dan Clausen and Dalia Krakowsky

Tur­namic Bind­ing/new Boot Sole Salomon S-race Clas­sic Boot Atomic Red­ster Skate Ski Cop­per Moun­tain Re­sort in Colorado fol­low­ing

Fisher and Ros­sig­nol have col­lab­o­rated, and in­tro­duced the new Tur­namic bind­ing sys­tem. One of the main ben­e­fits is that it is a very easyto-use bind­ing for all lev­els of skiers. On snow it was easy to get in and out of, and the turn-lock-un­lock mech­a­nism is very in­tu­itive. Speak­ing from a ski-in­struc­tor point of view, our first thought was "no more getting on your hands and knees to help stu­dents into their skis."

The ef­fec­tive­ness of the new boot-bind­ing sys­tem was felt im­me­di­ately as the two-piece bind­ing al­lowed for im­proved flex­ion in the wax pocket while Clas­sic ski­ing. Tur­namic's low-pro­file bind­ing is light and also has great snow feel be­cause the boot-sole sits close to the ski and snow.

In con­junc­tion with the new bind­ing sys­tem Fis­cher and Ros­sig­nol cre­ated a new boot sole as well and now man­u­fac­ture the en­tire sys­tem in-house al­low­ing for more con­trol over the en­tire in­ter­face and fit of their re­spec­tive boots with the Tur­namic sys­tem. The new soles are low pro­file and per­fectly com­pat­i­ble with the bind­ing. While the boots are not nec­es­sar­ily new, all of­fered a more snug, con­toured fit, with a very sta­ble sole. The new boot sole of­fers op­ti­mal weight and pres­sure dis­tri­bu­tion along the first and fifth metatarsals and onto the heel for in­creased pre­ci­sion and power.

We re­ally liked that all ad­just­ments can be done "tool-free," which means skiers can eas­ily do it them­selves. Ev­ery Clas­sic, skate and kid's boot that Ros­sig­nol and Fis­cher pro­duce is de­signed to work with any of the nine mod­els of the new Tur­namic bind­ing. Any boot sys­tem that uses NNN or Prolink will also work. This year, Salomon is in­tro­duc­ing a new line called the S-race. This Clas­sic boot has the same com­fort­able qual­ity that has been as­so­ci­ated with Salomon gear for years! It has a snug fit for op­ti­mal power trans­fer from foot to boot to ski. This is a warm boot to en­tice those who live in the colder cli­mates through­out North Amer­ica. The lac­ing sys­tem is slightly dif­fer­ent as well, with­out the plas­tic eye­lets, which may be more com­fort­able for skiers who wear smaller boot sizes. Sim­i­lar to the skate-boot coun­ter­part, the heel strap is ex­ter­nally ad­justable with­out hav­ing to re­move the boot, a great ad­van­tage to have right on the snow. The sole is of a lower pro­file and fits with the Prolink sys­tem, which of­fers ex­cel­lent snow feel. The folks at Atomic were thrilled to launch the new Atomic Red­ster skate ski. With its full-car­bon chas­sis and a nar­row tip, this is now the light­est skate ski on the mar­ket. This ski was very sta­ble, and able to pow­er­fully and ef­fi­ciently climb up the hills. This well-bal­anced ski al­lows a skier to link par­al­lel turns to­gether smoothly and en­gage the edges on the snow with a very easy touch. The skis cor­ner ag­gres­sively in fast step and skate turns. Its light­ness un­der foot was like hav­ing ac­cess to another gear up the steep climbs. This was an easy-to-ski prod­uct that al­lows one to gain time on the up­hills and the down­hills – a great ski for a va­ri­ety of skier lev­els and for those who want to ex­pe­ri­ence ac­cel­er­a­tion, light­ness and power in a sta­ble ski.

Ros­sig­nol R-skin Race Ski

With the Ros­sig­nol R-skin Race ski, fi­nally, a skin on a rac­ing ski! Ros­sig­nol is in­tro­duc­ing a skin on its X-ium line, a higher-per­for­mance op­tion. We en­joyed the light­ness of the ski. The skin of­fered a re­li­able, pos­i­tive kick on var­i­ous ter­rain and was less “grabby” when turn­ing. On the down­hills, the re­lease of the skin al­lows for in­creased ac­cel­er­a­tion. These fea­tures are prob­a­bly due to the short­ened skin length, as it does not ex­tend into the glide zones of the ski. Although this is a rac­ing ski, it is a great op­tion for a va­ri­ety of skiers who en­joy a higher-end ex­pe­ri­ence with con­sis­tent kick in nearly all snow con­di­tions.

Fis­cher Twin Skin Car­bon Clas­sic Ski

Who doesn't al­ready love the Fis­cher Car­bon Clas­sic ski, right? So we were ex­cited to get go­ing on the Twin Skin ver­sion of this ski. We re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated the true race cam­ber and light­ness of the ski, as it is es­sen­tially a Car­bon­lite ski with twin skins. The skins them­selves have shorter hairs, of­fer­ing im­proved glide and the abil­ity to dou­ble-pole quite well. They climbed very well in the tracks – no need to her­ring­bone! It was a great ski to both train and play on. It func­tioned well in a wide va­ri­ety of snow con­di­tions, in­clud­ing very wet con­di­tions, as it can be ad­justed to these by slid­ing the Tur­namic bind­ing back or for­ward on the plate.

Swix Sw Triac 3.0 Pole

As A if the Swix Triac pole wasn't light enough, the com­pany has done it again and given us an a even lighter pole, the Triac 3.0. We en­joyed how light and stiff the pole is, thanks to the lighter li strap ma­te­rial, its alu­minum spike and fewer lay­ers of paint on the shaft. We felt that the th strap it­self was more com­fort­able, with mesh in­serts that re­place some of the neo­prene. No­tably, the strap is now in­serted into the top of the pole in­stead of the side, mak­ing for an in­ter­est­ing new feel. The power trans­fer into the top of the pole and down the shaft was no­ticed, rather than it com­ing in from the side and back. At the demo, this was con­firmed by the prin­ci­pals of Swix from Nor­way. This strap po­si­tion is the most ex­cit­ing new fea­ture of the pole. The strap is not ad­justable, but comes in var­i­ous sizes and is easy to at­tach and de­tach from the pole, so you can at­tach which­ever size works with your glove for that day. Not to worry about a ques­tion­able strap-pole in­ter­face while you ski – the strap at­tach­ment to the pole was de­scribed as “bul­let­proof,” and we def­i­nitely felt how tightly it in­serted into the pole. It will im­prove how skiers use their poles for sure!

Salomon S-lab Blue Car­bon Skate Ski

Salomon is of­fer­ing an S-lab ski with a slightly dif­fer­ent con­struc­tion. It is still an S-lab full-car­bon ski, which means the Salomon S-lab Blue Car­bon Skate ski is light, pow­er­ful and re­spon­sive. There is full-pres­sure dis­tri­bu­tion through the skis, mak­ing it easy to stay on top of them, es­pe­cially while climb­ing. They skied fast, prob­a­bly due to the Ze­o­lite base. These were fun to ski and light, quick and pow­er­ful. These skis also pro­vided ex­cel­lent feed­back of just mi­nor changes in body po­si­tion, which means you can swiftly change your body po­si­tion to a more ef­fec­tive place for im­proved per­for­mance.

Mad­shus Red Line Skate Ski

We en­joyed Mad­shus Red Line skate skis so much that we kept the demos and skied around on them for a long time, and didn't want to take them off! What a lively, re­spon­sive ski! This is a very light ski, es­pe­cially when paired with its high-end boots. This ski has a lighter con­struc­tion towards the heel, and the stiffest points of the cam­ber were placed more for­ward to help avoid plow­ing of the tips. These fea­tures also al­lowed for a longer glide pe­riod. Who wouldn't ap­pre­ci­ate that? The ski's ge­om­e­try makes it feel fast and ex­plo­sive. In var­i­ous flexes, it fea­tures dif­fer­ent pres­sure points towards the tip to acc com­mo­date dif­fer­ent snow con­di­tions and snow tem­per­a­tures. This ski also c comes in longer ski lengths for heav­ier and taller skiers.

One Way Mag Point Grip Sys­tem

New mag­netic tech­nol­ogy will be avail­able on a va­ri­ety of One Way poles. The mag­netic strap on the Premio car­bon pole ren­ders the en­tire set-up light­weight. The quick-re­lease is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble and con­ve­nient. The mag­netic ball on the strap prac­ti­cally pulls you back into the pole, giv­ing a snug fit. The straps them­selves were wide around the hand, yet com­fort­able, pro­vid­ing a large sur­face area for power trans­fer. Skiers who en­joy the op­tion of re­leas­ing from the pole while still keep­ing gloves and straps on will ap­pre­ci­ate this. This will be an ex­cel­lent pole for coaches, ski in­struc­tors, par­ents and biath­letes, es­sen­tially any­one who needs to get out of the pole quickly or of­ten.

Mad­shus Nano Car­bon Skate Boot

We skied the Mad­shus Nano Car­bon skate boot with the Red Line skate ski, and the com­bi­na­tion made for a very light set-up, with stiff­ness and ex­cel­lent power trans­fer, es­pe­cially in the V2 tech­nique. Mad­shus has brought its one-piece base tech­nol­ogy from its World-cup-win­ning boot to this boot. This boot of­fers com­plete tor­sional con­trol, sim­i­lar to its World-cup-win­ning boot, but at a more af­ford­able price point. The boot was com­fort­able, with a slightly wider toe box and snug con­tour­ing around the an­kle.

One Way Premio 9 HD Skate Ski

New for this year is the fun One Way Premio 9 HD ski, of a softer cam­ber than the 10 HD, but still with the same top-qual­ity base. It was easy to ski, light, flex­i­ble and fast, yet very sta­ble. The op­ti­mal glide of­fered by the 9 HD is im­pres­sive, as this ski runs the same World Cup rac­ing base as the 10 HD. An added bonus is its dis­tinc­tive bright graph­ics, which are ap­par­ently at­trac­tive to high school rac­ers all over. This is an ex­cel­lent op­tion for in­ter­me­di­ate- to ad­vanced-level skiers, high school rac­ers and peo­ple look­ing to pur­chase within a cer­tain price point, while still en­joy­ing some of the higher-end as­pects of the 10 HD.

Salomon S-race Skin Ski

Salomon's an­swer to the need for a rac­ing skin ski is here! The S-race Skin ski is light­weight and mod­eled af­ter its suc­cess­ful S-lab se­ries. It has its sig­na­ture Ze­o­lite base and fea­tures an up­graded skin sec­tion based on AT climb­ing-skin tech­nol­ogy that of­fers an im­proved glid­ing sur­face. A true rac­ing ski, we had to work to stay on top due to its more slip­pery skin, but were de­lighted with the re­ward of speed. They also turned well, which is prob­a­bly due to the com­bi­na­tion of be­ing a rac­ing ski and the fact that the skin hairs are shorter, so they grabbed less down the hills. These were re­ally fun to make par­al­lel turns and hockey stops on. This is a ski that must be fit­ted pre­cisely to the skier's weight, height and ski­ing abil­ity to en­sure suc­cess, how­ever once this is achieved, this will be an ex­cel­lent ad­di­tion to one's quiver!

Salomon S-race Skate Boot

The Salomon S-race Skate boot no longer has a power strap across the top of the foot as the boot is light and pow­er­ful on its own. The im­proved snug fit also al­lowed for ex­cel­lent power trans­fer, so again, no need for the strap. It was com­fort­able and sup­port­ive, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing how light and sleek the boot is. This boot is an ex­cel­lent com­ple­ment to the Prolink sys­tem, giv­ing su­perb snow feel with its low-pro­file-boot-to-bind­ing fit. The for­ward free-flex­ing cuff al­lowed ex­cel­lent foot po­si­tion­ing, and the zip­per and lac­ing were com­fort­able. It now has ex­ter­nal heel ad­just­ment, so the boot can be tight­ened while out ski­ing, no longer re­quir­ing re­moval to cre­ate a cus­tom­ized fit. Hav­ing skied on the hard-to-get S-lab Car­bon Skate boot for a while now, we noted that much of the tech­nol­ogy from that high-end boot has been passed onto this high-per­for­mance boot.

Alpina RSK Skate Boot

With the Alpina RSK Skate boot on, we ap­pre­ci­ated the com­fort of the in­ner part of the boot. There were no stiff parts dig­ging into our feet or an­kles. The sim­ple lac­ing sys­tem snugs the boot around the foot. It fea­tures a heel-grip sta­bi­lizer, giv­ing a cus­tom­ized fit around the back of the boot. On snow, it was a very warm boot, ideal for some­one who typ­i­cally gets cold when ski­ing or spends a long time out­side, such as coaches. This is an ex­cel­lent choice for the ju­nior racer with one boot for skat­ing, one for Clas­sic and a Combi ver­sion as well. All mod­els pro­vide the op­ti­mal bal­ance be­tween per­for­mance and com­fort. Another nice fea­ture of Alpina boots is its NNN bind­ing sys­tem, mak­ing the boot com­pat­i­ble with the new bind­ing op­tions now avail­able, as well as the Rot­te­fella sys­tem.

Atomic Red­ster C9 Sk­in­tec Ski

Atomic has in­tro­duced a rac­ing-skin ski this sea­son, the Red­ster C9 Sk­in­tec ski. Im­me­di­ately rec­og­niz­able from its nar­row-tip pro­file, it is sim­i­lar to the Red­ster Car­bon Clas­sic ski, in­tro­duced last year. Fea­tur­ing the ul­tra­light Nomex core of the Red­ster Car­bon Clas­sic ski, it has a sim­i­lar pro­file and is lighter than other Sk­in­tec skis we've tried, mak­ing for an ex­cel­lent marathon ski. This is def­i­nitely a high-per­for­mance skin ski. It had the good glide and re­li­able kick ex­pected of a Sk­in­tec ski. If you are in the mar­ket for a rac­ing skin ski, con­sider this one!

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