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Which ski 2016??

Time to upgrade your skis?

“A bad workman always blames his tools!”

Whilst this can be said about many things we could also say that sometimes the workman just brought the wrong tools for the job in the first place. Maybe that was problem number 1 for him. Problem number 2 might have been that he never knew how to use the proper ones in the first place but without the right tools it’s hard to judge how good he is at his job.

Skiing has gone this way. Skis are becoming very specific and aimed at very particular strands or areas within skiing. When teaching skiing we work under the assumption that on any given day, time or place then there are a few factors that can affect your performance. Quoting straight from the BASI manual these are the potential factors that can affect you.

  • Technical
  • Tactical
  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Environment
  • Equipment

Whilst most ski lessons will hone into the first two factors in particular we cannot ignore all those other factors which can turn you from Marcel Hirscher or Lindsey Vonn on one run to a useless wreck on the next.

If Marcel or Lindsey were to turn up to a World Cup slalom race wearing downhill skis I think you would quite quickly see their version of a useless wreck careering down the hill.

Technically they are gods, they have all the tactics to compete on a slalom course, they are physically fit, psychologically prepared and the weather is perfect. What could go wrong?? Equipment.

With all this in mind it’s time to look at skis. What do you want to achieve this winter? Equipment might just be one of 6 all encompassing factors but without the right kit you’re going to struggle.

SIGB ski test 2015,16 Khutai

Each year there is a week where all the manufacturers get together and present their skis for next year. During this week all the main UK retailers, magazines and people-in-the-know send their guru’s to spend time on these skis and assess their performance so that they can then go on and pass on this knowledge to the customer.

For the last 3 years Del has been lucky enough to be invited on this ski test with the Ski Club of Great Britain for their magazine – Ski + Board.

It’s a huge week and with over 800 pairs of skis there is simply no way we can test them all. So the guys at Ski Club divide the skis into nice categories and then they chose a sample of skis from there for us to test.

Our head boy Mark Jones from Val D’Isere had this to say

“The game keeps getting moved on, with lighter, stronger materials being used in the construction of the skis, while re-profiled shapes and side cuts seem to be giving an incredible balance of reactive turn shapes for carving, while being easy to use in tricky situations. Every winner of this year’s test is an amazing ski, having to fight hard against some exceptional competition.”

All the full results, breakdown of performance etc can be found on the Ski Club website but here were our winners from the various categories and choices presented to us.

Men’s Piste Performance Women’s Piste Performance
  • Head Supershape Magnum
  • Volkl Code Speedwall-L UVO
  • Blizzard Power S6
  • Dynastar Active 10
  • K2 Luv Machine 74Ti
  • Fischer Breeze
Men’s All Mountain Women’s All Mountain
  • Salomon X-Drive 8.8FS
  • Scott the Ski
  • Blizzard Brahma
  • Blizzard Black Pearl
  • Salomon Gemma
  • Head Total Joy
Men’s Freeride Women’s Freeride
  • Dynastar Cham 2.0 97
  • Rossignol Soul 7
  • Atomic Automatic 102
  • Head Great JOY
  • Volkl 100Eight Pink
  • K2 Ful LUV 98 Ti

My personal favourites from these winners were the

  • Volkl Code Speedwall – simply the nuts when it comes to a ski. Completely wrong on paper as it goes as far away from a traditional ski as possible but there results are amazing. Smooth, effortless performance.
  • Scott The Ski – Hard to choose between any of those three skis. All were superb. And the Blizzard clearly stands above the others in looks but performance wise there is nothing between them. I ski the Scott ski already so I will vouch for them as the most “polyvalent” of all the skis
  • Dynastar Cham 2.0 97 – Awesome fun. The Soul 7 was a great ski too and could firmly recommend plus it looks more like a proper ski than the Dynastar but if you can get beyond how she looks the Cham is wham bang thank you mam. Awesome ski.

As a last comment – there are simply very few bad skis out there these days. All the skis we skied have their merits and all can be made to ski wherever and however you like. We could only test a small fraction of what is on offer and these are only our mere opinions!! It’s safe to say I haven’t skied a bad ski in a long time. I may have done some pretty bad skiing but I’m not going to blame the skis…..

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