Test Report 10/11 – Skis

by Don Portman

October 12, 2010 – Almost everyone had new skate skis for the Olympics. The notable exceptions are Fischer’s RCS Carbonlite Hole and Salomon’s S-Lab Equipe 10. Both of these skate skis received rave reviews from this magazine in the past.

Racing Skate skis

Rossignol X-ium Skate skis and NNN X-celerator bindings

Fast, stable and light — what else could you want in a skate ski. It was by far the fastest ski tested in the cold powder of Devil’s Thumb. Matched up with the new lighter X-ium boot and the new lighter X-celerator NNN binding, these skis made skating noticeably easier at 9,000 feet. Light on our feet yet solid on the snow, we could ski V2 (one skate) with abandon even on the firmest tracks. We loved the new binding. The X-celerator’s lightweight, easy operation and bomber control had all testers smiling. Look for it from Rossignol, Fischer, Madshus and Alpina/Peltonen. However at Steven’s Pass (4,000 feet) in warm granular snow and without the new boot and binding, the new X-iums were still fast, stable and light, but without the jaw-dropping lightness of the whole system.

Atomic Worldcup (Red Cheetah)
This is what Billy Demong rode for Olympic gold. The new “Featherlight” construction makes this ski ultralight. Testers found the Red Cheetahs fun and lively to ski. They seemed to fly up the hill and were easy to control in turns. The Worldcups were lightning-fast in soft powder in Colorado and soft granular snow in Washington. But on hard-packed snow, skiers needed to pay attention to technique. Too much pressure on the tip caused the ski to wander a bit, while a centered skier was rewarded with a smooth and fast ride.

Madshus Nanosonic Skate
Three models were tested, the HP for hard-packed snow, the SC for soft snow and the R for all-around conditions. Most of the track at Devil’s Thumb was hard-packed cold snow. As you might guess, the HP’s shined. The new geometry and weight savings were noticeable. They were so easy to ski, yet very fast with that signature-smooth Madshus feel. The R performed well on hard snow and had the advantage of easy turning. The R’s were also fun in the warmer conditions at Steven’s Pass. The SC’s were a tad squirrelly (as expected) on hard snow, but came into their own on softer conditions, especially in soft beat-up granular snow. The SC’s could coast right through piles of it without slowing down.

Racing Classic skis
Madshus Nanosonic Classic Cold
Still providing the smoothest ride of any skis, the new Nanosonics felt lighter and livelier than previous models. The 3-D shape has been changed, the skis have been shortened slightly and the camber has been elongated. They skied easy, with great grip and a delightful glide. Turns were easy to initiate and the skis arced smoothly throughout the turn. Nanosonics are fun to ski in hard-wax conditions. A Classic Plus is also available with a higher camber for klister conditions.

Salomon S-Lab Equipe Classic Cold
This all-new ski from Salomon features the new Propulse camber that is lower and slightly forward for effective grip. The test pair was matched up with the new Salomon Propulse binding and new S-Lab Classic boots (see below). The whole set-up provided superb grip when the ball of the foot was engaged, and a nice free glide when the heel was on the ski. That made it easy to jet the ski ahead for extra glide and to set up an effective grip phase. The grip was quick and took very little effort. The Classic Colds we tested came with a wood laminate for a smoother, softer flex. The Classic Warm comes with a carbon laminate for a stiffer and higher camber for klister skiing.

Rossignol X-ium Classic
Testers found the X-ium Classic very fast in cold snow. Just like the Skate, when matched up with the X-celerator binding, these X-iums felt super-light. Grip was easy and positive, making skiing these rockets a joy at Devil’s Thumb. In warmer snow, grip was still exceptional and glide was good. The X-iums felt smooth and comfortable and didn’t slow down when confronting small ripples or irregularities in the track.

Waxless Classic skis
Loads of new waxless skis are on tap for this season. We were impressed with the renewed effort in refining waxless skis, as well as the performance.

Peltonen Nanogrip X-CL Race
This is the clear winner in the maintenance-free-skiing category. Peltonen specifically instructs skiers: do not wax, do not rill and do not grind the base in any way. The proprietary nanoparticle-imbedded base is ready go right out of the box. “Fast,” “smooth,” “felt like a waxable ski” were the comments most heard from testers. Cold Colorado snow or warm Washington snow seemed to make no difference — the skis gripped well and had an amazing glide for a waxless ski. It was so nice to have that wax- ski feeling yet not worry as the track changed from cold shaded snow to sun-warmed slush.

Atomic Mover 48 and Mover 52
The two Movers are almost identical in performance. The 52 is, of course, 4mm wider than the 48. Both skis had a remarkable free-feeling glide as a result of Atomic’s new Posigrip base. The skis were fast and smooth in cold powder and warm granular snows. The wider 52 gripped a little better and turned easier, but the 48 gripped well on all but the iciest of snows and handled corners just fine. Pick the 48 for in-track skiing and the 52 for in- and out-of-track fun. Atomic also produces a heaver Xcruise 59 with this same great base for those leaning toward more off-track touring.

Salomon Elite 9 Aero Grip
Another new base, Salomon’s G2 Syncro improves upon its old G2 base. With a deeper pattern and variable depth of pattern, this new ski was loads of fun, providing a bomber grip and a lively glide. Relatively stiff and sporting racing-ski dimensions, the Elite 9 Aero is meant for competent in-track skiers. Be sure to get professional fitting on this ski — too soft a flex can cause the base to be grabby.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.