TOP SKI TEST RESULTS FOR WINTER 16/17

Over 800 skis were tested from the top 20 brands previewing Winter 16-17 for the annual SIGB Ski Test in the Austrian Alps. There were 180 testers from 33 UK ski retailers and six ski media, including STYLE ALTITUDE. Here is an overview from our Editor, Elaine Deed, and the pooled results for the tops skis. next winter.

The weather threw everything at us while testing during the five days, from rain to white out to wind to sun. Between us we carried out nearly 4000 tests on next season's skis - and drank 1700 cups of coffee at the test centre (plus countless pints and glasses of wine for apres at the hotel bars).

We were there to test for two out of the five days, driving from our mountain HQ in France to the test centre in Kuhtai. Gavin, our Tech Editor, was on a mission to try the latest touring skis - both up and down - hence managing to test six skis a day, which with a hike of around 200m for each ski, meant a workout of 1200m plus a working out of different bindings and boots (catch his report here).  I focused on piste skis on the first day mainly because the vis was often non-existant so keeping to the piste was enough of a challenge. But I was first in line for the All Mountain and Freeride skis for women when we had 10-15cms of fresh the next day. See report here.

So we tried a total of 17 skis between us. As this is just the tip of the rocker as far as testing all 843 skis on offer, we have pooled our results with some of the other ski media and retail teams to achieve a far higher number of tests. A total of 2896 tests to be exact.

Each tester has a score card to mark the skis including very specific critera for performance both on and off the piste, whatever the ski. They include edge and control of turns, cruising comfort, smoothness, liveliness, powder, groomed piste and mogul performance..

Of course, it was not always possible to try every ski in every condition, let alone the one it's designed for. Testing skis can be not only subjective - what cranks my planks may not rock yours - but, also, weather biased. On a good day, like Wednesday, with a top up of fresh powder, nearly every All Mountain and Freeride ski brought a smile to my face.

Significantly, by far the biggest category of ski offered by the major brands is All Mountain followed by Piste and Freeride. All Mountain skis, the nirvana of the one quiver skier, took up nearly half of the tests, 45.5% of the total.

Meanwhile, lightweight touring skis, where all the hype was last year among the brands, made up over 11% of the skis on offer, but only 5.9% of the tests,probably because of the time and effort necessary to do, like Gavin, the uphill and down.

It has to be said that snow conditions limited the testing - and number of enthusiastic testers - of Big Mountain skis to only 3.8% of tests because of the lack of deep powder, Also, there were not enoough women testing Big Mountain and Touring skis among the pooled contributors so we haven't selected a top ski for women in these categories

From each category we've picked out the top three skis and the highest scoring women's specifics (where there were enough testers) marked for Performance Within Category. Where there were equal scores, the best Overall Performance.was the deciding factor.

We have also shown the skis with the best Overall Performance scores (not necessarily the same skis or same rankings as best Performance Within Category). They are, also, judged for Looks And Rack Appeal and Value For Money in the tests and, significantly, not all those with top Overall Performance scores are necessarily the best looking or the best priced. But, we figure, you want to know which are the best to ride, right?

Some skis had far more tests than others, chosen by testers because of hype and brand popularity; others only had one or two outings over the week. We've discarded any with three or less testers although they may be great skis we didn't feel there were enough opinions to give a fair result. If the Overall Performance scores are the same, we've gone for the best rated Value For Money.

And, note, there's no Editor's Choice or Tech's Top Ski. Yup, you're right, we do have our own favourites but we believe that this was a great opportunity for us to try out and to talk about next winter's kit but there were too many skis, not enough testing hours and too many variables in conditions for us to say, definitively, this or that ski is the very best of all.

Which is why we bring you the pooled results including 26 other ski specialists with teams taking part and, even so, would always advise that, ideally, you try before you buy or make an informed choice in the ski shop where there are staff who have been on tests like this and have not only tried them out but, also, have in depth knowledge about different skis and their suitability

So here,are the top skis in each category, from the pooled results carried out by the following media tester teams:

  • Fall-Line
  • Ski & Board
  • Snow Magazine
  • Style Altitude

And ski retailer teams:

  • Attwoolls Ski Shop
  • Backcountry UK
  • Blues The Ski Shop
  • British Alpine Ski School
  • British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI)
  • Captains Cabin Sevenoaks Ltd
  • Carters
  • Craigdon Mountain Sports Aberdeen
  • Craigdon Mountain Sports Inverness
  • Devon Ski Centre
  • Edge & Wax
  • Ellis Brigham
  • LD Mountain Centre
  • Lockwoods (Leamington) Ltd
  • Mike Davies Leisure Limited
  • Rivington Alpine
  • Ski Bartlett
  • Snow & Rock Sports
  • Snow Lab
  • Snowfit
  • Snowtrax
  • Solutions 4 Feet
  • Sports Outlet Ltd.

 

ALL MOUNTAIN

BEST PERFORMANCE WITHIN CATEGORY

Armada Victa 93

Head Venturi 95

Volkl RTM 84 UVO

Women'sSpecific SCOTT Luna

 

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE

Kastle MX89

Head Venturi 95

Volkl RTM 84 UVO

Women's Specific: SCOTT Luna

 

FREERIDE

BEST PERFORMANCE WITHIN CATEGORY

Volkl Mantra

Fischer Ranger 90TI

Faction Candide 3.0

Women's Specific: Volkl Aura

 

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE

Fischer Ranger 90TI

Volkl Mantra

Faction Candide 3.0

Women's Specific  Volkl Aura

 

PISTE SKIS

BEST PERFORMANCE WITHIN CATEGORY

Volkl Code L

Kastle CPM

Volkl Code S

Women's Specific: Volkl Flair SC

 

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE

Volkl Code L

Volkl Code S

Kastle CPM

Women's: Specific: Volkl Flair SC

 

SKI TOURING

BEST PERFORMANCE WITHIN CATEGORY

Volkl V-Werks BMT 94

Line Sick Day Tourist

SCOTT Superguide 105

 

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE

Volkl V-Werks BMT 94

Blizzard Zero G 95

SCOTT Superguide 105

 

BIG MOUNTAIN

BEST PERFORMANCE WITHIN CATEGORY

Volkl V-Werk BMT 109

Black Crows Nocta

SCOTT Scrapper 115

 

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE

Volkl V-Werk BMT 109

SCOTT Scrapper 115

Black Crows Nocta

 

 

 

 

 

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