Partnered with WaterSki, an independent team of testers critiques eight high-end slalom skis
The 2007 Independent Ski Tests team had two lakes, two boats, eight high-end slalom skis and only one mission — to give the skiing masses valuable insight into what ski might perform best under their feet this year.
The 12 testers from around the country had their work cut out for them as they began putting the latest and greatest slalom skis through their paces. Recruited by ski-test administrator John Taylor Horton of Carbon Fins, the team represented a cross section of the skiing world, with members from a wide spectrum of ages, sizes and abilities.
The team's basic conclusion was that much like the testers themselves, each ski possessed its own personality and buoy-carving ability. Now, with the strengths and weaknesses of those personalities assessed and the results tallied, the 2007 Independent Ski Tests team can officially declare “mission accomplished.”
Each skier in the 2007 Independent Ski Tests was randomly assigned skis to ride and evaluate. Testers used their own binding systems to better evaluate the ski's performance. Each ski was tested by six skiers, and testers did not evaluate the ski brand they normally use. Skis were first tested with factory binding and fin settings, but on subsequent rides the skiers were allowed to make changes to best accommodate their ability and style.
The skiers were instructed to rate the skis on a five-point scale in the following six categories: speed, turning, stability, carryout, predictability and overall impression. A score of 3 equals a neutral or acceptable level of performance. A score of 2 equals below-average performance, and a score of 1 equals extremely low performance. A score of 4 equals above-average performance, and a score of 5 equals extremely high performance.
Speed: How fast a ski accelerates with a given amount of lean. A fast ski requires less effort and allows a skier to make up lost ground.
Turning: How well a ski initiates, turns and finishes around each buoy.
Stability: How steady the ski feels under the skier, both on edge and riding flat. An unstable ski feels squirrelly when ridden flat and does not give the skier a stable platform in the turn or when on edge.
Carryout: How well a ski maintains speed and angle from the wakes to the ball. A ski with great carryout glides out in front of and wide of the ball.
Predictability: Whether the ski reacts to the skier the same way ball after ball and pass after pass. A ski that turns poorly at every ball is predictable, but a ski that sometimes turns hard and other times doesn't is not predictable.
Overall Impression: A measure of how a skier feels about how the ski rides - not a sum of the other criteria.
More Online: To view all the raw data from the 2007 Independent Ski Tests, visit waterskitests.com.