Hot new kit for next season

10th March 2013, by Dave Watts

Scott’s new ‘The Ski’ comes in four colour-coded lengths

Scott’s new ‘The Ski’ comes in four colour-coded lengths

The main development in ski hardware for next season comes in boots rather than skis – not really surprising when you consider that ski sales in the UK are falling rapidly while boot sales are holding up and now far exceed ski sales. Skis have been hit by a combination of soaring charges made by airlines for carrying them and by the service and quality of skis offered by resort rental shops reaching new heights. High street ski retailers have also been hit by internet sales companies undercutting them enormously. I was told that, overall, ski sales in the UK have halved if you compare this season to 2010/11.

With boots,  Salomon’s new Max Custom Shell boots (see my earlier blog on my new pair at where almost the whole shell as well as the inner can be moulded to your foot, is being expanded to more ranges of boots (including women’s boots) for next season.  Salomon are so confident in the success of this concept that they are expecting 50% of the boots sold in the UK to be Salomon boots next season.

Fischer’s range of Vacuum Comfort Fit boots where the shell is also moulded is being extended for next season too. And Scott and K2 are launching their own boots for the first time for next season.

With skis, Scott has a colourful range of new all mountain skis called ‘The Ski’ which comes in four different colour coded lengths. This effectively replaces the Mission which was one of my favourite skis of the last few years. Salomon has a new range of freeride skis called Q which did well in our test and is supposed to tie in with their Quest range of ‘hike and ride’ boots. Dynastar has a new range of Chrome high-performance piste skis and has extended it range of women’s skis. Atomic has a new range of Nomad S piste skis with ARC technology where the bindings are mounted on a plate fixed at the front and rear but not in the middle which allows the skis to flex more naturally – I found this worked extraordinarily well and created great edge grip and steering power.

My personal favourites on the test included the new Blizzard Brahma freeride ski (which worked amazingly well on piste too) and lots of all mountain skis including the Salomon Enduro range, the Rossignol Experience 88 (my ski of choice from the whole test), the Head Rev 80 (their biggest selling ski worldwide) and the Nordica Steadfast.

My least favourite were the Dupraz skis. These are trying to break into the UK market, look rather like water skis with very wide tip sections and are asymmetric with the edges marked ‘powder’ and ‘piste’ – the claim is that if you swap the feet that the skis are on they ski completely differently. But my experience was that whichever way you put them on the piste performance was dreadful. They worked OK in powder when worn the powder way.

I’m writing this on the plane on the way to Canada’s British Columbia along with Editor Gill. So look out for a blog from Fernie soon.

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