Earlier this year in January, some Skirack staff took a field trip to the Pico Mountain Ski Resort Downhill Ski and Snowboard Demo Event. It was a fun and exciting day because we got to test out downhill skis from our favorite ski brands.
After testing each ski, not only were we able to give our ski buyer feedback to help make buying decisions, but we were able to learn how each ski performed so we can help our Skirack customers find the perfect ski for them.
Here are some highlights:
All-Mountain Charger Skis
Prior to the 2021 the Enforcer series had been a staple of the Nordica lineup for years. However, new for this season they rebuilt this all-mountain ripper, introducing the new Enforcer 94. Nordica has managed to update and improve upon the already amazing Enforcer series. The new 94 serves as a great option for anyone looking for one ski to do it all no matter the conditions or the resort. It's stiff, stable, and has no speed limit. Built with Nordica's Energy 2 Titanium Construction, skiers will find Enforcer 94 solid enough to blast through even the densest crud or mixed chop, and carve deep trenches into groomers. At the same time, they're somehow not being excessively heavy (an issue that a lot of skis with metal layers suffer from). Personally my favorite ski in the “all mountain” category for years now. The 2021 inspires a great deal of confidence and brings out the speed demon in all of us.
Nordica also revamped their women's Santa Ana line. The new Santa Ana 93 draw upon similar construction to the Enforcer with a lighter weight wood. The result is a ski with the same high performance characteristics as the Enforcer that is perfect for women and lighter weight skiers.
All-Mountain Cruiser Skis
Brand new this year is the Salomon Stance 90. For those looking for a ski that is fast, fun, and easy to ride, this may be the ski for you. Built upon a lively poplar woodcore and two layers of titanal, the Stance 90 is a torsionally rigid ski that holds an edge incredibly well. At the same time strategic cutouts within the top layer of titanal decrease weight, improve maneuverability, and keep the ski lively and active. This also contributes to a firm flex pattern that isn't overly stiff. Overall, the result is a ski that is perfect for anyone who's primary focus is lapping groomed runs, and moguls (a terrain where it certainly stands out). Its also more than capable of the occasional jaunt through the woods. Intermediate and advanced skiers who aren't overly aggressive will love the new Salomon Stance 90.
The Coveted 50/50 Skis
2020 has brought with it a lot of uncertainty and skiing is certainly no exception to this. With the potential for diminished lift capacity, and the need to socially distance, a lot of skiers are looking toward the backcountry. With this comes increased consideration of weight, and "hike-ability" of their skis. Conversely, the considerations of downhill performance comes into play, with most skiers pursuing that perfect ski that will work for them in the backcountry as well as in-resort. In a year filled with questions, the Bent Chetler 100 is the answer. Atomic and Chris Benchetler have crafted a ski that is surprisingly stable, especially considering the lightweight (1700 grams in the 180 cm length). However, they've managed to create a stable ski for groomed runs while maintaining a lively, responsive, and playful nature. The rocker paired with the HRZN Tech tip allows the Bent Chetler to punch above its weight on powder days while maintain the maneuverability of a narrower skis. I would highly recommend pairing this ski with the Atomic or Salomon Shift or a Marker Duke PT AlpineTouring Bindings, which have all of the safety features of a normal alpine binding paired with lightweight backcountry touring capabilities.
NOTE: This also a great ski for all skiers, regardless of size and gender. Atomic offer it in a wide range of lengths (164cm-188cm) --Not sure if this should go in the blog or not but thought it important to at least mention.
5. Line Pandora 94 and Pandora 104
Once again if versatility and the option to ski at a resort or in the backcountry are what you're looking for, Line has got you covered. By leveraging the strength advantage of carbon fiber paired with a lightweight Aspen core, the Line Pandora 94 and 104 are both stable and light. Hands down our most popular, and well reviewed women's skis, over the last few years. I would highly recommend mounting the Pandoras with Atomic or Salomon Shift bindings, which should give skiers the confidence to ride lifts with the ability to tour outside of the resort. That said, these skis check a lot of boxes for beginner and advanced skiers alike. Advanced skiers will love the how easy it is to throw these skis around in tight trees or on steep faces and then rip back to the lifts. While beginners will appreciate their forgiving nature that doesn't punish you for ending up a little backseat. The Pandora 104 offers a little more surface area and float for the those deeper days making it a great east coast powder ski. The Pandora 94 benefits from easy turn initiation, and a sidecut design that enables a variety of turn radius.