Ski Testing 101

Ski Testing 101

Ski testing. Its one of the benefits of a life spent in the ski industry. So many brands and so many models in which to choose. But how do we go about it? Most enthusiasts use product information guides, online reviews or word of mouth to gather information. As an independant ski retailer, we have the abiltiy to search out new brands, test the models, and bring them into our shop for you see, touch, and hopefully purchase.

We are always on the lookout for high performance equipment to test and bring into the shop, and our chosen brands like DYNAFIT, BLACK CROWS, ROXA, DPS, ATOMIC, MARKER, STEREO, ATK, JONES, KARAKORAM and G3 have proven their worth a thousand fold. Not ones to rest on our laurels, the search continues for the next hot item. There are big brands and small brands, and we like to test what "the other guys and girls" are manufacturing as well as the more boutique names that grace our sales floor.

As skiers and snowboarders, we do our best to distill all the offerings from each company, and choose models that make the most sense for our clients. Even though our product offerings slant (ok, lean heavily) towards the backcountry, we all love to rip groomers too, so we strive to find a balance for our PNW snowpack, and our Mt. Bachelor and 3 Sisters Wilderness snow sliders.

A great starting point for deciding on what ski to choose, is the width measurment underfoot. 65-85mm are generally a quick turning, short turn radius ski, best suited for the groomed and resort style skiing. 90-115mm is the meat and 'taters of the All Mountain category, and where most Crow's Feet staff and customers are looking to engage. The turn radius of a ski (typically measured in Meters) will also help you in how the ski "measures" up - a short radius like 12-15 meters, is a short and quick turning machine, while the 20+ meter offerings provide more all mountain/conditions versatility.

Pure backcountry or crossover? The lighter weight clampers don't give as much downhill performance as the heavier cross-over bindings, but let it be known that even the lightest of the light backcountry bindings have been tested by the worlds best ski mountaineers and have amazing function on both the up and the down.

Just a quick note on the interface between you and your skis. Get them to fit your foot shape (not just length), and get the correct flex rating for your style of skiing. Although there is no standard testing for flex ratings, the higher the number, the stiffer the boot. 70-90 flex for lighter weight/conservative skiers, 100-130 for advance to expert, and 150 for the heaviest, hardest charging skiers on the hill. We are proponents of matching up the weight categories for the ski/boot/binding match ups, in order to make sure you are not over or under gunned when choosing equipment.