Gear Guy

Q:

Any recommendations for top-of-the-line skis?

I just bought new ski boots and I love them. Next on my list is buying new skis. I a solid level-nine skier and can ski anything on the mountain (New England or Rockies), although not always as gracefully as I would like. I love moguls but don't want a ski that submarines in powder. I was looking at the Salomon X-scres but heard that their tails were too stiff and therefore a lot of work in the bumps. Do you have any recommendations for top-of-the-line skis? Will New York, New York

A:Wow, that's a tough question. There are so many good skis out there, in so many styles that it's tough to come up with a list. One thing you might do is check out a high-end rental center, maybe at your favorite resort, tell the rental guy what sort of skiing you want to do, and then ski on two or three different pairs of boards during the day. That's really the best way to see if one ski is "too soft" or another "too stiff."

Otherwise, it sounds as if you're looking for an expert-level ski or a high-performance all-mountain ski. I have some three-year-old Volants and like them very much; you might look into Volant's new T3 Power ski ($799), which is an extremely highly rated advanced ski. Good for everything -— at home in powder or on moguls. Rossignol's Bandit XX ($719) has similar attributes, although it's a big stronger on moguls than it is in powder. Down the price rung, K2's Axis ($625) performs like higher-end skis, with perhaps a tad more forgiveness than the Bandit or T3. That would be the ski I'd pick for myself.

This is a great time to buy skis. All over the place I'm seeing skis marked down $100 to $200, and more. So do some shopping, and look for a bargain. Ski shops are going to be anxious to blow merchandise out, and will probably be willing to deal well below whatever sale price is marked. So don't just look for a great deal, ask for one.

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