Head Super Shape Titan Skis
BEST FOR: Race-ski performance without the demands.
THE TEST: With a tight 14.3-meter turn radius, a powerful system-style binding, and Head’s World Cup race construction, this Austrian setup should have tossed us Yanks around by our Cinnabons. But for all its power and edge penetration, the rebound is smooth and predictable.
THE VERDICT: More fun than a beer tent full of Austrians. 133/80/111
Nordica Fire Arrow EDT Skis
BEST FOR: Maximum edge hold.
THE TEST: At 84 millimeters underfoot, the Fire Arrow was one of the fatter skis in this category. It has a full wood core and two sheets of titanium, plus a blunt tip that extends the edging surface for instantaneous turn initiation. One tester went so fast his glass eye popped out. Really. OK, not really, but it’s a good story.
THE VERDICT: Makes skiing groomers feel like racing sport bikes. 128/84/112.5
Blizzard Magnum 8.0 TI
BEST FOR: Blue ice in Vermont.
THE TEST: To do well in this category, a ski needs to turn cleanly on hardpack while excelling off-trail. The Magnum 8.0 TI hit both those notes—hard. It was unwavering at speed, and the 17-meter sidecut radius allows for slalom or super-G turns.
THE VERDICT: An all-speed cruiser best on-piste. 122/80/107
Salomon Enduro XT800 Skis
BEST FOR: All turns, all speeds, all terrain.
THE TEST: Generally speaking, the more race oriented the ski, the less forgiving it is in bumps and chutes. Not so the Enduro. Even though it’s beefed up with a full wood core, vertical sidewalls, and two layers of titanium, there’s enough tip rocker to pick your way through techy terrain.
THE VERDICT: Tap into the Enduro’s power, or back off and have fun. 125/80/108