Exposure

Behind the Scenes at Our 2018 Ski Test

In February, we put more than 250 pairs of next winter's skis through their paces at Snowbird, Utah. We're talking 18 testers, three days, and a total of 1.5 million vertical feet. Find out which planks rose to the top in the Winter Buyer's Guide, which hits newsstands in October. In the meantime, let photographer Lee Cohen take you through the test.

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Photo: Lee Cohen

To stand out in Snowbird’s socially competitive tram dock, it helps to throw out lines like, “Yeah, I’m just here testing skis for Outside. Did I mention I’m a ski tester?”

Photo: Lee Cohen

More than 20 brands submitted 150 models (many in multiple lengths) for our test.

Photo: Lee Cohen

Tester Gabe Glosband sees how next winter’s boards handle this winter’s wind buff in Snowbird’s Cirque.

Photo: Lee Cohen

Chad Jacob in the thick of the ski-test daily grind. Grab a pair of skis, hop on the chair, burn a lap, fill out a test card, repeat 18 to 22 times.

Photo: Lee Cohen

Another pitted bro: Longtime tester and ski tech Greg Peruzzi takes a turn in the pit adjusting demo bindings. Brady Newton heckles him for the effort.

Photo: Lee Cohen

Get back to work. Testers Nick Loomans and Stephie Kasun dog it above the ’Bird’s Mineral Basin.

Photo: Lee Cohen

Loomans rips Puckerbrush.

Photo: Lee Cohen

Plenty of skis shred powder. Fewer stand out on leftover alpine chalk. Loomans descends Bonar’s Pass, Little Cloud.

Photo: Lee Cohen

The annual ski test is a collaboration between Outside, Mountain Magazine, and Gear Institute. Here, Gear Institute’s Tal-ee Roberts pounds out multiple-syllable words as instructed by the test director.

Photo: Lee Cohen

Alta ski patroller and tester Andrew McCloskey finds some wind buff near Tower Three off the Cirque.

Photo: Lee Cohen

Newton builds his personal skis from salvaged railroad ties, rebar, and angle iron, but he likes the stiffest Germanic brands, too.

Photo: Lee Cohen

In the warmer months, tester Mark “Smash” Carroll tosses 75-pound totes of calamari out of the hold of his commercial fishing boat. In Utah, he makes product managers nervous.

Photo: Lee Cohen

Thomas Forcier, Justin Salvas, and Newton organize test cards while waiting for eggs benny at Snowbird’s Forklift restaurant.

Photo: Lee Cohen

“These skis have some nice pop to them.” Ski tester Krista Crabtree hops off Little Cloud.

Photo: Lee Cohen

Western corduroy: Crabtree and Loomans get their synchro-skiing on.

Photo: Lee Cohen

Crabtree and Loomans gang-ski a Little Cloud chute.

Photo: Lee Cohen

Après-après: Part of the crew tests margarita pitchers at El Chanate in Snowbird’s Cliff Lodge at the end of day two.

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