(OnTheSnow.com Associate Editor Jill Adler and her team of professional ski instructors are on site at Snowbasin, Utah this week testing all the new skis for 2009-10 that made their debut last week at the Snow Industries America Trade Show in Las Vegas. She'll check in after each day's testing for your personal preview.)
We pulled into the upper parking lot at Snowbasin Tuesday morning and my anticipation turned to trepidation. OMG! Tents sidewalled with skis and snowboards of all lengths and widths stretched for what looked like miles. How in world could we test all of these skis? Our core team of six instructors, supplemented by other Utah instructors and retail shop rats were looking at nearly 300 pairs if we wanted to canvas the goods for next season. No way, I thought. But, try we will.
We embarked on our mission at the Western Winter Snowsports Rep On-Snow Demo. Sherri, Greg, Joey, Rachael, Mark, Kris, and I spread out and jumped on skis from the big boys to the boutiques. Völkl, Salomon, Head, 4Front, Surface, Rossignol, Icelantic, Roxy and many, many, many more, displayed the (near) future of skiing- hard goods for 2009/2010. The girls had to hit the women's skis first, the men could take their pick. So far, there are no stand outs. Many seemed to excel in one category, but no ski has yet to excel in most. We are looking for stability, versatility, carvability, cosmetics, the usual stuff.
It was a gloriously sunny, 40-degree day; the kind that makes a white-zinced face acceptable. Everyone immediately bonded as we slipped into our "Locals Have More Fun" team hoodies emblazoned with an OnTheSnow.com logo. Not only did we look cool, we had the coolest job in the world on this day! How can you top skiing run after run of groomed and pack powder trails at the Basin? OK, skiing run after run in waist deep powder, but beggers can't be choosers.
We all stuffed survey cards into our jackets and took off for the Needles Gondola. This would be our remote office where we conferred and filled in the cards. The wisecracks were hilarious - like one guy who described a very average skiing ski by saying, "I didn't know Wal-Mart made skis." We tried rockers, reverse cambers, carvers, and the ladies. The majority of boards out today, however, were the carvers. Though we did it anyway, it's silly to ski a rocker with 110 underfoot when the runs are as smooth as a sheet of paper. We threw back a Monster after two hours and stopped at the lodge for lunch and the team photo. More skiing ensued post bratwurst.
We had 50 skis under our belt by the end of the day. Not as many as I would have liked, but we're just getting familiar with the program. Day 2, I've got my fingers crossed for twice that. Come on teammates, let's rock it.
P.S. Overheard at the Nordica tent:" Why do you want a rocker? They don't work. They don't work!"