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Ski Selector Glossary
At SkiTalk, we believe that there are few bad skis these days, but many can be the wrong ski for any given skier. Our goal is to give honest and candid reviews that help you find the right ski.
We provide reviews in three formats:
Individual Reviews: These are testers' reviews accessed through our Ski Selector here. We rate each ski on its own merits and characteristics. These reviews provide a short description of the ski and the reviewer’s thoughts about the ski. The reviewer then suggests who the typical user for the ski should be, given its characteristics, and also who it would not work as well for. You will also find reviewers' "inside tips" about a given ski.
Long-Term Reviews: These are an expansion on the individual review put into a season-long test where the reviewer can use the gear in a multitude of conditions and situations. You will find these Long-Term Reviews posted in the open forum.
Cage Match Comparisons: Comparison reviews provide insight for deciding between two similar skis. These reviews are not meant to rank one ski as better than the other; they focus on the characteristics of the skis and describe the type of skier that each would best suit. Cage Matches are also posted in the open forum.
A bit more about our reviews:
We review skis for every ability level by skiers of that ability. Our reviews are done by skiers like you: intermediates, experts, and even some masters racers. Our reviewers are not professional reviewers, and not skiers who are paid by brands.
Our reviews are independent and do not mirror what the brands say about their product. We avoid regurgitating rhetoric or sales pitch buzzwords.
We do not rank skis with stars or numbers. A certain ski could deserve a 4.34 rating for a given skier, and be a solid 5 to a different skier, if it fits their needs.
While we have paid advertisers, we are clear with them that their reviews do not receive preferential treatment. All reviews are the independent thoughts of the reviewer.
You have direct access to the reviewers to ask them questions. We listen to you, the reader; we value your opinion and respect that we might not always agree.
We believe that our unique review method allows readers to discern what the best ski is for them.
Product for our reviews are sourced from industry and consumer ski demos, and from the SkiTalk Test Fleet. The SkiTalk Test Fleet is made up of skis provided by manufacturers that expect honest and balanced feedback on their product.
We have broken down ski categories to what we feel is a very simple format. When you are choosing a category, you are not limited to one choice. You will notice in the skis' description that a ski might fall under more than one category. For example, if a ski shows in both Frontside and Race, that means it is more of a technical ski that you can run the occasional race on. It will not have the performance of a true race ski that will just have Race as its sole category. Another example is a ski that has All Mountain or Powderand Touring as attributes; this ski will tend to be on the lighter side of the spectrum. If you install a tech binding, it will climb well but will still perform as expected as an all-mountain or powder ski.
Please look at the the categories and try some different combinations in your search, and of course, since our reviews are interactive, please do not hesitate to post questions.
Most of our reviews focus on these four fundamental types of skis:
Race: Race skis are born and bred to be in a race course. You will receive the Nth degree of feedback. These skis will have Slalom, Giant Slalom as designations. Expect these skis to come with a race plate and require a race binding.
Frontside: Frontside skis are made primarily for groomed terrain and on-piste performance. Waist widths will typically range from upper 60 to low 80 mm. This category includes carving and technical skis, the relaxed siblings of the race ski.
All Mountain: Versatility is the key word here. These are the skis that are meant to perform in most conditions and take you all over the mountain. These skis can range from upper 70 to over 100 mm underfoot. Skis in the narrower end of this range will often also be in the Frontside category, whereas the wider skis in this category will often also be in Powder.
Powder: These are the skis made for fresh snow and powder days. They are wide and made to float. This class will range from upper 90s to 120 mm underfoot.
Beginner/Novice: Never skied before or skis cautiously and slowly on easier, groomed terrain.
Intermediate: Explores terrain on piste at varying speeds and in various conditions. Comfortable on moderate slopes.
Advanced: Skis in most conditions at varying speeds. Comfortable on moderate and steep terrain, including some off piste.
Expert: Skis the whole mountain, on and off piste, in any condition. Comfortable at higher speeds and on steeper terrain.
New: Completely new model or major design/construction updates.
Construction update: Same ski as last year with minor construction updates.
New graphic only: New cosmetics or as we say "NGT" aka New Graphics Technology.
No change: Same ski as previous year with no changes.