By Tony Crespi
Each season the ski industry unveils new ski collections boasting advancements and refinements in technology and design. Often unrecognized by the public is the complexity of engineering and design principles involved in this process. The tip to tail shapes and dimensions used in a ski are crucial to its performance, as even minor modifications can change how a ski reacts dramatically.
Honestly, the range in the 2014-2015 skis is extraordinary. That is, not all new skis are equal. In addition, performance can vary widely because of skier weight and strength, as well as skiing style.
Ski testers try all the skis on the same trail – the same test track – in order to create a standard for comparison. Interested in our results? Welcome to the test track, exploring the 2014- 2015 ski line: Dynastar and Fischer.
Dynastars remain a favorite for racers and elite experts. Linked with Lange boots and Look bindings, Dynastars are crafted in Chamonix, France. With 38 offerings the line offers remarkable depth. Here are standouts.
The Powertrack Series is intended to blend all-mountain and and freeride performance. The key is a large “sweet” spot, combining a five-point sidecut, moderate rocker, and Dynastar’s classic construction. Of note, these boast full length vertical sidewalls for solid edge grip.
Powertrack89//89 Fluid X: With a 89 mm width and Look binding, this is the widest in this series designed to serve as a one ski quiver. It’s smooth. It’s balanced. It arcs a 17 m radius turn. It’s a new Dynastar. Waist: 89 mm. Lengths: 165, 172, 179, 186.
Powertrack84/84 Fluid X: With that 84 mm waist this is a more versatile ski for Eastern snow. Waist: 84mm. Lengths: 162, 169, 176, 183.
CHAM Freeride Series
CHAM 117: The Cham Series was built and tested in Chamonix and seems ideal in that kind of deep snow. Featuring a long rocker tip with classic camber under foot, this series — all flat to accommodate your binding choice — is intended to change our understanding of freeride. That in hand, the 117 mm waist is the widest of these models with a long 22 m radius. This ski is designed for big mountain enthusiasts, and would excel off-piste. Waist 117, Lengths 180, 190.
CHAM 107: Boasting a 18 m radius, this ski still likes a big turn. With a 107 mm waist, it can accommodate soft snow on and off trail. It’s for powerful skiers. It’s an expert ski. It’s built to ski off-trail.
CHAM 97: With a nice 15 m radius, but 97 mm waist, this ski may be the best at accommodating Eastern skiing. It would seem nicely built for intermediates and easy riding advanced skiers, with a nice ability to accommodate beginning forays to the back country and trees. Waist 97mm, Lengths 166, 172, 178, 184
CHAM HM series
CHAM HM107: The HM group features a lighter weight construction intended for a more energetic performance. The core is reportedly reduced in weight by 25 percent. The HM107 is the top of the three models, which all come flat. It seems ideal for lighter weight skiers. Weight: 107mm Sizes: 166, 175,184, 190.
CHAM HM97: The middle of the group with a 97 mm waist, this pretty blue ski has a wonderful 15 m radius turn married to that 97 mm waist. Its’ built for off trail and high performance skiers. Waist: 97 mm; Lengths: 166, 172, 178, 184.
CHAM HM87: The narrowest of the group, this green shaded ski has a quick 13 m radius turn married to that 87 mm waist. It’s built for off intermediate skiers largely enjoying on-trail adventure. Waist: 87mm Lengths: 166, 172, 178, 184.
The Chrome Series
Chrome 78 Pro: The top of a three ski series, the 78 Pro heads an on-trail series offering carving performance with race-like features. This is a wood core series with vertical sidewalls for maximum grip. This was ideal on the hardpack. Waist: 78mm. Lengths: 165, 172, 178, 184.
Chrome 72 Pro XP: The 72 Pro XP has an appealing 72 mm waist. This is a wonderful all mountain cruising ski. It was versatile. Fun. It skied like a Dynastar. Waist: 72mm. Lengths: 158, 165, 172, 178.
The Speed Series
Speed Course PRO: The Speed Series features true race ski designs. Designed for expert and elite skiers, these are designed for great edge grip. The Speed Course PRO is the non FIS ski. With a 74 mm waist and 16 m radius this is a classic racing design for aggressive hard charging experts. It was fast. It was fun. It’s a great ski for those seeking a race type ski for the hardpack. Waist 74 mm, Lengths 165,172,178, 184.
Personal Pick: Speed Course Pro.
Established in 1924, Fischer skis utilize race technology from the World Cup in designing some 38 alpine skis. Interested in racing? The RC4 Worldcup GS Race Booster may be appealing for Masters Racers while the RC4 Worldcup RC Pro Racebooster offers powerful front side performance for those seeking aggressive power.
High performance skis
Progressor 900 Black Racetrack: Using dual radius technology offering one ski for both Slalom and GS turns, this is a powerful contender for experts largely skiing the front side. With a 75 mm waist and unique 13-17 m radius it skis powerfully and with great pop. Waist: 75mm. Lengths: 160, 165, 170, 175, 180
Progressor 800 Powerrail: The 800 comes with stroking black and red graphics showcasing an expert ski with a penchant for speed but the forgiveness for emerging experts. With a fun 12-15 m radius, it a fun turning machine. Waist: 74 mm. Lengths: 150,155,160,165,170,175.
Trinity: The elegant black Trinity is more than exquisite; this is an intermediate and expert ski for those who enjoy both the blacks and blues. With a 13 m, slalom radius, it turns easily – happily – but hold beautifully. That 68 mm waist rolls on an edge with ease. Waist: 68mm Lengths: 150,155,160,165.
All mountain skis
Motive 95TI; Intended for both front side and off-piste action, the Motive 95 TI has a wider 95 mm waist matched with a long 19 m radius turn. It’s amazingly light! You’ll feel it. And that’s due to the Air Tec Ti construction. For lighter skiers in particular, this can be appealing. Know it comes in longer lengths, but with that light weight the swing weight seems comfortable. Waist: 95 mm; Lengths: 168,174,180,186.
Motive 86 TI: The second in the series with Ti (titanium), the narrower 86 TI is an expert ski intended for both on and off piste action. With a 17 m radius it turns nicely, quickly, and also uses that Air Tec Ti core. Waist: 86 mm; Lengths: 161,168,175,182.
Motive 76: This is a fun, playful and narrower ski. With that 75 mm waist it grips more easily on Eastern hardpack while using a classic wood core with Fischer’s air channel. Waist: 75 mm; Lengths 154,161,168,175.
Motive X: The All Mountain X is a highly flexible, versatile, all-mountain ski using a 74 mm waist and quick 16m radius turn. Using carbon – forgiving for intermediates and emerging experts — the X is a great ski for advancing skills. Waist: 75mm Lengths 150,155,160,165,170,175.