There was no queue of willing road testers for the new crop of frontside carve skis – skiing on groomed runs just doesn’t really make it happen for most of our travelling testers/editors, who prefer a more varied diet and more versatile boards. So here’s one road test from Australian Instructor Demo team member Tim Robertson, and reviews of some of the highlight new models.
Elan Amphibio Waveflex 78 Ti Fusion by Tim Robertson
“I was lucky enough to ski the Amphibio 78 Ti’s in most conditions – in Aspen when the cover was thin and hard, in Beaver Creek in up to 20 cm of pow, and then sun affected crud in the back bowls of Vail. Throw in bumps and awesome steeps on Aspen Highlands and the only condition I missed is the good ’ol slush of the Snowy Mountains. The Amphibios are so much fun. They handled all conditions with ease, like an all mountain ski should! Perfect ski for Aussie conditions, or take them overseas knowing they can handle anything thrown at them.”
In Brief: frontside carvers who dont mind a bit of local powder or whatever as well will enjoy the new Amphibio amped Waveflex 78 Ti – which also boasts a single titanal layer for stability at speed. Good for good skiers looking for performance they can turn on or off as desire and fitness dictates.
l 160-168 p 128-78-107 r 14.9 @ 168
Blizzard G-Force Supersonic
In Brief: Bring out your latent instructor tendencies – fast, stable, super quick edge-to-edge, frontside carve machines targeting top end recreational skiers and professionals who like zipping around on hardpack. Blizzard’s race technology like tip-to-tail magnesium belting helps. Like to be driven hard at all times.
l 160-167-174-181 p 123-72-1-5 r 15.5m @ 174
In Brief: All new speed machines add carvability to K2’s popular A.M.P. series. Speed Rocker -10% early rise tip plus 90% full camber – gives them super snappy turn initiation, titanal laminates provide edge bite, and the MOD suspension system (a secondary core absorbs vibrations without impacting flex) smooths the ride.
l 172-179-186 p 125-72-109 r 14 @ 185 $1399 inc bdg
In Brief: Not for noodlers – this is the real deal for hard charging old school carvers. Precision, power, agility with the stability of extra beefy titanal layers over an ash core. First lift for Super Trail and three laps before all those lazy, technique free, partied out twin tippers even make the queue …
l 152-160-168-176-184 p 118-70-100 r 16.5 @ 176
In Brief: The cap over light (fir) wood sandwich construction stiffened with titanal layers provides good grip for harder snow and higher speeds if you want to push it, but blended with softer longitudinal flex it makes for easy carved turns if you are just cruising.
l 146-154-162-170-178 p 117-72-99 r 16 @ 170
Nordica Fire Arrow 80 Xbi CT
In Brief: With their variable sidecut – an aggressive tip profile to bite into quick turns and then more relaxed so you can open up and drive long turns as well – these are made for frontside versatility, off a stable 80mm underfoot platform with a lighter but grippy single titanal layer sandwich construction.
l 155-164-172-180 p 132-80-115 @ 172 r 14.5 @ 172
Rossignol Experience 78 TPi
In Brief: All mountain carvers for those who do, or are thinking of, mixing up their terrain options at least sometimes. Rossi’s ‘Auto Turn’ profile – 30% low rocker, 70% traditional camber – makes initiating and exiting turns easier than ever and the extended sidecut engages more edge the harder you ski them.
l 150-158-166-174-182 p 122-78-111 r 17m
Volkl RTM 80
In Brief: Modern carving machines for tearing up the frontside with full low rocker tip and tail that gives them a super snappy feel, they also make chopped snow, bumps, and soft snow way less work. The extended wood core plus steel capped ribs over the edges hollowed in the middle sheds weight but not performance.
l 161-166-171-176-181 p 126-80-107 r 17.8m @ 176
Elan Ilumina Fusion (señoritas)
New addition to Elan’s popular Fusion range the Ilumina applies the lightweight benefits of waveflex and new ‘heel support’ sidewalls (with beefed up sidewalls there to suit the female stance – that’s attention to detail for you), plus early rise rocker for super smooth turns and lithium reinforcement for stability.
l 140-146-152-158 p 124-75-104 r 12.1 @ 152
K2 Superfree (señoritas)
Ideal for better skiers looking for boards to carve in all conditions and maybe ride the soft stuff. Tip rocker, regular camber and progressive sidecut give easy turns and great grip on a lively torsion box platform. They get K2’s Hybritech sidewall/cap and BioFlex wood core that’s lighter tip and tail than underfoot.
l 139-146-153-160-167 p 120-76-104 r 14m @ 160
Nordica Unknown Legend Ti Xbi CT
The dual sidecut shape makes for super versatile frontside ripping – carving arcs down the super trail or bust some afternoon bumps when it’s chopped up – off a stable wider platform underfoot. The powerful titanal reinforced sandwich construction gives liveliness and great grip for tearing up the hardpack anywhere.
l 156-164-172-180 p 132-80-115 r 14.5 @ 172