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58 skis tested by professionals

Ski Review 2017



Type of ski: standard ski derived from competition skis
Type of user: competition skiers, good-to-excellent skiers
Main evaluation criteria: performance, suitability for non-competition skiers

Click on the name of a model to view a full review

Rossignol Hero Elite ST Ti (plaque R21 racing) [click]
Type of ski : Slalom
Testers' ChoiceRecommended by our reviewers!
Once again, we noted how a change of plate can alter a ski's performance by playing on the stiffness of the waist. During a discussion with the brand about the model to be reviewed in this category, we decided to test the Hero Elite ST (for Short Turns) that features a composite 'Race' plate (called R21 racing) and this choice proved highly judicious. The Hero Elite ST has a standard "Konect" plate and is a good ski, but we did not feel its performance was quite good enough during the pre-reviews for this "Slalom" category. The R21 plate provides the additional stiffness and performance that was lacking, putting it in first place, mainly due to the excellent accessibility/performance compromise. The ski is remarkably efficient, while remaining very accessible and intuitive. Thanks to a relatively flexible tip, turn initiation is instinctive and fast, extremely incisive when going into the turn. It grips and holds the turn faultlessly and has good rebound at the end of the turn. Very easy to handle, the ski is also very tolerant. It will forgive poor positioning and pressure, and does not jump into a push-off at the end of each turn like many other slalom skis. Big surprise for a ski in this category: the ski is very versatile. It carves, skids and slides as you want, and will coolly alternate dynamic turns at high speed and silky smooth turns at medium speed, for both long and short turns. The Elite ST Ti R21 is not a racing fiend but it stands out for the truly amazing compromise between accessibility and performance. With its R21 plate, it is remarkable for its incredible versatility and is perfect for a wide-ranging public, from the good to expert skier. We particularly recommend it for skiers who already have good technical skills and who want to improve their performance or even think about competitive skiing.

Liked: Sound and reassuring, intuitive, extremely easy to handle Requires reasonable physical effort for this category A really enjoyable ski for pleasure...

Disliked: Nothing special...

Völk Racetiger Speedwall SL UVO [click]
Type of ski : Slalom
Testers' ChoiceRecommended by our reviewers!
Like the Hero Elite ST, the Racetiger Speedwall SL from Völkl stands out for the excellent compromise between performance and accessibility, as well as its multi-talented scope of use. Overall accessibility is excellent, even if some reviewers felt it was less convincing than a Rossignol. Its extremely sound and adaptive performance means that can be effortlessly exploited in every situation. Turn initiation is easy and precise. Once in the turn, the ski accelerates fast while retaining its incredibly strong grip. Impulsion at the end of the turn is a bit more energetic than with the Rossignol, so turns can be linked at a devilish rate. A bit more sporty than the Hero Elite and very slightly more demanding, the Racetiger is a ski we recommend for good to expert riders looking for a performance-oriented ski without wanting a racing beast that will cause havoc with their thighs after three runs down.

Liked: Good overall performance Accessible and user-friendly Sound, adaptive behaviour, good flex distribution Easy and precise turn initiation and entra...

Disliked: Nothing special...

Elan SLX Fusion [click]
Type of ski : Slalom
Best Accessibility/Enjoyment!Best Accessibility/Enjoyment!
The SLX Fusion from Elan has continually done well in the PROSKILAB™ selection over the years. Although it hasn't changed much, it still gets good ratings from the reviewers for its responsiveness and its playful performance. In effect, with a rocker and a radius of 12.4m in the size reviewed, the ski stands out for its incredible agility combined with top-flight performance. It's a real jewel of a toy, able to carve out short turns with a surgeon's precision. The reviewers also loved the excellent ski/snow contact, the fluid ride and the excellent overall performance. Even better, the ski is generous, tolerant and extremely forgiving for less technical skiers who don't get their positioning quite right. Designed for short turns, this model consequently finds long turns more awkward and the ski tires more quickly at high speeds than some of its illustrious rivals. Easy to use, agile and playful, the SLX Fusion is a genuinely pleasure-oriented ski, packed with vitamins, and recommended for intermediary to good skiers looking for a particularly enjoyable and responsive model.

Liked: Good overall performance User-friendly and comfortable model Good ski/snow contact Accessible and forgiving A very playful ski Excellent turn pre...

Disliked: Classic ski for short turns, less at ease in long turns Tires more easily at high speeds...

Dynastar Speed Zone Ti 16 (R21 Racing) [click]
Type of ski : Slalom

A worthy successor to the Omeglass Pro that ranked top last year, the Speed Zone 16, with the group's famous R21 racing plate, got a good score again this year. The new model is stiffer and more athletic than its predecessor... but also far more demanding. The level of overall performance is extremely high and the reviewers were particularly impressed with the precision and stability of turn performance, even in relatively longer turns. Once the turn has been initiated, the ski's a marvel... "a rail" as one reviewer put it. It has excellent grip is and is also very responsive, mainly because of the fast edge change and the lively kick. On the other hand, the extra dose of stiffness added by Dynastar impacts on its accessibility and requires real engagement by the skier for to get the most out of it. "You have to be on top of it" one reviewer explained. Turn initiation is less intuitive and requires good positioning, while you need to get exactly the right dose of pressure coming out of a turn, otherwise you may find yourself taking a tumble. The Zone 16 Ti is a true slalom ski, more performance-oriented than its predecessor. We recommend it for highly engaged, very good to competitive skiers with a relatively heavy frame. Skiers looking for a less demanding ski or with a lighter frame would probably do better with Rossignol's Hero Elite or Völkl's Racetiger.

Liked: Good overall performance Ski with grip, particularly efficient for turn performance Very stable once it's anchored An energetic, responsive ski V...

Disliked: A bit less responsive in initiation than some other models in this category, requires the right positioning A stiff ski that needs engagement for co...

Fischer RC4 SC [click]
Type of ski : Slalom

Fisher is an excellent brand that we've been testing with success for many years. The RC4 SC is a well-known model, reviewed last year with good results and highly appreciated by our reviewers for its sports qualities. However, we have to say that our reviewers were somewhat disappointed with the model we were given to test this year. The ski is particularly stiff and requires a great deal of physical effort due to its lack of flex. It also needs excellent technical skills to steer it. While some of the heavier expert and competition skiers found it efficient, those with more medium build or less technical skills found the ski very difficult to handle. This is a ski reserved for an elite looking for efficiency before pleasure.

Liked: Good overall performance Smooth rotation and skids ...

Disliked: A ski that's technically and physically very demanding The ski is very stiff with little flex, giving an impression of general inertia. You can't sk...

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