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60 skis tested by professionals

Ski Review 2019


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

Black Crows Camox Freebird [click]
Type of ski :
Testers' ChoiceRecommended by our reviewers!
Already selected and reviewed last year, the Camox Freebird from Black Crows did incredibly well this year with a new version and a new design featuring a "modernised" core. The result is amazing. Its behaviour on the groomed slopes is very adaptive with particularly good grip and outstanding stability. The ski is well-balanced, determined, easy to handle and playful. Off-piste, the ski is faultless, cutting through the crud and the powder with remarkable ease. The weight announced is 1.6 Kg per ski for 171cm, which puts it at the higher end of the spectrum in our comparative review. "The ultimate freeride touring ski", the Camox Freebird is certainly a bit heavier but makes up for this handicap by its perfect behaviour in the descent. We recommend it for all riders looking for a brilliant piste/touring/freeride one-ski quiver. Most of the reviewers felt that 178 cm was a bit short and recommended the longer version (183 cm) for average size riders.

Liked: Overall performance Versatile Consistent, reassuring Good grip Behaves well off piste Performs well in the crud Skid turns ...

Disliked: Slight lack of punch...

K2 Wayback 96 [click]
Type of ski :

Selected again for the PROSKILAB review this year, the Wayback 96 from K2 confirms its excellent behaviour (already noted last year). The ski boasts a very progressive flex that makes it remarkably smooth and fun to ski. The Wayback 96 is happy in all relatively soft snow conditions, including groomed runs. Despite being easily accessible, the ski has punch and offers first-rate performance. The very well-balanced flex provides solid grip that is useful on steep slopes and helps it to soar through the crud. At 1.4 kg per ski (announced by K2) for 177cm, the Wayback 96 is among the lightest skis in this section. Judged "perfect for this Freerando programme" (Freeride touring) where we're mainly looking for lightness for the uphill climb and performance in the descent, the Wayback 96 is a good choice for intermediary to very good skiers.

Liked: Accessible, consistent, reassuring Versatile, happy in all snow conditions Happy on the groomers Progressive flex ...

Disliked: Limited at high speed ...

Völk VTA 98 [click]
Type of ski :

During the pre-tests, we mentioned a preference for the Mantra V.Werks (an amazing model that we'd like to review next year), but VÖLKL asked us to review the VTA 98, a ski designed for a wider public. Overall behaviour is sound. The ski was judged to be "very consistent", "playful" and "smooth" in all snow conditions, especially in powder where float and manoeuvrability are excellent. The ski is "ultra-light and ultra-easy", "fun" and particularly accessible. On the other hand, it's less convincing on hard pack and at high speed. Grip is limited and push-offs are not solid enough in these conditions. The weight announced is 1.370 kg for 177 cm, making it one of the lightest tools in the category. More touring than freeride, and incredibly light, the VTA 98 is a very good ski, particularly consistent and fun for skiers who enjoy downhill rides that are not too physically demanding. It's also an excellent model for your first steps off-piste. Freeriders might prefer a stiffer model.

Liked: Good flex distribution Sound overall behaviour A good freeride touring ski Accessible Agile, playful Enjoyable Light...

Disliked: Less grip on hard pack at high speed The ski flaps at high speed Lacks dynamism and stiffness for freeride (engaged off-piste) ...

Atomic Backland 95 [click]
Type of ski :

Reviewed for the first time by PROSKILAB, the Backland 95 from Atomic made a good impression. It's a relatively stiff ski for this category. The result is excellent behaviour on the groomed slopes, with grip and stability that would make some piste-oriented skis turn green with envy. Off-piste, this same stiffness gives it some serious arguments. The ski's performance in uneven snow and its potential to go very fast were highly appreciated by the reviewers: "a super freeride ski!", "impeccable in crud", "awesome stability." On the other hand, some the reviewers found the ski too physical, and less agile and intuitive than some of its rivals. The weight announced is 1.370 kg for 177 cm, which makes it a light ski with remarkable performance/weight ratio. We recommend the Backland 95 for engaged good to expert riders looking for a light ski for climbing but that performs well in all snow conditions and on all terrains.

Liked: Good behaviour on the piste and on hard pack Stable Grippy Good hold in turns Happy at high speed off-piste Performs well in the crud Light ...

Disliked: Demanding Turn initiation is less intuitive ...

Dynastar Mythic 97 CA [click]
Type of ski :

The Mythic 97 CA from Dynastar displayed an enjoyable and docile character. It's an easy ski, that's relatively soft, contrary to what its CA name (for Carbon) would have us think. The professional reviewers appreciated its comfort and overall user-friendliness in most snow conditions: "a consistent and easy ski to handle", "an easy ski", "enjoyable on all types of snow"... The Mythic 97 CA is playful, agile and especially happy in short turns. With a 15-metre radius, it's almost a go-kart in this category where the radius is generally around 20 metres or more. The ski's softness combined with a large rocker means that it needs extra length and most of the reviewers had the impression they were testing a ski (at 177 cm) that was short. The ski appears less happy at high speed and in the crud, where the tip tends to flap. The weight announced is 1.450 kg for 177 cm, which is fine. In short, the Mythic 97 CA is an excellent choice for intermediate to very good riders looking for a well-balanced mix between weight and exhilarating downhill rides, with a focus on agility and medium speeds.

Liked: Accessible Easy to handle Smooth in short turns Relatively undemanding physically Enjoyable ...

Disliked: Soft tip that flaps in crud and at high speed Less convincing performance-wise ...

Zag UBAC 95 [click]
Type of ski :

The UBAC 95 from ZAG hasn't changed much compared with the model we reviewed last year. It's a ski that’s light underfoot, simple to handle, with very easy turn initiation. It's relatively docile and enjoyable as long as you don't go too fast. Off-piste, its behaviour is good. Its float and rotation in the powder in particular won praise from the reviewers: "extremely enjoyable ski in powder." On the other hand, once the rider steps up the pace, the ski begins to show its limitations. Its general softness and the large rocker at the front impair stability. The UBAC 95 finds it hard to lock into the turn and lacks directional stability so the tips at times come into contact. The lack of stiffness also penalises grip and behaviour in uneven snow and the crud. The weight announced, 1,405 kg at 184 cm, is at the lower end of the spectrum in this review. The UBAC 95 is a very good tool for ski touring or newbies to the powder. Experienced freeriders will probably prefer skis designed more for performance.

Liked: Very accessible Enjoyable up to medium speeds Light and easy to handle Easy rotation ...

Disliked: A soft ski, especially at the front Performance somewhat weak Lacks stability Not so happy in the crud ...

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