Many times, at demo days, I am asked...why don’t you have this ski? Why don’t you have this brand? The short answer is, we just don’t have enough room to carry every great women's ski on the market, so we have to choose. But what is our formula for deciding which skis make it on to our wall?
The first, and most important piece to our decision making process, is the annual ski test that happens at the Outdoor Retailer show in the end of January. We spend two days with our predominantly female test team, testing equipment from across all the brands and evaluating new skis and comparing them to current models that are carrying forward. We use the same formula we recommend to our own ski demo customers. We compare skis on the same run, on the same day, trying different turn shapes, to see where and how the ski performs best. The difference between our test and our customer's demo is typically customers are searching for what ski is best for them, we are evaluating which is the top ski in each ski category
Over all, we have three main ski categories we are shopping for:
The Frontside Skier | She is someone who prefers mostly groomed terrain, often more intermediate skiers but not always.
The All Mountain Skier | Her ability may range from intermediate to expert but she is looking to ski the whole mountain
Soft Snow Skis | This is usually a second pair of skis that compliments an all mountain option. This skier may be a little more advanced if they are skiing enough to warrant a ski exclusively for soft snow.
There are other characteristics we look for in a ski, besides the turn shape. Things like “skiability.” How easy is it to ski the ski? What if my form isn’t perfect? Does the ski still turn or does it feel out of control? At what speed does the ski turn best? Some skis, you really have to get going before they will make a turn, while others turn easily at slower speeds. These are all other things we take into consideration in the evaluation process.
It’s tough not to think about what we like best personally...and our personal favorites usually make it into the mix. However, we have to think about what type of skier we are, and how that matches up with our customers. Sometimes we get a consensus one way or the other on a certain model, and that makes the choice easy. Ultimately, there are a lot of good options on the market, and it's always tough narrowing it down to what makes the cut. The skis that don’t make the mix? Well, they might be right for someone but it means our testers just didn’t feel it was right for a broad enough mix of our customers to earn a spot on the wall. We do our best to curate a great collection of models to work for all the skier types we deal with. Come see what we have and test it for yourself and let us know what YOU think!