Ski Gear Review

We demoed some ski gear in the early season snow at Telluride. Conditions included fresh powder, packed powder, groomers, and crud. Temperatures were in the high teens to mid 30s. Here are our reviews:

  • Rossignol Temptation 78 women’s skis. Skier: PSIA level 4/5, single blues. All mountain skis with early rise tip and tail and a traditional camber underfoot. Gripped hardpack, western ice, and groomers beautifully. Improved my skiing by 1 PSIA level in these conditions. Floated fairly well in powder. Still did get shin deep into the fluff in Prospect Bowl. Need more skills for crud skiing before I can evaluate the skis’ crud performance. Ski is more forgiving than the Volkyl Attiva that I demoed last year. Overall: a great cruising ski
  • Rossignol Experience 83 men’s skis. Skier: PSIA level 5/6, single and double blues. Also an all mountain ski with 30% early rise tips and 70% traditional camber.  It took a few days to get comfortable with the skis, but I’m happy and look forward to having them underfoot again.  I expect these skis to last as my skills improve.
  • Leki spark S poles: The S pole line has a quick release between the pole and wrist strap. I love this quick release. Easy on and off at the lifts. Much faster to remove than traditional ski poles. The quick release didn’t work in the 3 falls that I took, though all the falls were fairly low velocity.
  • Boots: Bob G at Boot Doctors Mountain Village fit Peter for a pair of Atomic Live Fit boots and a footbed. We were very impressed with Bob’s assessment of Peter’s foot anatomy, stance, and boot fit. The Atomic Live Fit boots fit wide feet well, and they have an expandable toe box for added comfort. The boots are made of a thermoplastic that can be heat stretched, providing a semi-custom fit. Peter skied a whole week without a single “my feet hurt” moment. Thanks Bob!
  • Booster strap: Tightens the relationship between the boot cuff and the shin. Katherine used it to adjust the stance on her ski boots, which are angled too far forward. Improved agility and sensitivity to the snow. Supports a more neutral stance. Takes a bit of tweaking to get the right adjustment. There’s a fine balance between good fit and no circulation, especially as feet swell or shrink with temperature changes throughout different elevations on the mountain.
  • Base layers: While packing for the trip, we discovered that a few of Peter’s base layers got left in storage in Tulsa. So, he got an unexpected gear upgrade. Keen Targhee II hiking boots were warm and dry even on snowy 14 degree nights. A Smartwool long sleeve shirt performed well as a base layer. It was warm, wicked well, had no odor, and held up to daily washing.
  • Smartwool PhD ultralight ski socks completely changed boot fit, removing a lot of sore spots. Surprising, our feet were still quite warm. Katherine did miss the extra heel and shin padding that’s on the curvy mid-weight PhD Smartwool socks. We expect that in January, Katherine will be tinkering more with her boot set up.
  • Shipping of gear: Apparently, our shipping address was difficult to work with. REI, UPS, and FedEx all either ignored or goofed up our very specific shipping instructions. UPS sent back a package for “recipient moved” when that was not the case. Then, FedEx ignored their agreement with REI to hold a package prior to redelivery, and instead left the package in front of the house unattended for 4 days. REI reps were great about taking responsibility for problems and helping us to fix things. Whenever possible, we try to get our gear from REI because they stand behind their service and products. For the next REI shipment, we’re now trying out the My UPS Choice service to see if that will resolve shipping snafus.
Reviews and ratings from Real Skiers helped us understand and choose equipment.  We had fun testing this gear for a week. Look forward to getting back out in January. See you on the snow!