2011 Freeskier All-Mountain Ski Test: New Highlight Video & Find Out How We Test The Skis

2011 Freeskier All-Mountain Ski Test: New Highlight Video & Find Out How We Test The Skis

Just a few short weeks ago, our entire staff was on hand in Aspen/Snowmass for the 2011 Freeskier All-Mountain Ski Test. Hundreds of 2011-2012 skis, the best test crew we've ever assembled (both in terms of skill, and personality, I might add), fantastic conditions, and a whole mess load of fun… we couldn't have written it better.

2011 Freeskier Fest Highlight Video

Freeskier has invaded Aspen/Snowmass this week for the 2011 All-Mountain Ski Test. Check out some footage of the gang giving the products a good ol' testeroo, and get a feel for what life is like on Ajax this week.

By now, you should have seen some of the recaps that we churned out during both the "big" Test, and also the Microbrew Test; thus, you'll have a pretty good understanding of what went down. What you may not know is how exactly the actual ski testing went down. Here's our system:

Check out the full photo gallery, now with updated images.

Each day that we're on the mountain, we pick a certain style of ski to test on based on the conditions. Early in the week, for example, we had some new snow to contend with, so naturally, we opted to test the skis from both the powder and big-mountain categories. Later in the week, the sun came out in full force, and the snow packed down – it was the ideal time to shred the all-mountain skis. Simple, right?


Josh Bishop in the white room.
All photos by @shay_will.

Let's say that you happened to be a member of our all-star test team. Here's how you do things:

You cruise via gondola up to the top of Ajax at 8:00 am. There, you dump all of your gear at the Ski Test Base Camp, and pick up your first pair of skis for the day. You then shred 3,267 feet of vertical back down to the bottom, trying the skis on a wide assortment of terrain, such as open faces, tight trees, and groomers. On the 15 minute gondola ride back to the top, you ponder your feedback for the oh-so-important Freeskier Fest Ski Test Form.

You'll rate the ski from 1-5 in four different categories: carving, stability, flotation, and playfulness. The four marks combine for the overall score out of 20. In addition to the simplified number scores, you'll take some time to explain in depth how the ski performed in the comments section.

copy.jpgOnce at the top, you'll drop the form into the sacred Test Form folder, and head on over to the ski rack to select your next model.

Of course, if you felt that you didn't get a proper test done in one single run, you're free to take that other pair out again just to be sure that, yes, indeed, that one particular ski might have been a little slow to initiate a turn on the groomers.

At the end of the day, each ski will have received between 10 and 20 reviews. Once the test wraps up, we bring all of those forms back to the Freeskier office and sift through the pile until each one has been scrutinized and logged.

As a group, we then discuss each ski in detail, referring to the test forms all the while. We assign final scores, write the final reviews, pick our absolute favorites (the Editor's Picks), and package it all up for you in the annual Buyer's Guide. And voilà!, now you know the gist of it.

Perhaps you've seen some of the edits that we churned out during the Test? If so, then you'll know that in addition to rigorous testing, we also manage to squeeze in a little bit of fun, too.

Aspen/Snowmass hooked it up big time for us. From fancy condos to our own roped off Base Camp at the top of the mountain, to mass ski-storage, to après drink specials, to tickets to epic rock concerts… they saw to it that our every need was met. For that, we extend a giant thank you.

See some video-previews of tons of 2011-2012 skis.

Check out the full photo gallery, now with updated images.

All week long, the staffers, the testers, the reps, and quite frankly, anyone who wanted to join, came together every night for family dinner. Our private chef (Chef Nate), who customarily travels the world cooking for bands like Tool and Black Eyed Peas, took a break from his busy schedule to come and fuel our tanks; turns out, testing skis every day from 8:30-3:30 requires some serious energy. Alas, we stuffed our faces with "the best meals ever," and simultaneously enjoyed some good ol' bonding time. For many, these evening affairs were the highlight of the whole week.


Gettin' the goods.

As we've mentioned before, Ajax offers the ideal terrain for a ski test. We were also fortunate to have a mixed bag of weather conditions, thus ensuring that all of the skis could be tested in the environments for which they were designed. From deep pow, to slushy crud, to epic groomers, we had a taste of everything.

And when the test began to wind down, and we'd knocked out most of the skis, we took a break to stop, and say, "hey, we're in Aspen; let's do it up!" Shirtless backies, hot diggity dogs on the grille… we certainly made the most of our time outside the office. Check out the brand spankin' new edit below, showcasing some behind-the-scenes antics.


Grant Savidge kosak over downtown Aspen.

When it was all said and done, granted, we were a little sad; one of the best week's of our lives had just come to an end. There wasn't too much time for remorse, however, because as soon as we'd packed our bags and locked up the condo, it was off to Crested Butte, where a little cat-skiing lay in store, giving us an opportunity to give the fattest powder skis another good run-down. 

Check out the full CS Irwin cat skiing recap here.

Highlight Video #2: Behind The Scenes at Freeskier Fest

After 10 straight days of serious testing of all of next year's skis, it was time to have some fun. Hot dogs, beer, rock concerts and shirtless skiing in the sun combined for two outrageous closing days at Aspen/Snowmass for the 2011 Freeskier Fest Ski Test.

Be sure to check out the other ski test videos for a more "traditional" look at how we test skis and how it all goes down.

2011 Freeskier Microbrew Ski Test Highlight Video

The 2011 Freeskier All-Mountain Ski Test is here! From March 3-5, we kicked things off with the Microbrew Test. This is an opportunity for many of the smaller ski brands out there to come in, have some fun, and get some special attention.

Check out some of the action in this recap video.

Read more about the 2011 Freeskier Fest Microbrew Ski Test.

See some video-previews of tons of 2011-2012 skis.

Check out the full photo gallery, now with updated images.

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