2016 FREESKIER Ski Test: We’re testing 250+ pairs of next year’s skis

2016 FREESKIER Ski Test: We’re testing 250+ pairs of next year’s skis

Compiled by Lampert & O’Neill

FREESKIER’s industry-leading ski test has once again converged on Aspen Snowmass; this marks our sixth straight year of testing in the land where beer flows like wine—where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. This week, we’ll put 250+ pairs of next year’s skis through the wringer. The skis that fare well among our testing squadron will grace the pages of our annual Buyer’s Guide, ultimately helping you, our faithful reader, to purchase skis that’ll up your skiing experience.


250+ pairs of next year’s skis? Yes, please.

The show kicked off this evening as dozens of ski manufacturing reps (product managers, marketing managers, etc.) arrived in “A-Town” with their new boards in tow. With the help of our staff, plus a throng of veteran ski testers, the freshly-tuned planks were transferred from truck beds to snowcats and whisked to our ski testing HQ atop Ajax, otherwise known as Aspen Mountain. There, in a vast storage room, the skis were arranged according to waist width (90 to 99mm, 100 to 114mm and 115mm-plus). Overnight, the goods will rest in peace and quiet.

Come morning, the calm will be interrupted (permanently) by our group, consisting of 50+ skiers. All day Monday and through the rest of the week we’ll rip top-to-bottom laps on Ajax: 76 trails, 675 acres and 3,267 feet of vertical will comprise our stomping grounds. After each high-octane run, our testers will turn to our handy mobile app to log evaluations.

How we rank the skis

With a few simple clicks, testers rate skis on a scale of 1 to 10, based on the categories of carving, stability, versatility, float, playfulness and overall stoke. The ratings compound into a massive heap of testing data, directly at our fingertips. Just think: If a certain ski has received enough reviews to satisfy our needs, we’ll pull it from the racks right then and there, allowing our testers to migrate towards models that need further analysis. This process ensures a thorough and proper evaluation of each ski in the test. Moreover, the app allows testers to document their feelings in the moment, while the strengths and nuances of a certain ski are still freshly embedded in their minds. The data serves as the foundation of our Buyer’s Guide.

Who gets to test?

The people integral to the success of the ski assessments are our beloved testers—our mad scientists. They come from all walks of life and locations across the United States. They’re built in various shapes and sizes and all have different ways of looking at the mountain. Honestly, they’re the wackiest bunch we know. Yet, despite comedic tendencies, you’d better believe that their skiing savvy is nothing to laugh at.

Our editorial team handpicks our ski testers. The group consists mostly of rippin’ Coloradoans who have made lives for themselves in the mountains. Some work in ski shops. A handful are former professional athletes. Others represent ski resorts. The rest are pure ski bums, “funemployed.” Rest assured, they’re highly qualified for the job, some even having tested with FREESKIER for the past decade.

How to follow along

We’re about to dial ‘er up to 11, folks, and we invite you to follow along with the action. To be sure you don’t miss a beat this week be sure to tune in via freeskier.com and the channels listed below. You’ll enjoy sneak peeks of next year’s top products; photo galleries; detailed information about how we test skis; videos; Instagram roundups; magazine subscription specials and more.

Instagram: Follow @FREESKIERmagazine to enjoy a bevy of photos & videos highlighting our experience in Aspen. Be sure to follow along with the #FREESKIERFEST hashtag—there, you’ll find posts by our team, our ski testers, the ski manufacturers on-site and also a slew of locals and tagalongs who are simply here to enjoy the ride.

Snapchat: Using your mobile device, log in to Snapchat and scan the code below. Or, add the user FREESKIER_mag to your contacts. Stay tuned to our Snap Story for “almost live” coverage of the ski test.


Facebook: facebook.com/FREESKIER


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