Humans of the FREESKIER Ski Test

Humans of the FREESKIER Ski Test

A recent survey shows that the most coveted jobs in the world are 4) a chocolate consultant, 3) beer taster, 2) private island caretaker and 1) FREESKIER ski tester. For a lucky 40 or so people each year, testing hundreds of skis with FREESKIER is a very exciting opportunity. It’s also a highly demanding gig. Influencing hundreds of thousands of skiers’ purchasing decisions is no walk in the park, after all. That’s why we handpick our ski testing squadron to provide you with the most well-rounded representation of this year’s crop of skis.

We employ a wide variety of skiers who tackle the mountain in their own, unique way. We wrangle skiers who are also extraordinarily well-versed in the tech department, too—able to decipher why, exactly, a ski performs the way it does.

Several of our testers work in ski shops. A few are former professional athletes. A couple are professional athletes. Some are ski bums. Some work a “regular” job and ski absolutely every chance they get, probably not unlike you. A handful of testers have been romping with us for a decade, giving them unique insight into the evolution of various manufacturers’ products.

All told, our guys and gals can be counted on to separate the best from the rest. Without further ado, we introduce you to this year’s A-team.


Meet the Testers

Photos by Erik Seo

Katrina DeVore

Age: 29 | Height: 5′ 6″ | Weight: 125 lbs
Home mountain: Aspen Snowmass, CO
Years testing with FREESKIER: 5

Skiing background: I was born and raised in Aspen, Colorado, and have been skiing since I could walk. I grew up racing… Lived in Chamonix, France with my mom and brother when I was 11 and got into backcountry skiing. I started competing in big-mountain competitions and now here I am… back in Aspen and traveling all over the world to ski.

Ski testing is an honor for me because… The masses deserve to know what skis they are going to have the most fun on, and I feel responsible for delivering an accurate review.

FREESKIER’s annual ski rankings provide the most reliable source of info because… FREESKIER does a good job of choosing a variety of critical testers and the skis are tested on some of the absolute best mountains in the world.


Henrik Førland Lampert, FREESKIER Editor-in-Chief

Age: 30 | Height: 5′ 10″ | Weight: 180 lbs
Home mountain: I’m most at home at Cloud 9 Restaurant, on Aspen Highlands, with a bottle of champagne in one hand and cheese fondue in the other.
Years testing with FREESKIER: 11

Skiing background: I was born into a skiing family. Mom’s an Olympic medalist ski racer from Norway and Dad is an industry vet. My brother and I were both on skis at 20 months. I ski raced growing up and later competed in park and pipe events. Now I spend my days hot dogging and rip-roaring all over the frontside.

Ski testing is an honor for me because… Skiers everywhere count on FREESKIER to provide them with information that will ultimately help them purchase new skis. On a selfish note, feeling the subtleties between hundreds of skis is simply the best.

FREESKIER’s annual ski rankings provide the most reliable source of info because… The manufacturing reps work hand-in-hand with the testers to ensure that the skis are not only tuned to perfection but that testers are 100-percent aware of the nuances of each ski.


Donny O’Neill, FREESKIER Senior Editor

Age: 27 | Height: 5′ 11″ | Weight: 175 lbs
Home mountain: Winter Park, Colorado
Years testing with FREESKIER: 4

Skiing background: My dad had me on skis at the ripe age of two-and-a-half. I cut my teeth on the bumps of Killington before moving north to harvest powder and dodge tight trees at Jay Peak during my time at the University of Vermont. Since graduating, I’ve focused my efforts on the steeper mountains and backcountry of the West.

Ski testing is an honor for me because… Our feedback from the test and this Buy- er’s Guide will directly influence consumers, and that’s humbling. With great power, comes great responsibility, right?

FREESKIER’s annual ski rankings provide the most reliable source of info because… The test is incredibly thorough. Each tester can review every ski in real time while their thoughts on the ski are fresh in their minds. The ski testers are much like FREESKIER’s readers: they are highly skilled, gear-savvy and passionate about the sport.


Damian Quigley, FREESKIER Publisher

Age: 32 | Height: 5′ 8″ | Weight: 177.3 lbs
Home mountain: Loveland, Colorado
Years testing with FREESKIER: 5

Skiing background: East Coast park rat turned lover of big-mountain pow.

Ski testing is an honor for me because… I enjoy hopping on the best—and worst— skis of the year, giving feedback to manufacturers and helping readers make educated buying decisions.

In order to determine the skis’ strong-suits… The first step is to understand what the ski is designed for. Then, I put it to the test on terrain that’s in its wheelhouse, see how it performs at varying speeds, and then take it out of its wheelhouse to see what else it can handle.

FREESKIER’s annual ski rankings provide the most reliable source of info because… FREESKIER takes great pride in its testers’ ability to fairly evaluate each pair of skis based on merit, not current ski conditions or brand loyalty. The testing is carefully monitored in real time. Once a model has hit the right amount of ratings, it’s pulled from the rack so testers can focus on other skis.


Jenny Ryden Harris

Age: 33 | Height: 5′ 8″ | Weight: 125 lbs
Home mountain: Aspen Mountain, Colorado
Years testing with FREESKIER: 7

Skiing background: Born and raised by the Aspen ski gang, The Dogs of Bell. Currently coaching Aspen Valley Ski Club’s big-mountain team.

Ski testing is an honor for me because… Skiing is my passion and I feel lucky that my opinion and knowledge of skis is utilized to help create the Buyer’s Guide.

In order to determine the skis’ strong- suits… I begin with asking the brand reps questions about the build, shape and technology of the skis. Once clicked in, I will do some quick carving turns to get a feel for the turning radius of each ski. Then, I will take them into the moguls, crud or trees to feel the stiffness and playfulness and to see how they react to different types of terrain. I will also hit the steepest of groomers, getting the ski up to maxi- mum speed to test stability.


Kristin Bersani

Age: 28 | Height: 5′ 4″ | Weight: 140 lbs
Home mountain: Ajax, Colorado
Skiing style: All I need is a zipper-line, airtime and a steep decline.


Casey Jillson

Age: 25 | Height: 5′ 5″ | Weight: 135 lbs
Home mountain: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming
Skiing style: Smooth and easy at my own buttery pace.


Adrian Bouthot

Age: 27 | Height: 5′ 10″ | Weight: 175 lbs
Home mountain: Sunday River, Maine
Skiing style: East coast grit.


Mike Filander

Age: 32 | Height: 5′ 7″ | Weight: 175 lbs
Home mountain: Steamboat, Colorado
Skiing style: Smooth like a hot knife through butter.


Chris Garcin (drunk alter-ego, Bob Garcia)

Age: 30-something | Height: An impressive 5′ 6″ | Weight: 10 Stone
Home mountain: Alta, UT
Skiing style: Vertically challenged downhill skier with a hint of Napoleon complex.


Gunter Jones, FREESKIER Art Director (a.k.a. DJ Hot Dogg)

Age: 24 | Height: 5′ 11″ | Weight: 150 lbs
Home mountain: Breckenridge, CO
Skiing Style: Kind of like my hair—mostly out of control, but dialed in on occasion.


Sarah Sherman, Tester

Age: 25 | Height: 5′ 7″ | Weight: 130 lbs
Home mountain: Mammoth Mountain, CA
Skiing style: Playful, charging hard and having the most fun on the mountain.


Connor W. Davis, FREESKIER Correspondent

Age: 24 | Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 165 lbs
Home mountain: Okemo, VT
Skiing style: Racing roots with park and big-mountain influences—equating to endless carving and airtime.


Nat Houston, Tester

Age: 26 | Height: 5′ 10″ | Weight: 170 lbs
Home mountain: The backcountry
Skiing style: Hard-charging, hot-dogging Vermonter.


Zach Berman, FREESKIER Director of Strategic Partnerships

Age: 32 | Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 150 lbs muscle/ 25 lbs brain
Home mountain: Aspen Snowmass, CO
Skiing style: High speeds, agile turns, playful tricks, jumps galore.


Madeline Dunn, Tester

Age: 26 | Height: 5′ 4″ | Weight: 126 lbs
Home mountain: Snowbird, UT
Skiing style: Quick to rip. Light and fast. Flowing with the mountain.


Jeremy Walker, Tester

Age: 35 | Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 175 lbs
Home mountain: Jackson Hole, WY
Skiing style: Charging, directional fall-line, technique-focused big-mountain skier.


Sarina Scott, Tester

Age: 23 | Height: 5′ 6″ | Weight: 135 lbs
Home mountain: Jackson Hole, WY
Skiing style: Need for speed, baby.


Jon Uda, Tester

Age: 28 | Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 240 lbs
Home mountain: Park City, UT
Skiing style: Fast and fluid with some Party Mountain style.


Anna Tedesco, Tester

Age: 21 | Height: 5′ 2″ | Weight: 130 lbs
Home mountain: Park City, UT
Skiing style: Fast and fluid with some Party Mountain style.

Thomas Lampert, Tester

Age: 27 | Height: 5′ 8″ | Weight: 140 lbs
Home mountain: Vail, CO
Skiing style: Semi-pro impersonator of Franz Weber, six-time consecutive world speed-skiing champ.


Dan Grund, Tester

Age: 28 | Height: 5′ 6″ | Weight: 150 lbs
Home mountain: Ruby Hill, CO
Skiing style: If you can’t huck it, tuck it.


Hannah Barkey, Tester

Age: 23 | Height: 5′ 10″ | Weight: 150 lbs
Home mountain: Steamboat, CO & Alta, UT
Skiing style: Big-mountain enthusiast. Hardly any line is off limits. No bad days.


Spencer Harkins, Tester

Age: 26 | Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 190 lbs
Home mountain: Alta, UT
Skiing style: It’s all about the flow. (Just like his hair.)


Katie Hitchcock, Tester

Age: 23 | Height: 5′ 5″ | Weight: 115 lbs
Home mountain: Alta, UT
Skiing style: Big-mountain freerider, pow hunter, fun-haver, occasional scorpion queen-er.


Willie Nelson (yes, that’s his real name), Tester

Age: 31 | Height: 5′ 9″ | Weight: 175 lbs
Home mountain: Alta, UT
Skiing style: Big-mountain, jumps and drops.


Lexi Dowdall, Tester

Age: 31 | Height: 5′ 2″ | Weight: 125 lbs
Home mountain: Alta & Snowbird, UT
Skiing style: Big, aggressive lines, speedy, small drops, no bumps.


Maggie Goertzen, Tester

Age: 23 | Height: 5′ 5″ | Weight: 120 lbs
Home mountain: Alta, UT
Skiing style: A fast-paced linkage of playful turns in the fall line.

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