We sure do love our ski testing. Just one month after we put 250+ pairs of next year’s skis to the test, we’re back at it. This time around, we’ve invaded Copper Mountain, where we’ll spend three full days running the latest and greatest park-specific skis through the wringer. The skis that fare well among our testing squadron will grace the pages of our annual Buyer’s Guide (coming September ’16), ultimately helping you, our faithful reader, to purchase skis that’ll up your skiing experience.
Having already tested 2017’s hottest “all-mountain” offerings, we now shift our focus to big air, heavy metal and the oh-so-delightful act of “tranny finding.” Copper’s world-class park and pipe offerings provide an ideal stomping grounds for our squad. Between the Woodward Copper Central Park, the 22′ Main Vein Superpipe, Eagle Jib Park and the Upper and Lower Playground Parks, testers will find everything from massive table tops and ultra-technical jibs to more forgiving, “fun-sized” hits. Consider our group may continue honing their aerial skills late into the evenings via Woodward Copper’s famed Barn, and you’ve got a veritable park shredder’s paradise.
Stay tuned over the next couple of days as we’ll be providing sneak peeks of next year’s jib sticks (beginning with the photo gallery, above), plus photos and videos highlighting the testing process.
How we rank the skis
With a few simple clicks on a mobile device, testers rate skis on a scale of 1 to 10, based on the categories of carving, stability, versatility, swing weight, 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, our custom ski-testing 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 translates directly to our final ski rankings—presented in the annual Buyer’s Guide.
Who gets to test?
The people integral to the success of the ski assessments are our beloved testers. Regarding the all-mountain ski test, our testers 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. Here at Copper, we’ve rounded up some of the hottest up-and-coming talent in the realm of park and pipe. Line ’em up for a game of SLVSH and there’s hardly a trick these cats can’t perform.
In both cases, our editorial team handpicks our ski testers. Both groups consist mostly of rippin’ Coloradoans who have made lives for themselves in the mountains. Some work in ski shops. A handful are former professional or aspiring athletes. Some 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
To be sure you don’t miss a beat this week, be sure to tune in via freeskier.com and the channels listed here:
Snapchat: Using your mobile device, log in to Snapchat and scan this code. Or, add the user FREESKIER_mag to your contacts. Stay tuned to our Snap Story for “almost live” coverage of the ski test.
Instagram: Follow @FREESKIERmagazine to enjoy a bevy of photos & videos highlighting our experience at Copper.
Facebook: The best content. Always. facebook.com/FREESKIER.
Twitter: Have questions about the skis we’re testing? Holler at us via @FREESKIER.