Here they are – after an awful lot of mini-inquisitions and result interrogation, we’ve picked our winners
Every year we look at the new skis and boots and wonder how the heckity-heck anyone is going to improve on what’s come before. Sometimes we get a heads up because there are new technologies to probe, but every year we benchmark last season’s winners against the new stuff. We’re at the point where most widths and types of skis are very, very competent and could be safely invested in; what we’re doing here is picking out the kit which the fairy dust has landed on.
Trends are back towards piste – the sector hasn’t seen much for a while so there are new models from several makers – and less monster fatness. But stiff boots are still getting ever better walk modes, so it’s not a switch away from off-piste, just a fine tuning exercise to find the sweet spot.
And going on what we’ve ridden this winter just gone, that spot is very
Men’s Overall Ski of the Year: Rossignol Soul 7 HD, £600
- Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188
- Turn radius at length: 180 @ 17m
- Dimensions: 136-106-126
- Weight (g per pair): 3800
To the universal acclaim of our panel of experts, Fall-Line gives our Ski of the Year 2017 to Rossignol’s excellent Soul 7 HD. A clever and thoughtful upgrade of the best-selling Soul 7, it does everything we want a ski to do in a crowd-pleasing package. All of our traditionally narrow-ski-loving testers immediately got on with it, and the rest of the team agreed that it’s probably the single nimblest wide-body ski around. We can’t say that about many skis we click our boots into!
It needs a bit of work to really spring, but then the best skis always do. We love the lightened ends, the responsive flex, the outstanding graphics, the excellent edging performance and the impressive whippiness on-piste.
We’d lose the slight flexing from the rockered ends when caning it on the hard pack, but this doesn’t appear to upset stability so it must get damped out along the running length of the base… clever!
Off-piste it starts off easy, girds up for a challenge, and then converts into a fine charger as the pace develops. And then there’s the fun factor: at the test we could immediately spot who was on the Soul. They were the ones with a Cheshire-cat grin plastered across their face…
It’s a tech success, looks superb and will serve almost every skier we know. A classy and fabulous winner.
Women’s Overall Winner: Movement Ultimate, £480
- Lengths: 160, 168, 175
- Turn radius at length:13.5 @ 168
- Dimensions: 128-88-115
- Weight (g per pair): 2400
Here was a ski that sat so far off our radar that it had to be pushed into our hands. From this point on we hoarded the single demonstrator model, passing it between the test team with a ‘see what you think’ nod. The Ultimate is a light ski, and the guess was that it would flatter to a point, have a bit of typical Movement liveliness and then get a bit floppy once the pressure increased.
Well, all of the gentler skiers loved it, so we though that we were spot on. And then the screamers tried it and claimed it as their own, because the edging is so good and it’s so easy to weave around and get up to speed; like a freeride ski that carves. What a combo. Soft snow is just too easy; poppy and playful yet stable. Hardpack is eaten up and digested with ease. All in all, a perfect mix.
It’s light enough that you could bung a pair of touring bindings on there and know you’ve got yourself a true all-mountain ski. Or at the very least one that won’t weigh you down when you’re traipsing across the resort or bootpacking it to a spicy bit of sidecountry.
Oh, and to top it all off, this might just be the best graphic Movement have topped a ski with in years. Bravo!