Have you ever wondered why some skis are more highly recommended than others? Sure a lot of the technology and materials are the same, but why do some retail shops tell you that one ski is better than another? The answer is that those opinions are formed once a year at FREESKIER Magazine‘s Ski Test, FREESKIERFEST. At this event, ski testers from a multitude of backgrounds and disciplines get to ride some of the ski industry’s latest and greatest gear for the 2019-2020 season from the top brands in the industry.
Each tester will ski numerous pairs across multiple brands in different categories that vary depending on width of the skis and what their intended use is. That tester rates and reviews the skis on a 1-10 scale for carving, stability, versatility, float, and playfulness. Results are tallied for each ski model, and published in FREESKIER’s annual Buyer’s Guide. With 49 ski testers, nearly three million vertical feet skied in total, and an average number of 40 pairs of skis ridden by each tester, the event this year was thorough and rigorous. Changing conditions pushed the testers to ski their hardest to get the most out of every pair. Add in too many burritos, a couple late nights, some much needed apres at the end of the day, and you find yourself with the latest edition of FREESKIER Magazine’s latest Ski Test.
Last year, Folsom entered six pairs of skis, and only walked away with 4 awards. This year however, we came out with a perfect sweep, entering 5 of our iconic shapes, and receiving 5 prestigious FREESKIER Magazine Editors’ Pick awards.
Our Trophy was a consistently fun ski for the testers, which earned it the #2 spot in the 115+ mm Freestyle category. Said FREESKIER on the Trophy, “the Denver-based custom ski manufacturer implemented a shape intended for quick, agile turning in deep snow, and early taper in both the tip and tail make it an absolute butter knife.”
“11/10… would ski again. Radical ski, really playful in the tips and tails, wants to send and schmear, everywhere” said one tester additionally.
Moving down in width, testers tried out the Gambit 113, which earned the #2 spot in the 100-114 mm Freestyle category (a notoriously tough group). According to FREESKIER the Gambit 113 is, “mega-fun! They have a really stable feel at high speeds and quick radius to really grind into the slope. Floats super well in powder and makes for a playful ride.”
In the same category as our Gambit 113, the Completo came in 9th. Noting that this ski is a complete package for freestyle skiing, the testers loved it enough to give us two top 10 finishes in the same category. “Very agile ski. They ripped around with ease on diverse terrain. Quick turn transition and smooth maneuverability.”
Coming to arguably the most popular, and intense category of FREESKIERFEST (100-114 Freeride) our Primary came home in 5th against some of the industries heaviest hitters. As our all-mountain go to for the advanced-expert skier, the ski testers agreed that the Primary is one of the top picks in the industry. “Intuitive and playful! Don’t think too hard, these skis are just an extension of you and will do whatever you need them to.”
And finally, to a surprise that no one knew was coming, our TRN TEK came in 9th for the 85-99 mm Freeride category. In all technicality, the TRN TEK is too narrow for this category coming in at 69mm underfoot… but we’re not complaining. Being the only new “skinny ski” on the market, we gave the testers a good smile and a good time on these, “My heart was racing before I even clicked in. Reinvigorate your ski experience with this blast from the past.”
That sums up our FREESKIER Magazine 2019-2020 Ski Test. Enjoy some photos from the event below, and check out a video with all the highlights from FREESKIERFEST right here.
All photos courtesy of Matt Power (@mattpower).