This 2020/21 testing season has been one of the most interesting ones for me on a few levels. For starters, because of the impending launch of Ski & Bike Magazine, this year I made it a point to properly test skis from companies that I may have skimmed over in previous tests. I mean sure, I’ve always made a point of testing selected “hot” skis from companies that I didn’t sell in my shop at the time (if only to have a frame of reference and comparative data)… But this year, on top of the usual suspects, my team and I went in a bit deeper with companies like Dynastar, K2, Salomon, Blizzard, Nordica, Elan and others to shore up our extensive database from such stalwarts as Atomic, Scott, Volkl, Rossignol, Head, Stockli and alike … and the surprises were many.

As some of you may know, ski testing is something I take quite seriously and I’m incredibly lucky and appreciative for the dozens and dozens of contributors who’ve helped me gather all this valuable knowledge over the past few decades. Having said that, I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention the amazing guys and girls from throughout the industry that have tuned, prepped and delivered the skis that we’ve had the pleasure and privilege of testing.

Ski testing is as much art as it is a science and while everyone’s opinion matters, not everyone is patient and rigorous enough to test skis “my way” (check back for “the JF way” of testing skis). And while there are plenty of good skiers, not everyone is adept at being able to discern subtleties and then verbalize them in a way that is useful and/or compelling. No need to be an expert, no need to have been skiing for a hundred years, our testers simply need to represent a certain segment of the market that is different from the rest of our testers, they need to be relatable and most importantly they must be willing to take the job seriously. This year I hit the jackpot with my motley crew of testers. Sure, it’s not too difficult to knock tests out of the park when you start with stalwarts such as Zoé, Michael, Dave, Alexandre and Rachelle, it would be hard to imagine a better ski test team than the one we’ve assembled this season.

Now if I could only get the East and West testers all at the same spot at the same time that would be awesome!

Stay tuned to Ski & Bike Magazine’s Facebook page, Instagram page and on Ski & Bike Magazine’s Twitter account for all the details of our upcoming 2020/21 test including video reviews, test results and the soon-to-be infamous “best of the best” list… Until then, keep on following us, more tantalizing content is just around the corner.

Photo Courtesy of JF Ravenelle