Words by: Claire Collins
The early season snow in Lech was fantastic for Snow+Rock’s Backcountry weekend with Ski Freshtracks, which presented the perfect conditions to test a selection of their best freeride skis. Taking the fear out of fat skis, we’ve got the pick of the crop…
PISTE PRESTIGE: Volkl Attiva Fuego
Really more of a piste ski than off piste, but it was good to compare with the fatter versions. A wood core gives it good stability and confidence to attack icy terrain so they were good for perfecting my turns on the piste but were a bit narrow underfoot for off piste so it was difficult to keep up.
£529 (including bindings)
FREERIDE: Head Great One
This is definitely a 50/50 on-piste off-piste ski. A wood core and medium waist gives a solid ride and quick short turns on piste but it’s equally easy to ride off piste.
£439 (including bindings)
FREERIDE: Rossignol Bandit SC80
A nice looking ski with rave reviews among the group. I found them really easy to turn, giving a great return for not a lot of effort – which was definitely a bonus after a couple of days powering round the mountain! I think most skiers would enjoy these on or off piste.
£445 (including bindings)
FREERIDE: K2 Lotta Luv
Directly comparable to the SC80 these have a similar geometry and construction. If you’re unsure of the conditions at the top of the mountain, they won’t disappoint. Good fun to ski and great for confidence building.
£425 (including bindings)
FREERIDE: Volkl Aurora
These skis will definitely give you the confidence to venture further off piste. Initiating turns in powder was easier and I could see the difference of the wider waist and tips. It was also good at short quick turns and handled icy terrain on piste.
£619 (including bindings)
FREESTYLE: Scott Sheela
This is the women’s version of the Punisher, replaced with a lighter wood core which gives easier control. With similar geometry to the Aurora, the Sheela has a twin tip, which is traditionally good for park tricks, but as it has a slightly longer tip it also gives good ‘float’ in off piste powder. Graphics have good chairlift appeal. Definitely worth the money.
£299 (ski only)
FREERIDE: Salomon Lady
The Lady uses a new ‘rocker’ technology which gives the tips better float in powder – which was definitely evident compared to some of the other skis (although maybe it was my lack of technique?!). Apparently the Salomon Lord has won so many tests they’ve taken the exact same ski and slapped some girls graphics on it – who says girls can’t have it all?!
£349 (ski only)
BIG MOUNTAIN: Volkl Aura
Everyone’s favourite ski! The Aura definitely made me fall in love with powder. As the fattest ski on the test it was easily the best off piste, but once I got used to skiing a wider stance it also carved effortlessly on piste.
£439 (ski only)
I’m now totally convinced fatter is better! The great range of freeride skis available for girls is making the backcountry more accessible, and I, for one, will definitely be grabbing myself a big fat pair to venture off-piste and perfect my powder turns!
For more information on all the skis above check out snowandrock.com or call 0845 100 1000.