By Alan Brown
The evening was perfect and predictable - pouring down of course. It was Rossendale after all, but it was mild and not too windy.
Brighams were well-prepared and had a tent over their huge selection of skis. Definitely spoiled for choice! I had gone along with a list of skis I wanted to try and was well pleased that not only were they all there, but were supported by manufacturers' reps ready to talk technicalities all night.
In general terms, manufacturers were all offering a similar range of carvers; ones suitable for piste skiing, then ranging off into the progressively more radical. I only had time to try Head, K2 and Rossignol. The time just flew and everyone had started to pack up before I got anywhere near the Salomons. Shame, as they were my benchmark that I knew from last season. Even so, I was able to decide that I was definitely suited to some compromise skis aimed at people planning on spending up to 50% of their time off-piste ? the "Freeride" category as they are called this year. The piste skis seemed sulky by comparison, but the dedicated powder skis were much too twitchy and soft. I am sure they would ride the powder superbly, but they felt distinctly odd at Rossendale!
Not that I'm on commission, but I was most impressed with the Head Cyber Ti and the Rossignol Bandit XX. Clive Grainger was disappointed that I didn't like his K2 X-15s, nor the Rossignol Viper 10.2 - which are a derivative from my last year's favourite, the Viper 9.9 - but you can't please everyone !
So, for me it was a worthwhile trip. It was well organised by Clive who brought an impressive group of experts to support him. Our turnout was on the low side. In fact there were more of them than us!
Thanks, Trudy, for planning and executing this event. Certainly a must for anyone thinking of buying new hardware this year. Clearly not many of our members are!