Finding The Right Stuff: Testing The New Skis For Next Season

Martin Bell Ski test in Kuhtai

Just like F1 drivers need to make sure their tyres can hold up under the power of their vehicle and the tight turns of a course, so too do skiers need to know that their equipment will be able to handle the intensity of a winter on the slopes.  Each year, the Snowsport Industries of Great Britain (or SIGB) hosts a testing session in the Austrian resort town of Kühtai, two kilometres above sea level.  Two dozen different ski runs flow in and out of this village, making it a perfect spot to test out equipment, while also providing property investment in Kühtai with ample opportunity for solid returns.  This serves as the third year that Kühtai has served as the testing grounds for SIGB and each year has proven the wisdom of hosting the tests in the city.  For a week prior to the ski equipment testing, Kühtai has reaped twenty-five centimetres of snow, with another 50 set to fall over the next ten days.

Who will be headlining the testing runs?  Martin Bell, who holds the distinction of the highest placement by a male Briton in the UK’s Olympic history, helps to run through the process along with skiing racer Edward Drake, freeskiing professional Peter Seight, and the co-director for the British Alpine and Snowboard School Becci Malthouse.  In addition to these professionals, a dozen trainers and instructors were on hand to see the runs through.

Testing out new skis may seem like a dream come true for many enthusiasts, but these pros need to go through as many as 14 different pairs in the span of a single day in order to determine the qualities of the equipment.  Skis are graded on everything from flexibility on long turns to the response on hairpin turns, and the testers give general performance reviews upon finishing the course.  No less than 764 pairs of skis will get a workout (a total value of over £300,000 worth of equipment) from brands like K2 and Salomon.  The results of the ski tests will be published in the Telegraph as well as Ski and Snowboard Magazine.