STEVE: Welcome to another podcast here at Summit Sports, skis.com and snowboards.com. I'm Steve and today sitting across from is Julie. Julie is a Website Administrator here at Summit Sports but she also does some skiing occasionally.
JULIE: Just a little bit, Steve.
STEVE: Just a little bit. How long have you been skiing for?
JULIE: Let's see, I'll be 26 this year; I've been skiing since I was 2 so my math says 24 years this year.
S: Excellent. And how often do you get to ski per year?
J: Well, I tell everybody that I missed 6 days between Christmas and St. Patrick's Day last season.
S: So, that's a good 60-some probably 70, 80.
J: I get on the snow quite a bit between instructing, coaching and then racing myself. Last year I was slated to be out there 7 days a week. And the schedule's looking about the same for this next season which I'm really excited about.
S: Awesome. As long as we have snow.
J: Hey. They can make it. I'm all right with that.
S: As long as it's cold enough for them to make snow.
J: Hey, ya know, 29 degrees and…
S: It's good enough.
J: It's good enough to blow and then I don't have to snow blow my driveway.
S: There you go. Okay, so this past year, well every year they do something up north up at Boyne Mountain called Test Fest. That's true, right?
S: Can you give us a quick little ditty on what Test Fest is?
J: Test Fest is a lot of fun. It's a 3-4 day on-snow and conference kind of demo for all the shops in the area to go up and to get to test next year's product out before it hits shelves, before the orders are even placed and to give buyers and industry insiders kind of a feel for what the product is going to be for next year.
S: How many skis would you say you tested out this year?
J: Gosh, I can't even count.
S: We had Adam in here, he said 35.
J: Oh, Adam's slow then.
S: Adam's slow then? He said his most was 75 one year.
J: Yeah, the lists change for year-to-year. I usually get in 50 or 60 in the three days that we're up there.
S: Just 50 or 60?
J: Hey, you know, you have to get lunch in there and you've got to schmooze with the reps. There's other things to it then just cruising through as much product as you can.
S: All right and you're going to tell us about the top 5 that you really enjoyed riding this year. Now, granted you've been skiing since you were two and you ski almost every single day when there's snow on the mountain, would you consider yourself an expert?
J: Uh, yeah.
S: Cause I would just based on what you told me.
J: Yes, certainly I have my strengths. I definitely don't get to ski as much powder as I'd like and I attempt to keep both skis on the ground as much as possible so I'm certainly not an expert in the park.
S: Are you going to give us a list…basically, what I'm asking is the five that you're about to give an expert level skis or do they vary?
J: Some are. Some vary. I realize that not every skier especially most female skiers don't ski quite like I do. So I guess I'll start with my two picks that I would put in my quiver and actually it's kind of a little bit of a toss-up for me between the Blizzard Black Pearl and the Nordica Hells Belles. Both are right around 90 under the foot and therefore pretty versatile for all kinds of conditions between hard pack and, you know, a little bit of light powder conditions. Both skis are, to me, pretty comparable from top to bottom in terms of construction and feel so one of those twos are definitely going to end up in my collection this year. Just trying to figure out exactly which one but quite frankly you can't go wrong either way.
S: The Nordica Hells Belles, I've heard…pretty much that's included in the Nordica Hell and Back series, right?
J: Yeah, it's one of the women's versions. They have a whole series basically a little bit lighter, a little bit softer flexing than the men's counterparts, designed specifically for women and the Hells Belles is toward the top of that collection but that all have a Belle-esque name to them. The whole collection's great really but the Hells Belles is really what meets my criteria for a ski and best suits the conditions that I normally ski in.
S: And what are those? Are those Midwest?
J: Midwest conditions. We get a lot of hard pack days here and I really tend to look for an aggressive ski that's a little more based off of the race construction that I've skied for so long; not to say that these skis either the Black Pearl of the Hells Belles are on that same caliber as a race ski, they definitely don't have to be skied super aggressively but they can be which is something I look for.
S: Excellent. What other skis do you have on your list?
J: Stepping down a little bit into that advanced-intermediate to advanced level. There's a couple skis here that I highly recommend. The Volkl Yumi which is a brand new ski for them this year. It's kind of a little sister to the Kenja which has kind of been out for a couple of years. I found it to be really playful, really nice ski for a variety of people. Either lighter weight advanced skiers, ya know, some of your tweens could ski it, all the way up through aggressive female skiers that are confident skiers. It's a little bit narrower under the foot than the two skis I mentioned previously but just a lot of fun and then again in that same kind of category would be the Noridca Wild Belle. Again, they're very similar to each other so you can't really go wrong either way but they're both a lot of fun. They're about 85mm under the foot so a little narrower than the first two but still gives you a versatile platform. They're great skis for someone, I would say, that skis more hard packed conditions, more Midwest or east coast, but maybe wants to take that trip out west where they're going to get into some softer snow. Ya know just really versatile fun skis.
S: Okay, very good and do you have a final one on there?
J: Yeah, well for the beginner-to-intermediate, the Rossignol Temptation either the 74 or 76, the 76 being a little bit more advanced, are great skis for either a real timid or cautious skier – not to say that they can't be skied more aggressively because they certainly have some guts to them – but I just found those to be really smooth, predictable skis and excellent confidence builders for skiers that are looking to progress their skill set.
S: Very good. Finally, I'm always curious, how many skis do you own?
J: Oh boy, let's see, I've got downhill skis, GS skis and slalom skis, I've got an Armada ARVw and a Line Celebrity. So, 5.
S: 5 skis, all right.
J: But I'm always looking to add.
S: Always looking for more. How old is your oldest ski?
J: I've had the Celebritys the longest. Let's see…those would have been 2007 but again with 5 pairs of skis you can rotate them through.
S: Do you notice a difference like a difference in the construction between 2007 and one that you might have tested this year; one that might be in a similar category?
J: In that particular ski, the Celebrity has changed since I purchased mine. There definitely are some differences. There's a lot more rocker to skis now, not necessarily meaning that every ski is heavily rockered but it's a new kind of buzz thing in the industry. It just basically reverses the camber, the shape of the ski, at the tip and the tail. It makes it a little bit easier to ski in general but the whole technology really came from powder skis and really helps them float on top of the snow. So even race skis are starting to include that in some models. It helps on variable snow to really get the tip up and over on top of the snow and make a lot smoother turn. You don't notice your skis sinking as much is really the big thing that I've noticed.
S: Okay, great. Well, thank you, Julie for coming in and talking with us today. You can check out Julie and her on-snow reviews over at skis.com. Again this has been a Summit Sports podcast for skis.com and snowboards.com. Thank you very much for listening.
J: Thanks, Steve.
S: Thank you.