Major brands pulled out of the Italian Ski Tests with worries about Covid-19. Instead a smaller event was relocated to Glenshee in Scotland where PlanetSKI tested the latest innovations from Atomic, Salomon and Elan.

The biggest UK industry ski test was due to be held at Pila in Northern Italy this week.

However, with concerns about the coronavirus, the major manufacturers pulled out at the last minute.

Spotting an opportunity, Tord Nilson from Atomic and Lee Hardy from Braemar Mountain Sports decided to take advantage of the great snow conditions in Scotland.

They approached Glenshee about setting up an alternative ski test on home snow.

With a swift go-ahead from Glenshee they set up an alternative ski test with perfect powder, and a test station was speedily assembled, ready for action.

Read more from Rod Frazer in his first article on the tests.

PlanetSKI at the Glenshee Ski Tests

Glenshee ski test

Ready to test:  The team from Craigdon Mountain Sports came over from Aberdeen for the ski test. Robin pictured in the middle, was testing some Salomon skis and was “totally psyched at the change of venue”. Image © Rod Frazer.

In his second article Rod focuses on testing three brands – Elan, Salomon, and with particular attention on Atomic.

First up Atomic

“A lot of the trends across the board in ski development are still being driven by the double digit growth in the ski touring market,” according to Finlay Mickel from Atomic.

Next season will see a completely new inner boot system for their Hawk range – a heat and expansion system that should produce the kind of fit previously only available with injection foam systems.

Demonstrating the Shift binding system.

Demonstrating the Shift binding system. Image © Rod Frazer.

The new boots will also be available with their “Connect” system.

Sensors on the boot will log a huge amount of data on percentage lean, G force, turn shape etc and give you a carve score in your short, medium and long turns.

Finlay and Tord explain the new Atomic Connect app

Finlay Mickel and Tord Nilson explain the new Atomic Connect app. Image © Rod Frazer.

You can even check your performance against the likes of  the US former ski racer Daron Rahlves!

In short, the system can provide you with a coaching system as well as tracking & GPS info when teamed up with their App.

App Store – Atomic Connect App: Atomic Skiing app is a brand-new ski and sports tracking app. With the Atomic Skiing app you can analyze every moment of your skiing, ski touring, cross-country and countless other sports that help keep you fit to shred!

Elan Ripsticks

Likewise I tested the ultra light weight Elan Ripsticks.

Light enough to be a great touring ski, but next year’s model has been beefed up a little with carbon fibre strips on the inside edge to give greater grip and performance on piste without adding extra weight.

Taking the Ripsticks for a spin

Rod takes the Elan Ripsticks for a spin. Image © Rod Frazer.

I tested them in virgin powder and they skied like a dream, and despite having 106mm under my foot they were also great fun on piste; a proper all rounder.


Head, a brand synonymous with racing and performance skis, has come up with a system that maintains its legendary edge grip whilst managing to build lighter skis.

The energy management Circuit or EMC is built into the ski fore and aft of the bindings.

The idea being they can take out the negative vibration from the ski and smooth out the ride.

Using a light-weight electrical circuit instead of adding the traditional layers of heavy dampening materials.


As a big fan of the ‘All Mountain’ genre I tested the Salomon QSTs.

James from Salomon kitting up Rod with the QST106

Here’s James from Salomon kitting out Rod with the QST99. Image © Rod Frazer.

The QST99’s were an absolute dream to ski in the soft stuff, great floatation and smoothness.

Glenshee ski test 2020 - QST 99's

QST 99’s. Image © Rod Frazer.

On harder snow the 99mm under foot wasn’t quite as much fun so I then jumped on the QST92; still great floatation but felt like a proper all rounder on the corduroy too.

Rod after testing the Salomon QST 92 in Glenshee

Rod Frazer smiling, after testing the Salomon QST 92 in Glenshee. Image © Rod Frazer.

Atomic Vantage

Likewise the Atomic Vantage 90 is a true all rounder.

I had fun in the soft stuff, it felt pretty smooth in the crud and, despite being a light-weight construction, the edge grip was rock solid.

If truth be told it was the skier that couldn’t handle the G-force long before the ski gave out!

Testing the Atomic Vantage

Testing the Atomic Vantage. Image © Rod Frazer.

Trends for Next Season

To sum up the trends for next year’s gear – it isn’t so much that manufacturers are trying to reinvent the wheel but they are taking their most successful products and trying to make them even more accessible to all levels, making them lighter and more user-friendly, whilst not compromising on performance.

STV here chatting to Finlay Mickel. The BBC were there today too

Glenshee Ski Tests attract the media: STV chatting to Ex-World Cup Downhill star Finlay Mickel. The BBC were in Glenshee too. Image © Rod Frazer.