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TESTING TIMES - James Cove, Kaunertal, Tirol, Austria
Tuesday April 30, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

It's one of our favourite events of the winter & we're privileged to be the only ‘outsiders' asked along. So, what is it?



It's the Ellis Brigham Ski Tests.

The team puts all its new models for next season through their paces.

Many are brand new and as yet unseen.

Some break new ground and are genuinely innovative, while others just have new graphics or minor adjustments.

It is our job at PlanetSKI to spot the difference.

Every type of skis are here - there are 80 pairs to click into and we've got through many over the past few days.

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In the autumn we will be posting our full review.

Giving an unbiased and objective judgement.

Plus picking out our personal favourites.

The tests usually take place in the Tirol in Austria, and this year it was the turn of Kaunertal to be host.

Conditions were a bit bleak as yet another snowstorm hit the mountains.

But there was 20cm or so of fresh snow - perfect for testing the powder skis, but perhaps less so for the fast piste skis.

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A couple of years ago I put the skis through their paces with PlanetSKI's senior news reporter, Katie Bamber, in Ischgl.

James and KatieJames and Katie, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This time I was with my 25-year old son, Alex.

And yes, I do have the same jacket.

I care about skis, but less so about fashion.

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Even so, I also nipped into the Ellis Brigham clothing shoot back in February 2019.
My son Alex is a Level 3 ski instructor with three seasons in Banff, Canada, under his belt, plus a season in Perisher, Australia.

He has also taught in Verbier.

My knowledge of skis pales into insignificance compared to his.

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People never believe me, but it is hard work testing skis - we put 18 through their paces in one day alone.

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If we couldn't quite decide on them then we skied them until we did.

You can't just say "Yeah, this is quite a good one"....

You need to work out why and find its good points, and perhaps its bad points.

Buying a pair of skis is an expensive business and people need to get the pair that is right for them.

It is actually a maze out there.

10 years ago the major manufacturers produced around 20 different ones - now it is more like 40.

Maybe 50.

"It is OK to look online if you want, but the best way to chose the right ski for you is to come in and chat to us," said the Head of Ski Operations for Ellis Brigham, Steve Wells.

"Obviously we want to sell you stuff but above all else we want to sell you what is best for you."

"That is our ethos."

"We are not just selling skis, but we want to make you a customer who believes and trusts our advice as we want you to have the best time on the slope and have the ski that is right for you."

Ellis Brigham Ski Tests, Kaunertal, TirolSteve Wells, Ellis Brigham 

























There are simply so many to choose from.

It is virtually impossible to buy a bad ski, but it is very easy to buy the wrong one.

We hope the PlanetSKI tests in collaboration with Ellis Brigham published in the autumn help you make the right choice.

We didn't test the beginner and lower intermediate skis.

We didn't test the advanced freeride skis for expert powder hounds.

We concentrated in the middle range - piste skis, all-mountain skis and off piste skis.

But it wasn't all serious with no laughs.

I may have not been laughing as I filled in yet another PlanetSKI test sheet.

But I did provide a few laughs for the other testers as my credibility was turned upside down.

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On hand were reps from some of the manufacturers to offer advice.

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And in the evening, presentations from manufacturers including K2 and Elan.

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K2 has rather dropped off the radar in recent years but is now making something of a comeback.

And Elan?

Well, here are my favourites in the three categories.

Oh, and I said PlanetSKI were the only 'outsiders' invited along?

Some imposters turned up from Poland but made a basic error with their disguise.

They were quickly spotted.

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Do look out for our full tests in the autumn and this time next year we will be back with the crew from Ellis Brigham.

As I said earlier, it is one of our favourite events of the winter.

And for good reason.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news


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