Ski Rando Magazine

Review : Backcountry skis

Information about Ski Rando Magazine reviews

Review : Backcountry skis
Publisher : Ski Rando Magazine
Created : 2010
Source language : FR

Ski rando magazine has been reviewing gear dedicated exclusively to ski touring since 2010. With all the new models, upgrades, new graphics and so on, there’s such a vast range of touring skis to choose from, it can be hard to decide which one is best for you. Ski rando magazine reviews skis according to the width at the waist, ranging from 70mm to 115mm and covering several styles of ski, but only selecting the ones that seem most interesting. The skis are reviewed in a wide range of conditions: in the powder, of course, but also on far trickier snow as we ride most pairs in numerous outings right through the season.

Categories reviewed

50-70mm : the narrowest skis on the market are mainly used for racing.

70-80mm : similar in behaviour to racing skis, but the small extra width makes them more versatile.

80-90mm : this width makes them a lot more versatile and is now the standard for ski touring models.

90-100mm : not so long ago, this category was reserved for the powder and was considered as wide, but over the years, skis with between 90 and 100mm underfoot have become increasingly versatile.

Over 100 mm : relatively exclusive skis, mainly designed for powder conditions.

The reviewers

A team of around a dozen riders reviewed the skis. Their profiles are highly diverse, corresponding more or less to the level of your everyday skier. Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need to be a top athlete to feel how a ski behaves and to form an opinion. While some reviewers are very good skiers, it’s also interesting to get input from ordinary riders. Our reviewers range from die-hard mountain freaks to mountain guides and helmeted freeriders.


Our review begins in the resort in March, a period when the conditions are generally wintery, more so than ever this year, with almost one metre of powder accumulating over the 4 days of the review. We did this part of the review in Piau-Engaly, a resort that allows us to be extremely efficient as there’s a chairlift that goes directly to 2600m, enabling the riders to rapidly link turns on a wide north-facing slope, with an 800m drop and no flat areas. From the chairlift, it’s also possible to switch to ski touring mode with a 150m ascent and a fantastic descent on the other side of Piau. We reviewed each pair on several runs before switching over and doing the same descents with different skis. This method meant we were able to compare the different models very precisely.

We then use the skis for touring until the end of the season to confirm the impressions we got from the resort-based reviews, but also to get a feel for their performance in different conditions that we didn’t necessarily come across in the resort. This stage also gave us an opportunity to review all the gear in ascents, including the bindings and boots. This year, we rode the skis on the Pyrenees as usual, but also in the Alps, and even in California...

The reviewers each had a score card that allowed them to note their opinions and assess the skis according to several criteria. Then we get together to discuss our views and to form a consensus. The impressions were generally pretty similar, but if this was not the case, we had no hesitation about reviewing the skis once again. The ‘Ski Rando Mag’ selections make it easy to quickly identify the reviewers’ favourite skis and those that stand out the most in their category. Take care though, as the selections don’t mean that all the other skis should be discarded. Some pairs are remarkable in one particular area that can correspond to your current practices or preferred riding style, but the selections are designed to identify the skis that correspond to the largest number of riders and the most versatile.

How to order the magazine

You can find all the reviews and order the magazine from 1 October 2018 at the following link:

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