If you are a skier like I am, then you probably start to feel “the turn” around this time of year……Although summer is great, you can’t help but think about the upcoming ski season as nights become cooler and the bears in town start fattening up for hibernation….

The ski magazines are in tune with these end of summer blues, so they publish their first editions in late August/early September. Most magazines start off their season with a gear buyer’s guide to show you whats new and exciting for the upcoming season. What better way to get pumped for skiing, than to drool over all the new equipment you wish you could afford.

After a couple seasons working in a ski shop paired with two 100+ day ski seasons, I have become a harsh critic on gear.

This year I give you my rundown of the 4 major ski buyer’s guides……and the winner is……

1. Freeskier Magazine

photo_17223_-1x630_0Although I don’t sag my goggles or wear super bright, baggy threads, I do love fat skis and the latest and greatest in ski technology. Freeskier is by far the best buyers guide on the newstands this season because it is in depth, gives actual reviews and includes a lot of info about rockered skis. This buyers guide is definitely aimed at the younger, more advanced ski crowd. Most all of the skis reviewed were over 90mm in the waist, including 43 skis tested over 110mm in the waist. That is my kind of test as I am an advocate of the bigger is better mantra (out west at least). Their stoke meter which is their review system is not always too accurate in my mind, but skis are very personal so its tough to review for the masses and hey, at least they have some type of rating system. On top of that, they feature the little guys – the boutique ski companies that are helping to progress the industry. Not only do they review all the fat skis that are out there, they take a look at clothing and accessories. Most of the clothing is a little too steezy for me but they do include my boys TREW (who also got a shout-out in an editor’s setup)! On top of all this, they even throw in a poster of this years Lange Girl for you. Two thumbs up from this guy.

2. Powder Magazine

First off I have to commend Powder on this issue, not because of their buyers guide but because of the the double cover and their tribute to Shane McConkey who is a legend and one of the reasons I became so obsessed with this sport. The ski world will not be the same without Shane but he left us with an amazing legacy. Hopefully Shane is smearing some pow turns in heaven as I write this.

Because of this great tribute, maybe they didn’t spend as much time on their buyers guide so i’m ok with that. Their rather slim guide doesn’t have actual reviews of any of the skis, only company blurbs about how they should ski. Kudos to them for featuring fatter, more advanced skis but they get major points off for their lack of descriptions, reviews and only showing a few models per company. They mention some boutiques like Freeskier did, just in a much more condensed fashion.

I do love Powder though and I love how they gave Shane his first cover. R.I.P Shane.

current-issue-september-2009-top

Tied for Last…..Skiing Magazine and Ski Magazine

sept_cover_1Sept_Cover

Oh boy, this is where things get rather interesting. I’ve never been a fan of either of these magazine as they tend to appeal to the beginner/intermediate crowd who don’t know much about skiing, but every once in a while they surprise me. Not this time though. As usual, both of these buyers guides appeal to the average cruiser and mostly disregard the new technology and the fact that a 90mm waisted ski is no longer considered a powder ski. Its as if these buyers guides are stuck in 2002 when they refer to a freeride ski as being a 80-90mm waisted ski, and a “super-wide” ski being over 105 under foot. I’m sorry but this is 2009 and super-wide is more like 120+. For most of us 105 is more of an all-mountain/freeride ski. I know they are appealing to the masses and people on both coasts but please don’t call an 80mm waisted ski a freeride ski in 2009 because that is just silly. The only good thing about these guides is the fact that they use an actual rating system to pick their favorites. I disagree with many of them, but at least they are trying.

I Hope this helps all of you in your search for new gear this season but if you are like me, you will probably buy all 4 nonetheless. I never do get sick of looking at ski magazines or gear. If you are looking for new skis or gear this year, shoot me an email and I would be more than happy to give some suggestions.

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