Ski Reviews 2012 | Best Skis 2012

 |  Gear

By:  Harald Harb

Here are the ski reviews for 2011/12.  Are you looking for the best skis for 2012 and ski reviews for the upcoming 2011/2012 ski season?

While there are hundreds from which to choose, there are only few select skis for  skiers interested in learning the newest modern ski techniques and especially carving.

In the ski market there are at least 10 major ski manufacturers. Plus, many smaller boutique ski companies spring up almost everyday.

Ski manufacturers use many marketing tactics to sell new and different ski designs and dimensions. Sometimes the new skis do advance the ease of skiing and make it more enjoyable.

However, after careful evaluation and assessment, our experience is that most attempts to market new ski products is exactly that — pure marketing.  The performance is not there.

At Harb Ski Systems we define “Ski Performance” simply. What makes a ski great?

  • A great ski is the best tool for the situation you choose to ski.
  • It makes the conditions you ski more easily “skiable” than any other ski in its performance category.
  • It enhances your ability to perform and learn correct movements.
  • It encourages and offers the right ski “feelings” so as to reward your efforts and technique with better control, arcing and grip.
  • A great skis provides noticeable “feedback” and lets you know to what level your technique is working — or not.

We have selected skis for our ski shop that coordinate and support our proprietary PMTS (Primary Movements Teaching System) Direct Parallel Technique.

Since almost all major ski companies manufacture specific skis for defined categories including: race skis, on piste skis or carving skis and off piste skis, or powder skis, it’s a matter of choosing, by brand and category, what you want to buy.

The purchase decision is very complicated.  What may be a great ski for one skier is not the case for another.

We classify and rate a great ski by basic behaviors and by the way it skis in the category for which it’s designed — or that we recommend.

At Harb Ski Systems we define skis by three performance criteria:

  • Performance Level 1: The Best, Great ski,  is easy to ski, helps you ski better and has a wide performance range. Wide performance range is important because it allows you to ski more different terrain and snow with the same ski. But, the ski still has to be one of the best, for it’s speciality design, compared to other skis in that category, in other words, don’t give up excellence in a specialized category, to gain a wider performance range. Because there are skis that do both, and you don’t have to compromise as much.

However, let’s be understanding of the nature of ski design, snow, and slopes. There are always compromises to some extent; just as this example defines car performance, You are not going to enjoy driving a rear wheel drive, Ford, Crown Victoria, on an twisty, icy, mountain road, as much as a you would a Subaru, WRX, 4 wheel drive, Sports Sedan.

  • Performance Level  2: Adequate ski -  A ski that won’t necessarily make you worse, but doesn’t help you ski better or make you learn faster. “Competent, but not exceptional.”
  • Performance Level 3: Unforgiving and unfriendly ski -  A ski that is difficult to ski, makes you ski poorly and forces adaptive, incorrect movements for you to be able to ski it. This is is a mess.  And, what most consumers don’t know is that most skis follow this pattern regardless of brand and marketing. Every ski company makes some good skis, some bad skis and some great skis.   It’s up to us to pick only the great ones and leave the rest.

What we do at Harb Ski Systems every year is spend many days and ski runs evaluating new skis and models.  This is a complicated process of evaluation, re-evaluation, testing and comparing.  Our testing requires a minimum of 4 coaches and numerous days of testing – usually under variable conditions.  An individual skier could never accomplish this for himself.  And, buying the wrong ski is not worth it and it is very frustrating.

To that end, we finally select Performance Level 1 –  the best performance skis for you and offer them at our Ski Shop.

Performance Level 1:

Head Super Shape:

The Super Shape is a perennial favorite and is a great ski. It is the most successful ski we have sold over the last 6 years.

This year, we are ordering it for our customers, from Europe, as not many on-Piste skis and carving skis are even available by the ski companies in the US.

To our knowledge, Harb Ski Systems is the only shop in the US to offer it!

The KERS system gives it a stiffer feel and quicker rebound. Race-ski grip and feel with a sidecut that makes it easy to learn High-C carving. From ice to corduroy to moguls to powder, this ski does it all.    Learn more…

Lengths: 155 / 160 / 165 / 170 / 175
Radius: 12.1 @ 170
Sidecut: 121/66/107 @ 170

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Head TT-800

A great ski and perfect all-round performer. It is less shaped — especially in the tail compared to the Super Shape. It is quicker edge-to-edge, but still carves, holds and makes short arcs.  Our performance-skiing customers love the TT 800 for its versatility. Whether it’s carving long turns, snappy short turns or nimbly threading the moguls, the TT 800 is a willing performer.  Laminate construction provides excellent edge hold on hard snow.  Learn more…

Lengths: 152 / 158 / 164 / 170 / 176
Radius: 13.4 @ 170
Sidecut: 118/66/102 @ 170

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Head iPeak84

This is a great off-piste ski that still carves on groomers, albeit, with larger turns on more open terrain.
New for 2011/12, the iPeak 84 is made for powder, crud and blasting through back bowls. It still has enough shape to carve and grip on groomers. Flow ride technology lets the tip float a little sooner in soft snow while maintaining a traditional camber. Best for skiers who ski with confidence in ungroomed conditions.   Learn more…

Lengths: 163 / 170 / 177 / 184
Radius: 15.4 @ 170
Sidecut: 128/84/112 @ 170

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Head i.Peak 78

The i.Peak 78 is an ideal “one-ski quiver” for western slopes. The 78mm waist is narrow enough to carve and to provide quick edge changes in bumps.  Yet, it’s wide enough to provide stability and float in powder or crud. The 78 skis well at moderate speeds making it a good ski for learning to ski off-piste.   Learn more…

Lengths: 159 / 165 / 171 / 177 / 183
Radius: 14.6 @ 171
Sidecut: 124/78/110 @ 171

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Head X-Shape

New for 2011/12 the X-Shape STX is nimble and agile with SuperShape-like performance in a less-expensive package. Super for learning skiers, this ski will take you far in performance and terrain without busting the budget. More Super Shape performance with less need for speed and pressure on the ski. Without  the Kers, and the (medal)?, so it’s lighter, but still makes SS turns.  Learn more…

Lengths: 149 / 156 / 163 / 170 / 177
Radius: 12.1 @ 170
Sidecut: 124/68/108 @ 170

 

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Head Link

A true “turn by itself” PMTS, Direct Parallel ski. Tip this ski with your feet and ankles and you will ski the easiest turn yet produced.  New for 2011-12, the Link is designed to help learning skiers by turning with a minimum of input effort. The combi-sidecut — 4m tip, xx underfoot — helps to pull the ski in a tight arc.

We tested these and were astonished at how well they respond to PMTS technique. Just a little tipping toward the little-toe edge with the inside foot and — Poof! — they turn as if by magic. Fabulous! Plus, as you learn to tip more aggressively, they carve with great edge hold. If you are a learning skier who aspires to making controlled turns on groomed runs, give this ski a try.

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Movement Jam

Movement skis are Swiss made, high quality and very light, giving skiers the highest levels of Performance.

The Jam is a great ski that rewards good technique and gives you confidence that you have what it takes even in the most challenging conditions.

All of us tested this ski last season and we were astonished at its performance.  Quick rebound makes them snappy from edge-to-edge. They grip on hard snow without flapping and you can charge from powder to crud to wind slab to crust without hesitation – the tip will not let you down. If you want a one-ski quiver with a slight bias toward the ungroomed — look no further.  Learn more…

Lengths: 164 / 173 / 182 /
Radius: 16.0 @ 173
Sidecut: 136/85/117

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Movement Pariah

A great ski that encourages the right technique and rewards you when you push forward even in powder conditions.

Do you like to ski backcountry, either skinning or bootpacking? Do you like an even-flexing ski with a solid tip?  Take this super-lightweight ski for a ride and you’ll be pleased by its performance both uphill and down. Best in short and medium-radius turns in soft snow this ski porpoises through the powder.   Learn more…

Lengths: 170 / 177 / 185
Radius: 21.0 @ 170
Sidecut: 126/93/114

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About Harald Harb:

Harald Harb is a former World Cup ski racer who has written and published three highly-acclaimed ski instruction books, two DVDs and holds patents on several innovative ski training devices. He also is a ski shop owner and director of the popular PMTS (primary movements teaching system) ski camps. Harald Harb and Harb Ski Systems is widely recognized as the leader in modern ski technique and instruction.

For more information about Harb Ski Systems, books, camps and PMTS , please contact:
HarbSkiSystems.com
Email:  ask.us@harbskisystems.com
Phone:  (303) 567-0679


7 Comments


  1. link at the bottum to HarbSkiSystems.com is not correct made so it gives a faul.

  2. Thank you, Guus..

    for the “heads-up” about the link. All fixed.

  3. Movement Jam “Learn more” link is broken

  4. Thanks Michael… for letting me know about the link for Movement Jam. Looks like the guys have whole new website. Fixed the link for Jam and corrected the link for Pariah. Great new site.

    Thanks again,

  5. PERHAPS you should review ALL makes of skis

  6. Harald only rates skis that are particularly appropriate for PMTS skiing. For ratings of all skis, please visit http://www.realskiers.com

  7. Harold, did you model for Dynastar skis at a photo shoot at Kirkwood in the mid 80s? If so, I was the art director for that shoot. Anyway, I was shopping for skis and stumbled on this site. Very cool, I’ll have to learn more. You can never stop learning to ski better!

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