In early December, on a sunny day with fresh powder turning to consolidated snow, the SNEWSÂ® team tested Salomon's new Snowscape 7 and 9 skis. Manufactured for Salomon by Fischer (the 7 in the Ukraine and the 9 in Austria), both skis performed admirably.
With both skis, Salomon has graduated the waxless surface of the ski base underfoot from the toe to the center point calling the pattern Contragrip 2. The goal of this varied grip surface is to give the skis a smoother transition between kick and glide -- it works nicely. Both skis also feature an S-cut (a parabolic sidecut similar to alpine skis) that is designed to be easier for entry-level skiers to control and maneuver. Wide at the tip, the skis narrow to the forefoot, then narrow even further under foot before gaining width again toward the tail. Both skis come in three sizes -- 173, 183 and 193.
With a 59-56-54-56 mm sidecut profile, the 7's ski a lot like Fischer's Nordic Cruising skis, i.e., stable and lively. They performed nicely in-track and are very good for off-track touring adventures. Their waxless Contragrip 2 bases offered solid grip in the variety of snows we encountered (soft powder to glazed tracks) as the day progressed.
The 9's are very different. With a 52-49-47-50 mm sidecut profile, our pre-ski assumption was that they'd ski more like a traditional touring ski -- predictable and not that exciting. It didn't take but a few strides to realize that the 9's are little rocket ships in disguise. The Snowscape 9's are super lively, have a fast base and the shorter Contragrip 2 base pattern gives plenty of grip without interfering with glide. Snowscape 9's would make any racer looking for a waxless race training ski happy and leave anyone seeking a pair of sporty in-track skis for touring with a silly grin -- we're still trying to wipe the smiles off our faces.
SNEWS Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: Snowscape 7 - $180; Snowscape 9 - $230
For more information: www.salomon-sports.com