Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Clear Base Skis

This year, all of the major ski companies released clear base skis for the retail market. Luckily, these have been used on the World Cup for the past several seasons and we have had an opportunity to work with the materials.

My friend, Zach Caldwell, wrote an incredibly detailed article on clear base skis back in May. If you have some time on your hands and an inclination to get nerdy you can read the whole thing here - Clear Base Skis.

Let me hit you with the highlights:

  • The clear bases are generally being marketed for wet snow conditions, but don’t make a clear-base ski your first and only pair of wet-snow skis. 
  • At their best, the clear bases offer an advantage. At their worst they can be a liability, even in wet snow. 
  • World cup experience indicates that the clear bases coming to market are at their best in a range of temperatures, but generally in rounded and dull snow crystals. This can include slush, but it can also include granular sugary snow, and even manmade snow in colder conditions. 
  • We have tested clear base skis in wet new snow with really bad results – there are definitely wet conditions where you would not want to race on them.
  • At this point clear-base skis remain a rare-enough thing that it is hard to determine whether there are days when they’re a must-have. There are days when the clear-base skis feel much better than black bases, but it’s best to think of them like zeros. They work when they work, but they’re not the first thing you should reach for.