Not all the reviews and articles I write are technical. For once, I thought I’d post about a recent experience I had while buying some new skis. Now, I’m no professional skier or ski-equipment reviewer, but I enjoyed testing out these two models of ski so much that I felt compelled to share what I found.
Those of you who know me will also know that I am an avid skier. I only get to ski abroad once or twice a year, however in the previous two months I have been travelling up to Hemel Hempstead to go to The Snow Centre, an indoor mountain with artificial snow. Every time I ski, I end up carting about my old Nordica T5.1 skis (with Nordica N2 bindings) from 2002. These skis have been perfect for me for the last few years, in-fact I have really enjoyed the time I have had with them. Anyone who has moved from renting skis to using their own personal pair will know the joy of getting to know your own equipment.
While I was on one such trip to The Snow Centre, I stopped into to local Snow+Rock, which is conveniently located on-site, to look at their their latest offerings. I asked an employee about which ski he would recommend for my ski style. Seeing as I was looking at moving into more off-piste work, he understandably recommended that I try the Salomon Lord 2010’s, and that they were shaping up to be incredibly popular skis. I had a look through their catalog and compared the dimensions and profile of the Lords to other skis in the book, and eventually found that the Salomon Tornado Ti was a very similarly build ski (at least from the dimension point of view). While the Lord was listed as a Freeride Ski, the Tornado Ti was listed as a Piste Prestige ski.
Upon reading reviews on both skis, I quickly grasped what both were like on the piste, but as most skiers will know, reading about it and actually experiencing it are two very different things. I couldn’t make up my mind between the skis, so I contacted Snow+Rock again, who very kindly informed me that for £15 I could try both pairs out (the £15 could be credited back to me if I chose to purchase a new set of the skis from them).
Upon my next visit to The Snow Centre, I hired both pairs from Snow+Rock, and this is what I found:
Salomon X-Wing Tornado Ti (2010)
with Salomon Z12 B80 bindings
- Full Wood Core
- Double Titanal laminate
- Oversized Pulse Pad
- 3D Stealth Tip
- L Chassis
- 79mm wide waist
- V.R.M. (Variable Radius Management)
- P-tex 4000 base
- Double Monocoque
- TIp Width: 124mm
- Waist Width: 80mm
- Tail Width: 107mm
- Radius: 16.7m
- Length (as reviewed): 166cm
- Price (as reviewed): £549
Upon picking these up from Snow+Rock, the first thing that I noticed was the weight. These skis are heavier than what I hve been using in the past, however they are by no means out of the ordinary for skis. The titanium mesh running down the length of the ski will certainly add some weight, but it will also add strength, but maintain flexibility.
The skis themselves look amazing. The black, white, and gold design is accented by the Star Wars XWing Logo and the transparent X just above the toe binding, revelling the wooden core as well as the titanium mesh. The surface of hte skis feels like it will survive some punishment, unlike those of my Nordca T5.1’s, which unfortunately are rather susceptible to scratches and chips.
As soon as I got on the slope, I eagerly mounted up and headed straight for the lift. Moving through the flat on new skis is such a pleasure, with the skis slipping effortlessly through the softer snow. Once on the Poma, the skis give off a sense of wanting to move, wanting to ski, and wanting to be used what they were designed for. On the first run down, I immediately felt that something was different. my technique felt firmer and more controlled, and my posture seemed improved than on my older skis. Increasing the speed yielded some very interesting results: I could move very quickly from a left carve to a right without much effort, but the ski would bite and throw me into and out of the turns (with incredible control) as I altered my body weight into the turn. The result was that I could pull some tight but very fast carves, while maintaining full control of where I was going, and my speed. This level of control was unlike anything I have ever experienced before.
I repeated this on subsequent runs, each time pushing my speed just that little more, and each time yielding better and better results. The ski never felt out of control (at any speed), and the tip and tail coordination was spot on. I don’t have a bad word to say about these skis. They do exactly what they say on the tin, and they do it very very well
Unfortunately it was soon time to return to Snow+Rock and change the Tornados over for the next trial pair.
Salomon Lord (2010)
with Salomon Z10 B90 bindings
- Full Wood Core
- Edgy Monocoque
- Semi twin tip
- Over-size Pulse pad
- Edge armour
- P-tex 4000 base
- TIp Width: 128mm
- Waist Width: 87mm
- Tail Width: 115mm
- Radius: 17.4m
- Length (as reviewed): 161cm
- Price (as reviewed): £509
Snow+Rock had just received their demo ski that morning, and when I took out the Tornado Ti’s, they were not even mounted. The Staff at the Snow+Rock store certainly excelled themselves, and mounted the binding especially for me to test it. Thanks guys!!! upon walking out of the store with these skis, I was shot some rather envious looks by the staff as they had all wanted to be first to test the Lords. The very least I can do to repay this honour is to write a review on the skis.
The Lord is incredibly pleasing to the eye. the modern design on the skis is certainly one that will look the part on the mountain, with incredible attention payed to everything; from the highlighted ‘Lord’ logo design, to the independent left / right-ski design. The ski looks like it belongs in a snowpark, along with all the ‘hip’ snowboarders, and it will certainly get you noticed in the lift queue.
As soon as I got them on my feet, I could feel the weight difference. The Tornado Ti’s are slight heavier skis than these, and it is noticeable when moving around. The trip up the Poma was remarkably similar to on the Tornados. I didn’t expect to be able to feel any difference, but like the Tornados, these skis wanted to be doing what they were designed for. After reaching the top and setting off, I immediately noticed that these handled differently to the Tornados. Where as the Tornados wanted to be calving smoothly and wanted me to push my speed and aggression, these wanted to have fun. Indeed, on the second run down, I effortlessly pulled a full 360 whilst moving down the slope. I’ve never been able to do that before. On my next few runs, I decided to push the speed up to see if they would handle the same as the Tornados. Unfortunately they did not, but this was to be expected as they are not really designed for this sort of use. While they did handle very well, I did not feel the same level of control as I did with the Tornados, and at high speeds and tight carving, I noticed that the tails would loose control.
Enough of High speed, lets use these skis for what they were designed for. I decided to just have a bit of fun, and see what I could do with these skis. Indeed, turning is a very enjoyable experience on these skis. The larger surface area certainly helps the ski slide atop the snow when flat, and when putting them into a carve, you can feel their desire to flip you the full 360 degrees. They are by no means uncontrollable though. They did everything I wanted of them, and never pushed me too far. If I wanted to through a 360 turn in at high speed, I was able to. If I wanted to ski backwards and maintain control, it was possible, and if I wanted to ski normally, then it was certainly possible too.
I think that the Salomon Lords are your ‘fun’ ski. While not designed for someone who wants to improve their downhill and short radius turning, I think that these would be at home with someone who wants to move into skiing in a snowpark, where the runs are large and open. I do feel that the twintip would aid ski instructors while skiing backwards and watching their student(s), as they will cut through the snow better than a regular flat end.
At the end of the day, the decision between the two pairs was a tough one. I finally chose the Tornado Ti’s over the Lords because I wanted to focus more on my downhill performance than my snowpark performance.
Both sets of skis perform incredibly well! Salomon have done an epic job in forging both pairs. The performance on the piste is like nothing I had ever experienced before, and even better than what I would expect from £500 skis. I would recommend both pairs to anyone who asked me in a heartbeat. That said, the two pairs do have different callings, and different purposes.
The Lord’s are very much a snowpark ski, and this comes across in their personality. They want to be having fun. They don’t want to take skiing seriously, and are just there to have a good time, even if it does mean pulling the odd 360 turn in front of a startled snowboarder. The Lord’s remind us that having fun and doing more than just going from the top to the bottom is not only for snowboarders!
The Tornados are, for all intents and purposes, a all-mountain ski, with a biased toward downhill piste skiing. Their design is such that it will feel at home both on and off the piste. The ski feels like it wants to be moving fast and freely down the mountain side. The performance both into and out of the turns makes this ski very enjoyable to ride, and allows the user to push their own experience and ability.
In conclusion, I think the Lord is the fun younger ski, while the Tornado is the more refined serious ski. Both skis are very good examples of what skiing is all about – Having fun! Both pairs improved my performance no end, and I had a great time testing out both pairs. I would very much have liked to have bought both sets, however I felt that I needed to focus more on my downhill performance. While buying these skis does not lock me into one style, I feel that it will define my choice of skiing for the years to come, and will shape my development and experiences on the piste.
I would like to thank the staff at Snow+Rock, Hemel Hempstead for sorting out the Lord’s in time for me to try them, as well as loaning me the skis for trial, and helping me purchase my Tornado Ti’s.
Ultimately, i’m not a professional skier, nor a professional ski reviewer. I just thought I would write about my experiences with these two models. If it helps people choose what to buy next, then fantastic! If you have any creative and constructive criticism, I’d love to hear it. The Comments box awaits you!