Pugski Ski Tester
- Nov 1, 2015
- Reno, eNVy
One thing we can say here at Pugski.com is that we do love them there hard-snow skinny-type skis. This comparison comes from the people who give us toast, fries, and kisses -- yes, we are talking about the French. Dynastar quietly introduced the Speed Zone 12 a few seasons back, and it is a ski that we have brought out many times as a great alternative to more oft-mentioned models. As I said in my review of the Salomon S/Max 12, the brand with a giant S on its cape has a knack for making some of the best hard-snow skis that no one has heard of. Well, we are going to sing the praises of these two French wallflowers because not only should they be options to your usual choices, but they deserve to be in your top choices. Vive la France!
Dynastar’s Powerdrive construction does work. The soft visco layer between the core and sidewall really makes a difference; the Speed Zone 12 is one of the smoothest and most connected skis in this class. Dynastar is also one of the few in this category that offers a binding that is DIN/WTR/GW-compatible, the SPX 12 Dual design. The Speed Zone 12 is a solid, damp, recreational go-fast combi ski.
Salomon has been offering stellar hard-snow skis here in the US off and on over the past decade, but with little or no consistency. Well, this is one of the “on” years. The all-new S/Max 12 is taking a different construction approach with a significantly built-up sidewall construction underfoot called “Edge Amplifier." Marketing jargon or not, the S/Max rails.
- Why choose the Speed Zone 12? You want power. The SZ 12 is slightly heavier than the Solly, and to quote Boris the Blade, “Heavy is reliable.” The Speed Zone 12's extra kilo delivers speed ... and lots of it.
- Why choose the S/Max12? Even though the dimensions are similar to the Dynastar, the S/Max 12 is a lot more playful, so it's a bit more oriented to short and medium turns.
- Insider tip: There are steroid-enhanced versions of both skis. The Speed Zone 14 sports Dynastar’s race plate, which accommodates Look's 14 to 18 DIN Rockerace bindings; the S/Max Blast integrates Salomon’s X12 race binding (don’t let the fact that it only goes to 12 dissuade you; it is as solid of a 4-12 option as you can get). Note: When you get into these big boy versions, you lose GripWalk and WTR compatibility.