Seeking the next best ski
Pugski Ski Tester
Nov 8, 2015
Steamboat Springs, Co
Augment All Mountain 88
Dimensions: 126.5-88-112.5
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 163, 171, 179, 187
Size tested: 179
Design: All New

Move over, Stöckli -- yep, I said it! The brand formerly known as Croc is now Augment, but its skis are still made in Austria. This a skier's' ski: superb, exacting, precise, and highly refined. Racers, instructors, and technique geeks will love it. The 88 demands your attention and skills but rewards those skills with a thrilling ride that challenges you to find a speed limit or carve too tight of a turn. Augment offers its skis in differing levels of stiffness. I could go on praising the brand, but just go demo one. This ski gets my "I Could Own It" award.
  • Who is it for? Me! Also, racers, instructors, technique geeks, and other advanced skiers who appreciate the craftsmanship and performance this ski can deliver.
  • Who is it not for? Unless you have skills, this ski probably won't thrill you.
  • Insider tip: Check with your dealer about which level of stiffness is best for you.

Elan Wingman 86 CTi
Dimensions: 130-86-115
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 160, 166, 172, 178, 184
Size tested: 178
Design: All New

I haven't skied Elan in a while so I was pleasantly surprised when I clicked in. The left/right-specific Wingman has a nice damp, glued-to-the-snow feel. I found it quite stable and smooth with a lot of pop and energy out of short- to medium-radius turns. The 178 does ski short, and I felt the mounting point was too far forward by about 1 cm.
  • Who is it for? Intermediates and up seeking something more fun than serious.
  • Who is it not for? Chargers.
  • Insider tip: Demo first, and don't be afraid to size up. Start off at the suggested mount point but also try moving the bindings back. (See your technician for assistance with doing this properly.)
Fischer RC One GT 86
Dimensions: 130-86-116
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 161, 168, 175, 182
Size tested: 175
Design: All New

Another surprise from Fischer! I stole @Doug Brigg's description of this ski because he was spot-on. My notes say, "This is a really nice ski! Definitely feels racy, snappy, and makes you want to make a lot of turns." Tip initiation is precise yet easy, and the tail was there for support through the turn.
  • Who is it for? Advanced intermediates and those who already have a foundation of carving skills will love this ski. This ski is fun! This is a 80/20 ski.
  • Who is it not for? Those seeking a more 50/50 ski or those who don't care to pop off crisp, energetic short-radius turns.
  • Insider tip: The 182 skied well, but try going down a length.

Kästle FX86
Dimensions: 123-86-114
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 153, 161,169, 177, 185
Size tested: 177
Design: All New

I was a big fan of the Kästle FX85 off piste but was never wowed by its on-piste performance. The all-new 86 is quite different, and I'm glad Kästle dropped the "HP" nomenclature. The new 86 has gained on-piste carving chops with a uber-damp, precise feel. Tip engagement is quick and affirmative for any turn shape. Where I felt the ski fell short oddly was off-piste, on steeper terrain with variable snow. I demoed the 86 on a black run with foot-high push piles over scraped-off hard pack. The ski just didn't transition well, and I had to really focus on keeping it going where I wanted. Perhaps this was a tuning issue?
  • Who is it for? Traditional Kästle owners will still love this ski (as long as my issues were tune-related).
  • Who is it not for? Those looking for a fun and easygoing ski.
  • Insider tip: Demo first, and check the tune!
Rossignol React 8 HP
Dimensions: 127-73-111
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 156, 163, 170, 177
Size tested: 170
Design: All New

The React 8 HP is smooth and damp with a very good snow feel. Although it is excellent in medium- to larger-radius turns, I wasn't enamored with it in shorter turns as the squared-off tail didn't want to release easily. Perhaps it was a tuning issue, but I like a ski that can be worked in different turn shapes without having to muscle it.
  • Who is it for? Anyone seeking a solid ski for medium- and large-radius turns.
  • Who is it not for? Those looking for versatility.
  • Insider tip: Demo first.
Salomon S/Force Bold X12 LT
Dimensions: 132-84-116
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 170, 177, 184
Size tested: 177
Design: All New

What a nice ski! The Bold tracks well and remains stable at speed. It is quite happy to make any turn shape; the tip engages very well and smoothly, and the traditional tail holds when needed but releases upon demand. This ski is best for the front side, and although I didn't take it into the bumps, I think it would be competent.
  • Who is it for? Those seeking a solid-performing frontside ski. Intermediates and up will find this a contender.
  • Who is it not for? Those looking for a more off-piste ski.
  • Insider tip: Don't overlook this ski.

Tony S

thread drift a specialty
Nov 14, 2015
Wait. Is this a duplicate post? There were responses before. Confused.


Apr 25, 2017
North Conway, NH
Thank you for the FX86 review! I've seen a lot of talk about the FX96 HP and felt like the FX86 was being left out. I love the FX85 for moguls. Sounds like the new one may not be as great for that.