Whitedot R98 Carbonlite
As expected the Whitedot R98 excelled on the skin track, thanks to its Carbonlite construction and the Dynafit bindings which complement the weight saving design. Saving a couple of hundred grams per ski may not sound like much, but after a few hundred metres vertical gain, the difference is clear in both effort and manoeuvrability. It also helps on the walk to the lift.
The concern with lightweight kit is that it won't perform when pushed hard, but this is where Whitedot have created something special. On piste the relatively large turn radius of 22 metres encourages fast GS carving, while holding a solid edge with no chatter. The torsional stiffness is remarkable, but the power of the ski was tested more in chopped up crud off piste, where they had a tendency to deflect off hefty obstacles. For the weight saving benefits, it's a small price to pay, and the stability is nevertheless much better than expected.
The ski was also more fun than expected when the snow began to fall. After a day of lapping tree runs in deep snow, it was clear the Carbonlite version of the R98 retains its freeride credentials; super-fun flex keeps the powder runs bouncy and absorbs fairly modest drops offs like a heavyweight pow ski, and the mid-fat dimensions provide adequate float even in half a metre of fresh.
The only place we didn't test this ski was the park. Unless you're spinning off kickers or straightlining cruddy couloirs, this could be the closest to a true 'all mountain' ski we've seen in a long time.