Last year, I loaded a lift with some young skiers who looked down at my skis and said “Cool, retro skis! My dad has a pair of skinny skis like those in the garage.”

Retro? I decided it was time to shop for a new pair.

Years ago, before buying my now retro skis, a fellow skier who grew up in Aspen gave me some excellent advice. “Rent skis at one of the larger resorts.” he said. “Not the basic rentals, but a demo package.” It was excellent advice, and after trying numerous skis, I purchased a pair of Rossignol DV7 SL’s. They have served me well.

So last spring, I headed up to Alpine Meadows for a demo day. For $50 I purchased the premium demo skis only package ($60 for skis, boots and poles.) This rental allowed me to try an unlimited amount of premium rental skis for the day. After a short consultation on my abilities (intermediate-to-expert)  and style (all-mountain), they recommend a variety of skis to try.

Ski technology has come a long way in the last couple of years. Designs are specialized based on gender, ability, conditions (groomed, powder, deep powder) and style (freeride, carver, cruiser, all-mountain.) I tested five sets of skis on a variety of runs from groomed intermediate to black diamond moguls, and was amazed at the difference in each pair. Two of the five were to stiff for my taste, one was OK. I spent most of the day skiing between a pair of Volkl Tierra’s and K2 Burnin Luv’s and ultimately choose the K2’s as my favorite. It’s all-mountain performance, turning radius and ease of control was a good fit for my style.

The skinny skis have now retired to the garage, and the new K2’s are waxed and ready to hit the slopes.