For the second year, Inghams welcomed a 16-strong team from www.skiandsnowboard.co.uk to Kühtai, Austria to test brand new skis from all the leading manufacturers.
In total, at the Ski Industry of Great Britain test, 800 pairs of skis are put through their paces by 140 testers, comprising ski instructors, retailers and in the Ski and Snowboard team, British ski champs Graham and Martin Bell. I joined the group. Manufacturers with skis to test included Atomic, Blizzard, Dynastar, K2 and Rossignol. Categories of skis include Freeride, All Mountain and On Piste. You test 12-20 skis per category, carefully noting your thoughts. The results are printed in the 2013/14 Ski and Snowboard magazine, out from October 13. So it makes sense to choose a long run, with varied terrain, to compare each ski in its category.
This week I was lucky enough to test Freeride Expert, All Mountain Advanced and On Piste Recreational skis. The variety between skis in each category is huge, especially in the All Mountain range, where one ski needs to perform well on and off piste. Scores are given from 0 to 10, 0 is awful.
The Inghams group stayed at the Chalet Hotel Elisabeth, in the centre of the village. With 63 beds, it offers spacious rooms, superb catered cuisine and ski-in, ski-out access. It is an extremely scenic and charming spot. Kühtai remains unspoilt and characterful. Its name means ‘Cow Valley’. It comes highly recommended for families, groups and couples. It scores well on value, quality of accommodation and easy access from Innsbruck airport. There I go; scoring out of ten has become a habit!