Ski manufacturers use some pretty confusing ski names, prefixes, and suffixes when it comes to naming their race skis. I am not trying to restart the discussion on what ‘race’ skis are – that discussion is right here. But how then to differentiate between all those Redsters, Heros, and Racetigers? We have sorted it out for you.
Different classes of race skis
In the realm of recreational race skis, we recognize short turn skis (based on the Slalom discipline) and long turn skis (based on the Giant Slalom discipline in ski racing). Some brands also have mid-radius turn or ‘cross turn’ skis. That’s a free format category that every brand uses differently, if at all.
To clarify the different ‘weight’ classes, we try to explain by using the 2023 long-turn skis of six manufacturers: Atomic, Head, Salomon, Völkl, Rossignol, and Fischer. We differentiate five classes: RC, GS, Pro, Master, and FIS.
‘Race Carver’ – softest in flex, least demanding to ski. Sometimes a bit of tip-rocker, relatively short sidecut radius, ~70 mm in waist width, system (demo) binding
‘Giant Slalom’ – the usual ‘recreational’ GS ski for the masses, typically no rocker (there are exceptions), 18-20 m sidecut radius at 180 length, 68-70 mm in waist width, system (demo) binding
‘Professional’ – perfect for ski instructors and demo skiers, the pros. Much like the GS, but sometimes a bit heavier in construction (thicker metal laminates) and a plate binding for extra damping, control, and rebound.
‘Master racing’ – more performance and race-oriented. For amateur competitions and higher-level ski instructor courses. Typically these skis are longer and have a 25-30 m radius. They have a heavy, high-DIN plate binding.
Comply with FIS equipment rules for the giant slalom discipline. For the Worldcup, this means: 30/35 m radius in 188/193 (women/men).
Here’s an overview of the 2023 (cheater) GS lineups by the aforementioned brands.
|Atomic||Redster G7||Redster G9 S Revoshock||Redster G9 RS Revoshock||Redster G9 FIS Revoshock M|
|Head||Worldcup Rebels e-GSR||Worldcup Rebels e-Speed||Worldcup Rebels e-Speed Pro||Worldcup Rebels e-GS RD Pro||Worldcup Rebels e-GS RD FIS|
|Salomon||S/Race GS 10||S/Race GS 12||S/Race GS Pro||S/Race Prime GS||S/Race GS FIS|
|Völkl||Racetiger RC||Racetiger GS||Racetiger GS Master||Racetiger GS R 30 WC|
|Rossignol||Hero Elite LT TI Konect||Hero Elite LT TI R22||Hero Master GS||Hero Athlete GS FIS|
|Fischer||RC4 Worldcup RC||RC4 Worldcup RC Pro||RC4 Worldcup GS|
Note that Völkl’s Racetiger GS Master sits in the ‘Pro’ category (according to the descriptions above), but is called ‘Master’. At the same time, the Head Worldcup Rebels e-GS RD Pro is actually their ‘master’ ski, despite the name…. That’s why it’s so hard to make sense of these lineups.