The World's Best Ski Reviews

Realskiers.com is dedicated to helping skiers find their perfect match.

Realskiers.com is dedicated to helping skiers find their perfect match. We do more than just rate the current crop of skis available on the U.S. market; we organize our reviews using a clear methodology that points the prospective ski buyer in the right direction. To learn more about how Realskiers.com gathers its data and presents its results, please read How to Use Our Reviews.

How to Use our reviews

Revelations from the Pontiff of Powder

The Editor of Realskiers.com, Jackson Hogen, writes a free weekly newsletter that illuminates some corner of the ski world. Topics range from how to buy, bootfitting advice, market analysis, injury dynamics, instructional tips and the spiritual side of our sport. To see a sample Revelation culled from our archives, click here, or read the latest pontification posted below.

Become a Realskiers.com Member Today!

Aside from a measurable increase in self-esteem, a Realskiers membership includes these life-saving benefits:

  • Consult directly with Jackson about your equipment issues. He is not only a world-renowned expert in ski, boot and binding design, he has personally skied almost every ski and boot on the American market.
  • Long form reviews of all Recommended models. In most seasons, members’ reviews also display test scores for all test criteria.
  • Archived reviews and Revelations. Ski reviews date back to the 2001 season; the Revelations library numbers over 100 entries in 5 categories.
  • Brand profiles for all reviewed suppliers, including both an historical overview and an analysis of current actions for each brand.

Great site! Anyone who doesn’t think this is worth 25 bucks is making a mistake.

You changed my ski life!

– Geoff R.

 

photo by: Brian Robb

Your Man on the Inside

We hesitate to list all of Jackson’s accomplishments, not out of coy modesty, but for lack of room. Let’s just say, Jackson has played more roles in the ski trade than Eskimos have words for snow.

If you really want to slog through the resume of a career that has touched every corner of the ski equipment market, read more below.

Read More

About Jackson Hogen

Jackson Hogen has served as a supplier, retailer, instructor, coach, screenwriter, trainer, product manager, designer and general student of skiing and the ski marketplace for close to 50 years. Some of the landmark moments:

1970’s

  • Skied on Yale Ski Team for 3 years, where I was first seed in GS and AL and truly dreadful at cross-country and Nordic jumping.
  • Last person chosen as full-time instructor for Copper Mountain, CO opening season (72/73). With too few lessons to live on, quit to follow freestyle.
  • Qualified for back flips for the IFSA, the tour for PFA washouts and wannabes.
  • Worked retail at Maverik Ski Shop and Norway Haus, in Breckenridge, CO
  • Joined Salomon North America as Service Representative, conducting live, 4-hour binding technician certification clinics across the Rockies.
  • Moved from a field position to the Peabody, MA office to supervise the certification program and develop educational services.

1980’s

  • Became Salomon binding product manager; later, the title boot product manager was added to the portfolio in lieu of pay. Before leaving the company in 1987, was responsible for all product divisions for North America.
  • As Salomon’s representative, served as General Secretary of the ASTM F-27 Committee on Ski Safety. During this period, helped draft shop testing standards and liability release language that stemmed a flood of litigation.
  • Served as Chairman of SIA’s Skiing Safety Committee, where we drafted the first skier classification posters to assist shops in implementing new binding release setting standards.
  • For two years toured the country as a faculty member of the Skiing Mechanics and Managers Workshops. Lectured on ski tech, selling skills and risk management.
  • Hired by New York Times Magazine Group to be first Equipment Editor for newly created Snow Country Magazine, the group’s first start-up. By the mid -1990’s Snow Country was the highest circulation ski publication in the world.

1990’s

  • Assigned task of improving Snow Country’s equipment coverage, assembled a spectacular test team and a strict methodology derived from prototype testing that ranked skis in order of finish, a daring innovation.
  • Wrote comprehensive reviews for London Daily Mail Ski magazine.
  • Wrote trade-related copy for Ski Business, Snow Country Business & Ski Tech. Coined the generic term, “shaped skis” when carving skis emerged as a force.
  • Wrote and narrated Warren Miller Entertainment’s The Truth About Skiing, a learning system that included a manual, videotapes and audio cassettes.
  • Wrote and emceed 3 feature-length TV shows for Outdoor Life Network with co-host Pam Fletcher. Hosted a special on the Outdoor Show.
  • Co-created (with Bob Woodward and Paul Kirwin) Gearorama.com, one of the first digital platforms for ski reviews.
  • Co-hosted The Gear Guys with Paul Hochman on Resorts Sports Network. We’d shoot 12 segments in a day, earning the sobriquet, Johnny One-Take.
  • Designed Scott’s first ski line, a 3-model series that debuted in the Swiss market. Went from paper to product in less than two years.
  • Began working with Head Wintersports in product development, marketing and team management. Conceived Head ski’s first website and created a freeride team with Johnny Moseley, Allison Gannett, Rex Wehrman and Darien Boyle, among others. In April, 2000 Head athletes swept the awards at the US Nationals in Crested Butte.

2000’s

  • Wrote the narrative for three Warren Miller Entertainment features: Impact, Higher Ground and Off the Grid. Only writer ever to ghostwrite for Miller. 
  • Wrote, co-narrated and co-produced Hotel Bella Coola with Greg Stump.
  • Co-created, with Dave Bertoni, Desperate Measures, a comprehensive retail training system replete with manuals, videos and workshop tools.
  • Hogen and Bertoni collaborate again on Planet Hospitality, a resort personnel training system. I deliver its message to one client, Sipapu, NM.
  • Ski and boot tester for SKI magazine for most of the decade; also contribute several resort reviews, including one that continues to hang in the Forklift at Snowbird.
  • Executive Producer sub rosa for Greg Stump’s Legend of Aahhh’s.

2010’s

  • Published Self-Help for Losers to test the self-publishing waters, followed soon by Controlled Fall, an anthology of early work.
  • Co-authored Snowbird Secrets, A Guide to Big Mountain Skiing with “Guru” Dave Powers. Secrets teaches skiing from the mountain’s point of view, combining instruction with metaphysics to reveal our sport’s secrets.
  • Contributes feature articles to Skiing History, including profiles of Rick Sylvester and Sven Coomer.
  • Retail consultant and bootfitter at Bobo’s Ski & Board in Reno, NV, where reverential customers refer to him as the Boot Whisperer.
  • Editorial Director and content provider for the Masterfit Buyer’s Guide.
  • Editor & Pontiff, Realskiers.com

Testimonials

RealSkiers.com is great advice. I have been telling readers of my columns for years that having a regular relationship with a ski shop that has a top boot fitter is as critical as having a good mechanic to make sure your car is always ready to go to the mountains. Keep the good advice coming. Skiers need it.

Dave Irons – Ski Columnist, Sun Journal

Jackson, great piece on “The Returning Skier’s Handbook”. I teach skiing at Palisades Tahoe and will print this out to give to clients asking for this type of information. Keep up the great work!

Greg Mainis – Palisades Tahoe Ski Instruction

If you need a soft boot so you can move to find a balanced stance many are going about it the wrong way. Thank you for pointing out, “How to” find/know your balanced stance and build a strong energy/info transmitter around your feet. Well said Mr. Jackson Hogen!!!

Michael Rogan, US Olympic Ski Team Coach

America’s best-known ski hardware writer, editor, and consultant… over many decades!

WTF SKI CLUB, Facebook

There’s a small army of self-anointed experts and pseudo-journalists who will direct you to buy online. Please don’t.  The ski community needs a robust retail support system to guide skiers through the thicket of choices that confront them. To put it bluntly, you need help.  This is where you find it.

Realskiers.com Test Card App

Download it Now FREE and rate your skis like a pro ski tester.  For instructions on app installation and use CLICK HERE.

When the most prestigious boot test in the world sought a new partner in the ski domain, their union created the Masterfit Buyer’s Guide, Powered by Bootfitters.com and Realskiers.com. Look for the 2021 edition of the Buyer’s Guide on your favorite digital newsstand soon.

Revelations

Musings from the Pontiff of Powder

In Case You Missed It…

In Case You Missed It…

This charming photo [courtesy of Head] of kinder overlooking the Alps served as the title photo for Will the Next Generation of Skiers Be the Last? After I posted what I assumed would be my last Revelation of the 2021/22 season, I realized I had rushed off without...

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Where I’ve Been & Where We’re Heading

Where I’ve Been & Where We’re Heading

Your Esteemed Editor in the company of Scot Schmidt, Greg Stump, Bruce Benedict and Fleppy the Flamingo shortly before Stump's induction into the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame in Sun Valley, ID last month. Mea culpa, Dear Readers, for I have strayed. My last...

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On Altitude, from Snowbird Secrets

On Altitude, from Snowbird Secrets

The hike to High Baldy passes along the top of the Chamonix Chutes. Photo by Eric Hostetler.No matter where you go, there you are.  This is the primordial flaw in the vacation concept.  The principal goal, to get away from oneself, isn’t normally achievable.  In the...

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Recommended Skis

To earn a coveted Realskiers Recommended medallion, a ski must score 80 or higher (on a 100-point scale) for either its Finesse or Power properties. For the 2021 season, we still use total Power and Finesse scores to determine which models earn a Recommended rating, and in what order they appear in their respective categories. But because the pandemic limited the data we could collect, we will not be presenting scores, letter grades or any test results for 2021 ski models. Because all our reviews are still the result of on-snow testing by a highly motivated and skilled crew, we are confident our detailed descriptions of each Recommended ski’s behavior provides an accurate reflection of its capabilities.

A Unique Perspective

Jackson has been a ski designer and product manager as well as a professional ski tester for over 30 years.  He’s evaluated thousands of skis and told hundreds of product stories. He knows how the game is played because he helped write the rule book. He continues to ski every important model in the American market and report on them to a worldwide readership.