The 2010 Snow+Rock Ski Test Team

In March 2010 we sent a dedicated team of 12 skiers over to Italy to undertake 5 days intensive ski testing as part of a major European ski test. This team was carefully selected to ensure that it covered a broad cross section of skier abilities. During the 5 days on snow testing they collectively tested and evaluated hundreds of models of ski, and at the end of the week walked away safe in the knowledge that they had compiled a clear and comprehensive ski and boot range

From the day we opened our first store on Kensington High Street, we have always treated staff training and product testing as a top priority. Twenty shops later this ethos remains exactly the same.!

We have a dedicated full time training department working on a continual call cycle that spends time with each and every one of our shop floor staff to ensure that you, the customer, receive accurate information on the products you are considering.

We operate in a highly specialist industry which is continually evolving so we are constantly investing in training our trainers in conjunction with our brands. Our training team are a group of passionate end users who have spent long hours learning about and testing each of the products we stock, and who throughout the year attend and hold a number of internal and external training events.

As a rule we will only ever stock a product that we have tested extensively and, as a team, agreed that it represents the best product in its category.

Rick Hutchings

Title: Training Co-ordinator - Head Office
Performance Level: 10
Age: 35
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 80 kg
Boot Size: 26.5
Favourite 2010 ski:
Atomic Bent Chetler Atomic Bent Chetler
Best thing about it:
Slays everything with ease. Super versatile and responsive
Ski boots:
Atomic
Helmet:
Always!
I don't leave home without:
Camera gear
Background info + ski experience:
Guiding, Instructing, managing pro teams for brands, coaching, running ski and board
Favourite resort:
Laax, SUI and Val D'Isere FRA
Favourite terrain + why:
Freeride for pow and pillows and park for social shin digs
Dream location + why:
Ratallack Lodge, BC. Nothing but deep pow and trees.
Why do you ski:
It's a way of life
What's on your iPod:
Music
Favourite ski film:
Session 1242 - THE benchmark of progression for its time.
Apres ski:
Beer
Ideal summer break:
Skiing obviously!

Colin Newton

Title: Store Manager - Chertsey
Performance Level: 9
Age: 50
Height: 5' 7"
Weight: 70 kg
Boot Size: 27
Favourite 2010 ski:
K2 A.M.P AftershockK2 A.M.P Aftershock
Best thing about it:
So versatile, great in all conditions. The rocker gives the ski so much agility with really smooth turn initiation in powder, but when the pistes are hard and icy this ski can really perform with superb grip - a real charger.
Ski boots:
Salomon SPK Pro Model Salomon SPK Pro Model
Helmet:
Giro G10Giro G10
I don't leave home without:
A plentiful supply of Icebreaker
Background info + ski experience:
I have been lucky to ski regularly since I was very young and now, working for Snow + Rock, I am very privileged. I get to test skis around the world with some of the world's best skiers and, as someones always says "It's a tough job"
Favourite resort:
Mount Baker Washington State North America and Serre Chavalier France
Favourite terrain + why:
I don't have a particular favoured terrain, but I do like to ski where it's challenging. When the snow is good it will be away from the piste
Dream location + why:
Japan, to experience the snow conditions and a very different terrain and culture
Why do you ski:
Just to experience the complete satisfaction after a full on day in the mountains
What's on your iPod:
Anything and everything, although Springsteen does feature rather heavily
Favourite ski film:
"There something about McConkey". I was very lucky to get to ski with Shane McConkey a couple of years ago and to watch someone of that ability ski the lines, with the grace and speed that he did, was a real privilage.
Apres ski:
Several cold beers
Ideal summer break:
Cornwall with my wife and children

Mat Robinson

Title: Store Manager - Covent Garden
Performance Level: 8
Age: 43
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 86 kg
Boot Size: 27.5
Favourite 2010 ski:
Kastle MX 78 Kastle MX 78
Best thing about it:
Fast, stable and super responsive.
Ski boots:
Salomon Impact 8 CS Salomon Impact 8 CS
Helmet:
Giro G10Giro G10
I don't leave home without:
Wallet!
Background info + ski experience:
I have been with Snow+Rock for over 6 years now having spent over 15 years in a retail background. I have spent a lot of my time since the age of 3 in the mountains of UK and Europe, walking, climbing and relaxing. I skied at an early age but came back to it 10 years ago. An advanced recreational skier, I love nothing more than cruising the mountain all day and when the conditions prevail, trying to improve my off piste technique.
Favourite resort:
La Tania - great access to a huge area, great value and fab chalets.
Favourite terrain + why:
Groomers - carving all the way
Dream location + why:
Vail - perfectly groomed all day and every day
Why do you ski:
Because it makes me smile all day and night
What's on your iPod:
QOTSA, Biffy
Favourite ski film:
Something retro!
Apres ski:
Gluhwein then beer!
Ideal summer break:
In a tent somewhere in the UK

Ross McCloy

Title: Ski Equipment Buyer - Head Office
Performance Level: 10
Age: 32
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 75 kg
Boot Size: 26.5
Favourite 2010 ski:
Rossignol S7.117Rossignol S7.117
Best thing about it:
It changes the way you approach the mountain.You can bounce throught the forest in a snow storm and hit any pillow or powder pocket that catches your eye. This ski pivots way more easily than a classical cambered ski which is real eye opener. Although this is a wider than average ski..It skis really well across the whole mountain and will definetly be my everyday ski for next winter.
Ski boots:
Tecnica Phoenix 90 Airshell Tecnica Phoenix 90 Airshell
Helmet:
Red Mutiny IIRed Mutiny II
I don't leave home without:
Sunnies or goggles
Background info + ski experience:
A ski bum from the age of 18 that then qualified as a BASI instructor and entered into the world of the UK ski industry and ski teaching. I got the opportunity to work for one of the UK's top brands from a young age and haven't looked back since. I've been lucky to work in a variety of different roles within the global ski industry and feel very priviledged to have spent extended periods working within the ski industry in NZ and France.
Favourite resort:
Les Arc
Favourite terrain + why:
Technical lines around the back of the Aguille Rouge and on the Aguille Grive in Les Arc
Dream location + why:
Probably into Alaska to hit some steeps and spines - Fingers crossed I will get there next year
Why do you ski:
For the adrenalin shot first of all and secondly to spend time in the outdoors enjoying what we have at our finger tips.
What's on your iPod:
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass :-) A little bit of everything!
Favourite ski film:
Licence to Thrill
Apres ski:
A dozen cold beers to start then some wine with dinner!
Ideal summer break:
Kite surfing on Tiree followed by bbq and beers with mates

Steve Fisher

Title: Store Manager - Chill Factor
Performance Level: 10
Age: 33
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 67 kg
Boot Size: 26.5
Favourite 2010 ski:
K2 Kung FujasK2 Kung Fujas
Best thing about it:
Pure all mountain ski - you can take it anywhere: Big mountain, powder, crud and slush!
Ski boots:
Salomon Quest 12Salomon Quest 12
Helmet:
Sweet Rooster
I don't leave home without:
My flip-flops, wedding ring, and feeding the cat!
Background info + ski experience:
A family intro as a grom, followed by family holidays, a bit of racing, followed by my first full ski season in France in 1999/2000. A combined passion of travel and the mountains has taken me to NZ, Kashmir and the US over more recent years.
Favourite resort:
I've never had a bad days skiing, but some of the best days have to be in Chamonix + Verbier, the 3 Valleys and Val d'Isere.
Favourite terrain + why:
Back Country - it's the best way to see the mountains and get away from the crowds.
Dream location + why:
Haines Alaska or Kamchatka Russia, because if you can afford the Heli and get the weather right, they say it's the best!
Why do you ski:
Fresh lines, good times with mates and of late, skiing with the wife - need I say more?!
What's on your iPod:
For skiing - Swollen Members, Deltron 3030, Massive Attack, Public Enemy, NWA, Kasabian
Favourite ski film:
Blizzard of Aaarrhs and any other film by Greg Stump, as well as any MSP films.
Apres ski:
Beer everytime!
Ideal summer break:
Wanaka, NZ, or any place with high mountains

Lynne Waters

Title: Store Manager - Port Solent
Performance Level: 8
Age: 35
Height: 5' 3"
Weight: 54kg
Boot Size: 23.5
Favourite 2010 ski:
Rossignol Attraxion VIIIRossignol Attraxion VIII
Best thing about it:
Fantastic on piste amazing edge hold and very versatile - they made me smile from ear to ear.
Ski boots:
Nordica
Helmet:
Sweet Trooper HC
I don't leave home without:
CTG Skins, suncream, Icebreaker boxers and hair straightners
Background info + ski experience:
I have worked for Snow + Rock for over 10 years. Skied in Scotland since I was a wee bairn and have spent a significant amount of time skiing in France, Italy, Austria and did a season in NZ. I've also attended many ski test!
Favourite resort:
Les Arcs
Favourite terrain + why:
Big red wide piste, utilising all the piste. Powder cause its a challenge on my nerves and skiing ability.
Dream location + why:
Japan - one day hopefully (when the bank account allows)
Why do you ski:
Because it's the one sport I have continued doing since I was a child and for the love of the mountains
What's on your iPod:
Mix of everything (and Red Hot Chilli Peppers)
Favourite ski film:
Tangerine Dream
Apres ski:
Beer!
Ideal summer break:
Hot, humid and an adventure. Borneo this year, backpacking.

Gavin Paterson

Title: Equipment Supervisor - Port Solent
Performance Level: 8
Age: 33
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 95kg
Boot Size: 28
Favourite 2010 ski:
Volkl MantraVolkl Mantra
Best thing about it:
Solid edge grip and stability on piste and floats well in deep powder
Ski boots:
Dalbello
Helmet:
Giro G10Giro G10
I don't leave home without:
Sun cream and chocolate bars
Background info + ski experience:
I was born in Scotland, but brought up in Hong Kong. I moved to England at the age of 13 and then moved to switzerland at 23 and did 8 seasons there. From my early teens I have always been into to freesports
Favourite resort:
Verbier
Favourite terrain + why:
Off piste - for the freedom of routes and the peacefulness of the mountains
Dream location + why:
Japan - I've never been. I'd go for the good food and snow!
Why do you ski:
Its a great non-competative freesport (for me)
What's on your iPod:
Heavy rock
Favourite ski film:
Yearbook
Apres ski:
Beer, hot chocolate and gluhwein!
Ideal summer break:
Skydiving in Spain.

Ian Wilson

Title: Equipment Supervisor - Chertsey
Performance Level: 7
Age: 38
Height: 5’ 3½"
Weight: 66 kg
Boot Size: 25.5
Favourite 2010 ski:
Volkl Sensor 2Volkl Sensor 2
Best thing about it:
A lovely ski that makes you feel like the Milk Tray man!
Ski boots:
Salomon Scarlett - Yeah, I know they're girls'.
Helmet:
Dainese freeride
I don't leave home without:
Music, essential for those interminable transfers!
Background info + ski experience:
Started skiing in 1991 and went sporadically for the first decade. Have been every year since, generally getting one week in - wish it could be more! I describe myself as your typical British intermediate skier.
Favourite resort:
La Plagne
Favourite terrain + why:
Fast, confident building red runs. They make you feel fantastic!
Dream location + why:
An easy to get to red run and easy powder paradise!
Why do you ski:
For the way it makes you feel, the scenery and the challenge.
What's on your iPod:
Loads of obscure electronic stuff, eg Kraftwerk, Ladytron, Lyndstrom
Favourite ski film:
Push
Apres ski:
Beer, I'm afraid and plenty of it.
Ideal summer break:
Exploring unusual, less popular destinations like Romania

John Jennings

Title: Assistant Manager - Chertsey
Performance Level: 8
Age: 37
Height: 6"
Weight: 79kg
Boot Size: 28
Favourite 2010 ski:
K2 Kung FujasK2 Kung Fujas
Best thing about it:
Light but quick, a 'do everything' ski
Ski boots:
Salomon Ghost CS Salomon Ghost CS
Helmet:
Sweet Trooper HC
I don't leave home without:
My iPhone - tunes, contacts and games all rolled into one!
Background info + ski experience:
Seasons in France and New Zealand and 13 years spent with Snow + Rock
Favourite resort:
Salt Lake City areas (Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Brighton, etc)
Favourite terrain + why:
Off piste tree runs! Charging and dodging rolled into one!
Dream location + why:
European Whistler -endless powder and terrain -please no crowds!
Why do you ski:
Adrenaline, speed, looking back and seeing your tracks, showing others areas they normally wouldn't ski, camaraderie with mates
What's on your iPod:
Stereophonics, Jack Johnson, Propellerheads, Prodigy, Eminem, Guns+Roses
Favourite ski film:
Easy one...Global Storming
Apres ski:
Génépi, washed down with a beer
Ideal summer break:
Surfing in North Devon in my VW Splitscreen camper

Simon Penfold

Title: Assistant Manager - Bristol
Performance Level: 8
Age: 32
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 108kg
Boot Size: 28
Favourite 2010 ski:
Rossignol Zenith Z76 Oversize TIRossignol Zenith Z76 Oversize TI
Best thing about it:
Such fun! I felt so quick on these, lots of grip on pack and a surprise ski for me.
Ski boots:
Dalbello
Helmet:
Smith Variant Brim Challenger
I don't leave home without:
CTG Skins - compression tights do work!
Background info + ski experience:
Started age 11 at school learning on Yeovil Dry slope and then school trips around Europe. Having caught the bug I have managed to ski a lot over the years. I have skied NZ, Australia most of Europe but not North America yet!
Favourite resort:
Meribel and the 3 Valleys
Favourite terrain + why:
Fresh pow so a big guy like me can take big falls and they do not hurt so much
Dream location + why:
Japan - oh to ski amoung the cherry blossom!
Why do you ski:
The feeling of freedom and the ability it has to blow away cobwebs and worries - that first lung full of mountain air gets me all weak at the knees
What's on your iPod:
Notorious B.I.G and some Lionel Richie...it's all good
Favourite ski film:
A grainy 10 second clip of me skiing in Italy aged 11.
Apres ski:
Gluhwein done properly like Innsbruck city centre after a night watching the ski jump
Ideal summer break:
Wild swimming in the greek islands

Phil Gordon

Title: Technical Co-ordinator - Head Office
Performance Level: 10
Age: 34
Height: 5’4"
Weight: 68 kg
Boot Size: 24.5
Favourite 2010 ski:
Salomon X Wing 8Salomon X Wing 8
Best thing about it:
What impressed me about the X Wing 8 is how easy it was to just hop on & go. Not only that, I was pleased how forgiving and fun this ski is! It would make an ideal ski for those people looking to make their first investment in their own ski equipment and will give you the confidence to explore the mountain and a great base to build your technique on.
Ski boots:
Atomic RTCS 130
Helmet:
Don't normally ski with one - but looking to invest in one this year!
I don't leave home without:
Ski Boots...I think they are actually still in the back of my car.
Background info + ski experience:
I began skiing in Canada when I was 13 and have been teaching since I was 17. The majority of my ski years have been spent in Whistler teaching full time & working with people from all over the world. Now living in England, I've had the chance to get involved in different aspects of the snow sports industry along with having many exciting ski experiences in some great European resorts.
Favourite resort:
Whistler & Wagrain
Favourite terrain + why:
Love Powder for fun, hard pack for technical skiing and bumps because they are a challenge.
Dream location + why:
Mike Wiegele Heli Skiing - need I say more?
Why do you ski:
I love the personal challenge of trying to have the perfect run and spending time in the mountains. But more importantly its about having fun and spending time with friends enjoying a common experience & moment.
What's on your iPod:
I need to update it - too embarrassing really
Favourite ski film:
Warren Miller Storm
Apres ski:
Beer
Ideal summer break:
Skiing in the morning, biking in the afternoon and drinks on the deck in the hot summer sun with Friends and Family!