What To Look For
Choose the ski that is best suited for your level of expertise and the terrain you frequently ski. The Seventh Heaven series is designed for all conditions, but you need to look at the waist width. The Seventh Heaven 76 has a 76-millimeter waist, whereas the 79 has a 79-millimeter waist. The 76 is therefore a bit more suitable for carving, whereas the 79 will have better performance in powder.
The Cloud series is designed for groomed snow. The Cloud 7, the most flexible of the line, is designed for less aggressive skiers. The Cloud 8 is a bit stiffer--best for improving intermediates--and the Cloud 9 is the liveliest of the three.
The Bad Kitty and She Devil are park and pipe skis that also function well on groomed terrain. The Bad Kitty is for park novices. Elysian and Heaven n' Hell are powder skis. The Elysian has a 92-millimeter waist and Heaven n' Hell, designed for deeper powder, has a 99-millimeter waist.
Atomic claims that its park and powder skis can also be used on groomed terrain. This might be true if you're an expert skier. Novices and advancing intermediates should stick with skis whose waists are no wider than 79 millimeters. A powder ski should not be your only ski if you just ski at New England resorts.
Where To Buy
Atomic has a dealer locator on their website. Most online ski retailers sell Atomic skis, but you should never, under any circumstance, buy skis without trying them. Most ski resort shops will subtract the cost of the demo from the price of the ski, should you choose to purchase it.
Most places are selling the Cloud 9 and the Elysian for $599 and the Seventh Heaven 79 for $699 in 2010. The Cloud 8 can be found for $499, and the Heaven 'N Hell is often seen at $419. Park and pipe skis are usually cheaper, perhaps because they appeal to a younger skier. The She Devil can be found for as little as $249, and the Bad Kitty for $199.
She Skis offers an annual women's ski testing clinic at Vail, which usually takes place in February. Atomic is one of the sponsors. The three-day clinic allows you to demo different brands of skis under the guidance of top-rated ski instructors, who will evaluate your technique with each ski model. Participants receive substantial discount coupons for purchasing skis at the clinic.
Making friends with the ski shop staff is an important strategy for anyone with an addiction to ski gear. If you can't afford the latest model, ask the shop staff to hold a demo model for you until the end of the season, when it may be sold at considerable savings. Be sure to use the shop on a regular basis for other purposes, such as ski tuning and smaller purchases.
Article Written By Lisa Mercer
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.