Rossignol Zenith Z9 2006
This is an interesting ski as it combines all mountain ski-ability with high performance carving, which is something I have always wanted. This may be the end for the need for 2 pairs of skis when you are on holiday.
Size(cm) / Radius(m): 154/11.9 162/13.3 170/14.8 176/15.9
Sidecut : 126-74-105
Length Tested : 162
I have just come back from a ski instructors’ course in Fernie BC, Canada, and towards the end of the season I got the opportunity to ski on a pair of 162 Rossignol Zenith Z9s.
First of all, they look pretty awesome as those 126mm spades look up at you. Before I continue I have to point out that that day and for most of the season I had been skiing on a pair of Dynastar Omeglass 63s so my comparisons will be with this carvy slalom ski. The verdict after the first run was “these are pretty good” - much better than I was expecting. The thing that stood out the most about the Zeniths was their ease of use: by this I mean they will do almost anything you ask them to do and if you make a mistake 9 times out of 10 they won’t punish you.
A big thing I learnt on the course was “steering” my skis, which is a combination of edging and pivoting your ski in differing amounts. When skiing on the Omeglass you have to be careful with the edging portion because as soon as you get to a certain amount of edge that is it. You are on the rails. General skiing on the Zeniths on the other hand was just so easy mainly because steering is so easy and affective. They held an edge just as well as the Omeglass and yet seemed easier to carve despite their longer radius. I found while turning you could increase or decrease the size of the arc with the greatest of ease, whereas the Omeglass once they are on rails they are going to stay there. As you roll the Zeniths over on to their edge you can really feel the effect of that large waist i.e. your boot is well clear of the snow. In short radius turns I found the Zeniths better than the Omeglass purely because if you are not spot on with you timing and pressure control on any slalom ski the stiff tail of the ski will really kick you out of the turn which is good when you know it is coming and know what to do with it, but otherwise it just results in tips to the sky. The Zeniths on the other hand have very forgiving tails so when you pop off a few short turns you know you are always going to look and feel good doing it.
The Zeniths’ ease of steering and relative softness makes it an excellent ski in moguls. Despite Fernie’s reputation there was no powder that day, but with a footprint the size of the Zeniths’ and a good sized waist I am sure they will have no problems leaving ‘freshies’, although if you are expecting to ski a considerable amount of powder then I would go for a longer length. This is a high performance ski, but not a race performance ski. I felt this when I really pushed it: I felt as though I was reaching the ski’s limits whereas the Omeglass always feel like there is more. The only other time I felt I wanted the Omeglass back was in the crud as their substantial weight would plough through anything, whereas the Zeniths got a bit bumped around - not too much, but enough to notice the difference.
All in all this is a truly excellent all round ski and if you are like me and have a pair of skis for steeps and deeps and another pair for carving it up then the Zeniths are the ski to successfully combine the best of both worlds.
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