I was told that conveniently, there’s a ski rental/test service center right in Stöckalp (base station of the cable car to Melchsee-Frutt), called Stöckli. So I called them to put a reservation. “What kind of skis would you like to order?” the kind owner asked me. “Well, I guess a pair of nice Salomon cross carvers would do it!” I responded. The (still very kind) owner was pretty much puzzled: “Sorry, we only have Stöckli skis, but you can choose from the full product range (PDF)“. Cheerio! That’s when I actually realized, that this shop was a representative of the Stöckli brand, the only lasting Swiss ski manufacturer! Even better. First, I’ve never tried Stöckli skis before, so it’s about time to try them.
Second, I can be sure they’re experts as everything comes from one hand, starting with engineering, continuing with manufacturing and ending with ski rental/maintenance service. Further, they offer the full product range of the most current models. Third, it’s Swiss quality for sure. So I’m looking forwad to test-drive Stöckli Laser Cross skis (PDF) now :) They’re cross carvers with a radius of 17 m at 1.70 m length (compared to 19 m/1.76 for the Atomics I recently tried). Probably the right choice , and I am eager to find out how good a state-of-the-art sandwich construction ski really is . I haven’t had any sandwich construction based ski for at least 15 years! Stay tuned for a quick test report.. ;)
[Update 20050131: The Stöckli Laser Cross is a suitable ski for beginners who would like to have a good natured and pretty error tolerant allround ski, particularly for slopes of blue to red difficulty. I do not recommend this model for advanced, ambitious or professional skiers though. It’s a very soft ski, not providing the control needed for curves on hard or somewhat icy slopes. The applicable pressure on the edges could be better too. Further, the ski starts to vibrate at rather low speeds already and doesn’t allow for carving as one would expect. I also don’t recommend the Stöckli rental service in Stöckalp. The ski was in a bad condition (there were some nasty holes in the contact surface, slowing down the ski) compared to skis of other, more professional rental services (e.g. swissrent a sport) and the wax they put wasn’t adjusted to snow temperatures at all, making the skis very slow on cold snow. My rating for the rental service: Kind staff, but clearly insufficient service.]
[Update: 20050203: A couple of panoramas of Melchsee-Frutt, showing the fantastic weather conditions during our stay :)