The snow is dumping across the country, and if you’re smart that means it’s time for a few “sick days”. The best (and really the only) way to enjoy the cold and snow is to head for your favorite ski resort and rip some turns. If you’re still riding the same sticks that your parents got you back in high school, it’s far beyond time for an upgrade. The latest ski tech probably has you as confused as we were about camber, sidecut, rocker, and a few dozen other new jargon terms, but have no fear. We’ve done the testing for you – and have the bruises and embarrassing photos from a few spectacular wipeouts to prove it. Read on for the 5 best skis for any rider and resort.
All Mountain: If you like to ride a little bit of everything, you need a ski that can do it all. Salomon took design cues from its race skis and repackaged them in a lighter, more nimble ski this year with the Q Lab. Ski freshly groomed corduroy in the morning, moguls after lunch, and sneak off to your secret powder stash for a sunset lap. The full wood core and double Titanium reinforcement is stable on any snow and at any speed. Say hello to your one ski quiver.
Deep Powder: If you’re lucky enough to spend the winter in Utah or the Pacific Northwest, you’re going to need something that can keep you above the snow when those 20 and 30 inch storms roll through. Atomic redesigned the Bentchetler this year as the ultimate weapon for those extra deep days. The first thing you’ll notice is the all new HRZN tech at the tip and tail. This boat-hull like shaping allows for smooth, almost surfboard style turns, all while floating on top of the fluffiest storm snow. A hybrid rocker and camber profile ensures that these skis can rip through the groomers as well, not that you’ll be spending any time on the bunny hill with them.
Park and Pipe So you’d rather spend your time jibbing rails and hitting the pipe (and probably get out skied by 12-year-olds in the process). The Fischer Guru has the perfect balance for rail sliding and working on that perfect corked-540. A fully symmetrical sidecut means the Guru is as stable skiing backwards as forwards, ensuring easy transitions and switch landings. The lightweight poplar wood core is extremely felxible, giving you that extra bit of boost off serious jumps and helping you stay up when you’re working a tail press on that triple-kink rail. Just don’t overdo it when you’re trying to impress that snow bunny.
Backcountry Riding: If your ski day starts with a long, predawn ascent for some human powered turns, then there’s really only one answer. The Dynafit Denali is new this year, and is their flagship lightweight touring ski for serious backcountry riders. Developed in conjunction with the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, the Denali is at home on steep hikes and steeper lines down big mountains. Weighing in at just over 5 pounds a pair, these skis will get you up and down the hardest terrain in the world with ease.
Groomers and Ice: East Coast riding is often more akin to an icy Super-G course than powder riding. For that you need a ski that can lay down a serious edge to bring you down the mountian at full speed. Volkl’s Code line-up of skis takes cues from their award winning Race Tiger world cup skis, and packages them in a consumer friendly performance ski. the all new Speedwall L UVO combines the best of the Code skis with a wider platform, making it the fastest ski we’ve been on this year. The aggressive sidecut and tail rocker give it phenomenal handling on steep, icy runs. If you’re looking to charge down the resort at blinding speed, this is your ski.
Photo Courtesy of Matthew Parker/Green Goat Group