Have you started your pre-ski season gear shopping yet? We have, and we’ve found the best of the best, thanks to some fabulous reviews from On the Snow, Ski Magazine, and Freeskier Magazine.
Love powder? Groomers? Or maybe a bit of everything? Find your ski below.
Best Powder Ski
Women: Fischer KOA 110
Lengths (in cm) 156-166-176
On the Snow Review: Fischer’s women’s freeride powder twintip returns in 2013/2014 with new graphics and new tip geometry. It may be designed for hanging out mostly off-piste, but testers applauded its hard-snow performance. “This ski likes to be laid over at high speed,” Minneci said. “It’s not for a non-aggressive skier. Give it some gas because it feels the need for speed.” Named after its 110-millimeter waist, the KOA 110 has a long rockered tip, which provides flotation and easy turn initiation, coupled with a rockered tail that releases quickly out of the turn. Sandwich sidewall construction with a poplar wood core and a layer of carbon fiber helps keep weight down without losing liveliness. “For a fatter ski, it has good hold on the hardpack without too much vibration,” Weatherbee said. “It’s a great ski for hard-charging gals.”
Men: Dynastar Cham 107
Lengths (in cm) 166-175-184-190
On the Snow Review: The Chamonix-inspired Cham series returns for 2013/2014 and testers gave the Cham 107 high marks for playfulness, echoing Bristow’s sentiment: “Great fun. I love its rebound energy.” A traditional construction includes Titanal, a lightweight wood core, vertical sidewalls and camber underfoot. But the bright graphics and unique shape demonstrate Dynastar’s intent for a true freeride adventure ski. The Cham 107’s dimensions (listed as a progressive five-point sidecut, 130-137-107-122-98 with a 107-millimeter waist) reflect a tapering in the wide tip down to the narrower pintail with a generous amount of rocker. “The tail takes some getting used to, but the rockered tips float on top really well,” Bills said. “Blows up the crud into piles,” said Stoeger. “This ski offers big rewards if you ski it aggressively.”
Best All Mountain Ski
Women: Volkl Aura
Lengths (in cm) 156-163-179
On the Snow Review: “This is a woman’s ski, not a girl’s ski. Strong skiers will like how it hooks up quickly as the tips engage.” “It’s stiffer than a typical powder ski, but it’s a super carver with enough waist to get through cut up snow,” Minneci added. Now that the Aura has a wider sidecut (131-96-114) and tip rocker, it’s even easier to handle in a variety of conditions and terrain. It may have new graphics, but it still has race ski construction, which includes two sheets of titanium, vertical sidewalls and an ultra light wood core. There are two viable Völkl choices flanking the Aura: for more frontside performance, go with the narrower Kenja. For better flotation, pick the Kiku.
Men: Atomic Theory
Lengths: 168, 177, 186
Sidecut: 130 - 95 - 119
Freeskier Magazine Review: Earning an outstanding 4.45 in the carving category, Atomic’s Theory has bagged Editor’s Pick status for the third straight year. “I threw them into some serious steep corduroy, and they ripped like a race ski,” said one tester. “Unflappable at speed.” Also not to be overlooked is the Theory’s high mark for versatility. Complete with rocker in the tip and tail, Carbon Backbone construction and traditional camber underfoot, it’s “an all-day, every-condition ski,” remarked another. Bottom line: It’s your [enter Zach Galifianakis voice here] classic! [end] Atomic ripper.
Best Carving Ski
Women: Volkl Yumi
Lengths: 147, 154, 161, 168
Ski Magazine Review: Other specialists in the category scored better in Hard-Snow Integrity, but none was more versatile and balanced than the all-new Yumi. Japanese for “bow,” as in bow and arrow, the Yumi lives up to its name: The more power you apply, the more performance it delivers. It has reserves of strength and energy that will, if tapped, crush the stoutest lines on the planet. Utter one command, and it snaps diligently into place. But should you relax, tip rocker and a metal-free construction make it supremely forgiving - never bucking or locking you into an arc. Lively, dynamic, responsive, and always up for adventure. Teague: “It responds to the input you give it.”
Men: Kastle FX84
Lengths: 160, 168, 176, 184
Ski Magazine Review: There’s just something about a KÃ¤stle. So stable (No. 1), so smooth, so powerful, so clean, you can feel how well made it is from the second you click in. Yes, it’s expensive, but so is an Aston Martin. It’s not the most versatile or forgiving, but when you get it to speed, railing arcs on groomed, snow from your downhill edge jetting into your shin, you won’t want it any other way. The only unisex ski in the category (KÃ¤stle has yet to make a women’s line), it boasts a wood core reinforced with metal that beams through chop and never falters. Cunningham: “The faster you go, the smoother it gets.”