Volkl Carver Plus

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1998 Executive-Gold Medal Winner

Size: 170-198 cm
Price: $575
Details: Next to the phrase, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," you may find a picture of the Völkl Carver Plus. Unchanged (save for new graphics) from 1997's Ski of the Year, the Carver Plus is a great tool for experts and near-experts who want to push their limits, yet still appreciate a forgiving ski. "Like a mellow Mercedes," said Bigford of the ski's preternaturally smooth ride, both on- and off-piste. "A gutsy edgehold, but with a relaxed demeanor," said Shelton. Use an upright stance to keep your weight forward of the substantial tail, and you'll likely have "fun, fun, fun on steeps," said Livran. Plus, it's "tenacious in long-radius carves," said McMenamy.

Positives: Ultimate mix of edgehold and ease
Negatives: The stiff tail can throw you