Who: Westerners who ski with a snorkel.
What: Uber-wide, rockered surfers for the quiver.
Where: Check your weather app, it's dumping somewhere.
Looking for a breakdown on how each of these skis performed in various conditions? Look no further than this scoresheet for everything you want to know.
Unstoppable Nordica, winner of three of the four men’s categories, further confirms its gold standard of excellence with this superb new 110-mm addition to the Enforcer dynasty. With a little more flotation, it otherwise carries on the Enforcer tradition: all the power an expert could ask for, but with a fun, intuitive ease to it. Testers keep looking for a chink in the Enforcer armor. They can’t find it. Larsen: “Let’s you attack in deep snow, but still nimble in trees. Reminds me why I love skiing.” More info on the Nordica Enforcer 110 here.
Strengths: Stability at Speed, Floatation, Crud Performance. Average Score: 4.37
Dimensions: 140-110-129; Radius: 18.5 m (185); Lengths: 169, 177, 185, 191
Here’s the slashy, surfy, party-down side of Völkl, a brand that is perhaps better known for buttoned-down performance. The Confession, testers’ favorite Völkl this year, has the guts for high-speed hammering, but a lighter construction plus plenty of rocker and taper to give it a lively looseness in soft snow that opens up line options and welcomes a less aggressive attack. “Has its own really enjoyable flavor,” said Schiller. “Makes the most out of really great snow conditions.” More info on the Völkl Confession here.
Strengths: Stability at Speed, Crud Performance, Flotation. Average Score: 3.95
D: 144-117-133; R: 23.8 m (186); Lengths: 179, 186, 193
There’s been turmoil on the business side for Armada, culminating with its rescue this year by the Amer Group (Salomon, Atomic, et al). But through it all, the athlete-founded brand seemed to be making its best skis ever. First came the Invictuses. Now the amazing new Tracer. It’s a blunt-nosed, metal-free, huge-spray surfer, to be sure, but a new laminate gives it unexpected calmness and reliability. “New-school playfulness with big-mountain directional stability,” said Gleason. More info on the Armada Tracer 118 CHX here.
Strengths: Flotation, Stability at Speed, Crud Performance. Average Score: 3.94
D: 144-118-135; R: 20 m (188); Lengths: 180, 188, 195
If you count on K2 to make great soft-snow skis, all is right with your world. Something got into all the K2s this year, testers said. There’s still a light, forgiving quickness in the Pinnacle that makes tight spots feel roomy, but there’s more integrity to its construction, great for higher speeds and in less-than-idea snow. Dyer: “Has a playful side that lets you smear and get loose, but also a nice grounded feeling underfoot.” More info on the K2 Pinnacle 118 here.
Strengths: Flotation, Playfulness, Forgiveness. Average Score: 3.92
D: 145-118-135; R: 23 m (184); Lengths: 177, 184, 191
The Rustler wants to be quicker and easier than the typical Blizzard—there’s less metal and more of a freestyle shape. But it’s still a Blizzard: Rippers who play hard and go fast are going to get the most out of it. Testers detected a mellow looseness in the tip and tail, but said that’s balanced with strong midbody edge-hold that won’t let you down on groomed snow. “Two thumbs up,” said Gooding. “Any decent skier will enjoy, but it likes to be on edge.” More info on the Blizzard Rustler 11 here.
Strengths: Playfulness, Quickness/Maneuverability, Flotation. Average Score: 3.91
D: 142-114-132; R: 21 m (188); Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188, 192
Even without the extra go-fast stability that the secret-fiber laminate gives the wider Tracer 118, the 108 had testers gushing. In powder, there’s all the surfy looseness you’d expect from Armada, but testers were shocked by its versatility in typical post-lunch resort conditions. Even testers who normally favor a stronger edge enjoyed its playful ease and creative looseness. Casey: “Very well balanced. Playful, but there’s still plenty of power if you get on it.” More info on the Armada Tracer 108 here.
Strengths: Playfulness, Quickness/Maneuverability, Forgiveness. Average Score: 3.90
D: 134-108-126; R: 19 m (180); Lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188
Even without the extra go-fast stability that the secret-fiber laminate gives the wider Tracer 118, the 108 had testers gushing. In powder, there’s all the surfy looseness you’d expect from Armada, but testers were shocked by its versatility in typical post-lunch resort conditions. Even testers who normally favor a stronger edge enjoyed its playful ease and creative looseness. Casey: “Very well balanced. Playful, but there’s still plenty of power if you get on it.” More info on the Atomic Bentchetler here.
Strengths: Playfulness, Quickness/Maneuverability, Forgiveness. Average Score: 3.86
D: 142-120-134; R: 19 m (185); Lengths: 178, 185, 192
The shape of the iconic 7 series did a lot to change the way people ski powder. Legions of admirers will be pleased by the latest iteration of the Super. The tapered tip and tail—loose and smeary, intentionally slow to hook up in deep snow—still delivers a supremely easy, floaty feel, making powder skiing easy. The new-look Air Tip enhances its trademark low-swingweight whippiness. Megroz: “Such a great floater in powder, but nimble in trees and bumps too.” More info on the Rossignol Super 7 HD here.
Strengths: Flotation, Quickness/Maneuverability, Playfulness. Average Score: 3.79
D: 140-116-130; R: 21 m (188); Lengths: 172, 180, 188
Not everyone likes washy turns. Guys who like to bend a ski and carve are still some of the best skiers on the hill. For them, (trumpet fanfare) the BMX 115. It has the width to surf, but testers agreed it’d rather arc, and likes to get down the hill in a hurry. Some were surprised that such a big ski wasn’t more demanding, but most said that it’s best left to strong experts who aren’t afraid of the fall line. Larsen: “A Cadillac-style ride for a more aggressive skier.” More info on the Kästle BMX 115 here.
Strengths: Stability at Speed, Crud Performance, Flotation. Average Score: 3.68
D: 141-115-130; R: 24 m (185); Lengths: 177, 185, 193
Fischer skis still frighten some people—too strong, too edgy, too Austrian—but the family-owned brand will continue opening minds with skis like this. Some testers rule out the Ranger 115 for lighter and less-aggressive skiers, but others find it to be shockingly well behaved and easygoing. All agree that it will egg you on to higher speeds with its strong, confident demeanor. “Strong but dialed and fun,” said Elling. “Just hammers down the middle of the fairway, smooth and stable.” More info on the Fischer Ranger 115 here.
Strengths: Stability at Speed, Flotation, Crud Performance. Average Score: 3.67
D: 144-115-134; R: 20 m (188); Lengths: 178, 18, 196