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14 Best Men's Skis of 2013

Our testers have spoken. Here are the 14 best skis from the 2013 Skiing Mag gear tests.

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Want a talented carver with a freeride look and a playful disposition to match? This is your ski.

Want a talented carver with a freeride look and a playful disposition to match? This is your ski. “A powder skier’s groomer ski,” said one tester. Whereas many skis in its waist-width range preferred not to leave groomed snow, the versatile Prophet 85 transitioned from corduroy to bumps and crud without blinking. It’s truly an all-mountain ski, but in a narrow package. “Never thought I’d like this as much as I did,” said a Northeastern tester.

118/85/108 | $690 [flat]
Lengths: 165, 172, 179, 186
Radius: 19.5

Find this ski and more in our online gearfinder tool.

“My favorite Salomon ski of all time,” said one tester. “Turns the mountain into a playground,” said another. Salomon’s versatile new Rocker2 90 is truly an all-mountain ski. It has a plush, comfortable feel. It trenches deep, satisfying carves on groomed snow. And it smears on command. It’s so playful, it had us seeking out new, techie tree lines we shied away from while testing more unwieldy models. “A home run in the World Series of ski testing,” effused a third.

130/89/117 | $625 [flat]
Lengths: 161, 169, 177, 185
Radius: 17.4

Find this ski and more in our online gearfinder tool.

The Bonafide is, at 98 millimeters underfoot, the most versatile shape in Blizzard's much praised Free Mountain series. We loved it last season. This…

The Bonafide is, at 98 millimeters underfoot, the most versatile shape in Blizzard’s much praised Free Mountain series. We loved it last season. This year’s no different: The Bonafide danced nimbly through trees, smeared crud, and crushed groomers in any turn shape we could think of. Perhaps most striking is its ability to transition from locked-in, race-ski carve to fully disengaged, speed-scrubbing smear in moments. And it has huge accessibility: expert chargers and advancing skiers alike will love it.

133/98/118 | $850 [flat]
Lengths: 166, 173, 180, 187
Radius: 21

Find this ski and more in our online gearfinder tool.

One longtime Skiing Mag tester had this to say about the Testers' Choice–winning Wagner 100 Custom.

One longtime Skiing Mag tester had this to say about the Testers’ Choice–winning Wagner 100 Custom. “I always look for a ski to achieve perfection. This is the one.” Others echoed his sentiments, calling it “effortless,” “trustworthy,” and “suitable for anyone, anywhere.” Willing and energetic on-piste, it cleaved the corduroy. Off trail, it could surf or smear a turn with swagger. Wagner builds every ski from the ground up, so the 100 Custom isn’t a production model, but it’s an example of the magic the factory can make. Wagner has produced some of the best skis we’ve tested, but perfection comes at a steep price.

137/100/121 | FROM $1,750
Length: 184
Radius: 19.9

Find this ski and more in our online gearfinder tool.

If the elegant graphic is a hint, the new Nomad RKR is for the all-mountain artist. The tip and tail rocker make it hyper-playful and open up new…

If the elegant graphic is a hint, the new Nomad RKR is for the all-mountain artist. The tip and tail rocker make it hyper-playful and open up new creative avenues down every line, while underfoot camber provides enough backbone to let you put down compact carves on hardpack when you’re fully angulated. “So light and rhythmic,” said one tester of its bouncy attitude. It’s not a big charger, but if your day consists of pillow drops, ledgy chutes, forest dwelling, and a fresh track or two, the RKR has your back. All of these Testers’ Choice–worthy attributes make it a capable Western one-ski quiver or Eastern pow ski.

140/105/130 | $699
Lengths: 161, 171, 181
Radius: 16

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We loved this ski last year. This season is no different. The Cochise chewed up chalky crud, tight trees, and even groomers. Its high horsepower will…

We loved this ski last year. This season is no different. The Cochise chewed up chalky crud, tight trees, and even groomers. Its high horsepower will appeal more to strong, technical skiers, but it won’t beat you up thanks to its rocker, which allowed it to initiate smoothly and smear willingly. Open it up and this bull has the confidence to attack the trickiest terrain on the mountain.

135/108/123 | $900
Lengths: 170, 177, 185, 193
Radius: 21

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The widest of Kästle's new twin-tip series is one of three Colby James West pro models. The XX 110 West is a pleasant, playful addition to the…

The widest of Kästle’s new twin-tip series is one of three Colby James West pro models. The XX 110 West is a pleasant, playful addition to the great-new-ski pantheon, winning a Testers’ Choice. A Utah tester called it “quick but stable” as it zipped around the hill making short-radius carves and pivoty smear turns. It logged especially high forgiveness and playfulness scores and won over even our brawniest race-bred testers. The West is “a versatile pow ski anyone will be able to enjoy.” And it comes at a price tag that’s more attainable than other Kästles’. Gotta love when your champagne taste and beer budget collide.

134/110/134 | $899 [flat]
Lengths: 170, 180, 190
Radius: 21.5

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A firm believer in the strength, pop, feel, and, above all, weight of carbon over other common materials like fiberglass and metal, DPS touts its…

A firm believer in the strength, pop, feel, and, above all, weight of carbon over other common materials like fiberglass and metal, DPS touts its weight-saving pre-preg carbon-laminate technology above all else. The techie skis come at a cost, but the performance is undeniable. Testers found the playful Wailer to exhibit an impressive blend of quickness and strength. Its short turn radius and paddle-like tip proved useful through undulating terrain and ever-changing snow conditions. On the groomed, it withstood aggressive carving. “This ski didn’t make you think too hard,” said one. “It really pushes the perception of all-mountain.”

141/112/127 | $1,249
Lengths: 168, 178, 184, 190
Radius: 18

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“Loved it!” “So rad!” The tester response to Nordica’s new Helldorado was of a common theme. Built with two layers of metal, it locks to the slope and absorbs every last bit of chatter, but its tight radius and generous rocker give it an atypical quickness for a powerful fat ski. We tried the nimbler 185-centimeter length, but aggressive testers were drooling over the thought of the 193 in hero conditions. “This thing was a complete rush,” said one tester. Want to surf pow, straightline chutes, and carve like you’re wearing spandex? Hop on and enjoy the ride. But don’t forget your legs.

143/113/132 | $999 [flat]
Lengths: 177, 185, 193
Radius: 18.5

Find this ski and more in our online gearfinder tool.

Seth Morrison's new pro model, the Side-Seth, was a clear tester favorite. Now part of K2's Backside Adventure series, it nimbly sliced through…

Seth Morrison’s new pro model, the Side-Seth, was a clear tester favorite. Now part of K2’s Backside Adventure series, it nimbly sliced through glades, choppy snow, and peppery chutes. Yet with a little forward pressure, the plentiful tip rocker—though lower than that of last season’s Seth—chewed up broken snow and rough terrain while maintaining surprising groomer performance. Fast or slow, “every turn was executed with ease,” said one tester. While its touring influence is noticeable—lighter construction, available precut skins—ultimately, it hasn’t lost a step within the resort. Skin track or lift line: The SideSeth is happy exploring both.

147/118/135 | $1,000 [flat]
Lengths: 174, 181, 188
Radius: 26

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Anyone who remembers the Reverend knows that G3 makes good skis. Still,  we were blown away by the power and versatility of the Empire, a  unanimous…

Anyone who remembers the Reverend knows that G3 makes good skis. Still, we were blown away by the power and versatility of the Empire, a unanimous Testers’ Choice award winner. It’s a surfy, maneuverable floater that can still snap an arc. Full rocker makes it smeary in chop and buoyant in powder, and its sidecut extends well up the shovel so edge bite increases as it’s tipped over. That’s probably why angular racer types found it a strong carver and spinny jibsters found it loose. For bigger guys, the Empire is a “solid ski for 200-plus pounders.”

153/127/139 | $799.95 [flat]
Lengths: 183, 193
Radius: 26

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“Perfect,” said one tester. “Fat-ypus has done its homework.” That’s an especially telling response considering we skied this 126-millimeter fatty on a dust-on-crust day. Unlike many in its size range, this supremely versatile powder ski is perfectly happy—and has a talent for—carving on groomed snow.  We can vouch for its powder chops too, having previously skied it in the megadeep when its rocker and surface area provided unreal maneuverability and float. We tested the version with rockered tip and tail, but the 186 length also comes in a straight-tail version for chargers who want a directional ski with a more supportive backseat.

158/126/148 | $790
Lengths: 186, 176
Radius: 23.6

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“I love her,” said one Eastern tester. “Can I take her home?” Not one single test card contained a negative remark, which is why we named this front-side thriller Ski of the Year among skis narrower than 100 millimeters at the waist. It holds talonlike to the hardest snow and cuts clean, round arcs with the precision of a scalpel, yet it’s forgiving and easy to disengage—a rare and difficult-to-achieve blend. “Snappy short turns,” said another tester, “yet smooth and stable at high speed.” Leaning them against the rack at day’s end, a third noted that he “left the hill feeling strong and confident.”

125/81/111 | $1,050 [flat]
Lengths: 163, 170, 177
Radius: 16.8

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Perhaps it was the snow conditions, or the shorter test length than last year, or our maturing sensibilities, but this season's Shiro—a model…

Perhaps it was the snow conditions, or the shorter test length than last year, or our maturing sensibilities, but this season’s Shiro—a model unchanged from last season—blew us away. Winner of the coveted Ski of the Year award for skis above 100 millimeters underfoot, it allowed testers to approach any line with confidence and imagination. Powder? Simple and surfy. Crud? Fearless. Hardpack? Yes. Even with full rocker? Surprisingly enjoyable. Charge on it or downshift and enjoy the scenery. “This is what a fat ski should be,” said one tester. “Click in and go get some.”

151/119/135 | $825 [flat]
Lengths: 173, 183, 193, 203
Radius: 26.4

Find this ski and more in our online gearfinder tool.