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Gear Guide 2019: SKI Magazine’s Best in Test Skis

Over 140 ski models were tested in four categories for each gender. These are the best of the best.

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Out of all the skis that are tested during 2019’s SKI Test, only the top-ranked skis make it into the magazine to earn an “Official Selection” award. Each category’s highest-scored ski will earn “Best in Test,” and the ski with the best performance-to-price ratio earns “Best Value.” Read each ski review carefully to find skis that match your style, and you’ll be rewarded for years to come. But, as it is an actual test, there can only be one category winner. Here are each of the models that earned “Best in Test,” ranked in highest overall score.

Don’t miss the Best in Test skis from 2020 here.

Men’s All-Mountain Wide 2018/2019: Blizzard Bonafide

  • Overall Score: 4.30
  • MSRP: $840 (BUY NOW)
Blizzard Bonafide 2018/2019 All-Mountain Wide Ski
The 2019 Blizzard BonafidePhoto courtesy of Blizzard

With top scores in Quickness, Versatility, Hard Snow Integrity, and Overall Impression, the Bonafide just barely edged out the Nordica Enforcer 100 this year to take the top spot in this critical category. The Bonafide was the highest-scoring ski of the entire test on the men’s side, and rightfully so. 

Men’s Powder 2018/2019: Nordica Enforcer 110

  • Overall Score: 4.29
  • MSRP: $899 (BUY NOW)
2018-19 Nordica Enforcer 110
The 2019 Nordica Enforcer 110Photo courtesy of Nordica

This year, testers were treated to a fresh eight inches at Deer Valley on day one of SKI Test, meaning they were able to “properly” test powder skis. Even with fresh snow, the Nordica Enforcer 110 took the top spot for the second year in a row, earning the highest marks in Stability at Speed, Crud Performance, Versatility, Hard Snow Integrity, and Overall Impression. In other words, testers were fully smitten with this ski. 

Women’s Powder 2018/2019: Blizzard Sheeva 10

  • Overall Score: 4.25
  • MSRP: $720
Women's powder ski Blizzard Sheeva 10
The 2019 Blizzard Sheeva 10Photo courtesy of Blizzard

The overall highest scoring women’s ski of the 2019 SKI Test is by no means the largest or the skinniest, but it might just be the perfect ski for women who crave soft stuff but understand it’s not always deep. With highest marks in Forgiveness, Crud Performance, Versatility, and Overall Impression, the Blizzard Sheeva 10 seeks to please everyone who takes a pair out.

Men’s All-Mountain Narrow 2018/2019: Head Kore 93

  • Overall Score: 4.24
  • MSRP: $750 (BUY NOW)
2018/2019 Head Kore 93
The 2019 Head Kore 93Photo courtesy of Head

The Head Kore 93 was once again dominate in the men’s all-mountain narrow category this year, putting up the highest scores in Floatation, Quickness, Playfulness, Forgiveness, Versatility, and Overall Impression. It’s so lightweight, it likely would have won our Backcountry Test if it could’ve been entered twice. If you’re looking for a ski that can do it all, the Head Kore 93 should be at the top of your list.

Women’s All-Mountain Narrow 2018/2019: Blizzard Black Pearl 88

  • Overall Score: 4.21
  • MSRP: $720 (BUY NOW)
2018/19 Blizzard Black Pearl 88
The 2019 Blizzard Black PearlPhoto courtesy of Blizzard

This ski has been the number one selling ski in North America for a few years running, and rightfully so. This year, the Blizzard Black Pearl 88 took top marks in Forgiveness, Versatility, and Overall Impression, wowing veteran and rookie testers all day long at Deer Valley. Not unlike the men’s all-mountain narrow winner, this ski will work for just about every skier out there in any condition.

Women’s All-Mountain Wide 2018/2019: Blizzard Black Pearl 98

  • Overall Score: 4.19
  • MSRP: $720 (BUY NOW)
The 2019 Blizzard Black Pearl 98

Blizzard rebranded the Samba two seasons ago as the Black Pearl 98, but this year it was ranked as the top ski in the category, so they must be on to something. Taking top honors in Versatility, Hard Snow Integrity, and Overall Impression, this ski hits the mark for ladies who love the Black Pearl 88 but want just a little more girth for soft snow pleasure. At least, that’s what our testers think, you should try a pair yourself to see if you agree.

Men’s Groomed 2018/2019: Blizzard Firebird WRC

  • Overall Score: 3.87
  • MSRP: $1,320 with Binding (BUY NOW)
2018/2019 Blizzard Firebird WRC
The 2019 Blizzard Firebird WRCPhoto courtesy of Blizzard

If you’ve made it this far, it’s easy to see that Blizzard is at the top of its game right now for both men and women. But the ski that the boys were most excited about was definitely these carbon-enhanced rockets. The Blizzard Firebird WRC rocked the men’s groomed category this year with top scores in Stability at Speed, Quickness, Playfulness, Versatility, Hard Snow Integrity, and Overall Impression. If you want to go fast–and you have the cash–go get ’em.

Women’s Groomed 2018/2019: Nordica SENTRA 7

  • Overall Score: 3.87
  • MSRP: $999
18-19 Nordica Sentra SL7 TI Women's carving ski
The 2019 Nordica SENTRA 7Photo courtesy of Nordica

The women in the test crew always returned to the test corral at Deer Valley with huge smiles on their faces after testing this ski, and rightfully so. The Nordica SENTRA 7 is lightning fast on the groomed, but reliably stable at any speed. With top scores in Quickness, Hard Snow Integrity, and Overall Impression, these skis will please anyone with a need for speed on snow.

How We Tested in 2018/2019

Mike Rogan testing at Deer Valley
Michael Rogan scoring some skis at Deer Valley, UtahPhoto credit: Keri Bascetta

What do you get when you mix 21 of the biggest ski industry influencers, 142 models of new skis, and a week of skiing Deer Valley’s phenomenal terrain? You get one of the most thorough, intense, and fun ski tests imaginable. Our testers have experience working with Olympians, creating the curriculum for professional ski instructor certification, competing at a national level in college in a variety of disciplines, and, most importantly, they live to ski from first chair to last, dance until last call, and get up to do it again everyday. 

These skiers have literally grown up on skis, and during that time they figured out how to dissect a pair of planks from the core to the tune. Our testers know what works and what doesn’t.