The best skiers are already perfectly aligned—skeletons that stack up in perfect balance over a carving edge. The rest of us—the bow-legged, the knock-kneed—muddle through with skis that feel either too edgy or not edgy enough. The solution: Take your body in for an alignment. We did just that with two guinea pigs, to see if even longtime skiers can still improve their game with a simple equipment fix. And yes, they can.
The original backcountry twin-tip returns with minor modification this year. It’s fully, but subtly, rockered, with a long, gradual tip-to-tail bend. Völkl takes care to make sure rocker and sidecut work together: Tip a Gotama up on groomers, and there’s plenty of edge-to-snow contact for easy carving. But it’s built for soft snow. It surfs and smears readily in powder and smoothly manages crud. There were more dynamic skis in the test, but the Gotama won accolades for versatility and mellow user-friendliness. “A versatile tool for powder and crud—even carves on hardpack; fun and easy,” said Casey.