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Gear

Gear Guide 2019: Women’s Indie Skis

These are the skis of the future, and you don't have to be a cool kid to enjoy them.

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BEST IN TEST and BEST VALUE: 4FRNT MSPW 99

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No groomer should be too firm, no tree chute too narrow, and no bumps too big for the best All-Mountain Wide ski. The female-specific MSPW 99 lives up to the challenge. Narrower underfoot than most in this category, and with Titanal in the laminate composition, 4FRNT’s flagship women’s ski is a carving, crud-crushing machine. It loves to go fast but is quick to respond, making it a nimble little playmate. Demas: “Favorite ski of the test. Fast, flirty, fresh, and fun.” Read more about the 4FRNT MSPW 99 here.

  • Strengths: Overall Impression, Stability at Speed; Weakness: Flotation
  • Overall Rating: 3.92 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 132-99-121
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 159, 165, 171, 176
  • Radius (in meters): 16
  • MSRP:  $499

*Best in Indie SKI Test in the Women’s All-Mountain Wide category; Best Value Overall.

BEST IN TEST: ROMP 94 W

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While ROMP has earned a seat at the all-mountain table thanks to its wider skisdesigned to tackle the off-piste, the brand hasn’t really been known for skis that are more frontside-oriented—until now. With the 94W, ROMP has produced a resort ski that likes to go fast and be tipped on edge. Easy to maneuver yet stiff and damp, this ski was made for playing with turn shape and size, all over the mountain. Demas: “Stiff, aggressive, but playful and fun. One of my favorites.” Check out more info about the ROMP 94 W here.

  • Strength: Overall Impression, Quickness; Weakness: Flotation
  • Overall Rating 3.82 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters) 132-94-122
  • Lengths (In Centimeters) 164, 172, 179
  • Radius (In Meters) 14.8
  • MSRP: $750

*Best in Indie SKI Test for Women’s All-Mountain Narrow Category

Liberty Genesis 106

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Bamboo, poplar, paulownia, and carbon combine for a solid yet light core inside the Genesis 106. The result: a forgiving and playful ski with more rocker in the tip than tail that just wants to surf. Chase fresh tracks in the trees on these skis— they are the right steed to lead the charge. You’ll want to dial it down when you hit the groomers, though— these boards will talk back if you try to drive them on hard snow. Conacher: “Great in deep snow. Shaky on the crud at fast speeds.” See more about the Liberty Genesis 106 here.

  • Strength: Flotation; Weakness: Hard-Snow Integrity
  • Overall Rating 3.65 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters) 138-106-128
  • Lengths (in centimeters) 157, 164, 171
  • Radius (in meters) 15
  • MSRP: $750

ROMP Pintail W

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Born in Crested Butte, Colo., ROMP’s Pintail W was bred to wiggle through tight trees and chutes. Thanks to a narrower tail, early taper, and short effective edge, the ski is responsive enough to change gears on the fly. The 110mm waist is wider than most in the AMW category, making the Pintail a good one-ski quiver option. Ryan: “For intermediate to advanced skiers looking for something wide, stable, but still nimble enough to get some poppy, quick turns through moguls and trees.” You can find more details about the ROMP Pintail W here.

  • Strength: Quickness; Weakness: Hard-Snow Integrity
  • Overall Rating: 3.56 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 143-110-122
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 155, 166, 174, 184
  • Radius (In Meters): 17
  • MSRP: $750

DPS Alchemist Zelda 106

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With an à la carte ski menu covering a range of shape and core construction, DPS lets you choose your own adventure. Choose the Alchemist Zelda 106 and you get DPS’ aerospace-grade carbon and a shape designed to shred the whole mountain. A lighter weight and female-specific mounting points make turn-initiation easier, but this ski is no pushover—it’s a damp and stable ride even in the rough. Geary: “Performed well in everything, especially in crud. But stay on top of them or it’s game over.” Read more about the DPS Alchemist Zelda 106 here.

  • Strength: Hard-Snow Integrity; Weakness: Forgiveness 
  • Overall Rating: 3.51 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 130-106-120
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 158, 168, 178
  • Radius (in meters): 18
  • MSRP: $1,299 (BUY NOW)

DPS Alchemist Uschi 94

DPS Alchemist Uschi 94
Photo courtesy of DPS

The Uschi 94 is the love child of DPS’ superior Alchemist construction formula and the brand’s Uschi family of narrower shaped skis featuring DPS’ new C2 platform, with strategically placed radii along the edge to balance quick turn initiation and edge grip. The resulting Uschi 94 is a hybrid of the best of both lines: happy to make short or long turns in variable conditions, but you have to drive them. Translation: arc ‘em or park ‘em. Hackett: “All-mountain ride, fun to carve and very responsive.” See more scores for the DPS Alchemist Uschi 94 here.

  • Strengths: Overall Impression, Hard-Snow Integrity; Weakness: Forgiveness 
  • Overall Rating: 3.47 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 129-94-110
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 157, 165, 171, 178
  • Radius (in meters): 19
  • MSRP: $1,299

Liberty Genesis 96

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With less rocker in the tip and a flatter tail than her 106-waisted sister, the Genesis 96 was updated this year for cruising the frontside. The ski’s flatter profile means it skis like a butter knife: it quickly and easily releases the edges, goes flat smoothly, and smears buttery turns. And a snappy little 14m turn radius at the 158cm length makes these the skis you would want to take out for a Sunday Funday. Ryan: “Perfect for an intermediate to advanced skier looking for a playful all-mountain ski.” You’ll find more about the Liberty Genesis 96 here.

  • Strength: Versatility; Weakness: Crud Performance 
  • Overall Rating: 3.44 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 130-96-117
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 151, 158, 165, 171
  • Radius (In Meters): 14
  • MSRP: $700 (BUY NOW)

Sego Gnarwhal 86

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Testers had certain expectations for the narrowest ski in this category: at 86mm underfoot, they wanted a fun little carver. And the Gnarwhal 86 didn’t disappoint. Traditional camber underfoot and a strip of Titanal damps the lighter poplar wood core to make for a playful thing—the ski equivalent of a Golden Retriever: ever eager, ever ready to perform for you. So, do as you would with Goldens: let ’em run. Hackett: “Go-to groomer ski great for arcing all kinds of turns.” Get more details about the Sego Gnarwhal 86 here.

  • Strength: Quickness, Playfulness; Weakness: Flotation 
  • Overall Rating: 3.37 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 129-86-109
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 149, 157, 165, 171
  • Radius (In Meters): 15
  • MSRP: $799 (BUY NOW)

BEST IN TEST: DPS Alchemist Uschi 87

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Like her 94mm-waisted All-Mountain Narrow sister, the Uschi 87 was designed to answer the call of lady resort skiers who want a ski that will perform just as well off-piste as on, and in the most common snow condition: crud. Quick and responsive yet down-to-earth thanks to a flat tail, this is the ski you want to be on between winter storms. Geary: “Super-fun ski, springy in a good way. Went through the crud and bumps like a champ.” Read more about the DPS Alchemist Uschi 87 here.

  • Strength: Quickness, Overall Impression; Weakness: Flotation 
  • Overall Rating: 3.6 / 5
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (in millimeters): 123-87-106
  • Lengths (in centimeters): 150, 157, 165, 171
  • Radius (in meters): 17.5
  • MSRP: $1,299 (BUY NOW)

*Best in Indie SKI Test in the Women’s Wild Card Category