Gear of the Year 2019: Skis

A warm welcome to the newest skiing technology for this season that came out swinging.

The 2018/2019 Blizzard Firebird WRC.
Photo courtesy of Blizzard

Blizzard Firebird WRC

Category: Men’s Hard Snow/Groomed

Austrian brand Blizzard dominated both the men’s and the women’s test in our 2019 Gear Guide, but none of the brand’s skis got the testers’ blood pumping quite like the Firebird. The key factor is the carbon technologies that run both underneath the binding plate and vertically through the core of the ski, making the Firebird WRC playful and resilient in and out of turns, and damp throughout the arc. This ski is at the top of its class and is a must-try for anyone anxious to make carving fun again. [$1,320 with binding, BUY NOW]

Read the 2019 Gear Guide Review of the Best in Test Blizzard Firebird WRC.

Völkl M5 Mantra 2018/2019 All-Mountain Wide ski
Photo courtesy of Völkl

Völkl M5 Mantra

Category: Men’s All-Mountain Wide

The fifth generation of this iconic Völkl ski wins highest praise because it’s easier to ski than ever. Former racers and expert Mantra fanatics will love this ski even more than previous generations thanks to the return of camber underfoot and reliable damp performance at speed, while intermediate and advanced skiers can get in on the fun thanks to a modified top sheet of Titanal, well positioned tip rocker, and a carbon insert in the shovel that add playful life at moderate speeds. This ski will definitely make the cult of Völkl grow. [$825, BUY NOW]

Read the 2019 Gear Guide Review of the Völkl M5 Mantra.

2018/2019 Head Kore 93
Photo courtesy of Head

Head Kore 93

Category: Men’s All-Mountain Narrow

The Head Kore 93 is the ultimate one-ski option to tackle any terrain in any condition. While the wider versions of the Kore family are fantastic, there’s no better version than the Kore 93—quite literally, as it won SKI Mag’s Best in Test two years in a row. The Kore 93 carves like a racer, is light enough to use in the backcountry, and joyously devours powder, crud, groomed, and everything in between like a hungry dog presented with a plate of meat. [$750, BUY NOW]

Read the 2019 Gear Guide review of the Head Kore 93.

18-19 K2 ToughLuv women's carving ski
Courtesy of K2

K2 Tough Love

Category: Women’s Hard Snow/Groomed

The ladies behind the K2 women’s line of skis are all strong skiers, so you can trust them to design a ski for chicks who rip. Enter K2’s Luv series. Featuring BioKonic technology, this ski takes into account a female’s physiology in everything from the ski’s flex pattern to a sidecut that matches how women move on skis. In the Tough Luv, the BioKonic core puts less weight in the center of the ski and distributes more to the outer edges, making the ski an eager charger with a huge sweet spot. [$900 with binding, BUY NOW]

Read the 2019 Gear Guide Review of the K2 Tough Luv.


Stöckli Stormrider 85 Motion

Category: Women’s All-Mountain Narrow

True, the all-mountain Stormrider 85 Motion features a poorly named women-specific flex pattern (Softflex) and tip rocker to make turn initiation easier. Sure, it’s got a lightweight balsa-Pachaco wood core reinforced with Titanal that reduces swing weight. But ladies, don’t be fooled: these female-friendly features in no way dumb this ski down—the Stormrider is an all-mountain charger eager to be driven hard and fast in bumps, crud, and on hardpack, and it won’t tolerate a laissez-faire attitude. [$999,]

Read the 2019 Gear Guide Review of the Stöckli Stormrider 85 Motion.


Elan Ripstick 94 W

Category: Women’s All-Mountain Wide

Everything from this ski’s bold color to what’s under the hood is exciting: the Ripstick 94 W features Elan’s TNT technology, a combination of TubeLite Woodcore reinforced with carbon tubes running vertically through the ski, and advanced composite materials in the tip and tail for extra damping, energy, and responsiveness. A seriously quick ski, and not just on the groomers. Though it excels on hard snow, early-rise rocker and a moderately wide waist make the Ripstick 94 W a versatile all-mountain ski. [$750, BUY NOW]

Read the 2019 Gear Guide Review of the Elan Ripstick 94 W.

Looking for Deep Snow/Powder skis? Don’t miss our Editor’s Choice Gear Selections for 2019.