Gear

Indie Skis: All Mountain Carvers

The best small brand daily drivers for hip draggers.


MSRP: $1,750Tip/Waist/Tail: 137-100-121Length: 184One longtime Skiing Mag tester had this to say about the Testers' Choice–winning Wagner 100 Custom.…

MSRP: $1,750

Tip/Waist/Tail: 137-100-121

Length: 184

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.

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MSRP: $1249.00Tip/Waist/Tail: 126-99-110Lengths: 168,176,184,192The Wailer 99 takes much of the tech of the Testers' Choice-winning Wailer 112RP…

MSRP: $1249.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 126-99-110

Lengths: 168,176,184,192

The Wailer 99 takes much of the tech of the Testers’ Choice-winning Wailer 112RP full-carbon construction, short turn radius, spoonlike rockered tip and implements it in a narrower package. Testers loved its ability to play everywhere: crud, bumps, backwoods, even, with enough angulation, groomers. Plus, its lightweight construction had one tester calling it the “ultimate Colorado backcountry ski.”

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MSRP: $799.00 Tip/Waist/Tail: 132-102-122 Lengths: 169,174,179, 188 Though it's part of Faction's touring line, the Agent 100 shows no lack of…

MSRP: $799.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 132-102-122

Lengths: 169,174,179, 188

Though it’s part of Faction’s touring line, the Agent 100 shows no lack of downhill horsepower. It logged high marks for its stability and hard-snow performance. “Drive it. Smash it. Send it,” said one tester. A bit of tip rocker provides some float and keeps it nimble through glades and choppy terrain. It’s demanding, but those willing to accept its challenge will find it an incredibly versatile all-mountain and backcountry charger.

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MSRP: $900.00 Tip/Waist/Tail: 132-100-122 Lengths: 168,178,188 Since 2005, the venerated snowboard brand Lib Tech has been building skis or rather…

MSRP: $900.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 132-100-122

Lengths: 168,178,188

Since 2005, the venerated snowboard brand Lib Tech has been building skis or rather NAS (Narrow Ass Snowboards) with some tricky tech borrowed from wide planks, most notably Magne-Traction, a wavelike edge design based on the physics of a serrated knife. Testers praised its hardpack grip and playfulness in the same breath. Slide your turns or carve them. The ski’s lightweight basalt-laminate construction seemed infinitely adaptable and powerful without being sluggish.

 

Check out the Magic Horsepower Freeride in Skiing’s Gearfinder

MSRP: $1190.00 Tip/Waist/Tail: 135-98-125 Lengths: 169, 177, 185The Fire absolutely torches corduroy yet doesn't require aggressive technique to do…

MSRP: $1190.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 135-98-125

Lengths: 169, 177, 185

The Fire absolutely torches corduroy yet doesn’t require aggressive technique to do so. Its light carbon construction allows you to “relax on this ski and still go effing fast,” according to one tester. Tip rocker helps with off-piste performance, but the Fire prefers to carve down the fall line rather than slide. It’s a great all-mountain tool with a traditional feel perfect for race-bred folks.

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MSRP: $800.00 Tip/Waist/Tail: 138-101-128 Lengths: 155,165,175,185 Versatility is paramount when it comes to a good resort ski. The CRM eagerly…

MSRP: $800.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 138-101-128

Lengths: 155,165,175,185

Versatility is paramount when it comes to a good resort ski. The CRM eagerly shifts gears between morning pow, midday crud, and afternoon groomers. Bigger testers felt it could be overpowered, but smaller testers loved its smooth flex and rebound. Tip rocker makes the CRM shifty in the glades and soft bumps, and it felt equally comfortable with smearing and medium-speed GS turns. The CRM is an approachable, playful, everyday Western ride.

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MSRP: $790.00 Tip/Waist/Tail: 133-101-123 Lengths: 172, 182 Fear no park, wind lip, tree stash, zipperline, or groomer. The L-Toro adapts and excels…

MSRP: $790.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 133-101-123

Lengths: 172, 182

Fear no park, wind lip, tree stash, zipperline, or groomer. The L-Toro adapts and excels in all conditions short of nipple-deep. A playful mentality and fluid, natural flex were tester-noted highlights of this utility knife of a ski. “This did so many things right,” beamed one Eastern tester. It preferred a more weight-centered approach but skipped readily from turn to turn. Carve, smear, and butter with ease.

 

Check out the L-Toro in Skiing’s Gearfinder

MSRP: $1249.00 Tip/Waist/Tail: 121-78-108 Lengths: 166, 178 A relentless carver, the Cassiar is loaded with springy power and hungry to arc up the…

MSRP: $1249.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 121-78-108

Lengths: 166, 178

A relentless carver, the Cassiar is loaded with springy power and hungry to arc up the pistes. Testers called it “darty,” “spunky,” and “race-bred without a spandex look.” Its proprietary carbon construction a DPS hallmark is remarkably light and sturdy. Testers felt it deflected a bit in crunchy, crusty conditions due to its lightness. But on groomers, it tracked precisely with a snappy, playful, and laserlike intent.

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MSRP: $780.00 Tip/Waist/Tail: 128-88-116 Lengths: 170, 180 The Blue Note Carve is Folsom's most frontside-oriented shape. Being a custom shop, Folsom…

MSRP: $780.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 128-88-116

Lengths: 170, 180

The Blue Note Carve is Folsom’s most frontside-oriented shape. Being a custom shop, Folsom can build it and other models with varying flexes and camber profiles. We skied one with a stiff flex and a touch of rocker. The response? “An unreal carver. This thing dissects the hill with each turn,” said one tester. Others agreed and also noted its comfort with off-piste exploration. It’s an ideal East Coast everyday ski or Western low-tide ripper.

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