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Indie Skis: Powder Skis

11 skis that really float.

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  MSRP: $1249.00  Tip/Waist/Tail: 141-112-128  Length: 168, 178, 184, 190A firm believer in the strength, pop, feel, and, above all, weight of carbon…

MSRP: $1249.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 141-112-128

Length: 168, 178, 184, 190

A firm believer in the strength, pop, feel, and, above all, weight of carbon over other common materials like fiberglass and metal, DPS touts its weight-saving pre-preg carbon-laminate technology above all else. The techy skis come at a cost, but the performance is undeniable. Testers found the playful Wailer to exhibit an impressive blend of quickness and strength. Its short turn radius and paddle-like tip proved useful through undulating terrain and ever-changing snow conditions. On the groomed, it withstood aggressive carving. “This ski didn’t make you think too hard,” said one. “It really pushes the perception of all-mountain.”

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  MSRP: $820.00  Tip/Waist/Tail: 148-122-138  Length: 182, 186, 192, 196The Rapture is a pow-loving big-mountain ski. For a price, Folsom will…

MSRP: $820.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 148-122-138

Length: 182, 186, 192, 196

The Rapture is a pow-loving big-mountain ski. For a price, Folsom will customize it or you can pick it up from Backcountry.com (see Completo review). “It’s both slashy and completely unflappable on edge,” said one tester of this wide-bodied do-it-all. “Far from wimpy,” said another. It was hard to find a turn or terrain type it didn’t like. Drive these skis and hang on for the ride.

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  MSRP: $799.95  Tip/Waist/Tail: 153-127-139  Length: 183, 193Anyone who remembers the Reverend knows that G3 makes good skis. Still, we were blown…

MSRP: $799.95

Tip/Waist/Tail: 153-127-139

Length: 183, 193

Anyone who remembers the Reverend knows that G3 makes good skis. Still, we were blown away by the power and versatility of the Empire, a unanimous Testers’ Choice award winner. It’s a surfy, maneuverable floater that can still snap an arc. Full rocker makes it smeary in chop and buoyant in powder, and its sidecut extends well up the shovel so edge bite increases as it’s tipped over. That’s probably why angular racer types found it a strong carver and spinny jibsters found it loose. For bigger guys, the Empire is a “solid ski for 200-plus pounders.”

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  MSRP: $1320.00  Tip/Waist/Tail: 145-116-132  Length: 169, 179, 189If you're a technically strong skier, the Rahu could be your powder ski. It's got…

MSRP: $1320.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 145-116-132

Length: 169, 179, 189

If you’re a technically strong skier, the Rahu could be your powder ski. It’s got a distinctly traditional feel, which is to say it hooks firmly into turns and holds steady throughout. Ski it from the front of your boot; it punishes timidity by becoming hard to control. Confident pilots will enjoy its on-piste precision and, thanks to tip rocker, its off-piste agility.


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  Tip/Waist/Tail: 145-115-130  Length: 175, 182, 189, 196If your racing roots cause you to look down on floppy, smear-oriented powder skis, the…

Tip/Waist/Tail: 145-115-130

Length: 175, 182, 189, 196

If your racing roots cause you to look down on floppy, smear-oriented powder skis, the Wizard will be just your flavor. On edge it bites tenaciously into effortless, beautiful arcs. In softer stuff, it can surf or power through the chop. Testers called it “confidence-inspiring” and “well-balanced.” It liked to be driven and its tip rocker both absorbed bumpy terrain and locked into hardpack.

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  MSRP: $750.00  Tip/Waist/Tail: 137-115-129  Length: 175, 185

MSRP: $750.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 137-115-129

Length: 175, 185

“When you’re expecting eight inches but only get two,” said one tester, “it’s still going to be a good time.” That’s because Lib Tech nailed the coveted surfy-yet-grippy balance in the Fully Functional Five with a combination of healthy tip and tail rocker and its trademark, grip-enhancing Magne-Traction edge serrations. It’s strong and secure on edge and adapts to terrain changes without blinking.

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  MSRP: $1049.00  Tip/Waist/Tail: 144-115-129  Length: 182, 192, 202As it name suggests, this is a power-stuffed plank built for guys who like making…

MSRP: $1049.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 144-115-129

Length: 182, 192, 202

As it name suggests, this is a power-stuffed plank built for guys who like making three or four turns a run. Given that the 192-centimeter test length elicited comparisons to an aircraft carrier and a triple tractor-trailer, we were happy not to be skiing the 202 and wishing we had a chance to try the 182. Its big, rockered forebody swallowed crud and planed powder with ease. Edge grip was best in class.

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  MSRP: $899.00  Tip/Waist/Tail: 143-116-134  Length: 174, 184, 190

MSRP: $899.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 143-116-134

Length: 174, 184, 190

“Go big or go play.” The Bibby has two different personalities, according to one tester: It’s a capable, jack-of-most charger with admirable carving ability and a devil-may-care bouncy soft-snow ski. It inspires you to search out airs, find tree stashes, and ride switch. Plus, it has the cojones needed for when things get technical. Big, aggressive traditionalists might hesitate it leans a bit towards jib skiing but everyone else will leave smiling.

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  MSRP: $790.00  Tip/Waist/Tail: 147-117-143  Length: 178, 188Though the girthy waist and aggressive tip and tail rocker might give the impression…

MSRP: $790.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 147-117-143

Length: 178, 188

Though the girthy waist and aggressive tip and tail rocker might give the impression that the Rock Star is only a soft-snow tool, watch out when it finds an edge. It definitely prefers fresh, but it’s a quick-turning machine that can yo-yo across hardpack. Its effortless nature was well received by testers, and all thought it an exciting mode of mountain travel suitable for a wide variety of skiers and skill levels.

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MSRP: From $1,750Tip/Waist/Tail: 147/114/131Length: 182Wagner Custom Skis builds each ski according to its customer’s desires, physiology, skiing…

MSRP: From $1,750
Tip/Waist/Tail: 147/114/131
Length: 182

Wagner Custom Skis builds each ski according to its customer’s desires, physiology, skiing history, and dozens of other idiosyncrasies teased out during a “Skier DNA” interview. We test a handful of skis that happen to be available at the factory come test time, and we’ve yet to find one we didn’t love. This ski—a smearable, carveable charger that one tester called “confidence inspiring”—was no exception.

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  MSRP: $899.00  Tip/Waist/Tail: 165-133-149  Length: 171, 181, 191At 133 millimeters underfoot, the Karen'cito is a pontoon for

MSRP: $899.00

Tip/Waist/Tail: 165-133-149

Length: 171, 181, 191

At 133 millimeters underfoot, the Karen’cito is a pontoon for “the deepest of the deep,” as one tester said. Yet it’s got admirable hard-snow chops. If you’re patient and limber enough to tip it way over, you’ll find it a “surprisingly snappy carver” that also bosses crud. Crank it across the fall line and you’ll feel like AK pioneer Dean Cummings the ski’s creator slashing down a Chugach spine.

Find this ski and more in our online gearfinder.