Line Pandora (2011)

Pandora’s customer? The deepseeker. With a 115 mm waist—by far the fattest women’s ski in the test—and an early-rise, tapered tip that won’t hook up harshly in fluff, it’s a powder specialist, to be sure, ranking No. 2 in Flotation. The Pandora doesn’t so much turn as drift, smearing easily through trees and down steeps until the rider finds herself, smiling uncontrollably, at the bottom. It’s forgiving, too, making it a good option for powder novices. As for Hard-Snow Grip, where it scored last among winners...well, it’s a powder ski, people. Go find some. “Really sweet in the deep. Perfect for powder only,” said Wilde.
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Rating: / 5
Price: $800.00
Year: 2011
Level: 2
Gender: Female
Waist Width:
Tip/Tail/Waist: 142/115/139
Lengths: 172

Stability at speed: 2.88 / 5
Hard snow performance: 2.64 / 5
Crud performance: 3.54 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.58 / 5

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2011 Line Celebrity 90

Line Celebrity 90 (2011)

Remember when skiing wasn’t cool anymore? At the height of the snowboard revolution, a college kid taking woodshop helped bring our sport back. Jason Levinthal, Line’s founder, built what were arguably the first skis for the jib generation. Now, Line boasts a huge following among core skiers, for good reasons. One of which is the Celebrity 90, which stomped the category in powder and was No. 3 in Quickness/Bumps, too. It turned up its nose at hardpack, though, scoring last among winners in Hard-Snow Grip. But take a look at the price. Westerners: Buy this board. “What a ripping ski,” said Humes. “I was giddy.”

2011 Atomic Seventh Heaven 79

Atomic Seventh Heaven 79 (2011)

The Seventh Heaven has a quick, racy feel that’s ideally suited for harder snow. (Not surprising, given that it has the narrowest waist of the group.) Most testers wrote “good frontside ski,” or “great for an East Coast everyday ski,” which means it’s the least versatile in the group. But what it does—carve—it does well. (Atomic edge-grip? Check.) A slight rise in the tip (Atomic calls it “adaptive camber”) makes it easy to pivot in transitions between turns, which accounts for a high score in Forgiveness (No. 4), but otherwise it’s built like a traditional groomer ski. “Feels powerful underfoot, but easy to initiate,” said Moscarella.

Nordica Conquer

Nordica Conquer (2011)

One would expect a hard-snow ski with a waist width of 84 mm to be the most versatile in the category (No. 1 in Flotation, Stability and Crud Performance). But what surprised us was that it still managed a No. 2 ranking in Quickness edge-to-edge. The Conquer is everything for everyone. It’s solid and predictable yet humming with energy; smooth and powerful yet—with a 20-percent lighter wood core than last year’s model—surprisingly easy to ski. Simply put, it’s fast, and it’s a blast. “The Conquer will never give up on you,” said Moscarella. “It continues to provide tenacious grip no matter what you throw at it.”

2011 Line Prophet 90

Line Prophet 90 (2011)

Line this year introduced the Flite (see No. 10) as a dialed-back, lighter, more forgiving version of the venerable 90. Interestingly, while the 90 is still marketed by Line as the “higher-performing” model, testers found the Flite more to their liking, scoring it slightly higher across the board. Still, hard chargers will love the 90’s hefty, powerful, damp vibe, and the metal-reinforced construction feels especially rugged and durable. Like the Flite, it’s also one of the better values in the test. “Built for the all-mountain ripper: stable, solid and well balanced, though you have to be ready to work a little,” said Scholey.

Rossignol S110W (2011) thumb

Rossignol S110W (2011)

Rossi was among the first to incorporate rocker into a women’s ski (Voodoo Pro BC110). Now it unveils the S110W Freeski, one of the first women’s skis with rocker and reverse sidecut. Hence its funny shape: The tapered tip and tail smear better in the deep. With roughly the same dynamics as the hugely popular S7 (No. 1 in Men’s Deep Snow), the S110W is not built for versatility; it’s built to float effortlessly through feet of velvety powder, where it handles speed so well you hardly notice the trees are a blur. For deep-snow purists, it can’t be beat (No. 1 in Overall Impression). “It could float the Titanic,” said Dawson.

Line Prophet Flite

Line Prophet Flite (2011)

Was it just three years ago that Line was the scrappy little independent brand with way more passion than market share? Times have changed, though certainly the marketing muscle of parent company K2 must have helped. The twin-tipped Prophets have been tester favorites all along. The Flite is a lightened version of the 90 (a former category winner), ranking No. 3 for Forgiveness. Some testers wanted more edge-grip, but the price is certainly right, and Line still ranks No. 1 in street cred, whether it’s for you or your teenager. “A solid bump ski, quick in the trees, even moonlights in crud; was a joy,” said Malone.

2011 K2 Free Luv

K2 Free Luv (2011)

For years we’ve been saying nothing smears better in powder than rocker, but get on groomed and, well, good luck steering around those lift towers. So imagine our curiosity about K2’s new line, in which every ski—even carvers—incorporates reverse camber. The verdict? K2 wins—again. The Free Luv’s elevated tip effortlessly scouts lines through variable snow. It initiates and releases with ease, earning it No. 1 in Forgiveness. Testers admired its versatility, but found it to be a standout in no one criterion. Racer types will want more grip. “Perfect meat-of-the-market ski; forgiving and easy,” said Shultz.