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Ski Reviews

The Best in Test Skis of the 2020-’21 Ski Season

These planks topped the charts at SKI Test in Taos, and chances are, they'll be at the top of your list, too.

 

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Testing skis isn’t easy. Especially when there are 22 brands, 30 testers, and over 200 pairs of skis that need a fair shake. But, when the powder cloud settles and the scores are tallied, there can only be one group of skis at the top of the pile. And these are the ones that survived every turn, mogul, and test card in order to earn the distinction of Best in Test in their respective categories.

2021 Best in Test Badge

With that being said, just because our SKI Test crew thought these were the best this year doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best skis for you. Dig below the surface and check out the detailed scores for each ski, the reviews and scores of other skis in each category, and remember the basics of how to buy skis in order to determine what pair is right for you this winter.

And if it’s one of these beauties, well, hate to say we told you so…

WATCH: How We Test

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Men’s Frontside: Stöckli Stormrider 88

2021 Stockli Stormrider 88
The 2021 Best in Test Stöckli Stormrider 88 men’s frontside ski.Photo courtesy of Stöckli

With the highest overall ranking and top scores in six out of eight categories, the Stormrider 88 garnered numerous comments from testers along the lines of “category defining.” The Stöckli earned its Best in Test award for its ability to handle the biggest, baddest skiers, but remained extremely kind and approachable when testers took their feet off the gas.

2021 Stöckli Stormrider 88 Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.45
  • Lengths (In Centimeters): 166, 175, 184
  • Tip / Waist / Tail (In Millimeters): 128-88-114
  • Radius (In Meters): 18.4 (175cm length)
  • MSRP: $999

Women’s Frontside (Tie): Stöckli Nela 80

The 2021 Gear of the Year and Best in Test Stöckli Nela 80 Women's Frontside Ski
The 2021 Gear of the Year and Best in Test Stöckli Nela 80 Women’s Frontside SkiPhoto courtesy of Stöckli

Hallelujah, a women’s-specific Stöckli charger! For years this Swiss brand has produced some of the most exquisitely crafted unisex skis on the market, but they were better suited to skiers with racing backgrounds than recreationalists, never mind the majority of the female population. Enter the new Nela line, featuring a lighter weight and a women’s-specific flex that makes the skis easier to engage, more forgiving, and more accessible to intermediates than Stöckli’s unisex models. The new Nela 80 is the most piste-oriented of the line and our testers loved it for its thrilling carving performance and ability to bust through crud despite its smaller waist width, calling it “the luxury SUV” of the Frontside category. Testers’ one gripe: the longest length available is 165cm, which will surely disappoint some of the hard-charging chicks chomping at the bit to get on a more playful Stöckli ski.

2021 Stöckli Nela 80 Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.44/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 149, 157, 165
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 121-80-106
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 14 (157 cm length)
  • MSRP: $949

Women’s Frontside (Tie): Head Kore 87 W

The 2021 Head Kore 87 W Women's Best in Test Frontside Ski
The 2021 Head Kore 87 W Women’s Best in Test Frontside SkiPhoto courtesy of Head

The newest addition to Head’s award-winning women’s Kore line is the polar opposite of the Stöckli Nela 80, yet beloved by our testers nonetheless. What the Nela 80 lacks in versatility the Kore 87 W makes up for thanks to the ski’s wider waist and tight little turn radius, which permits ladies to skid turns and not just lay trenches. This ski impressed testers with her low-maintenance attitude, though some ladies wished she showed a little more backbone in the crud. But testers were quick to forgive this one shortcoming.

2021 Head Kore 87 W Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.44/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 153, 162, 171
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 127-85-107
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 14.3 (171 cm length)
  • MSRP: $750

Men’s All-Mountain: Nordica Enforcer 100

2021 Nordica Enforcer 100 Men's All-Mountain Ski
The 2021 SKI Magazine Gear of the Year Nordica Enforcer 100 Men’s All-Mountain SkiPhoto courtesy of Nordica

Nordica’s iconic Enforcer 100 is all-new for 2021, and, according to our testers, it’s somehow better than ever before. The ski’s revamped construction, which features a new carbon chassis laminate and what the brand calls TrueTip technology, reduces weight and makes the ski smoother on edge, no matter the snow condition or speed. These new construction elements also add just a touch more forgiveness and a supple feel compared to previous versions, and are sure to make strong skiers smile. The testers at Taos showered the new Enforcer 100 with praise, noting that it rewards proper skiing technique with near-flawless performance. It earned the highest scores in the men’s All-Mountain category for Stability at Speed, Crud Performance, Hard-Snow Integrity, Versatility, and Overall Impression. All of these factors added up to winning Best in Test for men’s All-Mountain skis and the coveted Gear of the Year award for 2021.

WATCH: SKI Review – Nordica Enforcer 100 and Enforcer 94

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2021 Nordica Enforcer 100 Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.14/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 165, 172, 179, 186, 191
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 133-100-121
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 18.4 (186 cm length)
  • MSRP: $850

Women’s All-Mountain: Head Kore 93 W

2021 Head Kore 93 W Women's Best in Test All-Mountain Ski
The 2021 Head Kore 93 W Women’s Best in Test All-Mountain SkiPhoto courtesy of Head

Last year the Kore 99 Wd stole her spotlight, but this year the Kore 93 W got her due as testers heralded it as the All-Mountain category-defining ski. Still featuring Head’s innovative construction of graphene, KOROYD, and caruba wood, this ski delivers top-of-the-line performance all over the mountain without forcing you to work for it, making it easy, quick, and forgiving for ladies of all abilities. Set it, forget it, and just enjoy the ride. Northrop: “Don’t need to think about anything but having fun. Transitions from off-piste to on-piste without missing a beat.”

2021 Head Kore 93 W Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.20/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 153, 162, 171
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 130-91-113
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 15.4 (171 cm length)
  • MSRP: $750

Men’s All-Mountain Wide: Nordica Enforcer 104 Free

2021 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free Men's All-Mountain Wide Ski
2021 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free Men’s All-Mountain Wide SkiPhoto courtesy of Nordica

For the second year in a row, Nordica’s Enforcer 104 Free wins this category and, for 2020-’21, nabs the highest category scores for Stability at Speed, Hard-Snow Integrity, and Crud Performance. With a noticeably pronounced rocker in the tip and tail built into a wider profile, this ski has all the great elements of the Gear of the Year Nordica Enforcer 100, but with a freeride-oriented, aggressive design.

2021 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.23/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 165, 172, 179, 186, 191
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters):135-104-124
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 18.5 (186 cm length)
  • MSRP: $900

Women’s All-Mountain Wide: Fischer Ranger 102 FR

2021 Fischer Ranger 102 FR All-Mountain Wide Ski in Pink
The 2021 Fischer Ranger 102 FR Women’s All-Mountain Wide SkiPhoto courtesy of Fischer

“Want to feel like a hero anywhere on the mountain? The Ranger 102 FR is for you,” wrote one tester. And she wasn’t the only one smitten with this ski—every one of our ladies loved this ski for its playful and powerful edge-to-edge transfer on groomers and its versatility everywhere else. A pink top sheet indicates this version is meant for the ladies, but it’s the same ski as the men’s and includes a Titanal binding plate, twin-tip profile, and carbon shovel. That said, ladies didn’t find it burly and instead praised its forgiving nature. Barnes: “It’s pretty, playful, and powerful!”

2021 Fischer Ranger 102 FR Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.48/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 156, 163, 170, 177, 184, 191
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 136-102-126
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 18 (177 cm length)
  • MSRP: $800

Men’s Deep Snow: Blizzard Rustler 11

2021 Blizzard Rustler 11 Men's Deep Snow Ski
The 2021 Blizzard Rustler 11 Men’s Deep Snow Ski.Photo courtesy of Blizzard

The Blizzard Rustler 11 didn’t just win Best in Test in the Deep Snow category this year, it absolutely dominated the entire field. With the highest scores in six of eight categories, it’s clear there is one fat ski to rule them all for 2020-’21. Whether testers were sniffing out soft snow in the tight trees of Taos, jumping off the numerous drops under the Kachina Chair, or just carving the final stretch of snow on their way back to the test corral, they couldn’t find any issues with the Rustler 11.

2021 Blizzard Rustler 11 Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.28/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 164, 172, 180, 188, 192
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 143-116-123
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 21 (188 cm length)
  • MSRP: $900

Women’s Deep Snow: Nordica Santa Ana 110 Free

2021 Nordica Santa Ana 110 Free Women's Deep Snow Ski
2021 Nordica Santa Ana 110 Free Women’s Best in Test Deep Snow SkiPhoto courtesy of Nordica

A lot has changed about the Santa Ana 110 this year, though one thing hasn’t: She still dominates in powder and crud. But this year, she’s not just a top choice for ladies who know how to bend a stiff ski. The all-new Santa Ana 110 Free makes skiing deep snow effortless even for intermediates thanks to only one layer of metal, and a tip using less heavy plastic in the sidewall to further reduce the ski’s swing weight. Testers gushed about how quick, fun, and forgiving the new version is not just in the pow, but everywhere else, too.

2021 Nordica Santa Ana 110 Free Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.32/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 161, 169, 177
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 139-110-128
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 15.5 (169 cm length)
  • MSRP: $900

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