New skis can be a blessing or a curse. Sometimes, brands unveil new skis that we get excited about, only to learn that those new skis will be replacing our tried-and-true favorites. Other times, we see a bevy of new skis hit the market that add to a brand’s existing lineup. That’s when we get excited, and lucky for us, that’s the case this year.
The brands listed below are some of our favorites and already make some of the best-selling skis on the market, but each had a gap in their offerings. Take Blizzard, a company that’s dominated the resort ski space for many years now; Blizzard didn’t have anything in the backcountry ski category we were particularly excited about—until now. Or Nordica, a brand that’s catered to advanced and expert skiers who value high performance above all else in a ski; Nordica didn’t really have a ski that was just designed for fun—until now.
Getting excited? You should be. We’ve already gotten a chance to test these five skis coming down the pike next winter, and they’re worth getting amped about.
Nordica Unleashed 108
Don’t worry, the Enforcer 110 Free isn’t going anywhere. Nor are any of the other skis in the Enforcer Free series. Instead, Nordica’s new Unleashed lineup comprising three unisex models (108, 98, 90) and two women’s models (98W, 90W) falls into a new freeski lineup and has the construction to back that up.
Whereas the Enforcer Free models feature two full sheets of metal and are still designed for high performance on groomers and hard snow despite their wider waists and rockered tips and tails, the new Unleashed models feature a lighter-weight construction of wood, carbon, and one layer of Terrain Specific Metal and a modified tip and tail rocker to enhance playfulness, agility, and versatility in off-piste terrain. The new Nordica Unleashed 108 is the widest model in the unisex lineup, and testers are already stoked on this ski’s responsiveness and playfulness.
Atomic Bent 100
It’s finally happening: Atomic is taking pro skier Chris Benchetler’s signature ski, the Atomic Bent Chetler 120, and turning it into a whole new freeski collection. And after amassing awards and rave reviews with the Bent Chetler 120 in the 14 years it’s been leading the market in the powder ski category, it’s about damn time they give us more of that magic in all-mountain options.
The Bent lineup includes six new models (in addition to the Bent Chetler 120), each featuring Chris Benchetler’s unique art on the top sheet and bases and Atomic’s tried and true HRZN Tech tip and tail, light woodcore construction, and directional shapes. While we’re stoked on all the new models, we’re probably most excited about the Bent 100, which packs the fun, poppy, playful feel of the Bent Chetler 120 into a more versatile and approachable waist width that all resort skiers will be able to appreciate.
Blizzard Hustle 10
Not since Blizzard released the Zero G ski family a couple of seasons ago has there been anything really new or noteworthy in Blizzard’s backcountry ski lineup. Now it’s clear why: Blizzard’s product engineers were busy at the drawing board coming up with the brand new Hustle series.
While the Zero G family stays, the new Hustle line expands Blizzard’s backcountry offering with skis that were built for the uphill and downhill enthusiast. The three new models—the Hustle 11, Hustle 10, and Hustle 9—are beefier than the Zero G skis, featuring Blizzard’s Carbon D.R.T. and TrueBlend Free construction. This means they’re slightly more work in the skintrack, but boy will you reap the performance rewards when it’s time to rip the skins.
SKI’s gear testers had a chance to put the Hustle 10 through the paces during our backcountry ski test and are obsessed with its blend of weight and performance. While we can’t yet divulge the full review, suffice it to say that the Hustle 10 should be on your radar if you’re looking for a Blizzard ski that holds its own in the resort and the backcountry.
Line Blade Optic 96
It’s taken Line some time and tinkering to hit the nail on the head in the all-mountain category. After some wild shape and construction experimentation that produced the likes of the funky Line Blade, they’ve finally done it. For next season, the brand introduces the new Blade Optic series, essentially a love child of the brand’s existing Vision and Blade lines.
The new series features four models—the Blade Optic 92, 96, 104, and 114—and all but the Optic 92 feature a no-nonsense construction and Line’s signature Gas Pedal Metal technology, which adds stiffness and dampness to the ski with a strategically placed partial layer of Titanal.
The result is a family of skis that was born for all-mountain resort shredding. Testers were particularly impressed by the Blade Optic 96 at this year’s gear test, praising the ski’s versatility, playfulness, and quickness.
Elan Ripstick Tour 104
Last but definitely not least, we introduce you to Glen Plake’s very first (and long-awaited) signature ski model from Elan. And while you might be expecting a rad powder or bump ski, Plake’s model falls into the backcountry category.
The brand new Elan Ripstick Tour 104 features the same proprietary Amphibio profile and Tubelite Woodcore tech found in Elan’s best-selling all-mountain Ripstick line, yet packaged in a 1,540-gram ski that’s designed to tackle ascents and descents in true Glen Plake fashion.
We’re hyped on how light yet chargey this new backcountry ski is and can’t wait for it to be introduced to the world. If a 104mm backcountry ski doesn’t fit into your quiver, look out for the Ripstick Tour 94 and Tour 88, the narrower skis in the new line.