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Powder Skis

The 6 Best Men’s Powder Skis of 2022

Someday soon you'll wake up to fresh snow. A lot of it. These are the skis you want for that day.

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There are very few skiers on the planet who only ski soft snow every time they ski. Having a fat option that’s still fun when it’s all tracked out is so important. These are those skis. The six unisex powder skis listed below were tested by the men at SKI’s 2022 gear test at Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah, a place that’s known for the white stuff. Out of 22 models tested, these six rose to the top after impressing our veteran testers with more than just their ability to float. In addition to the ski specs and feedback from our SKI testers, we’ve included the scoring criteria each ski scored highest in, and the departments where testers thought the ski had room for improvement. Dig in!

Looking for more in-depth ski gear coverage? Join Outside+  to read extended ski reviews, compare ski test scores, and get more insight from SKI’s veteran gear testers. 

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No. 1 “Best in Test”: Blizzard Rustler 11

  • Overall Score: 4.24/5
  • Dimensions: 139-112-129mm
  • Available lengths: 164, 172, 180, 188, 192cm
  • Radius: 19m
  • Price: $900 (Buy now)
2022 Blizzard Rustler 11

The Blizzard Rustler 11 won the Powder category for the second year in a row. At Solitude, it earned top marks in the Quickness and Playfulness categories. The SKI Test crew was ecstatic about how lively and energetic this ski is in all types of snow. It releases from the turn more easily in powder, providing better soft snow performance. Overall, it’s as fun in freshies as it is getting to and from the chairlift on the hunt for more. Says tester Mark Syrovatka: “Same old story: This is an epic ski.” Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.

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No. 2: Nordica Enforcer 110 Free

  • Overall Score: 4.22/5
  • Dimensions: 140-110-129mm
  • Available lengths: 169, 177, 185, 191cm
  • Radius: 18.5m
  • Price: $900, without binding (Buy now)
2022

“If you didn’t know this was a 110mm waist, you’d think it was so much narrower because it can subtly maneuver on a dime. Once off-piste, the broad and shapely profile mirrors and molds to whatever elements lay ahead. It’s the mellower and coachable option in the Enforcer line.” —Matt Schiller. Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.

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No. 3: Fischer Ranger 115 FR

  • Overall Score: 4.14/5
  • Dimensions: 144-115-134mm
  • Available lengths: 172, 178, 188, 196cm
  • Radius: 20m
  • Price: $900 without binding (Buy now)
2022 Fischer Ranger 115 FR

With a layer of Titanal under the binding and a wood core, the Ranger 115 FR is by no means a beginner ski. But the well-designed profile means that it is a solid choice for advanced skiers ready for the next level. Plus, with a top 3 ranking in Forgiveness, they are not as demanding as the higher-ranked skis in this category. Testers found it versatile enough to be fun every day of the season. Says tester Michael Rogan: “A great ski in every aspect of the category.” Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.

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No. 4: Salomon QST Blank

  • Overall Score: 4.14/5
  • Dimensions : 138-112-127mm
  • Available lengths: 176, 186, 194cm
  • Radius: 17m
  • Price: $900 without binding (Buy now)
2022 SALOMON QST BLANK

The all-new QST Blank uses Salomon’s new Double Sidewall technology, which combines full-length sidewalls and another high-density injected ABS layer located along the length of the binding mount area. This, combined with a full poplar wood core, a carbon/flax blended laminate, and a quick turn radius makes the QST Blank powerful but not overbearingly so like some of the other heavy-metal skis in this category. Casey: “The construction provides usable power, not power just for the sake of it.” Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.

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No. 5: Dynastar M-Free 118

  • Overall Score: 3.94/5
  • Dimensions: 145-118-135mm
  • Available lengths: 180, 189cm
  • Radius: 22m
  • Price: $900 (Buy now)
    2022 DYNASTAR M FREE 118

“For hard-charging skiers who want to test their skills in all terrain and snow conditions, this ski fits the bill. If you have aspirations of chasing storms and deep snow around the West and you want a do-it-all ski—and you’re a strong skier—this is the ski you need.” –Jon Sexauer. Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.

 

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No. 6: J Skis The Friend

  • Overall Score: 3.84/5
  • Dimensions: 143-117-133mm
  • Available lengths: 177, 183, 189cm
  • Radius: 18.5m
  • Price: $799 (Buy now)
2022

Built with a maple wood core and a carbon laminate, the Friend is designed to float in the pow but still be fun, poppy, and playful when the freshies are gone. This is the type of ski you want underfoot if you need your legs to last all day, especially when it won’t stop puking snow. After all, no one should call it quits when the refills are free. Says tester Todd Casey: “Who’s your buddy? The J Skis Friend is your buddy! It’s a fun, stable adventure ski.” Read the full review for category scores, strengths, weaknesses, and tester feedback.

For the best women’s powder skis of 2022, head over here. To revisit last year’s powder skis, see below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are powder skis?

Generally speaking, powder skis (or deep snow skis) are fat. They tend to have 110mm+ waist widths, generous rocker profiles, and very large turn radii. While they float like a dream in soft snow, many powder skis can perform well in choppy snow as well, and a very special few—most notably the Nordica Enforcer 110—can actually hold an edge quite well on groomed terrain. For the most part, however, these skis are rarely defined as one-ski quiver options and are instead used only when conditions warrant, e.g. powder days.

Related: Understanding rocker vs. camber ski technology

What are the best men’s powder skis?

  1. Blizzard Rustler 11
  2. Nordica Enforcer 110 Free
  3. Fischer Ranger 115 FR
  4. Salomon QST Blank 
  5. Dynastar M-Free 118
  6. J Skis The Friend

What length should powder skis be?

Because of the increased amount of rocker built into most powder skis, it’s suitable to have longer skis for deep snow to increase the amount of usable edge on hard and variable snow. Shorter powder skis will likely float and feel more nimble than longer versions, but can also sometimes feel like riding a pogo stick due to the increased floppiness that is caused by generous rocker in the tip and tails.

Learn More: Things you should know before you buy your next pair of planks

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The Best Men’s Powder Skis of 2021

Blizzard Rustler 11

2021 Blizzard Rustler 11 Men's Deep Snow Ski
The 2021 Blizzard Rustler 11 Men’s Deep Snow SkiPhoto 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. Schiller: “This ski was always underfoot and comfortable no matter where it went.”

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

Nordica Enforcer 110 Free

2021 Nordica Enforcer 110 Free Men's Deep Snow Ski
The 2021 Nordica Enforcer 110 Free Men’s Deep Snow SkiPhoto courtesy of Nordica

With a proprietary wood core, carbon chassis laminate, and two full sheets of metal, the Enforcer 110 Free makes skiing all conditions just as fun as skiing in powder. Perhaps more importantly, the Nordica deep snow ski makes skiing in fluff even more magical. This ski is incredibly damp when going fast in all conditions, which is one of the reasons it earned the highest category score for Stability at Speed. But it can still shred pow like a champ, even at more moderate speeds. Syrovatka: “A really great ski—dare I say perfect—if you’re on top of your game.”

2021 Nordica Enforcer 110 Free Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.12/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 169, 177, 185, 191
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 140-110-129
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 18.5M (185)
  • MSRP: $900

BEST VALUE: K2 Mindbender 116C

2021 K2 Mindbender 116C Men's Deep Snow Ski
The 2021 K2 Mindbender 116C Men’s Deep Snow SkiPhoto courtesy of K2

While the Mindbender 116C wasn’t the widest entry in the Deep Snow category, it did provide one of the most stable platforms, earning the highest category score for Flotation. Testers found the 116C in the 186cm length to be especially easy to ski, ideal for strong intermediates and advanced skiers looking to add a powder ski to their quiver. Don’t be fooled, however, as the widest Mindbender can happily handle experts. Sexauer: “An approachable powder ski that you wouldn’t need to feel guilty grabbing on a day when the hill reports under 12 inches.”

2021 K2 Mindbender 116C Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.08/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 179, 186, 193
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 143-116-133
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 22.9 (186 cm length)
  • MSRP: $850

Dynastar M Free 118

2021 Dynastar M Free 118 Men's Deep Snow Ski
The 2021 Dynastar M Free 118 Men’s Deep Snow SkiPhoto courtesy of Dynastar

Testers were practically universal in labeling the new M Free 118 with one word: “FUN!” Built with a poplar wood and PU core combination, this freeride-oriented pow ski can be driven hard from the cockpit or taken on more playful terrain when skied in a more upright stance. At Taos, the test crew enjoyed this big Dynastar ski the most when they were pivoting in between, around, and popping over soft bumps in trees and dynamic steeps. Larsen: “Go ahead and send it! Whether you are in manky snow or fresh pow, this ski makes you feel like a pro.”

2021 Dynastar M Free 118 Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 4.03/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 180, 189
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 145-118-135
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 24 (189 cm length)
  • MSRP: $900

Head Kore 117

2021 Head Kore 117 Men's Deep Snow Ski
The 2021 Head Kore 117 Men’s Deep Snow SkiPhoto courtesy of Head

The widest Kore ski proved to be best suited to aggressive skiing at Taos. The generous rocker in the tip and tail, combined with the strong-but-lightweight construction of caruba, KOROYD, carbon, and graphene gave testers the ability to ski hard on soft snow and still stay agile in bumpy terrain and tight spaces. Don’t let the feathery weight fool you, the Kore 117 can handle the gnarliest skiers in the world, and loves long hikes to faraway powder stashes. Jay: “Demands assertive skiing and rewards it with a strong backbone.”

2021 Head Kore 117 Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 3.80/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 171, 180, 189
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 145-117-129
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 24.6 (189 cm length)
  • MSRP: $925

Fischer Ranger 115 Free

2021 Fischer Ranger 115 FR deep snow ski
The 2021 Fischer Ranger 115 FR Deep Snow SkiPhoto courtesy of Fischer

Despite its intimidating shape, strong sandwich sidewall construction, and bright color scheme, testers found the Ranger 115 to be quick edge-to-edge and particularly maneuverable in the trees. The big yellow planks from Fischer could also hold their own in wide open bowls of deep snow, and the Aeroshape design helps get them up to speed in a hurry. The best overall quality for these skis, however, is their balanced nature to do it all everywhere they went at Taos Ski Valley, and do it all well. Gleason: “The fine-tuned balance of playful ease and solid control shines.”

2021 Fischer Ranger FR 115 Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 3.78/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 172, 178, 188, 196
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 144-115-134
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 20 (188 cm length)
  • MSRP: $900

Armada WhiteWalker

2021 Armada WhiteWalker Men's Deep Snow Ski
The 2021 Armada WhiteWalker Men’s Deep Snow SkiPhoto courtesy of Armada

This new deep snow ski from Armada relies heavily on the influence of professional skier Sammy Carlson, a PNW-based rider who knows how to ski pow. The WhiteWalker has one of the most unique shapes in the category with a full caruba wood core, significant amount of carbon integrated into the shovel, and pintail twin tips. Designed to surf, float, and fly through everything, these sticks are best suited to deep snow, but testers agreed they are always fun. Rogan: “Modern powder ski that likes to go fast and prefers a long sideways slash compared to a high-speed arc.”

2021 Armada WhiteWalker Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 3.77/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 185, 192
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 139-116-135
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 18 (185 cm length)
  • MSRP: $950

Atomic Bent Chetler 120

2021 Atomic Bent Chetler 120 men's deep snow ski
The 2021 Atomic Bent Chetler 120 Men’s Deep Snow SkiPhoto courtesy of Atomic

There is a reason the bases of the Bent Chetlers are so cool: These skis are made to catch as much air as possible. The super-playful and poppy Bent Chetler 120 is also designed to float and smear turns in the softest snow they can find. Outside of powder, these wide planks still prefer sliding and popping off everything, and testers had a ball on the playful terrain of Taos, even where it wasn’t very soft. But, as you might expect, these Atomics are best in the soft stuff. Caven: “Grip it and rip it, bud. The balance of the ski is spot on. Good for someone who wants to blow through blower.”

2021 Atomic Bent Chetler 120 Factsheet

  • Overall Rating: 3.76/5
  • Available Lengths (In Centimeters): 176, 184, 192
  • Tip-Waist-Tail Dimensions (In Millimeters): 143-120-134
  • Turn Radius (In Meters): 19 (184 cm length)
  • MSRP: $900