Powder Skis

10 Skis That Will Help You Milk a Powder Day

These skis float, sure. But more importantly, they have some pop and pizazz.

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If you don’t pick a powder ski based on how playful it is, you’re doing it wrong.

A playful ski—that is, a ski that’s energetic, poppy, and maneuverable—may not be every skier’s first choice for tackling hardpack or plowing through all-mountain conditions. Skiers who spend the majority of their days ripping down groomers or making the most of off-piste crud may be more drawn to all-mountain skis known for their stability at speed, hard-snow integrity, or crud-performance above all else.

Related: 10 Skis That Reward Strong and Precise Skiers

But if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where it makes sense for you to own a dedicated powder ski—something with around 110mm underfoot—then chances are, you need something to help you milk the white stuff for all its worth. You want powder planks that will float, that’s a given; but you’ll also want something that will help you bounce in and out of the fluff and make powder skiing even more fun and exciting.

Enter these 10 powder skis that scored the highest marks in the Playfulness category at SKI’s 2020-’21 gear test. These are the skis you want underfoot when you wake up to a foot of fresh and you’re first in line for rope drop.

2021’s Most Playful Powder Skis – Men’s

2021 Blizzard Rustler 11

  • Playfulness Score: 4.23/5
  • Overall Score: 4.28/5
  • Overall Rank: No. 1
Blizzard Rustler 11

Tester comment: “Once again Blizzard has blown my mind with a perfect mix of power and playfulness. It’s quick edge to edge and for a big ski it even rails on groomers.” —Chris Bivona

See what testers loved about this ski: 2021 Blizzard Rustler Full Review

2021 Atomic Bent Chetler 120

  • Playfulness Score: 4.21/5
  • Overall Score: 3.76/5
  • Overall Rank: No. 8
Atomic Bent Chetler 120

Tester comment: “It skis as good as it looks. Fun, bouncy, and enough float it could change the ending of Titanic. A trusted powder ski that delivers again and again.” Luke Larsson

See how it stacked up against the competition: The Best Men’s Powder Skis of the Year

2021 K2 Mindbender 116C

  • Playfulness Score: 4.14/5
  • Overall Score: 4.08/5
  • Overall Rank: No. 3

Tester comment: “A strong yet playful ski that attacked the hill like a ninja. Very quiet and stealthy. Moved in, then moved out without ever noticing what just happened. It totally blew my mind.” Mike Britt

Read about its strengths and weaknesses: 2021 K2 Mindbender 116C

2021 Armada WhiteWalker

  • Playfulness Score: 4.11/5
  • Overall Score: 3.77/5
  • Overall Rank: No. 7
Armada Whitewalker

Tester comment: “Armada heritage speaks loudly with these skis. Evolved engineering adds an element of technical strength to the ski’s performance. The blend of surfy playfulness with solid torsion makes this a ski that can bridge a wide spectrum of skier types.” —Bob Gleason

Learn more: 2021 Armada WhiteWalker Full Review

2021 Dynastar M Free 118

  • Playfulness Score: 4.05/5
  • Overall Score: 4.03/5
  • Overall Rank: No. 4

Tester comment: “Super fun, plenty of bounce, plenty of power, plenty of grip, plenty of float, plenty of slip. The only downside is it could use a bit more sidecut when you come out of the woods!” —Peter Donahue

Read all about it: 2021 Dynastar M Free 118

2021’s Most Playful Powder Skis – Women’s

2021 Nordica Santa Ana 110 Free

  • Playfulness Score: 4.32/5
  • Overall Score: 4.32/5
  • Overall Rank: No. 1

Tester comment: “Dynamic ski that is so fun to turn through the trees. Fun-loving vibe that made me want to hang out with them longer. Overall a strong ski that would instill confidence in both fresh powder and chalky steeps.” —Jessi Hackett

Read more: 2021 Nordica Santa Ana 110 Free Full Review

2021 K2 Mindbender 115C Alliance

  • Playfulness Score: 4.23/5
  • Overall Score: 4.11/5
  • Overall Rank: No. 3
K2 Mindbender 115C Alliance

Tester comment: “This skis got a little bit of Beyonce to her. It likes to bounce and shake and shimmy through all kinds of terrain. When you make a mistake, no biggie, it helps you get back on track without consequence.” Kelli Gleason

2021 Head Kore 105 (unisex ski)

  • Playfulness Score: 4.12/5
  • Overall Score: 4.23/5
  • Overall Rank: No. 2
2020-21 Head Kore 105

Tester comment: “I felt like I could do no wrong on this ski. I expected burliness but got buttery and playful with a side of solid.” Robin Barnes

See how it stacked up: The Best Women’s Powder Skis of the Year

2021 Völkl Blaze 106 W

  • Playfulness Score: 4/5
  • Overall Score: 4.05/5
  • Overall Rank: No. 6
2020-21 Völkl Blaze 106 W

Tester comment: “These don’t require much effort to be maneuverable and the poppy payoff is a good value. Forgiving but not boring. Smeared turns were a joy. The tips float but they’re not so floppy as to intimidate anyone new to fatter skis.” —Cherise Robinson

Learn more: 2021 Völkl Blaze 106 W

2021 Salomon QST Stella 106

  • Playfulness Score: 4/5
  • Overall Score: 4/5
  • Overall Rank: No. 7
2020-21 Salomon QST Stella 106

Tester comment: “Intermediate powder-hounding ladies will love the nimble ride through any terrain. Take this heli-skiing and smile about it for years to come.” Erika Northrop

Read all about it: 2021 Salomon QST Stella 106

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