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126)/136/115/133/(123) | $900 The new shape of powder skiing debuted in 2008–09: camber and sidecut underfoot; rocker and reverse sidecut tip and tail. The result: loose, slashy, floaty, get-after-it goodness—fresh as ever as the JJ heads into its fourth season. Testers still love it. Everyone loves it.  Lengths: 165, 175, 185 Turn Radius: 14 at 185ABOUT ARMADAHe weighed only about 140 pounds, but when seven-time ESPN Winter X Games gold medalist Tanner Hall stomped his landing on the burgeoning new-school scene, the ski world shook. The Montana-bred Hall, never comfortable with authority, promptly ditched Rossignol and banded with other luminary park skiers to form Armada in 2002. The concept was brilliant: Star athletes would run the show, pimp the brand, design the skis they wanted, and control the message. Sales immediately took off, and now Armada, the giant of indies, rivals some of the mainstream brands for U.S. market share.

The Best Indie Skis

Dozens of new ski companies have sprouted in the last decade. Are they making good skis? Last spring, we went to Aspen to find out. The answer is yes, and here are our favorites.

First Ascent at Las Lenas

The First Ascent Team Skis in Las Lenas

Lynsey Dyer, Lel Tone, and the First Ascent crew headed down to Las Lenas to test out new gear and revel in the South American landscapes. Lynsey Dyer shared some of her photos with us.

A skier will see one thing right away when looking at the design for the 95-room luxury North Slope Ski Hotel—an actual ski slope. “I had never seen a structure before where the ski slope was incorporated into the structure,” Jantzen says. “It seemed like an interesting thing to explore from a design point. The aesthetics of the structure to me symbolically related to a snow-covered mountain and trees on the top, the trees being the wind turbines.”

The Ski Hotel of the Future

If Michael Jantzen’s vision is realized, the next all-in-one ski hotel will include solar panels, wind turbines, and a four-season slope that starts at the rooftop and brings skiers down to ground level. He shares the inspiration behind his concept North Slope Ski Hotel, a 95-room, eco-friendly luxury hotel. By Olivia Dwyer