Völkl T Rock
Thanks to a wood core, the T Rock—Völkl’s first foray into the U.S. freeheel market—is damp from tip to tail and just as solid as its name suggests. But it’s no slug: Edge-to-edge transitions are butter-smooth. Gripes: Not very forgiving; stay centered, or get tossed. Props: The widest footprint—and the most agile turner—in the category.
Test length (cm): 172
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 119/87/111
K2 Piste Pipe
The latest rendition of the Pipe has been beefed up with thicker edges and reinforced sidewalls for jibbing. But this new-school board has also been widened—resulting in all-mountain versatility and responsiveness, whether you ski switch or not. Gripes: Transitions can feel lethargic. Props: Heavy enough to plow through chop once you get ’em up to speed.
Test length (cm): 179
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 112/80/103
The lively Kodiak is an easy way for intermediates to break into the Big Mountain category—it’s a piece of cake to roll onto edge, feels forgiving in most turn shapes, and thrives under a subtle pilot. Gripes: Too flimsy to carry heavy, aggressive skiers over variable conditions or sketchy terrain. Props: Takes the nimbleness of an all-terrain ski and adds some float.
Test length (cm): 176
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 117/80/105
Black Diamond Crossbow
With an asymmetrical construction that directs power to the inside edge of the ski, the mid-fat Crossbow is a sturdy, damp performer. It dives into turns, then locks into sweeping railroad arcs. Gripes: Doesn’t like short-swing turns or quick-reflex moves. Props: Responds to both power and finesse techniques, whether you’re redlining it through crud or carving packed powder.
Test length (cm): 179
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 116/83/106
“Unshakable, raved one tester. “Trustworthy, wrote another. The TM:X, offspring of last year’s acclaimed TM:EX (the only change is the graphics) gets blue ribbons for speed, stability, and crud. A powerful, balanced flex makes for bomber big arcs even on the most flinty hardpack, while dense dual Beta cores (think of a “B on its side) boost torsional rigidity. Gripes: Low on zip; takes a lot of energy to carve. Props: Stiff enough for the hardest stomping.
Test lengths (cm): 177, 184
Tip/waist/tail (mm): 117/84/109