Looking at skis for winter 2017-2018? Put these six top planks on your list to explore.
The brand-booth trolling at SIA a month ago ended with the greatest and most satisfying conclusion, a day spent testing new skis at Copper Mountain. The annual on-snow demo was filled to the brim with the best skis next season has to offer. I took full advantage. Here are my favorites.
SKIER: I am a 6’5″, 240-pound, 100-percent ski maniac whose passion was born and refined on the steeps of Telluride, Colo. And I like to have fun on skis.
CONDITIONS: Cold and sunny, with packed snow that set up tough in the morning and chalky in the afternoon. Skis were tested on groomers, in gladed trees, and through bumps.
Most Fun: Black Diamond Boundary Pro
Winner, winner, chicken dinner! The Boundary Pro was the only ski I returned to for an additional ride during the demo, and for good reason: It was super duper fun!
In the past, I felt Black Diamond skis lacked “flavah.” Not the case with the Boundary Pro. The 107-mm waist (also available in 115 mm) and silky silhouette allows the ski to handle any kind of condition.
This is a daily-driver ski.
The fluid profile — a happy tip-n-tail rocker with confident camber underfoot — provides a plethora of turn shapes. I cranked race turns on the groom, flowed like melted butter through the bumps, and skidded the tails into powder clouds on convex rollers.
The Boundary Pro has a freeride heart with performance in mind. Perfect for the skier who wants sufficient stiffness for aggressive, powerful lines and enough playfulness to butter the muffin, which is ski-bum speak for waltzing around with a big ole grin on your face.
Fast & Furious: Blizzard Rustler 11
Holy smokes, this puppy wants to go fast and turn hard. But don’t worry, you are in control of the ride.
The Blizzard Rustler 11 is a big, hard-charging beast with a coy, flirtatious soul. I tested the 188 cm length, which has a 114-mm waist (it’s also available at 180 cm/102 mm, and 192 cm/116 mm).
It features Carbon Flipcore D.R.T., or Dynamic Release Technology, with titanal and uni-directional carbon. That means it drives hard and confidently on edge but can easily be thrown sideways in a playful release of your turn.
I really wish I could have tested it in eyeball deep snow but it made me yell “yippee” on the hardpack nonetheless.
Fun & Lively Ski: Line Sick Day 94
The ski scientists at Line know how to make really fun planks and the Sick Day 94 is in line with that tradition. This puppy is all about versatility with a 94-mm waist underfoot and a lightweight and lively aspen core. The SD 94 is lightning quick edge-to-edge and has a nimble side-to-side windshield wiper swing.
It’s twitchy in the trees, flows in the bumps, and rips strong, short radius carves on the corduroy. I tested this early in the morn when the snow was hard, cold, and tough. If the Sick Day 94 can make that snow fun, just imagine what it can do when conditions are prime.
Bump Lover: Sego Big Horn 96
I would have rather tested the 187cm length but the Sego crew only had the 181 cm, which is a little short for me. Still, even the shorty was a blast. The pronounced rocker camber profile, wonderfully nicknamed Symmetrical Moustache Rocker, was most noticeable and enjoyable in the bumps.
By mid-day, the snow softened and Copper Mountain’s moguls were ready to go. The Big Horn had me jumping and hopping up, in, and around the bumps like a happy lil’ bunny rabbit. The edge hold is definitely there, but the Big Horn is all about fun, schmeary turns. The 106, the 96’s big brother, is sure to be the same.
Top Carver: Salomon XDR ti
The XDR ti carves up the groomers better than Grandpa can slice the Christmas ham. It’s precise, supremely stable, has extreme hold, and somehow the tail doesn’t feel locked into the turn. There’s no fight to roll this ski back over.
Salomon found the frontside carving sweet spot: damp, confident power without overpowering the skier. It’s maple syrup smoooooooth, but feels strong and inspires hard shredding. Mellow tip rocker makes turn initiation a breeze. You can feel every ounce of rebound with the full wood core. The XDR ti grips the snow confidently, loads up in the apex of the turn, and catapults you into your next arc.
It’s damn energetic and damn fun.
All-Mountain From Pow Brand: DPS Alchemist Cassiar 95
DPS is often thought of as the soul rider’s brand, a ski for the hippie wiggler looking for deep turns in untracked powder. That’s not necessarily off base — who are we kidding though? Creamy pow turns are the cat’s meow. But DPS also makes some rippers as well.
The Alchemist Cassiar 95 is a perfect blend of power, edge hold, carveability, and supreme fun. The deep sidecut (129-95-116 mm), high tip rocker, and slight flare in the otherwise traditional box tail produce clean and assertive turns.
It leans a little toward soft snow performance but can easily be considered an everyday and every condition plank. The Alchemist Cassiar 95 will make any type of skier have a great day.