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Fish-Shaped, Swallow-Tailed, and Multiple Personalities: Season Equipment Forma 177 Powder Ski Review

The Season Equipment Forma is unlike any other powder setup I've been on — they float like butterflies in fresh snow and slash like all-mountain skis on chunder, crust, chop, and hardpack.

(Photo/Rachel Laux)
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Looking southwest over Vail’s Outer Mongolia Bowl, all I could see in front of me was uncut powder. There was nary a cloud in the bluebird sky. My partners and I had just hiked through the gate at the top of the Mongolia Poma Lift, to the summit of the peak above Two Elk Pass. By the look of it, we were the first people to venture back there that morning despite 5 inches of fresh snow.

Finally, I had a perfect opportunity to test Season Equipment’s Forma powder skis in the conditions they were built for. So far I’d ridden the 116mm swallow-tailed beasts mostly on hardpack in the resort and on choppy, wind-scoured backcountry runs — on which they’d performed to a level I never would have expected. These skis charge hard, hold a strong edge, and slash through crud, chunder, and chop like broadswords.

Very early in my testing, I realized the Formas do not feel like fish out of water on harder snow — unlike some powder skis when they aren’t in powder. The Formas ski like true all-mountain aggressors. I hadn’t gotten them onto terrain where they’d felt out of place.

Nor had I gotten the powder skis on any real powder. Here and there I’d found stashes, catching brief glimpses of the Formas’ temperament in the deeper stuff — but it wasn’t enough to make any hard judgments on their pow performance.

Today was the day, though. I picked my line down the gentle slope into Outer Mongolia, kicked the snow off of the Formas’ plain matte black topsheets, squeezed my poles’ grips, and dropped in.

Immediately, I felt as though I was riding a different ski. The rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth hardpack personality of the Formas was gone, replaced instead with an elegant, levitated disposition. My turns were silky smooth, buttery, with perfect edge control and effortless float. Mr. Hyde had been replaced by Dr. Jekyll.

In short: Season Equipment’s Forma (177 cm tested) is a versatile, powder-focused ski. It’s a blast in deep snow, where the swallowtail and shovel tips help them float easily. They are controllable on hardpack and nimble in tight trees and moguls, despite their 116mm underfoot width. Steep sidecut allows for both short poppy turns and long arcing carves. These are great for intermediate to advanced skiers who want a versatile powder ski for the deepest days.

If you’re in the market, check out GearJunkie’s guide to the Best All-Mountain Skis to compare the Formas.

Season Equipment Forma Powder Ski


  • Sizes 167, 177, 183 cm
  • Contact length 130 cm (@ 177 length)
  • Effective edge 148 cm
  • Sidecut 18 M
  • Weight 1,950 g
  • Width 16 mm
  • Rocker type Rocker-Camber-Rocker
  • Terrain Big mountain, powder
  • Tail Swallowtail


  • Extremely versatile, all-mountain capable
  • Floats exceptionally well in powder
  • Stable, confident, reliable on variable snow
  • Wildly unique skiing experience


  • Stainless steel inserts for swallowtail are vulnerable to damage
  • Heavy for uphill or long-distance travel

Season Equipment Forma 177 Powder Skis: Review

When I started testing the Season Equipment Forma ski, I had no idea what I was in for. I knew of Season Equipment, Eric Pollard’s indie startup ski and snowboard brand. I’d seen a few pairs of their distinctive black silhouettes flashing around the resort. But I’d never ridden any of the brand’s skis.

The Forma was first released in 2021. It’s a stiff, fish-shaped ski. The unique shape, setback stance, and elongated rocker make the Forma perfect “to plane in fresh snow” as the Season website describes. The 2024 Forma has a new topsheet material for improved durability and comes in a new size — 177 cm. Previously the ski only came in 167 and 183.

(Photo/Rachel Laux)

These skis have an ultralight Karuba wood core and carbon layer for extra weight savings. But still, the Formas have some heft. At 1,950 g (at 177 mm length), they make for a heavier backcountry setup.

Nevertheless, Season assured me that I’d want to ride the Forma in the backcountry. So, the brand slapped a pair of Salomon S/Lab Shift MNC 13 bindings on the Formas and sent me on my way.

I got the skis into testing in late December when Colorado’s snowpack was still pretty thin. I knew the hardpack conditions weren’t going to be the Forma’s natural habitat. So I expected the Season Forma skis to perform sluggishly. I expected to manhandle them when I gained speed or navigated tight terrain.

I expected wrong.

On the Hard Stuff

Season Equipment 177 Forma Powder Ski
(Photo/Rachel Laux)

As I leaned into my first turn on the Season Forma skis I was instantly taken aback by the power they put forward. I often ride stiff, and fairly aggressive skis in the resort — but these were different. On hardpack, the Forma skied like the mountain had hell to pay, and it had come to collect.

Ripping around the resort, I had to frequently remind myself that these are technically powder skis. Because, when they aren’t in powder, they were performing as adeptly as my go-to K2 Mindbender 99 Ti’s — an all-mountain ski that’s 17 mm skinnier underfoot. The Forma’s swallow tail, tight (18 m) turn radius, and 4mm camber are to thank for that. The fat waist seems to vanish, or at least shrink, once you get them going.

(Photo/Will Brendza)

On groomers, the Forma was surprisingly fun. The edge control wasn’t iron-fisted on seriously icy runs. But it was reliably stable and secure on anything softer. I could charge these skis on-piste, and carve with a significant edge angle.

The suspension on the Season Forma skis, their weight, and shovel noses made chopped-up powder and chunder feel less harsh. They slashed through that stuff, feeling perfectly at home and predictable in rougher snow conditions.

Season Equipment 177 Forma Powder Ski
(Photo/Will Brendza)

And in trees and bumps? I fully expected this to be where the Formas fell short. Fat, stiff, heavier powder skis are not what I would typically choose for such runs.

But again, I was mistaken. In tight terrain, these skis have the agility of a much skinnier and lighter ski. Once I got a feel for how they maneuvered I had no reservations about diving into glades and mogul slopes — powder-laden or not.

In the Pow

(Photo/Rachel Laux)

The moment the Formas find softer, deeper snow, their personality changes entirely. The skis become gentle giants. They have levity and can cruise or crush, depending on the slope angle and how hard you’re skiing. I could hook the skis and splash powder with short, poppy turns or stretch them out into long arcing carves.

The unique swallowtail shape works in tandem with the 148mm rocker noses to boost floatation. The tails sink and the tips rise with minimal effort on the part of the skier.

(Photo/Rachel Laux)

Because of that design, I had no issues with tip dives. In fact, I found that the Formas drive well from the front. Instead of pivoting from the center or rear, if I pivoted into a turn from the tips, the skis’ bodies would follow effortlessly — kind of like how surfers steer their boards from the front. That was something I hadn’t experienced in a ski before and it added a new dimension to playing around in powder.

There were powder days this season when I should have been on other skis for the sake of testing, but chose the Formas instead. They weren’t just fun to ski in that kind of snow; they offered a totally unique ride that kept calling me back to the experience.

In the Backcountry?

Season Equipment 177 Forma Powder Ski
(Photo/Rachel Laux)

If you aren’t worried about the weight of your touring setup, then the Forma is a prime candidate for a backcountry ski. It’s effective on variable snow, and maneuvers in tight terrain, and will work for big mountain powder skiing, backcountry strike missions, and casual laps on your local resort’s uphill track.

They will not be the fastest on the uphill. Nor will they be the easiest for distance tours. But if you can deal with that, the Formas make for a great pair of backcountry skis. The confidence they give me is very welcome when I’m skiing into the untamed unknown.

On the Ski Rack

Season Equipment 177 Forma Powder Ski
(Photo/Rachel Laux)

Swallowtail and fish shape aside, the Formas stand out like all of Season Equipment’s skis and boards, for its deemphasized matte black topsheets. Don’t get me wrong, I like sick topsheet art as much as the next guy. But there is something about a purely jet-black ski that just feels cool.

And it seems like a statement from Season: We aren’t here to doodle. We’re here to make badass skis.

You’d be surprised how many comments I got on such an aesthetically simple pair of boards.

Room for Improvement

Season Equipment 177 Forma Powder Ski
(Photo/Will Brendza)

I could tell you that I felt like I had to baby the stainless steel inserts of the swallowtail tips. They seem vulnerable to damage, especially when you’re leaning them against a wall or ski rack. I found myself laying these skis flat on the ground more often because of this.

I could also tell you that the swing weight of these skis was on the heavier end of the spectrum, and put slightly more strain on my knees and leg muscles. Skiing all day on the Formas tired me out more than a full day on some of my lighter setups — especially in the backcountry.

I could even point to the tips’ chewed-up topsheet where my edges chipped away at the black nylon.

But to be perfectly honest, I would be nitpicking. These skis were designed by Pollard out of pure passion and a life of experience, and that’s clear throughout their design. It’s really hard to be critical of the Formas without sounding pedantic or fussy. They’re just really solid, all-around skis.

Season Equipment Forma 177 Powder Skis: The Final Word

Season Equipment 177 Forma Powder Ski
(Photo/Rachel Laux)

There are a lot of tangible reasons why a skier would like the Season Equipment Forma skis. They are powder skis that are a ton of fun on hardpack, groomers, chop, and chunder. They offer a unique feeling ride that has multiple personalities and modes. It can be an aggressive, hard-charging ski when you want it to be, and a surfy, silky smooth ride when it gets in powder.

Then there are the intangible reasons for them. It is difficult to describe, but the energy of these skis is simply attractive. I built a fast relationship with them over 2½ months of testing. Every time I pulled them out of my lineup, it felt like I was going skiing with an old friend.

Gushy talk aside, these skis performed exceptionally well, plain and simple. From their shovel noses to their swallowtails, the level of engineering and design that went into every inch of them is impressive — and it is impossible to ignore that when you start riding them.

These might just be the most sophisticated powder skis I’ve had the chance to ride. And to put a cherry on top, Season Equipment includes a lifetime of free maintenance at evo retailers for any of its products. So if you ever need to repair or tune up your Formas, bring them to evo and cash in on Season Equipment’s warranty.

Patagonia Untracked Jacket; (photo/Jason Hummel)

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