Photos by Casey Day
Welcome to the second annual Powder7 Buyer’s Guide for 2023-2024 skis and gear! We’re happy you’re here.
We started the Powder7 Buyer’s Guide to create a resource that helps you navigate the sea of skis available to all of us these days. The way we see it, naming “best skis” isn’t all that helpful. It’s more about finding the best skis for you, your goals, and your style. The good news? This season brings plenty of new gear to satisfy the skier universe, plus no lack of returning favorites.
As always, if you have any questions, or thoughts, or just want to gab skis, feel free to reach out to a ski expert here at the shop. We’re always psyched to chat gear.
How We Tested
We brought more than 20 Powder7 staffers to Loveland Ski Area for four days of nonstop ski testing. The mission? Rip as many laps as we possibly could on new 2023-2024 skis—from skinny to wide and progressive to stout. Testers filled out feedback cards with an open format to describe what they liked, what they didn’t, and where the skis fit in the wide-open arena of products available today. Playful or demanding? Quick or burly? Who’s it really for? You get the gist.
Testers: Powder7 employees of mixed abilities and ski styles
Primary test location: Loveland Ski Area
Conditions: Some sunny days hovering right around 30 degrees, and storm days with wind and fresh snow. No deep powder on the main drags, but we found some pow stashes.
The head honcho. Everyone’s looking for that one ski to do it all. Brands design “all-mountain skis” with that in mind. They are built to transition seamlessly from the groomed trails and bumps to chutes and wide-open bowls. You’ll find deep variety, with some skis preferring to charge through mixed snow with big turns and others that take a more dynamic and playful approach.
We like to categorize these skis somewhere between 88mm and 102mm underfoot (no offense, skinny-ski lovers). Skis on either end could fall into more carving-oriented or soft-snow-focused categories depending on how they ski. Of course, your local terrain (bulletproof ice vs. endless deep crud) dictates what “all-mountain” might mean for you. Start somewhere in this range, and then narrow down your list based on how you like to ski.
Overview: Classics never die—they just get better with age. The Stockli Stormrider 95 has long been a favorite at the shop, and tweaks for 2024 do the impossible: make it even better. The steel top sheet and Swiss race-heritage construction might seem intimidating, but this ski doesn’t beat you up, despite that powerful titanal brushed finish. The ride is damp with excellent edge hold, all with a relatively low swing weight. This year, the skis get an adjusted tail shape to release easier in tight places.
Superpower: Premium dampness and stability, without feeling unnecessarily demanding
Quotable: “Laying down an edge in all conditions puts the ski on absolute rails. It inspired confident charging on hard-pack, ice, crud, and variable conditions. I was very impressed with its low-speed maneuverability on edge. It had plenty of tip rocker to stay above sun-baked snow and enough tail rocker for slashy turns.”—JB
Overview: We named these skis as a top pick last year and due to popular demand, they’re back. One of the best in the business for its smooth transitions and damp ride. The Sender falls into Rossignol’s “directional freeride” category. Ample tip rocker leads to easy-to-link turns, while a flatter tail increases edge hold when conditions firm up. This ski feels quick and nimble underfoot, letting you zipper bump lines and earn hoots and hollers from the lift.
Superpower: Smooth and quick transitions from edge to edge, navigates varying snow conditions well
Quotable: “Whatever tech they used to dampen vibrations in these is next level because these were the most buttery smooth-feeling skis I’ve ever clipped my boots into. A winning combination of stability and light-playfulness that will make you happy charging steeps, carving groomers, zippering bumps, or popping off side hits.” —Aaron
Overview: You might be surprised to see this reprise of a park ski in the “all-around” all-mountain category. Well, we were surprised at how well it skied. Testers of all styles flew down to the tent with the biggest grins after a few hot laps on this ski. The all-new Line Chronic 101 is smoother, more stable, and more versatile than you would expect. The playful shape performs like you think: easy to pivot, slash, and throw sideways. But the Chronic holds up when dealing with afternoon chop and icy trails.
Superpower: Takes a playful park ski and turns it into a capable all-mountain daily driver
Quotable: “This is an all-mountain ski that does everything at the highest level. Possibly the best ski ever made. Incredibly playful but can tear up a groomer with confidence. Fantastic on quick turns. I don’t like not owning one.”—Mason P.
Overview: The Dynastar M Free 99 shocks skiers from east to west. How does an all-mountain freestyle ski handle this well? Dynastar uses their unique Hybrid Core Poplar PU that blends lightweight and shock-absorbing PU with a poppy wood core. The result is a super smooth, lively ride. Combined with an ultra-playful shape, the M Free 99 gives you the confidence to tackle tricky lines and tough conditions with style.
Superpower: Impressive stability and smooth riding with such a playful and rockered shape
Quotable: “Loved it! Stiff underfoot with a playful tip and tail. Can still lay on edge and cruise through chop and variable conditions. It tackles anything thrown at it while still being playful, pivot-y, and burly feeling.” —Grant
Overview: It’s right in the name—the Elan Playmaker 101 wants to play. Offering a softer flex and twin-tip shape, the Playmaker is a fun-loving playful alternative to the popular Ripstick. Elan borrows weight-saving construction features from their other skis, like the 360-degree sidewalls and hollow carbon rods. As a result, you get a ski that’s balanced in the air, easy to flick around, and encourages you to pursue a career in stunt work.
Superpower: Lightweight freestyle fun
Quotable: “Really fun ski for someone who likes to play around the mountain. Quick pivots, decently soft, and very much alive. The energy the ski produces out of turns is really great compared to a lot of the twin tip/freeride shape skis I’ve ridden.” —Ben S.
Overview: The Armada ARV series keeps blending freestyle fun and all-mountain performance. This year, Armada overhauled the narrower ARVs to punch up their freestyle flair. The new ARV 94 is the middle of the bunch (with a softer ARV 100 and stiffer ARV 88). You’ll find decent stability on-trail during icy mornings and a forgiving feel in the afternoon bumps. Armada’s new “w3dgewall” sidewall—a literal wedge-shaped sidewall—lowers the weight while increasing strength and durability. Early season obstacles and features, watch out.
Superpower: Increased durability, strength, and longevity with w3dgewall
Quotable: “Super playful and poppy. I wanted to ride this ski all day. I still felt stable despite how lively it was.” —Carter
Overview: Latin for “good faith,” you can trust these skis to deliver. Blizzard’s wider directional all-mountain machine is a perfect choice for managing the gauntlet of conditions a resort can throw at you. The Bonafide is responsive and supportive for carving on trail and a solid platform for pushing through soft chop and slush off-piste. All with one of the most damp and planted chassis on ski shop walls today. Minimal rocker and a directional shape. This ski likes high speeds, big turns, and technically strong users.
Superpower: Delivers directional skiers a stout platform that remains maneuverable and predictable
Quotable: “It’s a blast to rip around with on groomers and more open terrain, and while it definitely requires some effort and decent technique in tighter terrain, it was surprisingly manageable. It’s not ultra-forgiving of poor technique and mistakes, but it’s not ultra-punishing either.” —Jonathan
Overview: Skiers usually associate Faction with their freestyle-inspired lines like the Prodigy and Mana. For those less interested in landing switch and launching spins, meet the Dancer. At 96mm underfoot, the Dancer 2 lives in a sweet spot. Nimble and responsive yet also stable and powerful. The dual metal laminate construction works with a directional shape to provide power. While some more playful skis like to skip across the top, the Dancer powers through. Yet, it feels notably poppier and snappier than other demanding models here. We love this ski for the directional skier who attacks the fall line and occasionally likes to throw a slash or three.
Superpower: Precise and predictable, with energy that wants to dance all day and night
Quotable: “I’d trust this ski with my life. It blends Faction fun and energy from other models with a super predictable and reliable platform. The flat tail holds a turn well and provides confident edge hold that was more precise than I expected. ” —Alex
Overview: The Stance sizzles under the radar, but every time we send a staffer on it, they come back with smiles for miles. Salomon tweaked the metal construction to make the ski more intuitive. Two extra windows of metal cutouts reduce the torsional rigidity, resulting in a less punishing ride. The ski still rails at speed, gobbles icy trails for breakfast, and plows through slush in the afternoon. Everything you want in a directional all-mountain ski.
Superpower: Stable, predictable, charge-y, and confidence-inspiring at speed without feeling planky
Quotable: “Crud-busting stability at as high of a speed as I could have wanted, but stayed balanced and responsive in the bumps without tiring me out. Zero tip chatter! It leans on the demanding side, but I don’t even think I can rank it as a 5 for demanding because it felt so intuitive for me to ski. It felt like such a natural extension of my legs that I almost can’t explain why I love it so much.” —Annabelle M.
Overview: The Mindbender stays hot year after year. Since its release in 2019, it remains one of the most popular and versatile all-mountain skis around. The tweaks last year added more metal and “oomph” at power points, with a more forgiving tail for easy release in bumps and trees. That means the Mindbender offers solid and confidence-inspiring performance on firm snow, with the right amount of maneuverability everywhere else. When soft snow does come around? A deep-tip rocker and a light swing weight float you to the top of the snow.
Superpower: Versatility, versatility, versatility
Quotable: “This is a great hard-charging but precise ski! It held a great edge on hard pack snow and busts through crud well for its weight. This would be a solid daily driver. The tails of the ski are less punishing than other skis in this category, which I think makes it a bit more approachable!” —Kyra
Overview: The Chamonix ski makers at Black Crows built a reputation for their playful models with poppy cores and softer flexes. The Serpo offers skiing crows an alternative. The ski charges, pops, and tackles variable conditions with a bit more precision than the similar-sized Captis. The Serpo features the same H-shaped partial metal sheet through the tip and tail as the 100mm Justis. That metal shape gives you power and shock absorption where you need it while preventing the ski from feeling too torsionally rigid.
Superpower: Black Crows pop and snap on a stable, all-mountain chassis
Quotable: “Very fun carver! Easy turn initiation and extremely supportive tail to drive through turns. A little punishing in the backseat, but remained nimble in the bumps.” —Aaron
Overview: Located up the hill from us in Breckenridge, Rocky Mountain Underground has caught fire in recent years. RMU was founded by a crew of friends who just wanted to make skis they like. Now the brand builds several different models and all sorts of other gear. The Apostle and women’s Valhalla check the boxes for all-mountain skiing. Quick turns edge-to-edge on groomed terrain and bumps, nimble in the trees, and solid flotation when you find soft snow. Oh, and the skis are gorgeous and handmade to be ultra-durable.
Superpower: Light and quick without losing predictability or stability
Quotable: “Super quick and responsive. The taper and rocker maximize float when I found powder stashes around the mountain, especially considering the width. Light on the feet and lively. It’s not the chargiest ski, but it was plenty stable. I loved this ride!”—Alex
Overview: The Rustler and Sheeva collection was arguably the first major line to blend metal construction with a playful profile. It worked. The skis racked up “best in test” accolades year after year. But for 2024, for the first time, the entire lineup gets a big refresh with a new metal shape and True Blend wood core. Blizzard retained the liveliness and quickness of the old models, with added stability and support in critical zones. Compared to the Blizzard Bonafide above, the Rustler and Sheeva are best for skiers who like a bit more energy and playful feel out of their all-mountain ski, rather than purely planted, fall-line performance.
Superpower: Precise and predictable, while remaining quick and lively
Quotable: “Very solid on edge, very stout and supportive flex pattern, and felt pretty damp as well. Doesn’t really get deflected very much, and the front of the ski can be driven/pushed pretty hard. It was also pretty easy to release and get sideways for how stiff its flex pattern feels. A notable upgrade in stability over the old Rustlers.” —Jonathan
Overview: Ushering in a new era for DPS, the Kaizen 100 replaces the old 100 RP shape and constructions of years past. The new Kaizen line uses the wood layering build of the Pagoda skis, with the carbon layup that DPS is known for. That wicked concoction doubles down on DPS’ damp and smooth-riding reputation. Easy turn initiation and nimble turns are the name of the game here.
Superpower: Premium dampness, durability, and responsible construction techniques
Quotable: “Really fun and lively. I liked skiing it through a variety of terrain, and was just the right amount of playful and stable.” —Annabelle C.
Big-Mountain + Freeride
For the days that call for more surface area—but aren’t quite snorkel-worthy—this is the category. These skis typically measure between 102mm-112mm underfoot, although we think of them as wider all-mountain skis or narrow powder skis. They offer the versatility to ski the whole mountain, with the extra platform to find stability in deeper snow.
If you ski off-trail more often than not in snowier areas, these can work as a daily driver. If you’re looking for a nimble powder ski, these can punch the ticket. Or, if you like to jump off cliffs and features, look no further.
Overview: It’s usually something right around 110mm that causes a ruckus for the upcoming season. See the Salomon QST Blank, the Atomic Bent 110, and this year, it’s the Rossignol Sender Free 110. There are plenty of resources out there for diving into the nitty gritty tech details. We’ll keep it simple. This ski adapts to many ski styles. You can get along with it if you’re a playful skier who prioritizes a damp and stable ride. Or if you are a charge-y skier who likes to have something quick and easy to maneuver. Or somewhere between. All we know, every tester came away with this ski saying “How soon can I buy this?”
Superpower: Smooth riding and high-performance stability in a ski shape that gets along with many ski styles
Quotable: “Easy to turn quickly, fun in bumps, carved very well for 110 underfoot. Poppy and playful. Stout in icy bumps when I needed to slow myself down or wreck, the skis stayed stable and predictable. Signature Rossignol Everyperson’s ski. Anyone with any style and pretty much any ability level can jump on this ski, ski it well, and have fun doing what they like on it.” —Phil
Overview: After the success and rave reviews from lady shredders everywhere, K2 decided to expand their carbon line with a unisex, brand new, Mindbender 106C model. The 106C is redesigned to be more playful (deeper rocker and new taper) without losing its versatility for challenging snow conditions. We think they nailed it. It’s drifty, maneuverable, and easy to ski, with a more directional shape that elongates the effective edge and gives you extra support for skiing fast through challenging snow. Oh, and if powder rolls around? This thing comes alive.
Superpower: Accessible and fun, all while maintaining a damp and confidence inspiring ride
Quotable: “Damp, stable at speed, with stiffer tails that were a supportive landing pad. Good overall ski and feels intuitive. Doesn’t excel at anything specific, but isn’t particularly bad at anything, which is a compliment.” —Grant
Overview: The all-new Line Bacon 108 reimagines the classic SFB of years past. Die-hard Line Bacon fans might feel surprised by the stiffer platform underfoot, but we think you’ll get on board. The softer tips and tails make for easy butters and presses. The swing weight still feels low and easy to whip around in the air, despite that extra heft underfoot. It’s still one of the most freestyle-inspired skis we see in this category. The stiffer feel underfoot adds confidence when conditions are spicy.
Superpower: Bakes practical stability in a highly playful and freestyle-focused ski
Quotable: “The perfect level of playfulness that made me want to pop, spring, and bound all over the mountain. Literally turns the mountain into a playground. They made these skis versatile (less niche than the previous version) and maybe one of the best playful wider all-mountain skis. Super fun to carve and link turns with the stronger mid-section.” —Aaron
Overview: After making a splash last year, the Atomic Bent 110 returns. The Bent 110 packs the punch of the 120 in a more versatile package that feels reasonable to ski everyday. The progressive mount point and shape encourage getting sideways, while carbon stringers help keep things planted. Atomic’s HZN tech tips ensure you get maximum float out of every millimeter, making this a big bang for the buck kind of ski.
Superpower: Light and quick on snow and in the air. Ideal big-mountain build for hooligans sending spins and tricks in freeride terrain
Quotable: “When I had to choose one ski for a party lap in fresh snow, this was it. And I had, like, 20 options! That pretty much says it all regarding the Bent 110’s fun quotient in soft snow.” —Matt
Overview: We were the first Black Crows dealer in North America, so we’ll always have a soft spot for the Atris. The playful big-mountain ski that’s been a staple in free riders’ wish lists for years remains a top pick. The changes after last year made the skis more nimble, snappy, and more versatile for all-mountain terrain. That doesn’t mean it still doesn’t tackle crud and chop like the Black Crows Atris we know and love.
Superpower: Navigates between all-mountain versatility and big-mountain performance with ease
Quotable: “I loved how it skied, smooth and reliable on groomers, and it didn’t slow down at all in pow. It rocketed off jumps.” —Sara
Overview: Rounding out the freeride/freestyle Revolt series is the brand-new Volkl Revolt 114. Becoming the burliest of the line, the Revolt 114 is here to take you in a straight, fast line down the fall line. Volkl still infuses plenty of rocker into this ski, but you’ll find a much flatter, less tapered tail, with far less tail rocker than in the tip. Stout and heavier than some other options, but it doesn’t feel like a massive plank. For strong skiers who never feel like there’s a freeride ski for them, the Revolt 114 answers the call.
Superpower: Owning its niche as a powerful, big-turn, directional ski
Quotable: “An absolute tank of a ski that has more directional characteristics than both its wider and narrower counterparts. Did a really good job of handling the variable hard snow that we experienced while up on Chair 9 at Loveland. Something that can barrel through variable crud, edge on a groomer, and shred the bumps like no other. ” —Sam B.
Overview: On the narrower side of “big-mountain”, but it qualifies nonetheless. The Volkl Mantra and Secret 102 take the cult-favorite all-mountain Mantra/Secret and puts it on a bigger, wider, and badder platform. The narrower waist and minimal rocker give better bite on firm or variable snow compared to the Revolt 114 listed above. You’ll find a bit more agility in tight terrain. Volkl’s 3D Sidecut Radius gives you maneuverability where you need it, from tight chutes to resort bumps. Our testers found plenty of float for poor man powder days. This year, the Secret 102 receives the carbon tip and other updates the Mantra received last year.
Superpower: Feeling bombproof no matter the snow conditions
Quotable: “I was a little intimidated by the reputation of the ski, but I found it was well within in my ability, especially in open spaces. The edge hold was 10/10 for its width, but really for any width, and crushed in powder too. Normally, it takes me a couple of turns to find my groove in powder, but on the Secrets, I had 3 perfect turns right off the bat.” —Annabelle M.
Overview: Not a new ski, but back in black. The murdered-out graphics this year call back to the cult classic Nordica Helldorado of years past. The 110 Free takes one of our staff’s daily drivers in the 104 Free and puts it on a bigger platform for deeper days. Two full sheets of metal, with the surfy freeride shape, make for a wicked cocktail of “pivot-able” and “drive-able.” If you like a ski you can get sideways (with some effort) and can charge through any snow conditions, this is the ski for you.
Superpower: Freeride-inspired shape with two sheets of metal that wants to gobble up the worst snow conditions you throw at it
Quotable: “As someone who loved the Helldorado, I was immediately drawn to the call-back. It’s rad! And the ski still shreds with all the power and freeride prowess we’ve come to love.” —Matt
Overview: The QST 106 remains a go-to recommendation for skiers everywhere looking for a wider ski that can still do it all. Every time it updates, the QST 106 only gets better. Last year, Salomon dialed up the playful factor with a deeper rocker profile and more taper. Double sidewall technology levels up the suspension and increases edge hold underfoot. But Salomon knows you’ll be hunting for powder stashes, so the QST 106 floats and drifts through soft snow and tight terrain.
Superpower: Well-balanced and smooth riding, can adapt to several riding styles
Quotable: “Felt good at everything. Bumps were fluid and fun. Groomers were fun! Held solid on edge. I didn’t like when my DINs were set to 4 and I popped out mid-ride (user error!), but the ski is versatile and I think anyone can dig it.” —Andrew
Overview: The Fischer Ranger 108 continues to climb to the top of the staff’s favorite lists. The Ranger’s unique metal shape provides stability underfoot and at critical points for solid edge hold. The metal sheet is thin, designed to keep the ski feeling light and easy to flick around, while still providing enough support to ski the way you want. In classic Fischer style, the ski is directional but remains drifty and slashy enough to please any skier who likes to play around sometimes.
Superpower: Carves like less than a 108mm ski, and floats wider than a 108mm ski
Quotable: “This has honestly been one of my favorite 100+mm skis to carve. Could make for a sweet one-ski quiver in Colorado. Wide enough for when the snow is good, but still plenty fun on days when it’s not.” —Jonathan
Overview: The Unleashed brings the ski industry a unique shape that’s proven to be stable, predictable, maneuverable, and fun. What more can you ask for in a big-mountain ski? Nordica used the terrain-specific metal from other skis in their lineup along with a twin-tip shape. But with a twist. Nordica gave the skis an elongated effective edge with less rocker but increased tip and tail splay. The result is a ski that can stay on top of the snow and maneuver easily, but finds increased stability on firm snow.
Superpower: Predictable playfulness
Quotable: “My favorite thing about this ski was its predictability. Skiing unknown Crested Butte steeps felt like no stress. It was easy to get sideways when I needed to take a turn, easy to push harder when I wanted to go for it, and was a trusty platform on new terrain for me.” —Alex
Overview: DPS launches a brand new shape with the Kaizen 105, taking things skiers loved in the C2 with some user-friendly updates. Still directional, but with a deeper tip rocker that calls back to the old RP tip shape. The tail shape is unique and gives a little more drift and slide out of turns. You still get the variable snow bite and stability you look for from DPS, with a less demanding shape.
Superpower: Impressive dampness and predictability for the weight in a directional shape
Quotable: “Super driveable, quick, and bouncy at the same time. I loved how much speed I could pick up and how easily I could move. So much fun.” —Mat
Overview: Undoubtedly, the freshest and most unique ski coming up for 23/24. The Shaman will look familiar to ski nerds. The ultra-wide shovel and tapered shape create unrivaled float and maneuverability in deep snow. The narrower waist keeps the agility you need for navigating trees, chutes, and carving a groomer back to the lift. With fresh construction techniques and materials, the Shaman 2.0 is ready to rock and roll once again.
Superpower: Well, look at it! Float and cut through deep or choppy snow with a big bang for your buck
Quotable: Carved surprisingly well and made me feel confident at high speed. A lot more lively and maneuverable than it looks!” —Ben B.
Overview: Brand new for 2024, the DPS Koala 111 fills the gap between the all-mountain freestyle Koala 103 and powder freeriding Koala 118. The Koala 111 blends the softer flex of the Koala 103 with the big platform of the powder-oriented sibling. It can bend and press as you’d expect from a freestyle ski, with the stability and predictability you’re looking for from a big-mountain charging ski.
Superpower: The perfect blend of freestyle fun and predictable performance in tough conditions
Quotable: “It’s a hawk. I was impressed by the big-mountain power built into the Koala 111, considering there’s no metal in this ski. It’s stompy and still loose enough to slash as long as you stay on top of it.” —Matt
One could argue that this is the most fun ski category. It certainly hosts some of the coolest looking skis. Powder days are what most of us spend our off-season dreaming about, so it’s important to have skis that maximize your best days. These are all skis that fall somewhere above 112mm underfoot. The wider you go, the better the float. But, some pack power into a small package.
Overview: The third and widest Kaizen fits well into the all-around powder category. The wide and tapered tip gives you plenty of float even at 112mm underfoot. That gives you nimbleness for tight terrain and navigating variable snow, with one of the floatiest tip shapes in the business. DPS’s construction updates make this an even more stable and supportive ride.
Superpower: Big bang for the buck flotation on a nimble and “turn-y” platform
Quotable: “Great soft snow performance, and an extremely good combination of maneuverability, low swing weight, and support/stability. It feels light and quick to maneuver but doesn’t feel like it suffers from a ton of deflection at the same time. Also carves reliably and holds an edge well. Supportive tail mixed with a very loose/surfy tapered tip. Great soft-snow tree ski.” —Jonathan
Overview: The Volkl Blaze series exploded in the scene right when “lightweight freeride” was hitting ski shops everywhere. This year, they expand the Volkl Blaze in both directions: a narrower 82 which we discuss below, and this new powder hound 114. The Blaze 114 floats and surfs in deep snow with ease, while the stiffness lets you lay this over on edge. A great option for inbounds and out, especially if you deal with variable snow conditions.
Superpower: Lightweight freeride fun in a stable and lively package
Quotable: “Everything. Felt exceptionally quick and maneuverable to pivot/slash (AWESOME tree ski!), and held an edge extremely well for a ski of this weight and width. It also felt very surfy in soft snow and offered a great mix of pop/energy and stability. Super intuitive to ski, also, and seems like it could accommodate a wide variety of skiers.” –Jonathan
Overview: The widest in the Faction Prodigy family, the 4 hits 116mm underfoot and serves as a great all-around, powder-focused ski that is happy tackling steep lines and big landings. The Prodigy skis are playful and slashy, and the Prodigy 4 is no different. Easy to pivot and quick to respond, this ski rides like something much more narrow. Ideal if you need to find lines through tight chutes or skied out bowls.
Superpower: Freeride powder machine that is as comfortable stomping landings as it is navigating tight terrain
Quotable: “Top to bottom these skis are so good. Soft in tip and tail, really easy to butter and slash through the mountain. I skied these on groomers, fluffy stuff, bumps, park and everything in between. This was my favorite ski of the day.” —Ben S.
Overview: The ultra-surfy Nocta gets a rebrand for 2024. Black Crows brings back camber with a vengeance. The construction is still soft and buttery. The shape swivels and pivots on a dime. Black Crows added camber underfoot compared to the formerly full rocker Nocta, delivering stability and strength when you find some firm snow. At 122mm underfoot, there’s plenty of platform to get you around in the deepest of deep days.
Superpower: Classic, soft, buttery, powder fun
Quotable: “Soft tips and tails, very easy to turn and pivot. Very surfy underfoot feeling. Easy to whip around in bumps and trees. Good pop and balance with the mount point, but when you get in trouble you can lean into it underfoot and it keeps you stable. Typical Black Crows, even tho it’s a pow ski it still does everything well. ” —Phil
Overview: To ride a powder ski from Head, you were faced with a single option. The Head Kore 117. A great ski (we discuss it below), but not the best choice for skiers who like riding switch or getting the ski sideways. Enter the Head Oblivion 116. The new pro model from Cole Richardson takes the shape and construction you might find on a park ski, and makes it big. That adds up to the support you need to stomp big landings and ski fast in big-mountain terrain. You’ll find snap, pop, and stability in other parts of the mountain, too.
Superpower: For those looking to send the biggest backflip of the season on the deepest day of the year
Quotable: “Very poppy and playful, and carved surprisingly well for it being quite a bit short, fairly soft, and a 116 underfoot. Was very reliable on edge, and predictable all over the mountain. Skied switch extremely well, and just felt like a really fun, playful ski overall. Great if you want to take a freestyle approach to pow days, but want versatility as well.” —Jonathan
Overview: For the folks who come from a racing background or think powder skis are all too playful these days, give the Head Kore 117 a look. The lightweight graphene construction is easy to swing around in deep snow. The 117 features a different tip shape and construction to keep things easy to turn and link. But this is no noodle. As with the rest of the Kore series, the Kore 117 feels stout to flex, but that support delivers confidence to dial up the speed.
Superpower: Skis like a ski that’s much heavier than it actually is
Quotable: “Light, but stout through the middle. Tips feel softer than the 111 which was great for initiating quick, precise turns in trees. Tails are stout but didn’t punish me when I got sloppy. Easy to swing around and slash too. The widest World Cup Rebels ski around.” —Phil
Overview: That’s right, two Black Crows skis in the powder section. Turns out the folks from Chamonix know that not a single powder board in the lineup will do the trick. Where the Nocta is surfy and buttery, the Anima charges. Kevlar reinforcements (you know, the stuff they put in bulletproof gear) dampen and stiffen the ski, while ample tip and tail rocker let you find some maneuverability in tight places. The ski is super predictable at speed and in variable snow, and floats like a dream. Don’t be afraid to open things up.
Superpower: Highly predictable at speed and in variable snow, made for Alaska
Quotable: “I thought I liked softer playful powder sticks, and then I skied the Anima. The Anima gives you full trust that it can devour any snow conditions you throw at it without transferring bad vibrations up to you. These turn mellow pow trees at Wolf Creek to Andorra in the Freeride World Tour.” —Alex
Overview: The Maiden and Nomad are staples in the Icelantic lineup. The widest options are everything you could want in a powder ski. Beautiful graphics, durable construction, surfy, and predictable. Perfect for finding float in the snow we dream about, while also pushing through heavier or less ideal snow. The playful shape is classic freeride—deep tip and tail rocker with tall splay for maneuverability. Our founder likes to ski it in Alaska and wherever else he can.
Superpower: Cruises through crud and perfect powder with equal performance
Quotable: “The Maiden 111 surprised me. Despite not ideal conditions, it was pretty awesome! It was fun and easy to control in bumps and was shockingly easy to get on edge for a fatty. The rocker made it ski pretty short which made it more maneuverable. The extra width on it actually gave it a bit of torsional stability, which made it feel controlled on edge and I could cruise the groomers on it which was sweet. Super poppy for a bit of air and a nice stable landing platform too.” —Sara
Overview: The OG Bent Chetler will always have legend status. From the mind and soul of Chris Benchetler, the Bent Chetler 120 surfs powder, spins like a dream, butters toast, and does it all in style. A bonafide pow-stick at 120mm, but nimble enough to make you think otherwise. A top choice for freestyle skiers looking for something to take off of features, or as an entry-level wide ski.
Superpower: Accessible for first-time big ski owners, and performs for freeride experts
Quotable: “Outstanding ski for days when it’s at all soft, light, nimble, but with plenty of suspension for speed and firmer surfaces. Hard to beat in this category.” — Justin
Overview: We’ve highlighted new powder skis above too, but would be remiss in not mentioning the brand-new K2 Crescendo. Hard to beat a powder ski that replaces the infamous Pon2oon. At 132mm underfoot, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a ski that floats better than this. While you might not always need that much platform, the wider the better when it comes to low angle and slow speeds in deep snow. This makes it ideal as a mid-winter backcountry ski or if your local hill isn’t mega steep. To boot, it comes all the way down to a 159cm.
Superpower: Being massive!
Overview: A new addition to the Unleashed family and joining the new 2024 fat ski club for this year is the Unleashed 114. The 114 features the least metal, most rocker, and most tip and tail splay out of the Unleashed skis to optimize for powder performance. But it’s no bendy spaghetti. Like the narrower models, this ski can tackle challenging conditions with ease and remains trustworthy and predictable.
Superpower: Highly versatile, in a very un-versatile category
Quotable: “Not as stable as an Enforcer, but not as much work either! Great option if you’re looking for a balanced powder ski that still performs well on groomed/firmer conditions.” —Jonathan
We tend to get giddy over wide skis, but there are plenty of places for the skinnier sticks, too. The skis in this category are narrower (think mid-80s to low 90s underfoot) and combine carving features and all-mountain features. They’re happiest on firmer snow, and some bring enough versatility to head off-piste. They won’t feel quite as pigeonholed into skiing the trails as carving skis.
Whether you’re happy cruising trails all day or are a seasoned skier who likes something snappy underfoot (we see you old-schoolers), these skis will take care of you.
Overview: Kastle is known for their premium race room heritage. When the no-metal Kastle ZX came out a few years ago, we wondered what they were all about. The ZX became a sleeper favorite among our staff. For this year, joining the playful narrower ski revolution, Kastle adds a narrower 92mm alternative to the family. The things we love about the wider ZXs carry over—lively, progressive flex, quick—with more stability on firm snow.
Superpower: An energetic and softer flexing alternative to frontside chargers that can still hold an edge and carve a turn
Quotable: Lightweight, but strong at high speeds. Felt at home on edge speeding down groomers, and was a lot of fun in some fluffy bumps. An aggressive front-side ski with enough flex to work moguls and other choppy terrain. Not my typical flavor of ski but a boatload of fun.”—Ben S.
Overview: The Armada Declivity and Reliance veered away from the smeary freestyle feel that Armada built a reputation for. Offered in waist widths ranging from 82mm all the way through 108mm, the Declivity serves up directional, freeride style in a package that’s still uniquely Armada. A playful pop makes this a blast to take off of side hits and carve with. You can drive this ski, but it’s also easier to release than you might expect with this rocker profile.
Superpower: Driveable and a sneaky charger, with tails that are easier than average to release in tight terrain
Quotable: “Enough rocker in the tips and tails to pivot, but enough backbone in the construction to feel planted. The perfect mixture of playful and demanding. I felt very agile and quick in the bumps, but I was also able to get on a groomer and feel stable at higher speeds.” — Sam B.
Overview: Some have called the Mirus Cor a ski that looks like a spaceship. They wouldn’t be wrong. The swallow tail back end, notable sidecut, and bright orange color are eye-catching. You’ll feel the full extraterrestrial vibe once you’re on snow. The Mirus Cor likes to turn, bend, press, and make all sorts of wiggles around the resort. It’s a blast for early and late-season ripping. Nimble in bumps, fast on groomed trails, and you wouldn’t be mistaken for wanting to go in the park, too. Just keep in mind, that you might be adding to the unidentified aerial phenomena.
Superpower: Bringing the fun back to the front side
Quotable: “I thought this would feel like a scary noodle, but it holds its own and carves with the best of them. It’s just more fun. I loved the ultra-turny shape. A 13-meter turn radius really shines and this ski just wants to have a good time.” —Alex
Overview: When redesigning the ARV and ARW series, Armada put the focus back on freestyle. With the 88, the idea was to make a versatile park ski that is confident to drop into icy pipe lines just as well as carving an icy groomed trail in the morning. If you deal with firm snow more often than not, but still want something is playful enough to spin and ski switch with, this is a great choice.
Superpower: Brings a focus back to the park and handles firm snow with finesse
Quotable: “I love what Armada did with the ARWs and ARVs this year. The new shape feels smoother than ever, and for being such playful and light skis, they hold up all right on variable snow, too.” —Matt
Overview: “As the narrowest member of the Bent family, the Bent 90 offers folks who primarily hang out in the frontside a playful option that can provide the edge hold you need to bite into firm snow. A light wood core and softer flex give this model a more freestyle flair than other frontside skis in this category. The directional shape, and slightly flatter tail than you’d expect, increase edge hold and help you carve alongside the rest of them.”
Superpower: Manages fun, while being confidence-inspiring enough to carve hard on firm snow
Quotable: “About as much fun as you can have on a 90mm-ish ski. Super playful and accessible at any speed, but still carves anything besides sidewalk pavement.” —Justin
Overview: The 88mm field can feel crowded at times, but the Brahma remains a steady hand in the frontside/all-mountain category. A traditional shape with two sheets of metal, the Brahma provides reliable edge hold even when the going gets tough. We love it as an East Coast alternative to the Bonafide we mentioned above, or if you just prefer skinnier sticks.
Superpower: An ultra-planted, damp, and supportive ride for those who don’t need a lively ride
Quotable: “Classic, for a reason. True to form, the newest Brahma skis fast and nimble and loves when you push it hard.” —Matt
Overview: A fan-favorite at ski tests, Volkl has fine-tuned and tweaked the construction to be slightly more accessible. Don’t worry—the Kendo is still a stiff demanding ski that will support aggressive skiing, high speeds, and stability on firm snow. The 3D Radius sidecut allows you to play with your turn shapes and won’t punish you for missing a beat.
Superpower: Likes a driver who wants to push their skis, but doesn’t feel quite as punishing as other similar models
Quotable: “Great, energetic ski that is happy taking a variety of turns. Easy to roll over on edge. Stiff tips and tails make this a great all-mountain ski for firm snow and high speeds. ” —Alex
Overview: One of the most performance-oriented skis in the 88mm category, the Kastle MX88 likes to go fast, take big turns, and carve like a woodworker. The MX features the most camber out of this category, giving it a race-ski-esque feel as you flex into the ski and it rebounds you out. Kastle gave this waist width a touch more tip rocker for easy turn initiations and links, but the flat (and stiff) tail reminds you to keep those shovels engaged.
Superpower: Rewards strong skiers with enough support and stability to ski the way they want
Quotable: “Rocks short turns with tons of energy, but also is a missile when making longer turns. For strong skiers who like speed, stability, and precision, the MX 88 is hard to beat. Classic Kastle dampness.” —Justin
Overview: The Stormrider 88 continuously serves as a top pick among our staff. With a more traditional, directional shape, the SR 88 lends itself to longer arcing turns and solid edge grip on even the sketchiest icy mornings. Stockli’s premium construction dampens the conditions for a very smooth ride. For lady rippers, the Stockli Nela 88 features a slightly thinner and lighter core, but skis with the same suspension and smoothness as the SR 88.
Superpower: Premium dampness in a quick and responsive
Quotable: “Like any Stockli ski, these are Ferraris on the hardpack. Carves really well, and feels perfectly balanced for a Colorado groomer.” —Chase
Overview: We built a few custom skis with local custom ski builder Folsom last season, and the Spar 88 quickly became a fan and staff favorite. Its versatile shape and construction make for a ski that’s easy to get along with all around the mountain. It has a significant side cut, encouraging turns and giving you the freedom to dance all over the mountain. We’re excited to carve all over the mountain again this season.
Superpower: Perfect for learning the art of the carve without needing full gas
Quotable: “Lightweight and really easy to maneuver. Great ski for someone looking for something light and floaty for the frontside!” —Hannah
Overview: The new, narrowest bookend in the Blaze family can serve multiple purposes. Skinny mountaineering ski, or a highly maneuverable, light, and quick frontside ski. The light-but-stiff construction does wonders at tackling firm snow without requiring the demand of metal-loaded skis. Notable tip rocker and taper will make the most of soft snow when you do get it. An ideal East Coast ripper.
Superpower: Tackles firm and icy conditions well for the weight
Quotable: “This ski surprised me over and over! I was hesitant to try it out since it doesn’t have any metal in it, but ended up being one of my favorite skis! It was lightweight and playful without giving up the speed factor. I found myself wanting to do more and more runs with this just to see what it could do and every time was better and better.” —Christie
Some may argue the art of the carve is lost. We certainly don’t think so. With several new models and refreshed constructions across the board, carving is alive and well. Carving skis like to lay trenches and hold turns all the way through. No washing turns out here. Whether it’s quick or long, GS or slalom, or somewhere between, there’s a carving ski for you.
Instead of “playful” vs. “demanding”, we organized these by “quicker” vs. “burlier”. Quicker skis are snappy and easy to get over on edge (and usually have tighter turn radii). The burlier skis will prefer long turns and have stiffer constructions. If you want to dip into the bumps and explore more of the mountain, but carving is still a priority, check out the frontside section.
Overview: The Head Supershape series has long been a mainstay in our shop fleet. Why? In the early or late season, our staffers love channeling their inner Mikaela Shiffrin, and the e-Titan is a vessel of choice. It’s the widest Supershape and features Head’s new-ish EMC tech, a super-nerd way of maximizing carving pleasure by optimizing the skis for smooth skiing and good vibrations.
Superpower: Highly energetic and nimble for an aggressive ski
Quotable: “This ski is so fast, so stable, but doesn’t tire you out as much as other carvers. They felt at home doing wide-open carves. I’m competitive, always have been, and always will be, so it’s really fun to get on a ski that wants to go faster than everyone else, just like me!” —Sam W.
Overview: Released as an addition to the original Brahma 88 in 2020, the 82 is quicker to roll over on edge and lock into the iciest icy morning snow conditions. The TrueBlend wood core construction balances burly stiffness that can handle any condition with style, without punishing you in bump lines or if your legs are just feeling a little lackluster towards the end of the day. Ideal for folks who enjoy carving hard and fast and want a little more versatility than traditional carving skis offer.
Superpower: Carves alongside the best skinny skis, without requiring pedal-to-the-metal performance 24/7
Quotable: “Really good carver, doesn’t totally punish you if you get backseat. An easy choice for frontside ripping, especially for firm snow to icy conditions. This thing can carve on anything.” —Chase
Overview: The Montero AS is a brand new extension to the new Stockli all-mountain carving line. Think of the S as short for slalom, with a 15-meter turn radius and 76mm waist width. This ski is snappy and responsive. The premium Stockli construction does wonders for making this accessible for someone newer to carving while maintaining performance for more advanced and expert skiers at speed.
Superpower: The versatility of the Montero line that turns on a dime
Quotable: “I don’t own a carving ski but this ski made me consider buying one. This ski felt light on my feet, precise and responsive. The side cut and lower rocker in the tails made my turns feel locked in and it was fun to ski on groomed and even icier conditions. For how stiff this ski is, it wasn’t overly demanding.” —Kyra
Overview: The Elan Wingman is a go-to recommendation for folks looking for a solid carver that doesn’t break your legs. Elan uses their unique asymmetric design to provide easy turn linkage and initiation with solid edge hold. A construction loaded with the perfect amount of titanal and carbon makes for a smooth ride even cruising over icy patches.
Superpower: Easy turn initiation that doesn’t require too much work
Quotable: “What a fun ski! Easy to turn and make it move where you want. This ski makes me a better carver. Easy to turn and still very stable. I want this ski in my quiver!” —Andrew
Overview: The World Cup Rebels skis have constantly dominated the beer-league race scene and a ski of choice for ambitious carvers everywhere. This year, the Rebels get an upgrade that helps you set personal records like never before. A tweaked shape brings extra edge hold, encouraging stability at speed and on icy morning trails. The e-Race provides the most versatile shape, while the e-Speed leans on GS turns and the e-SL on short, slalom turns.
Superpower: Premium Head Graphene construction in a burly package
Quotable: “Hard-charging carvers can’t get enough of the Rebels series because they’re a level up from ‘recreational race skis’. If you can’t stop feeling like it’s race day, give them a rip.” —Matt
Overview: The Montero AX blends the quick-turning nature of a slalom-oriented ski with added heft. The Montero AX (and its predecessor the Laser AX) are some of our best-selling Stockli carvers. The biggest reason? The premium damp ride adapts to your skiing that day, with a shape that effortlessly holds carves and links the next turn. For folks who need an all-around good carver, there are not many better options out there.
Superpower: A stable and smooth carving ski that doesn’t beat you up
Quotable: “Really intuitive overall, and easy to initiate (and release!) a carve. Very damp, smooth, and stable, and offers an impressive amount of energy out of turns for how smooth, damp, and easy to ski it is. Though I’d generally think of it as a dedicated carving ski, it’s surprisingly versatile, especially for places that don’t get a ton of soft snow.” —Jonathan
Overview: The V-Werks edition takes the original Deacon chassis and adds additional carbon fibers to help dampen and energize the ride. It quickly became a fan-favorite here at the shop for its smooth turn linkage and lightweight construction. The 3D turn radius lets you play with turn shapes and doesn’t lock you into GS or slalom turns.
Superpower: Versatile turning with a snappy, energetic ride
Quotable: “Great groomer ripper that can charge or take easy cruiser turns.” —Mikey
Overview: We’ve been big fans of skinnier M-Pro skis as versatile carvers, but this year, Dynastar delivers something fresh. The new M-Cross series takes Dynastar’s new hybrid core, which uses wood stringers laid in various orientations to build a stiffer but lighter platform. The significant side cut and lightweight feel all add up to a quick turning, accessible, cruise-y carver.
Superpower: Smooth riding and quick turning for good old-fashioned fun
Quotable: “Dynastar did a great job here. The M-Cross feels light and accessible, yet it holds on when you push it. Not like, say, a Brahma. But the ski-ability here is awesome and will agree with many, many skiers.” —Matt
For the folks who like to earn their turns, there are plenty of new skis to be excited about. Things are getting lighter and skiing better than ever. That all equals more laps in the mountains, and more fun doing it. From skis designed for big-mountain terrain to efficiency on the skin track, you’ll find something to be excited about this year.
Overview: The Transalp series is completely new from Fischer. They took their Shaped Ti metal from the Ranger series and built it into this capable touring ski shape. There’s rocker and early rise in the tip, with a flatter tail to encourage edge hold when conditions are spicy, while still being maneuverable in deep snow. The Shaped Ti does wonders at giving you stability where you need it, while keeping the ski just barely above 1500 grams.
Superpower: A touring ski with metal, what more can we say?
Overview: The Salomon QST Echo 106 is the brainchild of Cody Townsend to have a QST that is just as playful and damp as the regular QST line, that shaves some weight. The Echo isn’t a skimo ski—it rings in at about 1780 grams—but it is light enough to get up the hill without any drama. That few extra grams goes a long way in dampening things. To boot, it’s very fun and brings playful skis to the backcountry scene.
Superpower: Packs the playfulness of the QST line in a lighter package
Overview: The M-Tour 108 is the newest edition to the M-Tour family, and brings the platform you need to surf and float in deep snow without the weight penalty. At 1400 grams per ski, this is the definition of feather-light. That’s good new for the uphill, but what about the down? Dynastar still uses their Hybrid Core in the M-Tour, providing shock-absorbing stability when conditions are less than ideal.
Superpower: Mind-boggling weight savings in a ski that floats like a dream
Overview: The Draco Freebird is the newest touring ski to hit the Black Crows lineup. Black Crows designed this ski to resemble the Atris—quick, energetic, and very float-y in deep snow. Healthy rocker in the tip and tail gives you the ability to slash and pivot, whether its mid-winter meadow skipping or navigating tight lines. It’s not ultra-light (about 1900 grams per ski), but that gives you the power you need to push through crud and stay stable in variable snow.
Superpower: Reliable stability at speed and deep snow, that’s still fun
It feels good to be back. Back to riding snowboards, that is. For the first time in several seasons, we’re back on the wide sticks. We brought several to the ski test and had a few of our resident snowboarders get on some of our new gear. We quickly learned that 1.) snowboards have much cooler names than skis, and 2.) as with skis, modern boards carry loads of versatility and come in all shapes and sizes. But, everyone has a specialty. We’ve broken these up into four sections; park, all-mountain, big-mountain, and powder.
Overview: The Wasteland is Arbor’s flagship all-mountain board. Arbor is a snowboard brand through and through, with a dedication to the craft and the materials they use. That’s felt wholeheartedly in the Wasteland, with real wood graphics, and a snappy responsive ride that tackles the whole mountain. Arbor’s four-point camber gives unrivaled stability on firm snow, along with the stiffer flex.
Superpower: True all-mountain riding for riders who need a board that tackles everything with stability
Quotable: “Wasteland offers control, stability, and consistency. Thank you, Arbor, for keeping this board in the lineup. We love it.” —Christian
Overview: The Party Platter serves it all up. With a medium flex and loaded with features to help you snap and pop off of everything in sight, this board makes the most of the resort. You can find an extra boost off of every side hit and jump. Navigate bumps and choppy snow easily with extra maneuverability. That sounds like a pretty perfect all-mountain board to us.
Superpower: Very playful and fun-oriented in a more directional and stable shape for all-mountain terrain
Quotable: “The Volume Shift design reduces heel and toe drag making it a ton of fun to carve around on. Also built with sustainably harvested timber so you can look good and feel good about saving the world at the same time.” —Christian
Overview: The Passport is a board you can take anywhere, anytime. Just what you’re looking for in an all-mountain board, right? The stiffer flex adds power for speed and stability on spicier conditions. Directional camber gives you extra power to lay down some carves, but the shape remains easy to initiate turns with and get you out of dicey situations.
Superpower: Go anywhere do anything, what more can you ask for?
Overview: The K2 Medium is classic in every way of the word. Jake Kuzyk helped design this classic, round, twin snowboard. You’ll find classic camber underfoot, with a medium flex that supports landings just as well as it lets you butter and press. Ideal for folks looking for a versatile park board.
Superpower: Good old-fashioned fun on a snowboard in a classic shape
Quotable: Everything about the K2 Medium is rock solid. Super poppy on little bumps and was able to power through chunder without a problem. Didn’t take this one through the park which is where it excels, but it handled the side hits and ride-outs like a champion. —Adam
Overview: For the park riders who need something precise and supportive for landings, but still need it to pop and swing in the air well, the Huck Knife is your new partner in crime. We love the stable platform for stomping big landings. The stiffer flex is ideal for high speed drop-ins and run-outs. The Huck Knife works equally well as a stiff, park-specific board for more aggressive park riders
Superpower: Extra pop and turbo boost in the air
Quotable: “Poppier than Pop Rocks. Be ready for an extra couple of inches on your ollies.”—Christian
Overview: The true twin shape and medium flex on the Assassin offers freestylers the ultimate weapon. This board will work well if you like to feel balanced in the air with a stable platform on jumps and features. This board remains a classic in Salomon’s line, with tweaks and refinements to improve the ride on variable snow and at speed.
Superpower: An ultra-responsive and balanced ride that’s designed for the park but can go anywhere
Quotable: “The responsiveness of the board, edge-to-edge holding between turns. Was able to take it through powder and the park and it exceeded expectations in both realms. Little bumps were no problem, and it was sturdy on all of the rails I hit.” —Adam
Big Mountain Boards
Overview: The Highpath does just that, and takes the high road. Featuring Salomon’s latest and greatest sustainability advancements, the Highpath encourages you to walk the talk. Just because the board is made with recycled materials doesn’t mean it can’t shred. Because it does. A stiff flex and directional camber give you extra power to blast through challenging conditions and take some speed.
Superpower: Gobbles up big-mountain terrain in a sustainable way
Quotable: “I thought it felt very quick edge to edge and stiff so it handled variable terrain really well.” —Christian
Overview: As you might expect, the Excavator digs trenches and can lay a turn. The directional shape encourages you to dial things up and find some speed, and the taper finds extra float in deep snow. K2 loads this board up with additional metal pieces in the tail. These pieces work like a turbo boost and give you extra snap and pop, and a stable landing for big features.
Superpower: Charges through and stabilizes even the gnarliest conditions to let you ride the way you want
Quotable: “This thing digs trenches. It is damp and can be ridden anywhere on the mountain with control and toughness.” —Christian
Overview: The Salomon Super 8 gives you a tapered directional shape and backseat camber to put your back foot in the driver’s seat. For extra control in deep snow and charging at speed, this board carries authority and power wherever it goes. For control where you really need it, like spicy lines and steep terrain, the Super 8 is a good partner in crime to have.
Superpower: Big-mountain freeride fun
Quotable: “Very smooth ride everywhere you go. A slightly wider than normal snowboard design that allows for a better edge hold. Makes big mountain runs feel like a boardercross course.” —Christian
Overview: The Terra Twin is a new board for Arbor this year, and we’re psyched to have it around. Built for premier powder surfing, Arbor designed this board with deep channels in the tip and tail to keep snow flowing underneath you. That prevents snow build-up, letting you ride faster in even the deepest snow you can find. Not to mention, the rest of the board is sick as well. The true twin shape and Arbor’s system camber deliver the perfect blend of stability when you need it and a playful ride.
Superpower: Innovative design to make the most of any soft snow you find
Overview: This classic from Salomon quickly became a favorite from the riders here at the shop. The volume shift design gives you extra width to float and push through deep snow. Salomon’s design features add loads of pop to this ride, giving you a boost off everything from groomer kickers to bigger features on powder days. Not to mention, those graphics!
Superpower: Aside from looking fast, you can ride fast from powder mornings to navigating the rest of the mountain after things are skied up
Quotable: “The medium flex was spot on for me. It gives a surfy, slashy feel but also keeps you planted for when things get dicey on the way to the powder fields.” —Christian
They keep you in and pop you out. Often an afterthought, but one of the most important pieces of gear you own. Ski bindings come in a variety of DIN ranges, colors, and special features depending on your use case. We’ve highlighted a few pairs from the big three: downhill alpine, tech touring, and the hybrid style that goes up and downhill.
Overview: We mentioned the Strive last year, and it’s so nice it’s worth mentioning twice. The Strive is the newest downhill alpine binding from Salomon. It blends the low stand height features of the Shift with the reliable downhill performance we know and love from the STH. For lack of a better term, we call this “good snow feel”. This phenomenon is described as having a quick ski and binding response. Being lower to the ski increases the responsiveness and high elastic travel provides extra suspension for a smooth ride.
Superpower: Rides well at a low weight, and hosts tons of user-friendly
Overview: If you haven’t heard this from us enough, we love the ATK Raider series. To our excitement, ATK is releasing a much anticipated “evolution” of the Raider and Freeraider this year. On the Evo, you’ll find a new automatic brake retention system that simplifies transitions. The biggest update comes in the toe piece, which now increases elasticity and suspension. Now that the toe and heel work in tandem with similar elasticities, you get unrivaled stability for the weight.
Superpower: The latest and greatest evolution in lightweight tech binding technology
Overview: The Duke family just got bigger. To match the rest of Marker’s lineup, there’s a new Duke PT 13 (with the Griffon heel piece), Duke PT 11 (with a Squire heel), and the Duke PT 16 returns with the Jester heel. These give skiers better options for finding the right DIN setting range for them, without lugging up extra weight if it’s not needed. Plus, this year comes with a whole new range of colors.
Superpower: Highly durable and reliable for use and abuse inbounds and out
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. You date skis, but you marry ski boots. The connection between your body and the ski setup, a boot that fits your foot well and serves your use case the way you need is paramount to a good day on skis. Lucky for us, there’s a tremendous amount of new gear and technology in ski boots this season. You may have heard about the introduction of the new BOA ski boot system (read all about that here), but there are a few other new models and additions we’re equally excited about.
Overview: With the BOA boot revolution well on the way, we would be remiss to neglect the boot with the best bang for the buck. The new Fischer RC4 line features BOA on the MV models, as well as a custom Zipfit liner to their pro model, 140 flex shell. This boot is one of the highest-performance packages you can buy out of the box. The fully custom liner and BOA system work well to provide excellent heel and forefoot hold. If your feet are solid and secure, your skiing is solid and secure.
Superpower: The latest and greatest boot technology in one boot.
Overview: Bob Lange ushered in a ski boot revolution with the first plastic ski boot in the 50s. Now, Lange brings innovation with their Shadow alpine boots. The dual pivot system acts as a fulcrum and gives you more power. The boot isn’t necessarily easier to flex, but the pressure you put in makes more of a difference. Combine that with a classic Lange low-volume fit for those of us who just can’t get a snug enough boot, and the Lange Shadow LV could be the ticket for you this season.
Superpower: More power, less effort.
Overview: After years of the Lupo and Krypton/Chakra series, Dalbllo refines and upgrades their classic three-piece style. The fit very much remains similar, but with some feature upgrades to make transitions easier for skinning. The tongue remains in place rather than the optional removal in the Lupo, keeping things simpler and easier to transition. The Cabrio Free has a similar weight to a traditional alpine boot, making it perfect for someone skiing the resort more often, or who doesn’t mind taking a heavier boot out for tours.
Superpower: The same three-piece design we know and love with more user-friendly features for touring
Overview: Nordica ditches their Strider series with the new Unlimited boots to shave some weight, make the uphill easier, while retaining super strong downhill performance. The new walk mode locks you in securely for descents. A new lower buckling system is almost too easy to switch between more a more comfortable fit for walking and a more secure fit for the ski. The LT 130 and women’s LT 115 shave weight from the other Unlimited boots and are able to hit sub-1500 grams. It’s no skimo boot, but for those who want more support while skiing without lugging bricks up, this is a great choice.
Superpower: Packs a punch for this weight class
Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Insulated Jacket
Overview: The Lofoten Gore-Tex Insulated Jacket is stacked with practical and functional details that perform inbounds and out-of-bounds equally. Body mapped, PrimaLoft insulation is strategically placed to maximize warmth and minimize bulk. The shell feels soft and easy to move in, rather than a stiff or bulky material you might find on other insulated ski jackets. Plus, look at all those well placed pockets!
Superpower: High quality construction and thoughtful design features
Outdoor Research Carbide Ski Jacket
Overview: Award-winning and good-looking, the OR Carbide ski jacket is 3L shell jacket perfect for high-output activities. It’s completely waterproof, windproof, and breathable. We love the slick features and casual fit that leaves room for layers underneath. You’ll find plenty of pockets, a big hood, and everything you need for a full day out in the mountains, no matter the conditions.
Superpower: Clean design without unnecessary frills and everything you need
Arc’teryx Proton Hoody
Overview: The Proton is a staple in many staffers’ closets at Powder7. It’s a killer warm mid-layer for skiing, but also works well for fall and spring biking, climbing, camping, and wearing around town on grocery store runs. This year, Arc’teryx made a few upgrades and updates that we love. The fit is a bit more technical, allowing it to layer under shell jackets easier. You still get 80 grams of lightweight and packable insulation, with fine-tuned fabrics that let warmth escape.
Superpower: High powered warmth with easy breathability for high output activities
Norrona Tamok Gore-Tex Performance Shell
Overview: A brand new redesign of the popular Tamok series from Norrona, the new Tamok Gore-Tex Performance Shell is a highly waterproof and breathable shell for backcountry powder touring. Large pockets, extended coverage, and premium waterproofing are the perfect ingredients for a backcountry shell you can leave on during uphill travel when the weather is less than ideal.
Superpower: Practical features that make your backcountry days easier with great coverage
Patagonia SnowDrifter Bibs
Overview: The Patagonia SnowDrifter bibs are some of our best-selling bibs. The 3-layer fabric is breathable and durable. This makes them ideal for high-output activities like backcountry skiing, or if you work up a sweat at the resort. We love the stretchy and comfortable fabric and the high coverage for deep days. The bibs work well digging pits in the backcountry as they do shredding bumps and hike-to-terrain inbounds.
Superpower: Transitions seamlessly from skin track to resort lift lines, with a classic style that fits in wherever you use it
Overview: This pant from Helly Hansen is a bonafide classic. One of our best sellers for its clean lines and practical warmth, the Rapid Pant is an easy pick for folks looking for insulated ski pants they can put through the ringer. The fabric is soft and comfortable to wear. 40 grams of insulation is enough to give you an extra layer of comfort, without feeling bulky or too hot. No one likes pants that make them feel chunky or need to keep pulling them up throughout the day. The HH Rapid Pant won’t put you through that.
Superpower: Classic and functional as a warm ski pant option (at a great price point!)
Overview: Aside from countless fun colors to choose from to express your style, the Obermeyer Malta is just a good ski pant. 40 grams of insulation is a perfect amount for daily skiing to keep you warm, without overheating you. The Malta features a more relaxed fit versus many of Obermeyer’s more tailored fits. That gives you room to move around freely.
Superpower: An easy-to-wear and good-looking, warm ski pant for women shredding the resort
Swany X-Calibur Mitts
Overview: Swany redesigned these mitts to be warmer, easier to use, and better than ever. You’ll find Swany’s highest performance insulation and other tech features in this mitt. It’s durable and can last you for years to come. If warm hands are your biggest priority when heading out for the day, the X-Calibur will deliver.
Superpower: Warm and fully insulated with relatively good dexterity
Overview: We know Hestra always delivers high quality and performance gear for our mitts. These Ergo Grip Active gloves are particularly versatile. Windproof but with a breathable backing, these gloves protect you from the elements while letting you let out some heat. The soft and supple leather is easy to move around in. Whether you’re doing winter house work or climbing mountians, these gloves can fit the bill.
Superpower: You’ll find yourself using these for tons of activities throughout the winter
Smith Vantage MIPS
Overview: The Smith Vantage MIPS packs in sweet safety tech, ranging from MIPS to hybrid shell construction and Zonal Koroyd coverage. This helmet allows you to not have to worry about sending it. Add in comfort features like 21 adjustable vents over two zones, an adjustable 360 BOA fit system, and anti-microbial liners, and this helmet will keep you ripping from first chair to last lap. Plus, 2023-24 models feature some sweet new colors.
Superpower: Customizable ventilation and a clean look
Overview: The Pret Cynic helmet packs a punch in a good value package. You get all the things you need: MIPS protection, BOA adjustment in the back, and ventilation without breaking the bank. We love the fit and feel of these helmets, and the wide variety of colors they come in too.
Superpower: All the protection you need at an easy going price point
Overview: Travel through space and time at the speed of light with the new Julbo Lightyear goggles. We love Julbo Reactiv lenses for their huge range of VLT and photochromic capabilities. That means no more changing lenses on the lift and keeping things more simple. For those who wear glasses under the goggles, check out the OTG version.
Superpower: One lens to do it all