The Best Powder Skis
For powder hounds the most fun part of skiing is the floating sensation when on fresh, fluffy powder. For many, the lure of freshies is a major driver. With the right technique and conditions you can achieve this incredible sensation (and have tons of fun!) on just about any ski, but a powder ski will make skiing in deep snow easier.
Blizzard’s new Rustler 10 pretty much dominated the Powder Category of our ski test, earning “Favorite” picks from more than 80 percent of the testers who skied it. “Playful yet stable;” “Strong yet nimble;” and “One of the best skis of all time,” were just a few of the superlatives heaped onto the test cards in praise of this big mountain machine, which tore through every condition we threw at it. Mixing a lightweight woodcore of paulownia, balsa, poplar and beech with Blizzard’s new D.R.T. (Dynamic Release Technology) carbon Flipcore, this ski felt more lively and maneuverable than most Blizzards, a brand we consistently praise for its power and dampness. That doesn’t mean the ski lost any stability – not by a long shot! What it did was add the ability to feel more versatile in all conditions, from the powder to the hardpack. Bottom line: This is a powder ski that could easily be your all-season ride if you want.
Atomic’s Backland FR 109 is damp and accurate enough for skiing big days in-bounds, with a lightweight feel for anyone who wants to put some tech bindings on it as a backcountry specific turn-earning machine. The ski has great Float, thanks to significant rocker, is maneuverable off-piste, and has a confident, damp feel underfoot. There are more energetic skis in the Powder Category, especially if you want a big ski that will offer more edge hold and Stability if you decide to ski the Backland from the lifts. The ski did not stand out in any one of our specific test classifications – good or bad. All of our testers did comment on how fun it is to ski, providing a consistently playful, reliable turn shape.
Volkl’s 100Eight is one of the lightweight, stable, easy to initiate skis in this category that could easily be used for lots of lift-served use, or as a backcountry setup. New this year, Volkl’s 3D.Glass construction combines with the existing 3D.Ridge construction to give you more power and control underfoot, while reducing materials toward age for more maneuverability at a lighter weight. Along with a Full Rocker design, with tip and tail rise and a symmetrical flex, the ski is wonderfully easy to initiate, with a smooth, predictable feel from edge-to-edge. Combined with a multilayer woodcore (featuring ash under the binding area and poplar everywhere else) and carbon stringers, the ski has great Stability and grip. Testers said this all creates a sense of consistent power no matter you turn it. The ski is not very lively, and prefers to be off-piste, where some testers would’ve preferred more pronounced rocker for better Float. Overall, a very effective ski for all-terrain use.
Nordica builds on the legend of its All Mountain-owning Enforcer line, a favorite of GS-style skiers who love to arc accurate medium-radius turns, with the Enforcer 110. A powder ski for technicians who want to take their melodiously perfect technique into the softer snow conditions, the Enforcer 110 features easy turn initiation, solid stability, and the kind of clean carve that leaves razor-perfect tracks in the off-piste. This isn’t a nimble ski for porpoising through the trees. It can feel a little heavy compared to skis like the Dynastar Legend 96 and Fischer Ranger 108. It’s also not the quickest ski from edge-to-edge. Built with Nordica’s All-Mountain camRock design, with about 25 percent rise in the shovel and 5 percent in the tail, it initiates cleanly and quickly in mid to long-radius turns, with a core consisting of a mix of Titanium and balsa for power and a predictably progressive flex. As you would expect with a ski built on the Enforcer footprint, this ski can also hold a good edge on the hardpack. It’s a great addition to an already strong lineup.