Downhill Suspects (Cont.)

All Terrain

    Photo: Dan Winters

At ski areas like Colorado's Arapahoe Basin and Smugglers' Notch in Vermont, first tracks disappear after two runs. Here you're angling for last tracks—the scraps of powder left in the trees and on the edges of heavily trafficked runs. Accordingly, a ride that blends dexterity and pow flotation is the prize. THE SKI: Völkl Supersport T50 5 Star Piston Motion ($1,125, including binding). Until the 5 Star came along this season, most all-mountain skiers had to decide between narrow-waisted carving skis that sank in deep snow and chubby mid-fat boards that worked great in mush but couldn't hold turns in bumps and trees. With a 68-millimeter waist, the 5 Star is a mere chopstick shy of official mid-fat status, but a wide tip and tail give it a dramatic sidecut for quick carves. Plenty plump for boot-deep powder, this Völkl's race-worthy construction also holds steady on hard snow. THE BINDING: Marker Piston Control Motion. One of the new so-called system bindings that attach to skis with pins and rails instead of glorified wood screws, the Völkl-specific Marker features an oil-damped shock absorber underfoot to quiet the vibrations that can make a ski—and, by extension, you—feel nervous. THE BOARD: Arbor S-Series ($479). Like every Arbor board, the S-Series is a work of art. That nice wood grain on the top sheet isn't a faux overlay; it's structural. Beneath the sheen, carbon-fiber torsion rods transform the full-length wood core into a springboard that loads up and shoots you into your next turn. For a powder board, it's an incredibly dynamic ride. THE BINDING: Bent Metal BMX ($185). The BMX, from Seattle's Mervin Manufacturing, sports a full carbon-fiber high-back that adjusts into six positions, mated to a seamless aluminum chassis with cold-forged hardware. This is a lightweight combo—with a freeride flex.

Where to Find It: Völkl Sport America, 800-264-4579, www.volkl.com; Arbor, 310-656-3268, www.arborsports.com; Mervin Manufacturing Inc. (for BMX), 206-270-9792, www.mervin.com;

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