Fast and Steady

The year's six best new skis

   

Best New Skis

Best New Skis

1. Völkl Tigershark
CARVING
With the Tigershark, the German manufacturer introduces "Power Switch technology," spring-loaded, carbon-fiber rods encased in the boards that supposedly stiffen the skis with the flick of a switch. We couldn't tell whether the switch was on or off, but testers still found these skis "easy to initiate and very responsive." Unquestionably built for groomers, the Tigershark is mounted with Marker Motion iPT bindings, which are integrated directly into the ski for excellent energy transfer and great feel. "These skis won't take you for a wild bull ride," said one tester, "but they're also not a wet noodle." $1,375 (with bindings); volkl.com

2. Salomon X-Wing Fury
ALL MOUNTAIN
A true do-everything ski, Salomon's newest addition to the X-Wing family floats in powder, holds well on ice, and is agile enough to dominate moguls. Credit the Fury's versatile dimensions (128/85/111) and its integrated Z12 Ti binding, which sits flatter on the ski, allowing this wood-core model to flex evenly and lending it a more balanced feel. "It's very maneuverable," said one tester, "and it loves to go fast!" In fact, the Fury performed better at speed, easily ripping off 30-mile-per-hour arcs on hard ice during an overcast day at Copper Mountain and pounding through soft bumps the next afternoon. $1,300 (with bindings); salomonski.com

3. Fischer RC4 Progressor
CARVING
Fischer continues to reinvent what it means to arc a clean turn. The Progressor is the newest addition to the Austrian company's RC4 line of carving skis. It's really two sidecuts in one: From the tip of the ski to the toe piece, it's cut along a 14-meter radius, and from there to the tail with a 17-meter radius. The idea is simple: The skis enter the turn with precision and, because of the slightly straighter tail, exit with ease. That, combined with the FlowFlex binding system—which allows the ski to bend independently of the bindings—makes for a ski that feels like a GS race board, only easier to turn. $1,250 (with bindings); fischerskis.com

4. Nordica Hot Rod Hellcat
ALL MOUNTAIN
These flashy skis from Nordica were the most stable boards we tested. There are three reasons for that: (1) The ski is 90 millimeters underfoot. Though it doesn't turn as quickly as a more narrow-waisted ski, the giant platform will feel steadier in all conditions. (2) Nordica employs a vertical-sidewall construction on the Hellcat, which holds better on ice than capped skis. (3) The integrated XBi binding system—which uses cantilevered, criss-crossing plates to distribute weight forward if you're too far back, or vice-versa—made even our most notorious backseat skier feel safely balanced. $1,355 (with binding); nordicausa.com

5. Rossignol Zenith Z11 Mutix
ALL MOUNTAIN
The Z11 Mutix will satisfy both the all-mountain skier and the tech geek in you. The secret is two sets of 12-inch arms, one set made of high-density Visco rubber, the other of titanium. Warming up on groomers in the morning? Snap the rigid titanium arms just in front of and behind the bindings for a stiffer, more powerful feel. Bumping it up in the afternoon? Replace the titanium with Visco for a more supple bend. "It seems gimmicky," said one tester, "but you can actually feel the difference." The Zenith also comes with the agile Twin Pulsion2 binding: Now in its second year, it uses raised ribs in the tip and tail to boost power to the edges. $1,250 (with bindings); rossignol.com

6. Blizzard Titan Argos IQ
POWDER
Designed for intermediate to advanced skiers, the wood-core Titan is "a soft-flexing ski with a lot of feel, making it agile and easy to turn," said one tester. The beefy 101mm waist provided ample float when 14 inches fell at Utah's Snowbasin last March. But the biggest boost comes from the way the IQ binding is attached to the ski by a single screw, allowing the Titan to flex freely along its length, even under the binding. "I wasn't sure how it would perform," said another tester, "but this is one of the better powder skis I've been on." $1,325; blizzard-ski.com

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