These five sets of skis earned best-in-class marks!
Rossignol Savory 7
Only the graphics are different; the Savory 7 ($800) is the exact same ski as the unisex Soul 7. Underfoot camber makes for predictable edging on hard snow, but we loved it even more in trees, over bumps, and through tight spaces. The ski is extremely nimble and fun thanks to a wood core and honeycomb construction in the tip and tail, which slashes all-important swing weight by 30 percent.
To spot the skier on the Yumi ($650), look for the one having the most fun on a groomer. Tip rocker makes turn initiation a breeze, even when you’re feeling lazy. We’re also fans of the vertical sidewalls, which deliver viselike edge hold. "A fun, powerful ski," one tester commented.
Dynastar Cham W 97
The new women-specific Cham 97 ($750) is a bit lighter than the unisex version. Testers praised it for its flotation in choppy off-trail snow and found that it pivoted easily in tight spots. (Credit the abundant tip rocker.) Camber underfoot and a traditional tail manage hardpack, while taper in front and back keep it forgiving.
Nordica Hell’s Belles
A versatile, energetic ski, the Hell’s Belles ($649) is stable at high speeds and carves like a racer when you want power, but it’s loose in manky snow and quick to respond in trees, too. We found ourselves sampling groomers and ankle-deep pow without wishing we'd brought a second set of skis.
Salomon Rockette 115
This fully rockered fat ski ($749) offers a surfy, responsive ride with effortless float in deep snow. Nobody and nothing in front of you? Rubber damping layers (Salomon's Pulse Pad) combine with a wood core to keep things steady when you hit the gas. Spend 80 percent of your time off-trail out west? You’ll love ’em.
Next Up: Our Favorite Winter Gear of 2013