Point and Shoot

From Alaskan powder to New England ice, these skis will make you better

Oct 31, 2006
Outside Magazine
dynastar, volkl, atomic

From top: Dynastar Legend Pro Rider XXL, Völkl AC4, and Atomic Snoop Daddy    Photo: David Clugston

The Testers

Lynsey Dyer, 24, 5'6", 130, pro skier;

Justus Meyer, 25, 5'7", 155, pro skier;

Jessica Smith, 25, 5'4", 135, ski coach and former U.S. Ski Team racer

Dynastar Legend Pro Rider XXL
Sidecut: 132/109/122
Dynastar originally designed the XXL for its big-mountain freeskiing team a decade ago. This year, for the first time, the French company will sell its fattest production boards to the general public. A word of warning, though: While the XXLs are perfectly suited to freeride romps in the powder, they can be unforgiving under less proficient skiers. With a hefty, rigid, wood-core-and-titanium-alloy construction and a fiberglass topsheet, the XXLs pop commandingly out of turns, and the 109mm waist provides enough float for bottomless pow. But that's assuming you feel comfortable in hip-deep snow, because these skis need high speed to get going and a skier who knows how to tell them where to go. $1,095; dynastar.com

Völkl AC4
Sidecut: 125/82/110
Powderhounds in need of a speedy, all-around performer, rejoice. Though the AC4 has enough float for the fluffy stuff, we had no problem making them grab on an icy morning at Aspen's Ajax Mountain. Later that afternoon, the skis unflinchingly pounded through soft bumps and crud, and two days later floated through two feet of new powder. Credit the skis' Extended Double Grip technology an elongated wood core that adds material above the edges to provide a uniform hold in all snow conditions. That, coupled with the new Marker Motion iPT binding system, which integrates the binding directly into the ski for improved feel and energy transfer, makes the AC4 lively and dependable. "I loved this ski through all conditions and terrain," says Smith. $1,115 (with bindings); volkl.com

Atomic Snoop Daddy
Sidecut: 125/88/111
No ski on the market better exploits the full potential of sidecountry skiing a growing trend toward hike-accessed backcountry runs just off the lifts than the Snoop Daddy. Mounted with the beefy new Naxo nx21 randonnée binding, the skis ripped high-speed, large-radius arcs on the groomers and handled late-day crud like it was a naughty child. But the fat yet feathery foam-core Daddy shined best when we unlocked the Naxos' heels for a 30-minute hike to some deep untouched snow, then set the skis loose to float through an untracked two-foot dump. "Forget trying to keep up with anyone skiing these on a powder day," says Meyer. $855; atomicsnow.com

Filed To: Skis, Downhill Skiing