The Best Women's Ski Gear of 2012

Line Celebrity 100 Skis (Courtesy of Line)
Line Celebrity 100

Line Celebrity 100 Skis

This year’s Celebrity 100 features subtle rocker—a.k.a. an early-rise tip—that makes it even quicker to float over turbulent chop at moderate speeds or pivot-turn through a maze of trees. Metal reinforcements in the wood core let you set up high-angle turns on buffed-out corduroy, while a traditional-feeling stiff tail lets you drive through arcs. The slightly upturned tip also dives predictably into turns without having to muscle it, and you can stay more upright without putting too much pressure on your quads. 134/100/125

Armada VJJ Skis

Armada VJJ
Armada VJJ Skis (Courtesy of Armada)

Snicker all you want, but the moniker has meaning: it’s named after the unisex (and much-loved) JJ. Armada just had to go there. In powder, the lightweight wood core gives the VJJ energetic bounce, while carbon in the tail offers leverage if you wheelie out. On harder snow, the camber underfoot lets you pivot quickly, but once up on its edges the VJJ carves with an even flex. At 115 millimeters at the waist, this pure powder tool is a go-to for heli and cat operations or on western resorts with endless fresh lines. 126/136/115/133/123

Völkl Kenja Skis.

Völkl Kenja
Völkl Kenja Skis (Courtesy of Völkl)

Looking for one ski that can handle bumps, resort powder days, and groomer carving? The poppy Kenja—the sister ski to last year’s Gear of the Year–winning Kendo—gives you quick feet and, unlike its rockered peers, a long running surface from tip to tail that is sure to please women with strong carving skills. The supple tip makes for easy initiations, but the ski releases nicely thanks to a narrow tail. The edge hold is magnetic. It’s a veritable one-ski quiver for easterners or a western carver’s dream ski. 129/86/105

Nordica Nemesis Skis

Nordica Nemesis
Nordica Nemesis Skis (Courtesy of Nordica)

More friend than foe in the crud, the Nemesis busts through chop and performs better the harder you push it. Credit the unwavering edge hold to Nordica’s I-Core technology, a lightweight blend of fiberglass and wood for added agility in bumps and chutes. Mellower, more relaxed skiers may feel overpowered by its rigidity, but our hard-charging testers came back with snow-eating grins. Get a feel for this ski’s power and you’ll start craving immaculately groomed, wide-open runs. 135/98/125

Rossignol S7 Women Skis

Rossignol S7 Women
Rossignol S7 Women Skis (Courtesy of Rossignol)

Based on the same design as the legendary original S7—heavy rocker and taper in the tip and tail and traditional sidecut and camber underfoot—the S7 W is a slimmer but equally responsive ride. In powder it slashes and slides on command, and while the sweet spot on hardpack is small, it can carve a mean turn if you stay centered. 140/110/118, 8.8 lbs

TAGS: INTERMEDIATE-FRIENDLY, FUN

Fritschi Diamir Eagle 12

Fritschi Diamar Eagle 12
Fritschi Diamar Eagle 12 Bindings (Courtesy of Fritschi)

The updated Eagle has the same wide chassis for better power transmission and edge-to-edge responsiveness, but the DIN is higher (it now goes to 12) for harder-charging exploits. It’s not as light as its tech-fitted competitors, but it accepts all AT and alpine soles and tours like a champ. 4.3 lbs

TAGS: TOUGH, ALPINE BOOT-COMPATIBLE

Gaia TF-X Women's

Dynafit TF-X
Dynafit TF-X Women's Boots (Courtesy of Dynafit)

Built with a last and liner that accommodate women-specific curves (e.g., shorter, lower calf muscles), the Gaia is Dynafit’s stoutest charging boot, with interchangeable tech fittings and alpine soles. The rockered sole and 30-degree cuff rotation also make the Gaia well suited for longer tours and ridgetop scrambles, while a reinforced heel booster and stiff flex provide instant power transfer to the ski. Ideal for women who ski 50/50 resort and backcountry. 7.9 lbs

TAGS: TECH FITTINGS, GOOD GRIP

K2 Sidekick

K2 Sidekick
K2 Sidekick Skis (Courtesy of K2)

The Sidekick shares dimensions with the much-lauded men’s K2 Sidestash but sports a softer flex and four additional sizes. Aggressive testers fell in love with the “balance of floaty rocker, stiffness, and camber,” but others felt overpowered. “Gotta be in the driver’s seat,” said one. Scores ran high for fast turns in powder and crud but sank when the going got slow. 139/108/127, 8 lbs

TAGS: VERSATILE, POWERFUL

NTN Freeride Small Bindings

Rottefella NTN Freeride Small
Rottefella NTN Freeride Small Bindings (Courtesy of Rottefella)

This scaled-down version of the men’s NTN is now, in its second year, compatible with two women’s boots, Scarpa’s TX Pro Women and Garmont’s Priestess. Testers new to the concept were intrigued by what most alpine skiers take for granted: step-in access, safety release, and brakes. “Super-powerful,” summed up one tester. “Best for those with a tighter stance and strong thighs.” 4.2 lbs

TAGS: BRAKES, SAFETY RELEASE

Garmont Priestess NTN Boots

Garmont Priestess
Garmont Priestess Boots (Courtesy of Garmont)

Typical tester comment: “How could something so nice to have on my feet be so torsionally powerful?” The answer: the NTN-specific Priestess combines four types of plastic to simultaneously provide lateral stiffness and a supple forward flex. Testers praised the ergonomics as well, noting its thoughtful buckle placement and function and its easy-to-use touring mode. 7.1 lbs

TAGS: ERGONOMIC, STIFF

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