The Atomic Theory
BEST FOR: Versatility.
THE TEST: The remarkably well-priced Theory features damping wood-core construction, powerful vertical side walls, and energetic carbon fiber stringers. The company is deft at blending rocker with camber and taper. In this case, the rocker runs 20 percent down the tip and 10 percent up the tail. What’s that translate to on the hill? The Theory skis all conditions well. 130/95/119
THE VERDICT: The blue light is flashing, people.
The Armada ARVti
BEST FOR: In-bounds steeps.
THE TEST: The revamped ARVti features a traditional untapered tip, a touch of rocker, and two full sheets of absorbant Titanal. “It’s ideal for billy-goating into tight chutes,” said one tester. That’s because of the flex pattern. The tip is soft and rockered for easy turn initiation, and there’s solid edging in the tail. 133/98/123
THE VERDICT: A ski that can blast through chunks and still hold an edge on steep faces.
The Blizzard Bonafide
BEST FOR: Skiing fast and taking chances.
THE TEST: At lower speeds, you have to muscle these skis around a bit, but when you’re going all out, the wood and metal construction and Blizzard’s flutter-free Flipcore rocker—see page 30—feel like a long-travel mountain bike on a straightaway. 133/98/118
THE VERDICT: For those with strong technique and the legs to match.
The Dynastar Cham 97
BEST FOR: Powder hunters who aren’t obsessed with girth.
THE TEST: Last year the Cham 97 earned Gear of the Year accolades for its blend of tip rocker, taper, and a traditionally flat tail. Those specs are still here. The sweet spot is a bit farther back than on most skis, but the Cham wowed us when it was going fast in boot-deep powder atop hard surfaces. 133/97/113
THE VERDICT: The Cham line is for skiers who finish their turns with power for cheek-flapping acceleration.
Head Venturi 95
BEST FOR: Mixed terrain.
THE TEST: The new Venturi 95 offers a deeper sidecut than most of the all-mountain skis we tested. That tighter turning radius paired with classic Head construction means the Venturi excavated ditches in corduroy. What surprised us was the ease with which it also skied in soft snow off the trail. 140/95/126
THE VERDICT: A great budget option for fall-line resort skiers.
The Völkl Mantra
BEST FOR: All-around performance year after year.
THE TEST: The Mantra is the ideal ski for most of the skiing public. There’s tip rocker and a 98-millimeter waist, so it floats in boot-deep snow, but from the shovel on back the Mantra is a traditional völkl ski with camber, wood and titanium construction, and a flat tail for finishing turns on hardpack. 132/98/118
THE VERDICT: A groomer ski that’s ready to go off-piste.