The Best New Big-Mountain Skis

skis k2 annex 108 winter buyers guide 2014

   Photo: Inga Hendrickson

K2 Annex 108 Skis

BEST FOR: An all-around good time.

THE TEST: The Annex 108 doesn’t really have a weak spot. The wood core and metal construction make chatter a nonissue. There’s just enough sidecut to rail groomers. And a bit of tip rocker and tip taper make the Annex loose and surfy in resort powder. 139/108/127

THE VERDICT: A versatile tool that, thanks to built-in skin attachments, is backcountry-ready.

OVERALL: 3.5

TURNING PlEASURE: 4

Line Influence Skis

skis line influence orange winter buyers guide 2014
  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

BEST FOR: Your 100-day season out west.

THE TEST: The Influence is a ski you use all day every day. There’s enough rocker and width to float in soft snow, sufficient taper to keep it loose in crud, and enough camber and tail to power through turns. “The soft tip eats up variable snow, but there’s great power underfoot,” said one tester. 145/115/131

THE VERDICT: Traditional—in a good way. A tester favorite.

OVERALL: 4.5

TURNING PlEASURE: 4

Blizzard Cochise

skis blizzard chochise winter buyers guide 2014
  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

BEST FOR: Charging hard.

THE TEST: In open terrain, the Cochise let us bypass the fear governor and open up the tear ducts. There’s rocker, sure, but none of the nervous fluttering associated with banana skis. Credit Blizzard’s Flipcore design. At lower speeds, the ski feels sluggish, but if you prefer to keep it pegged, it inspires confidence. 135/108/123

THE VERDICT: If you wore a race bib in your youth, look here.

OVERALL: 4

TURNING PlEASURE: 4.5

Atomic Ritual Skis

skis atomic ritual winter buyers guide 2014
  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

BEST FOR: Daily ripping.

THE TEST: The Ritual was the skinniest ski in this category. But because the rocker extends 20 percent down the tip and 15 percent along the tail, it was stiff enough to float in the heaviest snow. The Ritual excelled in soft bumps, scraped-out chutes, and boot-deep old snow—the stuff we ski more than we let on via Instagram. 137.5/103/123.5

THE VERDICT: The most versatile of toys.

OVERALL: 4.5

TURNING PlEASURE: 4

Salomon Q 115 Skis

skis salomon q 115 winter buyers guide 2014
  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

BEST FOR: “Big turns in soft snow,” as one tester put it.

THE TEST: Salomon skis tend to be loose and easy to whip around, with a sweet spot as big as France. But what surprised us about the brand new Q 115 was the power it delivered. There’s rocker but also a burly laminated wood core paired with big weight savings in the tip and tail. 139/115/131

THE VERDICT: Testers praised the Q 115 for top-end speed and instantaneous response.

OVERALL: 3.5

TURNING PlEASURE: 4

Nordica El Capo Skis

skis nordica el capo winter buyers guide 2014
  Photo: Inga Hendrickson

BEST FOR: Powder skiers who can arc a turn on hardpack.

THE TEST: Quality matters. And this 107-millimeter-waisted, full-wood-core ski, with its two layers of titanium and vertical sidewalls, is an ultra-premium product—even at that price. Proof: the trenches we left on the mountain at Snowbird. 137/107/125

THE VERDICT: Our ski of choice for places where groomed runs access powder.

OVERALL: 4

TURNING PlEASURE: 4.5

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