If you're a skier who spends most of your time out West and wants a one-ski quiver that can handle everything from nine inches of fresh to chunked-up chutes, look at one of the eight planks below. 


Rossignol Soul 7

Best For: Having buckets of fun. 
The Test: For many skiers, this is still the best blend of relaxed playfulness and high-speed stability on the market. The rest of the industry is scrambling to match what Rossi achieved with its weight-reducing honeycomb tips, well-designed taper (the ski enters and exits turns effortlessly), and relatively long effective edge for immense carving pleasure. 
The Verdict: Probably the best tool for skiing steep trees ever invented. 136/106/126

Price $850 Overall 5 Carving 4 


Fischer Ranger 108 Ti

Best For: Lightweight skiers tired of pushing hefty planks around. 
The Test: A carbon nose paired with Fischer’s proprietary milled-out Air Tec body delivers a core about 25 percent lighter than those in its competitors’ skis. That weight savings and the rocker let us whip around trees and slice through powder. But the 108 is no noodle. Wood and titanium keep the ride smooth, while camber under--foot generates good energy return for a ski this fat.
The Verdict: Light enough for the backcountry, the 108 is best suited to skiers who weigh less than 160 pounds. 140/108/130

Price $850 Overall 5 Carving 4.5


Völkl 100Eight 

Best For: Traveling light to Utah or Whistler. 
The Test: At 108 millimeters wide, with both rocker and tip taper, this ski is buoyant enough for all but the deepest days. The flat tail lets you engage the edges through the end of the turn. And a keen construction technique saves weight without sacrificing ride quality. Our testers called it “light,” “playful,” and “ridiculously powerful.” 
The Verdict: You could ski nothing but western groomers on the 100Eight and be perfectly happy. 141/108/124

Price $825 Overall 5 Carving 4.5


Blizzard Cochise

Best For: Smearing and carving. 
The Test: Waist width matters more than any other ski attribute. Ride mostly hardpack? An 80-to-90-millimeter waist is best. Primarily go off-trail and chase storms? You’ll want a 108-millimeter paddle like the playful Cochise. This ski has ample rocker for sloughing around in deep snow—minus the tip chatter when you hit chunder. But with a wood core backed by two sheets of Titanal, you can also carve. 
The Verdict: Way more surfy and easier to ski than its predecessor—without sacrificing any power in crud. 136/108/122

Price $900 Overall 5 Carving 4.5


Dynastar Cham 2.0 107

Best For: Strong skiers who go fast. 
The Test: Like a downhill mountain bike, the old Cham started working properly only above 45 miles per hour. Not so the Cham 2.0, which has well-balanced flex. We fell into the ski’s sweet spot, smearing and buttering at a range of speeds. But unlike most of the skis here, it offers great high-end energy return and stability when you open up the throttle. 
The Verdict: The ski we’d grab if we had to outrun an avalanche. But we’d happily deploy it in six inches of fresh, too. 137/107/122

Price $800 Overall 5 Carving 5


Salomon Q-105

Best For: Skiing pure powder. 
The Test: The Q-105 is the skinniest ski here, but it’s also the most buoyant. That’s testament to how the right mix of rocker, camber, tip taper, and weight savings can out-perform straight-up girth. It was easy to pivot and smear in trees but was still up for point and shoot: there’s ample directional stability for going fast in open country. Note: it does get a bit squirrelly on icy groomers. 
The Verdict: “A superlight, crazy nimble ski that floats effortlessly,” said one tester. 136/105/128

Price $725 Overall 4.5 Carving 5


Nordica NRGy 107

Best For: Railing carved turns between dumps. 
The Test: The NRGy 107 was the best ski of this group on groomers, with a sheet of titanium alloy that added pop without weight. A flat tail lets you power through the end of the turn. And the poplar core and ample tip rocker give you just enough float to blast over boot-deep snow. 
The Verdict: On a powder day, are you more likely to (A) squirrel around in the trees for the last scraps, or (B) haul down the middle of the run? If (B), you’ve found your ski. 137/107/125

Price $849 Overall 4 Carving 4


Atomic Automatic 109

Best For: High-speed pow turns. 
The Test: This is consistently one of the best western skis we test. To save weight, Atomic went with a poplar core (instead of heavy ash or fir) backed by carbon “power boosters.” Rocker extends 25 percent of the way down the shovel of the ski. But there’s real camber underfoot. That meant we could push the 109 to top speed in 17 inches of fresh but still rail it up on edge. Lightweights should downsize, as this is a beefy, powerful ride. 
The Verdict: The fattest plank here (barely), it’s the best option for off-trail skiing. 134/109/124

Price $725 Overall 5 Carving 4.5

The Best All Mountain Skis of 2016

In the gear world, the word versatile is supposed to connote “deft” and “multi-talented.” It’s overused to the point of cliché, but it’s also a totally accurate description of the new all-mountain skis. Finally, after decades of R&D, you can buy one pair of boards—not too fat, not too skinny, not too carvy, not too buttery—to replace a garageful of overly specialized confusion. In fact, the options are so adroit, we had to rethink our Snowbird, Utah, test. When a powder ski can rip a beautiful GS turn, it’s no longer just a powder ski. So, too, with a frontside

Read More

The Best All Mountain Frontside Skis of 2016

This year's planks are more versatile—and fun—than ever. Whatever your style, these four skis can handle anything at your favorite resort, but they're best suited to moguls, glades, and fast hot laps down groomers.  (Völkl) Völkl Kendo Best For: Supreme versatility. The Test: The old Kendo was a fall-line machine that excelled at linking arcs on groomers, with occasional off-piste forays. The new Kendo—with tip and tail rocker and some subtle tapering—is all that, just with more off-trail chops. Like its older sibling, it uses wood and metal, but the new shape makes turn initiation far easier, despite the added width. The

Read More

The Best Specialized Skis of 2016

This year, we tested the most versatile batch of skis we've ever seen. But sometimes you need a ski that's right for one job and one job only. No all-arounder matches these two planks for the conditions—powder and fast frontside runs, respectively—that they were designed for. (Salomon) Salomon MTN Lab $950 Best For: Pure powder, face shots. The Test: Let’s assume you own an all-mountain ripper but live to chase winter storms. You need a ski like the MTN Lab in your quiver. Salomon paired a honeycomb tip with a new material called CFX Superfiber—a carbon and flax weave that adds power and dampening

Read More

The Best Snowboards of 2016

Our 45-member test team spent a week riding 94 new snowboards in Crested Butte, Colorado, last March, shredding from dawn till dusk until our legs could take no more. The first few days on hardpack and a choppy mix of ice and snow taught us a lot about how the boards performed in dicey conditions. Then the storm gods dropped a foot of fresh powder. What we learned: today’s top boards are as capable banging through bumps below the lift as they are floating over a powder field. The trick is finding one with a ride that matches your style. 

Read More

The Best Alpine Ski Boots of 2016

There's no perfect ski boot. Really, the only thing that matters at the start of the day is fit. We've narrowed your picks down to six top models, from comfy cruisers to stiff racers. The rest is up to you.  (Head) Head Vector Evo 130 Best For: Freeskiers The old Vector was a nice racing boot. This year, Head perfected the family by making the new Evo 130 even more performance oriented, with a forward lean that encourages an upright stance, a relatively steep ramp angle, and a narrower last.  Price $800 (Dalbello) Dalbello Avanti 100 Best For: Dialing In Fit Not

Read More

The Best Backcountry Skis and Bindings of 2016

Backcountry gear is getting really damn good. So good, in fact, that it’s time to ditch your dedicated alpine setup if you make any turns on the other side of the ropes. Take boots: even models from traditional alpine companies are getting lighter, and they perform almost as well as their resort-bound siblings. Skis are shedding ounces, too, with clever carbon constructions and skinnier waists. But they still shred. In tech bindings, the concept that Dynafit pioneered 31 years ago has become a ubiquitous platform for others to build upon, and the results are safer and more user-friendly. To help

Read More

The Best Alpine Touring Ski Boots of 2016

Enjoyable skiing comes down to happy feet. From the odd skin up the resort to multi-day tours, these six boots have got you covered.  (Technica) Tecnica Cochise Pro 130 Best For: Occasional Missions The Cochise Pro 130 carries over the interchangeable tech- and DIN-compatible soles of last year’s model but gets an upgraded liner. It remains a leader in the AT market, but due to its weight, it isn’t ideal for big-mileage days. That said, if you put a premium on going downhill fast, it can’t be beat. 8.9 lbs Price $840 (Scott Sports) Scott Sports Superguide Carbon Best For: Long Tours To

Read More

The Best Women’s Backcountry Skis, Bindings, and Boots of 2016

From skinning up in the morning to shredding down icy chutes, our two favorite alpine-touring setups can handle it all.  (Genuine Guide Gear) G3 Synapse 101 W skis  A ski this light and uphill oriented tends to get skittish on the downs. Not so the Synapse 101W, which let testers rip in everything from day-old mank to eight inches of fresh. The superb mix of stiffness and playfulness comes from the carbon-wrapped poplar and paulownia core and the early-rise tip and tail. 130/101/118; 5.8 lbs Price $900 (Black Diamond Equipment) Fritschi Diamir Vipec 12 bindings  Last year the Vipec 12 made our list

Read More

The Best Women’s Alpine Skis of 2016

We put these four women-specific skis to the test alongside two dozen others at Snowbird, Utah, this year. They made it into the issue for a reason. (Atomic) Atomic Vantage 90 CTI W  All Mountain Frontside  Even frontside devotees detour into trees and bumps. Atomic’s answer: a ski that pairs on-piste performance with stellar off-trail capabilities. Camber underfoot is backed by a wood core and vibration-eating metal to ramp up carving power. A top-sheet window reveals woven carbon mesh that runs from tip to tail for torsional strength. Subtle rocker makes for supple turn initiation, while the wide 90-millimeter waist means you’ll stay lifted in the fluff.

Read More

The Best Women's Snowboards of 2016

These boards play nice everywhere. All you have to decide is what kind of conditions you spend the most time in, then go ride everything on the hill.  (Gnu) Gnu Zoid Best For: Deep CarvesThe asymmetric Zoid comes in two shapes: one for regular footers and one for goofy. Testers agreed it was a joy to ride almost anywhere. “It’s medium stiff lengthwise and charges through corn, bumps, and groomers,” one noted. The serrated MagneTraction edges provide solid hold on ice, and the surf-inspired Ekstrom tail “feels like pumping a wave but carves incredibly well,” our tester said.  Price $650

Read More

The Nordic Skiing Essentials of 2016

Our testers spent several months last winter putting the best 2016 Nordic gear to the test for you. These ten winners make up an ideal cross-country kit, designed to keep you comfortable, warm (but not too warm!), and fast on the trail.  (Louis Garneau) Louis Garneau Alpha vest The Alpha’s asymmetrical zipper won’t rub on your chin, and the form-fitting athletic cut won’t impede movement or catch the wind in a tuck.  Price $160 (Swix) Swix Down shorts These shorts are the winter equivalent of mountain-bike baggies: a functional statement piece. Keep them on while warming up, then zip them off when temps rise or

Read More

The Splitboarding Essentials of 2016

Race to the top with these nine backcountry tools that will keep your kit fast and light.  (Amplid) Amplid Milligram splitboard At 5.5 pounds, this carbon board is light without sacrificing performance. The blunt nose gives it a surfy feel in powder, while the stiff core remains responsive even while riding icy late-season couloirs.  Price $1,100 (Dakine) Dakine Heli vest Ditch the pack in favor of the Heli. The slim 1.9-pound nylon top is chairlift-friendly and easily accommodates the essentials (shovel, beacon, and probe), plus an extra layer, snacks, and a one-liter bladder.  Price $150 (Black Diamond) Black

Read More