Presenting the three winners from our ski test.
Elan Ripstick 94 W
Head’s Total Joy is a frontside ripper, the Salomon Stella is a big-mountain tool—and the Ripstick falls right in between. It may be the most precise carver on this page, staying positively glued to the snow when laying down everything from short-radius slalom moves to sweeping super-G tracks. It did best in soft snow and bumps, nimbly leaping from turn to turn. “Comfortable, effortless, and powerful,” raved one tester. “For chargers who want a ski with spark, spunk, and personality,” said another. The only caveat: you’ll have to rein it in on steep, icy slopes, where it tended to feel outmatched. Experts desired a bit more heft and stiffness on treacherous lines. 134/94/109
Head Total Joy
Two seasons ago, Head launched what may be the greatest women-specific resort skis on the market with its Joy line. The planks are built around the super-material graphene—a fancy carbon that’s a million times thinner than paper and 100 times stronger than steel. This ski rips, especially considering its light weight. It was almost eerie how such a user-friendly tool could go from screaming down ice to pouncing through powder stashes in the trees. All our testers loved the 85-millimeter-waisted Total Joy, in the middle of the Joy range. Best for those who spend most of their time skiing frontside when snowfall totals amount to just a few inches. If you plan to hit bigger, deeper lines, size up to the Big Joy or Great Joy. 133/85/113
Salomon QST Stella 106
If you’re a westerner who spends most of your time in powder, the Stella could well be the only ski you need. This is a stupidly fun, capable ride that excelled under intermediate and advanced skiers. A 106-millimeter waist means it feels at home on early-morning corduroy and racing through eight inches in glades. It’s lightweight (just 7.8 pounds), with a honeycomb tip and tail that keep it playful. Experts will have a hard time overpowering it on anything except icy couloirs. (In situations like those, some of us were left wanting a heavier model.) “The Stella puts in the work so you don’t have to,” said one tester. 137.5/106/125