The Best Specialized Skis of 2016
For pure powder and pure frontside groomers
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 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 sans metal—to shed weight. At Snowbird, in the most intense storm many of us had ever witnessed, the MTN Lab stood apart for ease of use and undying stability. You can throw it around in a low-speed slough turn or ski at highway speeds and expend very little energy.
The Verdict: You’d never need more float. And somehow it skis with gusto on hardpack, too. 141/115/129
Price $950 Overall 5 Firm-Snow Survival 4
Head iSupershape Titan with PRX 12 bindings $1,075
Best For: Pure frontside, short to medium swing turns on everything from ice to butter.
The Test: At first glance, this Head looks like a beer-league race ski—complete with a sandwich-style World Cup wood core and two sheets of metal. But it’s also 80 millimeters underfoot (for a stable platform), and 10 percent of the tip is rockered (for easing into turns). Our testers raved about how they could mindlessly lock into a medium-radius turn. “Patience is rewarded with a powerful finish,” said one. It’s glossy smooth at all speeds and forgives small mistakes.
The Verdict: For the days when you want to have maximum fun on hot groomer laps. 133/80/111
Price $1,075 Overall 5 Stability 5