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Best Powder Skis of 2017

Best Powder Skis of 2017

Ski News 9 September, 2016

Here we continue the reporting on this seasons best skis with the segment that we most love the Best Powder Skis of 2017! So if you are lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time and have any of these sticks on your feet you probably going to have the best damn powder day of your life.

The category is divided into Freeride and Freestyle skis with the big difference being that the Freeride boards are a little softer to nail those big mountain pillow runs sending it big from pillow to pillow. And the stiffer flex in the Freeride  you can go fast and holds you steady on that big Alaskan wall.

Top 5 +115mm Freeride skis of 2017:

#1. Black Crows Anima

“Nimble,” “reactive,” “snappy,” “agile,” and “maneuverable” are all words our testers used to describe the Anima, descriptors you don’t often see associated with a ski of this size. Black Crows uses midweight, responsive poplar wood in its core to bring a bit of play to this behemoth but evens out the ride with carbon-Kevlar strips. The combination of tip and tail rocker with traditional camber underfoot also aids in its well-roundedness. The result is a fatty that is competent shredding steep, unforgiving terrain; floating in deep snow; going airborne; or just arcing big turns on open groomers.

Rating: 8.95/10

Dimensions: 142/115/126

Turn Radius: 21 m @ 182

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#2. Atomic Backland FR 117

Inspired by the now-defunct Automatic 117 and taking cues from the Bent Chetler, the Backland FR 117 is a hard-charging, big-mountain soldier that isn’t afraid to have some fun. Midweight, responsive poplar wood serves as the foundation while a carbon insert running the length of the ski helps to stabilize the ride, promoting power, steadiness and confidence in steep, variable terrain. Atomic implemented HRZN Tech (a blend of ABS sidewall with horizontal rocker in the tip and tail) for better float and playfulness without any added weight. Testers raved about the ski, noting, “It’s got plenty of stability and charges hard yet is really surfy,” and “This ski is sturdy, whippy and has lots of pop.”

Rating: 8.67/10

Dimensions: 149,5/117/129,5

Turn Radius: 19 m @ 186

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#3. Rossignol Super 7 RD

The cheetah is the fastest land animal on earth; the Super 7 RD is the cheetah of the ski world. In fact, “RD” stands for race department, and these skis are a super limited run, so get ’em while they’re hot. Rossignol’s updated 7 Series “HD” integrates its Carbon Alloy Matrix to complement the paulownia wood core. The Matrix is carbon and basalt integrated into an open weave that mimics the stability and dampness of metal without loss of energy. The Super 7 “RD” is built with an even beefier core than the HD, using thicker glass found in Rossi’s World Cup race skis and providing a stiffer construction of the Carbon Alloy Matrix. This translates to a barnburner of a ski. Only comes in one size:190 cm

Rating: 8.58/10

Dimensions: 145/120/126

Turn Radius: 30 m

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#4. Faction Eleven5

For a ski of its size, the Eleven5 can do it all, whether it’s trenching during a storm or blasting the chunder three days later. A combination of dense ash, lighter weight poplar and a layer of Titanal helps this ski straddle the line between power and grace. It’s built with tip and slight tail rocker and traditional camber underfoot, making it plenty floaty for pow days and maneuverable in tight situations. Additionally, a dual radius produces varying effective edge lengths. This results in quick turn initiation and stability throughout the turn. One tester described the Eleven5 as, “A big boy ski with a shape ready for anything.”

Rating: 8.51/10

Dimensions: 138/115/124

Turn Radius: 24-29 m @ 186

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#5. Salomon QST 118

Unlike some skinnier members of the new QST line (QST 99, 92 and 85) the QST 118 (and 106) utilize rocker in both the tips and tails. This translates to a ski with significant soft snow capabilities that’s ultra-nimble to boot. To balance out the ride, Salomon utilizes Koroyd in the tips and tails, which is a pattern of copolymer tubes welded together to provide energy absorption. Then, a lightweight, torsionally rigid flax prepreg linen weave adds strength without weight. Testers noted it was “light but sturdy” and “a beautiful blend of agility and strength.”

Rating: 8.45/10

Dimensions: 142/118/129

Turn Radius: 25.5 m @ 185

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Top 5 +115 mm Freestyle Powder Skis of 2017:

#1. Armada JJ 2.0

When a tester says, “Put a ring on it,” regarding a pair of skis—you put a damn ring on it. And that’s exactly what we did with the JJ 2.0, awarding it the top spot in our 115-plus-mm freestyle category. This is the second year in a row the JJ has earned top honors. Between its rocker-camber-rocker profile and versatile five-point sidecut, this thing is a floatin’, pillow-stompin’, crud bustin’, highly maneuverable machine that can still hold its own on the hard stuff when needed.

Rating: 9.22/10

Dimensions: 131/117/127

Turn Radius: 17 m @ 185

2017-armada-jj-skis-review-kopia

 

#2. Faction Candid 4.0

Anytime the words “Candide Thovex” appear on our website, traffic ramps up like rush hour in downtown LA. Why? Because he slays pow in a Rambo-like fashion. And he does so with the Candide 4.0. Built with a lightweight balsa core and stiff Titanal mounting plates underfoot it’s soft enough for those who crave some trickery in their skiing but sturdy enough to go all in, Candide style. Multi-radius sidecut also allows for maneuverability when it’s time to navigate the trees, or rock the hardpack. “Really strong edge hold for a chubby stick,” said one enthused tester. “A fat ski that can eat up all the powder but still have a rockin’ time in between storms.”

Rating: 9.07/10

Dimensions: 140/118/134

Turn Radius: 23 m @ 182

2017-faction-candide-3-skis-review-kopia

 

#3. Head Cyclic 115

This tester comment is on-damn-point for the Cyclic 115: “A super versatile fatty: stable through the turn on hard snow, ultra-playful, low swing weight, the full package.” The ski’s massive 148-mm-wide shovel initiates turns flawlessly, lessening the effort needed to knife around like Head pros JT Holmes and James Heim. Tips and tails are rockered out for surfin’ pow and hovering over the rough stuff, while 60 percent of the ski remains cambered for those not-so-soft days. Last but not least, tip and tail stabilizers dampen vibrations and guarantee full-on stability, no matter the conditions.

Rating: 9.00/10

Dimensions: 148/113/131

Turn Radius: 19 m @ 181

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#4. Atomic Backland Bent Chetler

Chris Benchetler’s pro model ski has been a FREESKIER favorite seven years running. The Bent Chetler impressed our testers (once again) with its smeary maneuverability, a trait achieved through hefty tip and tail rocker. Additionally, horizontal rocker combined with lateral ABS sidewalls that resemble the underbelly of a boat are placed in the tip and tail. HRZN tech, as it’s known, increases surface area and float. A lightweight poplar core and stabilizing carbon backbone couple with camber underfoot to provide a “silky, smooth, psychedelic and strafing” ride, praised one tester, “Awesome buttering, ollie and nollie capabilities.”

Rating: 8.98/10

Dimensions: 142/120/134

Turn Radius: 19 m @ 185

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#5. Black Crows Nocta

Whether you’re a pro or a Joe, bending a ski in soft powder isn’t an easy thing to do. That’s why Black Crows came out with the all-new Nocta. Its beautifully pre-bent with full-reverse camber to make you look and feel better than ever whilst shredding the gnar. Throw in a forgiving and lightweight paulownia-poplar core, along with semicap construction to protect those smooth sidewalls, and you’ve got one hell of a powder board straight out of skiing’s hallowed mountaineering grounds, Chamonix. Despite its primarily powder-aimed design, the Nocta rips all conditions. “Held a turn like a champ everywhere,” confirmed one tester. “Super playful, responsive and trustworthy—nothing squirrely about them.”

Rating: 8.75/10

Dimensions: 140/122/134

Turn Radius: 26 m @ 185.5

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If you want to read out the rest of the All mountain skis that came further down the raking go to freeskier.com Enjoy:)

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