Remember skiboards? We’ve come a long way since 2000, with two brands breaking trail. Too bad they're now owned by the same corporation, but there’s no denying their excellence.
Völkl Ten years ago, the fattest Völkl—remember the G41?—was 83 mm at the waist. Innovative for its day, today it’s a reminder of how far we’ve come. Völkl has been a leader ever since, due to an unusually close collaboration between its German R&D team and American product management. Too often, race-obsessed European manufacturers are deaf to the pleas of the powder-loving American market. Not so at Völkl. Examples: The Kiku, a fat rockered twin for women; and the Mantra, already a classic.
K2 K2 laid the groundwork for American dominance in 1996 with the Four—the first popular super-sidecut. Ever since, the ski world has scrambled to keep up. K2 has a keen eye for trends, a deft touch with graphics and perfect pitch in its marketing. It championed the youth movement, yet was never too cool for the masses. The Recon is as successful in our tests as it is at retail, and the Pontoon shows commitment to innovation. Can K2 keep it up, now that it’s megacorporate-owned and China-made? We’ll be watching.