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Powder: Wide

These are for experts who want a specialized powder skis, but also value versatility. They're wide but manageable (90–105 mm underfoot), so they surf the deep but bust crud and carve on groomed, too. Best for resort powder days, out of bounds and crud when the hill gets tracked out.

Nemesis

Nordica

2010

price$899

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
4.54 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.84 / 5
Crud Performance: 
4.32 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.56 / 5
Quickness: 
3.02 / 5
Average Score: 
3.85 / 5

YEAR2009/2010

TIP/TAIL/WAIST135/98/125

LEVELAdvanced

LENGTHS

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When launched, “ladies’ gear” was for girls who needed help on the hill—getting on the lift, getting off the lift, zipping their coats with mittens on. Enter the Nemesis—for girls who need help scouting 50-footers. When translating the women’s version from the unisex (see the Enforcer), Nordica didn’t strip out the metal. The result is a burly, damp ski—the category’s strongest—that chewed up Gad Chutes then carved cleanly back to the lift. “Makes a good skier invincible,” said Loring.

Celebrity

Line

2010

price$675

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.98 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.38 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.82 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.76 / 5
Quickness: 
3.70 / 5
Average Score: 
3.31 / 5

YEAR2009/2010

TIP/TAIL/WAIST125/90/113

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS

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Though the unisex version (see the Prophet 100) has astonished our men’s team the past couple of years, our women remained unimpressed. But this year Line sealed the deal: They added metal to the ski, enhancing stability and edge-grip. It still has a lightweight, buoyant feel that makes bouncing through trees a blast, but underlying stability encourages speed. Bigger skiers may overpower it, but our test team was all in. “For a powder ski, its technical attributes really shined,” said Barnes.

Gotback

K2

2010

price$825

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.92 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.50 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.72 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.72 / 5
Quickness: 
3.30 / 5
Average Score: 
3.62 / 5

YEAR2009/2010

TIP/TAIL/WAIST135/102/121

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS

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A rockered shovel is the story here. Reverse camber isn’t new—the late Shane McConkey invented it in 2001—but combining it with a traditional or flat tail is. And it handily solves rockered skis’ dilemma: They smeared through pow like a speedboat in a pond, but couldn’t get back to the lift without a siren and bullhorn. The GotBack (part of K2’s new sidecountry-oriented Backside line) is the movement’s poster child, carving remarkably on groomed. “Most versatile ski of the day,” said Beekman.

Titan EOS IQ Max

Blizzard

2010

price$1025

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.70 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.52 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.16 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.82 / 5
Quickness: 
2.70 / 5
Average Score: 
3.14 / 5

YEAR2009/2010

TIP/TAIL/WAIST125/88/111

LEVELExpert

LENGTHS

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The Eos, like all of Blizzard’s ’09-’10 powder skis, sports a new tip shape designed to let you steer it through powder—as opposed to it steering you. Which could be why some testers had to coerce it to hook up on groomed. But stomp on it, and the Eos will exhibit raw power: carving through crud like a Sawzall, then spitting you out, smiling and a little shaken, at the bottom. Short turns? Nah. Novices? No way. But when the storm breaks, the Eos is ready. “For the girl who opens it up,” said Barnes.

Elysian

Atomic

2010

price$749

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.70 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.56 / 5
Crud Performance: 
4.14 / 5
Forgiveness: 
4.12 / 5
Quickness: 
4.00 / 5
Average Score: 
3.80 / 5

YEAR2009/2010

TIP/TAIL/WAIST124/92/116

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS

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Usually, a ski with rebound, or snap, lives on the technical side of the spectrum: more hand surgeon than bagel schmearer. The Elysian manages to be both, earning top scores in rebound—springing down the fall line in meticulously rounded turns—and forgiveness—sliding willingly when backed off. And did we mention it also won category highs in quickness/bumps and balance of skills? Paradise, indeed. “Lots of zip, fun turn shape—this ski is forgiving, yet it holds well at speed,” said Loring.

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