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Powertrack 84

Dynastar

2017

rating2.33

price$600

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.31 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.13 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.13 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.96 / 5
Overall: 
2.33 / 5
Flotation: 
1.86 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH84mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST123-84-106

LEVEL

LENGTHS162, 169, 176, 183

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With its 84-mm waist, the 2017 Dynastar Powertrack 84 is a shade quicker than the top-of-the-line Powertrack 89. It's also a bit lighter and livelier, lacking the metal reinforcement of the 89. The 84 is similarly built for all-mountain, all-conditions versatility, blending hard-snow carvability with soft-snow smeariness-just lighter, softer-flexing and a bit more forgiving than the 89. And like the 89, it's sold either flat (no binding) or as a system, with the same 12-DIN Look SPX Dual binding, which accepts either a conventional alpine-norm boot sole or the newer rockered WTR-style style boot sole. Dynastar's All Mountain collection of versatile mid-fat generalists includes four Powertracks with waist widths 89, 84 and 79 mm and target ability levels ranging from expert down to intermediate. The Powertracks, which return unchanged for 2017, blend some of the hard-snow carvability of Dynastar's Speed Zone series with some of the smeary looseness and soft-snow buoyancy of the freeriding Cham series. There's classic camber underfoot, for arcing on groomed snow. And there's rocker tip and tail for shock absorption and flotation in powder and crud. Meanwhile, Dynastar's Five-Point Sidecut gives the Powertracks a dose of newschool, freeridey slashiness: The tip and tail are tapered (ie, the widest points are closer to the foot), making them looser in the snow, easier to pivot and foot-steer. All Powertracks are built on durable, responsive poplar wood cores. The top two models (89 and 84) are laminate constructions with full-length, full-height, vertical sidewalls, for maximum edge power and torsional rigidity (twist resistance). The two 79-mm models (79 CA Fluid and 79 CA Xpress) have vertical sidewalls underfoot that taper down into softer-flexing, more forgiving cap construction fore and aft, for intermediate-friendly mellowness at slower speeds. The top two models are sold either flat or with binding; the lower two are sold only as ski-and-binding system. Dynastar, along with sister brands Look, Lange, and Kerma (poles), is part of the privately owned Rossignol Group. It's factory headquarters are in Sallanches, France, "in the shadow of Mont Blanc." It was founded in 1963. -J.C.

Backland FR 117

Atomic

2017

rating2.33

price$850

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.54 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
1.74 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.53 / 5
Forgiveness: 
1.91 / 5
Overall: 
2.33 / 5
Flotation: 
3.76 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH117mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST140.5-117-129.5

LEVEL

LENGTHS179, 186, 193

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The 2017 Atomic Backland FR 117, formerly the Automatic 117, is the fattest "directional" powder ski Atomic makes (as opposed to the bi-directional, center-mounted, 120-mm Bent Chetler, which is designed for backwards as well as forwards skiing). It gets the most rocker of any Backland FR model, with its underfoot cambered section comprising just 55 percent of the ski's total length. Its wood core is minimally reinforced with strategically placed Titanal stringers (Sprocket Power Boosters) placed on the core just fore and aft of the foot, for enhanced stability and responsiveness without compromising liveliness or adding excessive weight. For 2017, Atomic renames the Atomatic series of wide-waisted deep-snow freeriders and includes them in the Backland series, which includes tools for every kind of backcountry skiing, from the fat, sturdy, descent-oriented freeriders of the FR group to the skinny, ultra-light, ascent-oriented rando racers of the Ultimate group. The FR, or freeride series, includes three models of deep-snow powder specialists, formerly called Automatics, with waist widths of 117, 109, and 102 mm. All Backland FR models are built for loose, surfy performance in deep snow, with tapered tips, lightweight constructions, and turned-up tails. All are built on wood cores, and all feature Atomic's Step-Down Sidewall construction: high sidewalls underfoot for solidity and edge grip; lower sidewalls topped by cap construction tip and tail for softer flex and more forgiving performance. Each Automatic model has its own rocker profile, with progressively less rocker and more camber in the narrower waist widths. Atomic, founded in 1955, is based in Altenmarkt im Pongau, Austria (near Salzburg), where the majority of its skis are made. Along with sister brands Salomon and ArcTeryx, it is a division of Amer Sports of Finland, which acquired it in 1994. Its U.S. headquarters are in Ogden, Utah. -J.C.

OoolaLuv 85Ti

K2

2017

rating2.32

price$900

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
1.88 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
1.98 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.14 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.78 / 5
Overall: 
2.32 / 5
Flotation: 
2.21 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH85mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST126-85-114

LEVEL

LENGTHS156, 163, 170

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The 2017 K2 OohLaLuv 85Ti returns unchanged for 2017, except for a new graphic. It's still the fattest ski in K2's All-Mountain collection for women. Aimed at expert women, it's metal-reinforced for high-speed performance, with a mid-fat waist that won't trench too deeply on soft groomers or in moderate powder. It's sold flat or with an 11-DIN K2/Marker binding. The women's All-Mountain collection comprises six models ranging in width from 75 mm to 85 mm, built for everyday versatility in typical frontside resort conditions. (For more flotation in deeper snow, check out the wider-waisted Freeride-collection skis: AlLUVit 88, FulLUVit 95, and Luv Boat 105.) The top three models in the All-Mountain collection feature K2's Bioflex core, which features a flex pattern specifically tuned for women, mixing lightweight paulownia wood tip and tail, for easy swing-weight and soft flex, with denser aspen wood underfoot, for solid edge grip and durability. Additionally, their Channel Light Core design features grooves milled into them tip to tail to further reduce weight and soften flex. Three models in the series (those designated with "Ti" in their name) are metal-reinforced for durability, edge-grip, and high-speed calm. All but the value-priced Luv 75 feature HybriTech Sidewalls, which combine a sturdy vertical sidewall underfoot for edge grip with rounded-over cap sidewalls fore and aft for supple flex and lightness. (The Luv 75 has forgiving cap sidewalls from tip to tail.) Moderate rocker adds a measure of surfiness in soft snow and powder as well as shock absorption in rough terrain; camber underfoot promotes positive edge grip and adds rebound energy. K2 was founded in 1962 by the Kirschner brothers, who pioneered the use of fiberglass in ski construction at their Vashon Island, Wash., factory. The brand is now based in Seattle and builds its skis in China. It is owned by Newell Brands, a consumer products conglomerate. -J.C.

Pandora 95

Line

2017

rating2.30

price$750

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.09 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.17 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.09 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.37 / 5
Overall: 
2.30 / 5
Flotation: 
2.66 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH95mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST130-95-115

LEVEL

LENGTHS152, 162, 172

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With its 95-mm waist, the 2017 line Pandora 95, which returns unchanged except for a new graphic, is aimed at women who expect to do most of their freeriding on soft snow at Western resorts. Not as floaty in deep snow, it's quicker and edgier than the full-fat Pandora 110, better equipped for carving up everyday softpack and crud conditions between storms. Its full-height/full-length sidewalls make it a capable carver, yet it's still wide enough for surfy fun on powder days. Line offers 18 models for men, but for women it keeps things simpler, with just four models. Women's waist widths range from 115 down to 86. For soft-snow freeriding, the Pandora models, the 110 and the 95, are generously wide and amply rockered for powder and crud flotation in typical Western conditions. To keep things light, both Pandoras are built with Line's Maple Lite core: dense maple underfoot for sturdy edge grip, airier aspen fore and aft, for reduced swing weight. The narrower models, Soulmate 92 and Soulmate 85, are quicker and edgier, better suited to Eastern snow conditions. They get Line's denser Maple Macroblock cores: full-length maple stringers sandwiched by lighter aspen-for extra edge power, durability, and responsiveness. Constructions vary, from economical cap at the low end (Soulmate 86) to full-length/full-height sidewalls, for hard-snow grip, on the midfat models (Soulmate 92 and Pandora 95), to a mix of the two-soft-flexing cap riding on low, medium-edgy sidewalls-in the top-end Pandora 110. All have slight-twin tails, for smeary turn finishes, quick direction changes, and easy speed control. Line Skis, founded in 1995 by early independent ski-making entrepreneur and twin-tip inventor Jason Levinthal, is a subsidiary of K2, which, along with Volkl, Dalbello, and Marker, is a subsidiary of the Jarden Group, which was itself purchased by the Newell Rubbermaid consumer-products conglomerate in 2016. Based in Seattle, Wash., Line manufactures its skis in China. Sister brands include K2 and Full Tilt. -J.C.

Glory 84

Dynastar

2017

rating2.24

price$600

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
1.96 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
1.73 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.14 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.56 / 5
Overall: 
2.24 / 5
Flotation: 
2.03 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH84mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST122-84-105

LEVEL

LENGTHS149, 156, 163, 170

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With its narrower 84-mm waist, the 2017 Dynastar Glory 84 trades off some of the soft-snow and powder flotation of the Glory 89 in return for more quickness edge to edge and grippier edge bite on hard snow. And because if lacks the metal reinforcement of the flagship model, the 84 offers a lighter, livelier performance that's more forgiving and better suited to moderately aggressive skiers. Dynastar's Women's All-Mountain series of mid-fat generalists returns unchanged except for new graphics in 2017. It's four models-Glory 89, Glory 84, Glory 79 and Glory 74-range in waist width from 89 mm down to 74 mm, with wide, expert-level constructions at the top and narrower, novice-friendly models at the bottom. All are designed for all-mountain versatility in any terrain or snow conditions, combining the hard-snow carviness of the narrow-waisted Intense series with the freeride surfiness of the wider-waisted Cham W series. As in the men's Powertrack series, there's classic camber underfoot, for arcing on groomed snow, blended with rocker in the tip and tail for shock absorption and flotation in powder and crud. Meanwhile, Dynastar's Five-Point Sidecut gives the Glories a dose of newschool, freeridey slashiness: The tip and tail are tapered (ie, the widest points are closer to the foot), making them looser in the snow, easier to pivot and foot-steer. All are built on durable, responsive wood cores, though they vary in density, according to target ability level and price. The top two models (89 and 84) are laminate constructions with full-length, full-height, vertical sidewalls, for maximum edge power and torsional rigidity (twist resistance). The lower models are softer-flexing, more economical constructions appropriate for slower speeds. The 89 and the 84 are sold either flat or with binding; the lower two are sold only as ski-and-binding system. Dynastar, along with sister brands Look, Lange, and Kerma (poles), is part of the privately owned Rossignol Group. It's factory headquarters are in Sallanches, France, "in the shadow of Mont Blanc." It was founded in 1963. -J.C.

FX95 HP

Kastle

2017

rating2.28

price$1199

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.61 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.03 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.16 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.45 / 5
Overall: 
2.28 / 5
Flotation: 
2.33 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH95mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST126-95-115

LEVEL

LENGTHS165, 173, 181, 189

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The FX95, is the wider of Kastle's two FX (Free Cross) models. Both are expert-level skis designed for all-mountain freeriding, spending as much time off-trail as on. But with its 95-mm waist width, the FX95 is more buoyant in soft-snow conditions, better suited to everyday use in Western locales. Both are offered with or without metal reinforcement. The metal-free versions are lighter, more playful, and more forgiving; the metal-reinforced versions (bearing the HP, or high-performance, designation in the model name) are heavier, more powerful, and calmer at high speeds. The HP version of the FX95 is Kastle's top seller. Both are offered either flat (no binding) or with binding (13-DIN on the 85; 13- or 16-DIN on the 95). Unlike the full-cambered, trail-oriented MX models, FX models are rockered tip and tail-for loose, smeary performance in soft snow-with low traditional camber underfoot so that they still have a measure of hard-snow grip and will still carve readily. The FX's Hook Free tail is rounded, making it easier to skid the end of the turn and control speed as needed. (Compare to the MX, which has a square tail for maximum turn-finishing power.) FX models are laminate constructions built on full wood cores (fir), with vertical sidewalls for sturdy edge grip. HP versions feature metal reinforcement above and below the core for durability, dampness at high speeds, and maximum torsional rigidity (twist resistance). The Hollowtech tip is a Kastle signature: All but a thin translucent layer is removed from an egg-shaped cutout in the tip. This reduces swing weight, and because there's less mass, tip vibration is reduced, so the ski is quieter on the snow and hooks up into a carved turn more readily. Kastle's Elliptical Radius sidecut is progressively tighter tip and tail, for quick turn initiations and strong finishes. K_stle, based in Hohenems, Austria, was founded in 1924, when race coach Aton Kastle developed an all-ash ski. In the 1960s, it had great success with its CPM (compound-plastic-metal) constructions. The brand has an illustrious racing heritage, with World Cup stars such as Pirmin Zurbriggen and Kjetil Andre Aamodt. In 1991 it was purchased by Benetton and folded into the Nordica division. In 2007 it was divested and returned to Hohenems. Its U.S. headquarters are in Vail, Colorado. - J.C.

Sick Day 95

Line

2017

rating2.23

price$700

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
1.86 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
1.71 / 5
Crud Performance: 
1.84 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.49 / 5
Overall: 
2.23 / 5
Flotation: 
2.36 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH95mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST130-95-115

LEVEL

LENGTHS172, 179, 186

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With its 95-mm waist width, the Line Sick Day 95, which returns unchanged for 2017, is the narrowest of the Sick Day all-mountain freeriders. Quicker edge-to-edge than the fatter Sicks, and stronger on edge, it's the likeliest bet for Eastern freeriders looking to make the most of soft-snow days. Line's Sick Day collection includes three models of directional all-mountain freeriders in waist widths of 110, 102, and 95 mm, plus a lightweight backcountry touring model of the 102, the Sick Day Tourist. All are built for medium flex, with slight twin tails (not to loose, not too edgy) and traditional aft-of-center sidecut waisting and mounting points. (For skis with more center-mounted freestyle performance, see the Freestyle collection-Mordecai, Bacon, Wallisch, etc. For even stronger, edgier freeride performance, see the Supernaturals.) The three all-mountain Sick Days are built with Line's Capwall construction: low sidewalls supporting a soft-flexing cap, for a medium-edgy performance. All have full wood cores (maple and aspen) for durability and responsiveness. The Tourist gets Line's lightweight Cloud Core, a mix of airy foam reinforced with wood. All Sick Days are rockered in the tip and tail for soft-snow smeariness, with camber underfoot for hardpack carvability. All are sold flat. Line Skis, founded in 1995 by early independent ski-making entrepreneur and twin-tip inventor Jason Levinthal, is a subsidiary of K2, which, along with Volkl, Dalbello, and Marker, is a subsidiary of the Jarden Group, which was itself purchased by the Newell Rubbermaid consumer-products conglomerate in 2016. Based in Seattle, Wash., Line manufactures its skis in China. Sister brands include K2 and Full Tilt. -J.C.

Pro MTN 86 TI

Fischer

2017

rating2.20

price$750

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.55 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.51 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.16 / 5
Forgiveness: 
1.56 / 5
Overall: 
2.20 / 5
Flotation: 
2.33 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH86mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST128-86-116

LEVEL

LENGTHS161, 168, 175, 182

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Likely a top-seller for Fischer, the new Pro Mtn 86 Ti-heir to the much-admired Motive 86 Ti-aims for everyday all-mountain versatility. As with the flagship-model 95 Ti, Fischer gives you a choice of flavors in this width category: the precise, carve-ready Pro Mtn 86 Ti, or the surfy, smeary Ranger 90 Ti. The Pro Mtn series, new to Fischer in 2017 (and replacing the Motive series of all-mountain skis), consists of six models ranging in width from 95 mm (the flagship Pro Mtn 95) down to 74 mm waist (the value-priced Pro Mtn 74). The metal-reinforced top three models-the 95 Ti, 86 Ti, and 80 Ti-are sold flat (no binding); the lower three models-80, 77 and 74-are sold as systems (with binding). The top three models get all the key features: sturdy laminate construction with vertical sidewalls (for strength, edge-power, and durability); two sheets of metal (for high-speed calm and torsional rigidity; Fischer mills a relief pattern into the top sheet to cut weight); AirTec Ti core (air channels are milled into the wood core, also to save weight). Fischer's Razorshape profile gives the Pro Mtn an interesting look: The top corners of the ski are beveled to cut weight without sacrificing torsional stiffness (twist resistance). Carbon is inserted tip and tail to reduce swing weight and increase durability. All models are also rockered tip and tail, which smooths terrain shocks and enhances flotation and pivotability). The lower three models have no metal and no carbon-fiber inserts, to make them both less-expensive and more manageable. Family-owned Fischer Skis is based in Reid, Austria, where all its skis (and many of those of other brands) are built. Fischer says its factory in Reid is the second largest manufacturer of skis in the world. -J.C.

Stormrider 88

Stockli

2017

rating2.19

price$999

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.24 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.81 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.94 / 5
Forgiveness: 
1.14 / 5
Overall: 
2.19 / 5
Flotation: 
2.19 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH88mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST127-88-113

LEVEL

LENGTHS168, 177, 186

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The 88 returns to the Stormrider collection with an updated look for 2017. Stockli positions it as either an everyday all-mountain freerider-with its 88 mm waist it's a likely choice for Easterners in that department-or as a credible candidate for occasional touring in Western locales for someone who's willing to lug a few extra grams in return for uncompromised downhill performance. It weighs 3,110 grams per pair in the 177 cm length. Stockli's Stormrider series, built for adventuresome freeriding, has expanded to eight models. The series includes the Swiss brand's top sellers in the U.S. market. Waist widths have grown over the past few years, now ranging from a powder-specific 115 mm down to a touring-appropriate 83 mm. The series now includes two women's models at 85 and 100 mm. Rocker profiles vary, from subtle to pronounced, depending on model. All are classic Stockli constructions: wood cores for responsiveness and integrity, metal reinforcement for durability and high-speed calm, vertical sidewalls for optimized edge grip and solidity. One notable difference between Stormrider constructions and other Stocklis is that the upper layer of metal serves as the topsheet of the ski, rather than being covered by another laminate. This makes the topsheets uncommonly durable and gives the Stormriders a rich look. Core compositions vary from model to model. Stockli's Light Core combines two different woods-sturdy, resilient ash and lightweight ceiba (a West African species). Stockli's Super Light Cores incorporate balsa wood along with the other two for additional weight savings. Stockli Skis, founded in 1935 and under its third generation of family ownership, is based in Wohusen, Switzerland, near Lucerne. -J.C.

Ranger W 98

Fischer

2017

rating2.09

price$750

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
2.08 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
1.80 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.26 / 5
Forgiveness: 
1.99 / 5
Overall: 
2.09 / 5
Flotation: 
2.70 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH96mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST130-96-120

LEVEL

LENGTHS156, 164, 172

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The Ranger W 98 is one of two women's-specific skis in the Ranger series, designed to supply women with a good tool for big-mountain skiing. It has a 132 mm tip, 98 mm waist, 122 mm tail, and 17 m radius (at 172 cm). These dimensions are designed with serious skiing on challenging terrain in mind, yet holding enough practicality to take on groomers for those less intense days. If you're a lady who likes to charge every type of terrain possible, this is one of Fischer's best offerings for you. For something similar but skinnier, check out Fischer's other women's ski in the Ranger series, the Ranger W 89. The Ranger series focuses on big mountain tools intended to charge a wide variety of terrain, mainly outside of the groomers. The series debuted for the 2015-16 season. Fischer combines several technologies: A carbon tip decreases the ski's weight and is designed to improve maneuverability. Aeroshape, Air Tec Ti, and Air Carbon technologies use lightweight materials and streamlined shapes to further decrease the ski's overall weight. The Rangers' Air Tec wood core is milled with air empty channels to reduce weight and yet is metal reinforced to increase stability. Freeski Rocker, Fischer's most aggressive rocker profile, lifts the tips and tails up and over power and other varied terrain in an attempt to make your ride down the mountain as smooth as possible no matter what the snow is like. Fischer, based in Ried im Innkreis, Austria, was founded in 1923. Its U.S. headquarters are in Auburn, N.H. -C.D.

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