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RTM 84 UVO

Volkl

2017

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Gold Medal Gear

rating3.35

price$1150

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.79 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.79 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.93 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.39 / 5
Overall: 
3.35 / 5
Flotation: 
2.29 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH84mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST131-84-112

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS162, 167, 172, 177, 182

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The RTM 84 was alone in first place in the carver category last year. This year it has to share the top of the po- dium. Good thing it’s a ski that never pouts. It still puts up excellent scores in the hard-snow performance criteria with knifey stability, but its generous waist width gives it category-best performance for charging in soft snow and crud. And while there’s plenty of high end, the RTM has a mellow side.

Vantage 100 CTI

Atomic

2017

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rating3.33

price$850

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.26 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.00 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.16 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.50 / 5
Overall: 
3.33 / 5
Flotation: 
3.21 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH100mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST138-100-125

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS172, 180, 188

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Sage

Scott

2017

Best Value

rating3.34

price$650

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.43 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.29 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.30 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.63 / 5
Overall: 
3.34 / 5
Flotation: 
3.30 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH100mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST139-100-129

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS168, 178, 188

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Kenja

Volkl

2017

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rating3.32

price$825

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.71 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.73 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.47 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.96 / 5
Overall: 
3.32 / 5
Flotation: 
2.70 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH90mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST127-90-110

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS149, 156, 163, 170

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It’s been around for a while, but testers never tire of the Kenja. No. 1 last year, No. 2 the year before, and only one ski beat it for Overall Impression this year. It got a little wider and friendlier after a redesign last year, but it still succeeds best at giving an Eastern skier the confidence to trust an edge on hard snow and having the heft to smooth out rough snow and speed wobbles. It hopes you have solid skills and a will to improve—some testers found it a little stiff (in a good way).

Monster 108

Head

2017

rating3.32

price$800

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
4.25 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.46 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.73 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.86 / 5
Overall: 
3.32 / 5
Flotation: 
3.05 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH108mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST142-108-127

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS170, 177, 184, 191

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Skis usually get to be either quick or stable at speed. The Monster 108 somehow manages to be both. Barely wide enough to qualify for the category, it’s certainly not a flotation specialist. Rather, it cements its spot in the Deep Snow category’s top three with an unusual blend of power and finesse. Its waist width never feels planky on hard- pack. Its flat, unrockered tail loves to finish turns. But what’s most amazing is how a ski this light can put up the No. 1 ranking in Stability at Speed—and by a long shot. Head credits the graphene laminate (super thin, extraordinarily strong).

Mantra

Volkl

2017

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rating3.30

price$875

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.34 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.46 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.56 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.13 / 5
Overall: 
3.30 / 5
Flotation: 
3.16 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH100mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST132-100-118

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS170, 177, 184, 191

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Black Pearl

Blizzard

2017

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rating3.31

price$720

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.79 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.43 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.33 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.95 / 5
Overall: 
3.31 / 5
Flotation: 
2.79 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH88mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST123-88-108

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS152, 159, 166, 173

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The Black Pearl has been squatting at or near the top of the rankings for a number of years now, admired by testers for its multitool versatility (and reliably pretty graphics: a “badass beauty,” said one tester). Some of the women thought it might be a little stiff and bossy for tentative skiers, but not all agreed. (Especially if you bring a healthy body weight to it, they argued.) Ratico: “Stable and playful and fun in all conditions.”

Great Joy

Head

2017

rating3.27

price$750

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.85 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.66 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.46 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.80 / 5
Overall: 
3.27 / 5
Flotation: 
2.95 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH98mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST141-98-124

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS153, 158, 163, 168, 173

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The girls raved so hard about graphene that Head finally put it in the boys’ skis too. The result: Head medaled with every ski entered in the test. Graphene is so thin and strong it lets Head reduce overall mass and redistribute profile thicknesses for optimal performance. The Great Joy is unmistakably light, but it hammers at speed like a much heavier ski. Lovell: “Pleasure and ease. Consistent, confident, no unwelcome surprises.”

90EIGHT W

Volkl

2017

rating3.27

price$825

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.65 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.40 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.40 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.85 / 5
Overall: 
3.27 / 5
Flotation: 
3.08 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH98mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST133-98-116

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS156, 163, 170

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The new 90Eight has an interesting look: thick down the middle for power, but thin near the edges to save weight. Some testers loved it for its strength and stability, others for its soft-snow surfiness, and it’s got enough of both to register a strong Overall Impression score. You don’t have to hit the gym to be able to handle it, but it helps. McElroy: “A ripper. Skis like an off-duty race ski. It’s stiff, but there’s a nice fluidity to it too.”

 

Super Joy

Head

2017

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Gold Medal Gear

rating3.26

price$875

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.59 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.63 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.51 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.76 / 5
Overall: 
3.26 / 5
Flotation: 
2.01 / 5

YEAR2016/2017

WAIST WIDTH75mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST128-75-108

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS143, 148, 153, 158, 163, 168

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Head takes groomed-snow performance seriously, reckoning most skiers spend most of their time on-trail. In the Super Joy, it shows. But don’t mistake it for one of those heavy, edgy arc machines that tire you out before lunch. There’s high-end carving performance aplenty: deep autocarve sidecut, thrilling rebound energy, zippy quickness. But given how reassuring it is at speed, and how reliable it is at high edge angles, its ease is surprising. Feeling lazy? It’s content to cruise at moderate speeds until you find your warrior face.

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