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Gear

Stormrider 107

Stockli

2013

rating3.13

price$1429

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.90 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.04 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.60 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.39 / 5
Overall: 
3.13 / 5
Flotation: 
3.10 / 5

YEAR2012/2013

WAIST WIDTH107mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST135-107-127

LEVELAdvanced

LENGTHS

MSRP: $1429.00
RATING: 3.13 / 5

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How fat can you go without sacrificing groomed-snow performance? The Stormrider awed testers with its hard- snow grip. Looking for some- thing surfy and playful? Try something else. Testers have come to expect power and precision from Stockli, and this ski delivers. It's unshakable in crud, loves long arcs on soft groomers, and prefers to travel through deep snow rather than surf on top of it. Larson: "Forgiving for a Stockli. Great versatility for on-trail skiing."

Spirit Motion

Stockli

2015

rating2.63

price$1098

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.05 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.93 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.39 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.35 / 5
Overall: 
2.63 / 5
Flotation: 
1.58 / 5

YEAR2014/2015

WAIST WIDTH66mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST122-66-107 (150); 12

LEVELAdvanced

LENGTHS150, 155, 160, 165

MSRP: $1098.90
RATING: 2.63 / 5

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Star 7

Rossignol

2015

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rating3.41

price$850

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.93 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.37 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.33 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.99 / 5
Overall: 
3.41 / 5
Flotation: 
4.15 / 5

YEAR2014/2015

WAIST WIDTH116mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST140-116-130

LEVELAdvanced

LENGTHS162, 170, 178, 188

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MSRP: $850.00
RATING: 3.41 / 5

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Some testers felt this ski was supremely effortless for all abilities, while others advised wearing "big-girl pants" when skiing it. They're both right: This ski is both easy and strong, a rare combo. Rossi's lightweight honeycombed Air Tip gives it incredible pivotability, but a beefy cap-sandwich con- struction (the same as the unisex Super 7's) and strong tail get after big lines. "Point it down the fall line and it magically does the work for you," said McElroy.

Experience 88

Rossignol

2015

BUY NOW

Gold Medal Gear

rating3.74

price$750

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.76 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.90 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.94 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.40 / 5
Overall: 
3.74 / 5
Flotation: 
2.33 / 5

YEAR2014/2015

WAIST WIDTH88mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST135-88-124

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS156, 164, 172, 180, 188

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MSRP: $750.00
RATING: 3.74 / 5

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After three years on the podium, the Experience 88 finally ascends to the top step. Rossi's recent resurgence owes a lot to the Experience line of frontside generalists, and the 88 has always been the testers' favorite. With its huge tip and deep shape it's a can't-miss carver with enough width and tip rocker for soft-snow fun too. It's metal- free but still awes testers with its speed-loving dampness (Air Tip concentrates mass underfoot; damper-than-fiberglass basalt fibers further quiet the ride). Added stiffness this year gives it more oomph. Beekman: "Balanced flex tip to tail. Feels agile and damp at the same time."

Soul 7

Rossignol

2015

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Gold Medal Gear

rating3.82

price$800

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.19 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.09 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.84 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.96 / 5
Overall: 
3.82 / 5
Flotation: 
3.87 / 5

YEAR2014/2015

WAIST WIDTH106mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST136-106-126

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS154, 172, 180, 188

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MSRP: $800.00
RATING: 3.82 / 5

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How fitting that a ski testers described as "perfect for the masses" should sell in massive quantities. This returning category crusher has perhaps the broadest ability envelope of any ski in the test. Ex- perts use its rockered, tip-tapered smearability to go crazy fast in terra incognita, knowing they can shut it down fast in "oh, $!*#!" moments. Inter- mediates can use that float and easy pivotability to finally master powder skiing. And sure, it's mostly a powder ski-but one that arcs readily enough on groomers to qualify for daily-driver status in soft- snow locales. Withey: "As versatile as any in this class. Could put anyone on this ski."

Laser AX

Stökli

2015

Gold Medal Gear

rating3.69

price$1265

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
4.01 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
4.19 / 5
Crud Performance: 
2.75 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.47 / 5
Overall: 
3.69 / 5
Flotation: 
1.85 / 5

YEAR2014/2015

WAIST WIDTH78mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST123-78-109 (159, 167

LEVELExpert

LENGTHS157, 167, 175, 183

MSRP: $1265.00
RATING: 3.69 / 5

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At that price, the Laser AX had better be good. It is. Compare and contrast with Volkl's RTM, with which it ties for the top spot in the rankings: Where the Volkl aims for a measure of all-conditions, all-terrain versatility, the Laser, true to its name, focuses on hard-snow precision. It's a veritable GS race ski. Testers were awed by its "epoxied to the snow" edge grip and its pure greed for speed. Go find the hardest snow you can, then dice it with confidence-provided, as testers warned, you have the strength and ability to manage this ski. Luby: "What an exhilarating ride. Great suspension and dampness. Lives up to its price tag."

Shrio

Volkl

2015

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Gold Medal Gear

rating3.80

price$825

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
4.00 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.68 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.66 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.34 / 5
Overall: 
3.80 / 5
Flotation: 
3.99 / 5

YEAR2014/2015

WAIST WIDTH119mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST151-119-135

LEVELAdvanced

LENGTHS173, 183, 193, 203

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MSRP: $825.00
RATING: 3.80 / 5

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For all the recent buzz about the sexy, slashy benefits of tapered tips, the Shiro's scores prove that testers still have a soft spot for strong, lively, directional performance. Sure, Volkl's trademark full-length rocker gives it loose pivotability in deep snow and crud. But put it on edge and rest assured it's going to bend deeply into carve-ready arcs-and then release with thrilling, best-in- category, way-across-the-fall-line rebound. It's not a difficult ski, but testers agreed that its qualities are best appreciated by aggressive skiers. Moffatt: "Surfy and stable in deep and still very manage- able in crud. Surprisingly nimble. Super versatile."

NRGy 90

Nordica

2015

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Gold Medal Gear

rating3.65

price$699

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.76 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
3.92 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.08 / 5
Forgiveness: 
2.96 / 5
Overall: 
3.65 / 5
Flotation: 
2.63 / 5

YEAR2014/2015

WAIST WIDTH90mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST126-90-110 (177)

LEVELIntermediate

LENGTHS161, 169, 177, 185

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MSRP: $699.00
RATING: 3.65 / 5

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If you like to squeeze a buck as much as you like to stand on a cleanly arcing edge, check out the NRGy 90. It'll sell for about $600 in most shops, but there's nothing cheap about the way it skis. Its quickness and hard-snow skills belie its ample width; its just-right rebound is man- ageable yet thrilling; and with a modest, GS-y, down-the-hill kind of sidecut, it loves to go fast in long arcs. Withey: "Rewards you at speed, yet still light and quick."

Annex 118

K2

2015

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Gold Medal Gear

rating4.00

price$960

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.71 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.37 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.47 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.85 / 5
Overall: 
4.00 / 5
Flotation: 
3.87 / 5

YEAR2014/2015

WAIST WIDTH118mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST145-118-135

LEVELAdvanced

LENGTHS177, 184, 191

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MSRP: $960.00
RATING: 4.00 / 5

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The universally admired Annex 118 felt like a "new kind of K2" to testers, damper than K2s past, trading some traditional liveliness for speed-loving stability that rippers will adore. It's the model of choice of K2 athlete Seth Morrison and, as one tester noted, especially well suited to the daring speeds and big-mountain lines he favors. And yet it still ranks No. 1 for Forgiveness, with a rocker and tip-taper shape that lends confidence in tight spaces and rebound energy that enhances that quickness. Elling: "So versatile. A hard-charging chameleon that can cruise quietly or bring on the horror as needed. Great new ski for K2."

Big Joy

Head

2015

BUY NOW

Gold Medal Gear

rating3.82

price$700

Ratings
Stability At Speed: 
3.84 / 5
Hard Snow Performance: 
2.79 / 5
Crud Performance: 
3.69 / 5
Forgiveness: 
3.56 / 5
Overall: 
3.82 / 5
Flotation: 
4.22 / 5

YEAR2014/2015

WAIST WIDTH110mm

TIP/TAIL/WAIST149-110-132 (168)

LEVELAdvanced

LENGTHS158, 168, 178

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MSRP: $700.00
RATING: 3.82 / 5

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Wow. After tepid results in recent years, Head instantly regained tester devotion with its strong, stable new fleet of Joy skis. The flagship Big Joy is a no-nonsense bomber that does it all. It's the Holy Grail of light and strong-a lightweight wood core is reinforced with graphene, a sheet of carbon one atom thick that earned its developers the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. A rockered tip floats in the deep, and low-profile camber in the rest carves on groomed. It's more directional than smeary, and it craves speed-so only experts need apply. "Chicks who rip, rejoice. This is the real-deal powder ski for us," said Barnes.

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