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Gear Guide Sampler: Powder Boards

Here's a few of our favorite powder skis from ski test.
posted: 10/09/2012

Here's a handful of the top powder skis from ski test. From skis tailor-made for smoking bowls to vision questing through deep days these skis will have you covered. 

Nordica Helldorado


2013 Testers' Choice
2013 Official Selection

Dimensions: 143/113/132

MSRP: $999

“Loved it!” “So rad!” The tester response to Nordica’s new Helldorado was of a common theme. Built with two layers of metal, it locks to the slope and absorbs every last bit of chatter, but its tight radius and generous rocker give it an atypical quickness for a powerful fat ski. We tried the nimbler 185-centimeter length, but aggressive testers were drooling over the thought of the 193 in hero conditions. “This thing was a complete rush,” said one tester. Want to surf pow, straightline chutes, and carve like you’re wearing spandex? Hop on and enjoy the ride. But don’t forget your legs.


Line Influence 115


2013 Official Selection

Dimensions: 145/115/131

MSRP: $940

The Influence 115 is proof that a well-designed fat ski can be fun on groomers. Its hard-snow performance blew away testers as it ripped quick, squeaky-clean arcs around Snowbird. Its rockered tip sliced through deeper snow with equal ease, and in crud it was touted as “unwaveringly stable.” An edger and carver rather than a smearer, the Influence 115 is an everyday tool for advanced off-piste skiers.


Kastle XX 110 West


2013 Testers' Choice
2013 Official Selection

Dimensions: 134/110/134

MSRP: $899

The widest of Kästle’s new twin-tip series is one of three Colby James West pro models. The XX 110 West is a pleasant, playful addition to the great-new-ski pantheon, winning a Testers’ Choice. A Utah tester called it “quick but stable” as it zipped around the hill making short-radius carves and pivoty smear turns. It logged especially high forgiveness and playfulness scores and won over even our brawniest race-bred testers. The West is “a versatile pow ski anyone will be able to enjoy.” And it comes at a price tag that’s more attainable than other Kästles’. Gotta love when your champagne taste and beer budget collide.


Atomic Blog


2013 Official Selection

Dimensions: 132/110/124

MSRP: $749

The Blog, cut from a decidedly jibby mold, makes the whole mountain its terrain park. It loves to pop off terrain features and make skidded smear turns in the trees. Big, powerful testers balked at the centered, less aggressive stance the Blog preferred, but freestyle-oriented testers dug how it opened up an effortless and springy style of riding on everything from groomers to cruddy bumps. Plus, its forgiving nature is perfect for less experienced powder skiers.


K2 Pettitor


2013 Official Selection

Dimensions:  147/120/141

MSRP: $880

Fancy yourself a spinny, flippy, big-line skier? Then look to the Pettitor. Testers called it “sturdy,” “playful,” and “strong” all in the same breath. Like Sean Pettit, the man who inspired the ski, it thrives on air, speed, and powder—often all at same time. More of a soft-snow specialist, it requires extra energy on hardpack, and testers dinged it on versatility. But it actually tracks nicely on corduroy once it’s fully angulated.




Kastle BMX 118 (Women’s)


2013 Testers' Choice
2013 Official Selection

Dimensions: 139/118/128

MSRP:  $1149

No surprises here. With the highest scores of the entire test, the unchanged BMX 118 returns as a Testers’ Choice ski for the second year in a row, and rightfully so. It’s the kind of ski testers titter over during après beverages and dream about at night. Equal parts power and grace, it rails on groomers, charges down couloirs, smears through trees, and prances through powder with unwavering confidence. Make no mistake: The BMX 118 requires several core competencies, and intermediate skiers should look elsewhere, but experts will find no line out of reach. “This ski screams Superwoman!”


Armada VJJ


2013 Official Selection

Dimensions: 136/115/133

MSRP: $900

Press, butter, and smear your way around the mountain with the soft-snow-savvy VJJ. Its short radius and progressive shape—a generously rockered and tapered tip and tail—allow you to experiment with creative lines and turn styles. In deeper snow, it’s effortless and surfy. Hardpack is a weakness, but “who cares when you’re choking on nipple-deep pow, where the VJJ is right at home?”


Find these reviews and more in the print and tablet editions of Skiing's 2013 Gear Guide. SubscribeHERE or grab a copy at your local ski shop. Want your shop to carry them? Tell them to email

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