If testers could sum up Salomon's 2012a13 line in one word, it would be "fun." Which, last time we checked, is the point of the sport. The Lava is bursting with energy and life but never flighty. It's powerful but easy. It's smooth, responsive, and, well, happy. A composite core wrapped in two layers of fiberglass makes it lightweight and snappy, while vibration-damping arms along the edges keep it stuck-to-the-snow stable. A stiff flex gives the ski a nice pop at the end of the turn, setting you up perfectly for your next trench. It's designed for hard snow, to be sure, but it's one of the more versatile options for both terrain and skier's ability.