Powder days are precious. Treat them— and yourself—with the gear they deserve. From specialized skis that will change your life to a beacon and pack that might save it, here’s what you need to surf the deep.
One-hundred-and-twentyseven. That’s how many millimeters of ski is underneath the boot of the guy in front of you. Three. That’s how many runs it’ll take him and his buddies to track this mountain out. The moral? Go big or go home. Lucky for you, fat skis have never been better, or more versatile. Time was, the fattest powder skis had waists of 70 mm. They skied great in fluff, but try to turn them on the groomed and you needed a siren and bullhorn to get people out of your way. Today, with wider bindings and sophisticated blends of rocker and camber, even the specialists— with waists around 120 mm—will tolerate transition runs. Almost all powder boards employ some degree of rocker. Many midfats (85–95 mm waists) use it only on the tips, where it prevents them from diving and lends an easy smeary feel, while traditional camber underfoot carves on hardpack. The big boards tend to be more aggressively rockered, with some utilizing reverse sidecut to add float. Remember, too, that rockered skis aren’t just for experts. In fact, they’re crucial learning tools for intermediates venturing into the deep. What waist-width is right for you? For deep and untracked, we recommend at least 95 mm underfoot. For buoyancy and all-mountain versatility, go for 85–95. So go big. It’s much more fun than going home.
Nordica's Jah Love is the widest ski produced by any manufacturer, measuring 140mm underfoot.
Other fat skis : 120 and up
Atomic Atlas 150-125-132 at 192 cm; $879; Wood core; 20 cm of tip rocker
Dynastar Legend Big Dump 142-120-132 at 192 cm; $940; Wood core; 29 cm of tip rocker; 5.5 cm high
Line Prophet 155-130-148 at 186 cm; $750; Rockered/tapered tip and tail; traditional sidecut/camber underfoot
Nordica Jah Love 167-140-157 at 185 cm; $1,299; Wood core laminate construction with rockered tip
Salomon Rocker 147-127-137 at 192 cm; $1,000; Wood-core cap construction; 72 cm of tip rocker; flat, notched tail
Rossignol S7 Freeride 145-115-123 at 195 cm; $900; Rockered/tapered tip and tail; traditional sidecut/camber underfoot
Volkl Kuro 164-132-139 at 195 cm; $1,065; Subtle reverse camber tip to tail; wood core