The best women’s skis of 2011/2012: Park, powder, all-mountain and big-mountain

September 27th, 2011 by

*After you've glanced at the 2011/12 highlights below, be sure to check out a sneak peek at tons of 2012-13 gear, as displayed at the 2012 SIA Snow Show in Denver.

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Nicole Birkhold testing skis in the Irwin, CO backcountry | P: Photo: Alex Fenlonline_31.jpg

Top 10: big-mountain skis | powder skis | park skis | all-mountain skis | microbrews

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As seen in the 2012 FREESKIER Buyer's Guide

The best women's all-mountain skis

It’s one thing to make a ski that floats in powder. It’s another thing to make a ski that excels in the park. It’s yet another to make a ski so adaptable you can actually depend on a “one-ski quiver.” These are skis so multifaceted you can ride the hardpack of the East Coast or the scary descents of Chamonix with them under your feet. That said, if all you ski is park, get a park ski. If all you ski are big lines in Cham, get a big-mountain ski. These are for those who dabble in them all. With that, here are the most versatile skis on the market, the top three women's all-mountain skis as rated at our Aspen Ski Test.

#1. K2 — Missdemeanor

Overall Score: 17.2

Just like its male counterpart, the Recoil, the MissDemeanor has high-performance versatility to make it one of the best in its class. Click for full review and scores.

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#2. Fischer — KOA 98

Overall Score: 16.0

The Koa 98 may be a newcomer to the scene, but it has already made a name for itself. Click for full review and scores.

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#3. Nordica — Nemesis

Overall Score: 15.1

It’s certainly easy to make enemies on the speedy, multifunctional Nemesis. The Nemesis maintains stellar performance in every condition: powder, corduroy, crud, trees, even bumps. Click for full review and scores.

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The best women's park skis

You want your park skis to carve like a GS ski without catching, pack energy in the tip and tail for ollie-ing, be light enough that they don’t control you in the air and have strength to withstand the impact when you stomp 60-foot jumps. We tested every park ski on the market for these exact qualities. Here are this year’s top seven park skis, as rated at our Breckenridge Park Ski Test; the best skis for gassing it in the park.

#1. K2 — Missconduct

Overall Score: 19.4

Despite its name, the MissConduct earned top scores because it acts just like a proper lady’s park ski should. Click for full review and scores.

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#2. Liberty — Envy All-Mtn

Overall Score: 19.0

The Liberty Envy All-Mountain is similar to its fatter sister ski, the Envy Powder. Both are capable of being your only ski, but the All-Mountain caters to the park-minded chica. Click for full review and scores.

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#3. Armada — ARW

Overall Score: 18.6

One tester nicely summed up the changes in this year’s ARW from last year’s: “The new capped tip and tail make them way more playful, but the sandwich sidewall makes it stable enough for all-mountain.” Click for full review and scores.

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#4. Amplid — Bikini

Overall Score: 18.0

The Bikini is light and breezy, like you’d imagine it would feel to wear a bikini spring skiing. Click for full review and scores.

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#5. Salomon — Galaxy

Overall Score: 17.2

The Galaxy will blast your skills on groomers, moguls, park and pipe into the next dimension. Click for full review and scores.

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#6. Line — Shadow

Overall Score: 17.0

Move over doggy, the Shadow has come to take your place as girl’s best friend. Click for full review and scores.

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#7. Volkl — Pearl

Overall Score: 17.0

A slightly raised tip and tail with traditional camber underfoot allow the Pearl to stomp jumps, navigate the pipe, grind rails and rip the groomers. Click for full review and scores.

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The best women's powder skis

You wouldn’t ride a pony into battle. You wouldn’t ride a scooter in a Hell’s Angels rally. So why would you ride a skinny ski on a pow day? Powder skis can turn an amazing day in the white room into one of legend. Check out our top 4 powder skis, as rated at our Aspen Ski test, and get the right tool for the job.

#1. K2 — Missdirected

Overall Score: 18.0

The girl with the skinniest waist doesn’t win in this competition. The MissDirected is one of the widest, most rockered women’s pow skis on the market, and our lady testers loved it. Click for full review and scores.

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#2. Rossignol — S7 Women

Overall Score: 17.4

This ski has been a favorite among hard charging powder bunnies for a couple years now, probably because it’s essentially the celebrated men’s S7 with lighter materials and smaller lengths, perfect for women. Click for full review and scores.

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#3. Line — Pandora

Overall Score: 17.0

The Pandora has come out as a female favorite yet again, thanks to its ability to manage all-terrain beautifully. Click for full review and scores.

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#4. Kastle — BMX 118

Overall Score: 16.5

These skis take a commitment, not just when it comes to turning but also when opening the wallet. Luckily with the BMX 118, you get what you pay for. Click for full review and scores.

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The best women's big-mountain skis

Like to go fast? Like to go straight? Like dropping big cliffs? Like pushing yourself to the brink of insanity, all in the name of a good thrill? If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, big-mountain skis are for you. Designed to take you through variable conditions in serious mountain environments, these skis are generally stiffer than powder skis and bigger than all-mountain skis. Here are the top 5 skis, as rated at our Aspen Ski Test, for that part of you that screams “GO FASTER!”

#1. Volkl — Kiku

Overall Score: 16.6

The Kiku was described by testers as “great for big-mountain steeps, crud and variable conditions… It slices through whatever.” Click for full review and scores.

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#2. Armada — TSTW

Overall Score: 16.2

The TSTw is a beautiful hybrid of the VJJ rockered powder profile and a traditional all-mountain ski. Click for full review and scores.

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#3. Blizzard — The Crush

Overall Score: 16.2

Forgiving and friendly, stable and lively—who needs a boyfriend when you have The Crush? Most notably, testers reported that “these are a great place to start” Click for full review and scores.

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#4. Fat-ypus — E-Motion E.R.

Overall Score: 15.6

The E-Motion E.R. is another versatile charger that will delight the thrill-seeking ladies. Feel like sending it off a cliff? Testers report it “stomps like a champ.” Click for full review and scores.

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#5. Liberty — Envy Powder

Overall Score: 15.4

This energetic, lightweight charger is bound to be a female favorite thanks to Liberty’s bamboo core. Click for full review and scores.

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Top 10: big-mountain skis | powder skis | park skis | all-mountain skis | microbrews

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About the author:
Henrik Lampert loves hot dogs, backflips, the Boston Bruins and Norway. Twenty-seven years old and a Massachusetts native, he's the Editor of Freeskier Magazine and Freeskier.com—a proud staffer since 2010.