The top 20 powder skis of 2017
Buckle your seat belts, snow fiends, because listed below are the top 20 powder skis of 2017. Each pair has been tested and then ranked by your good pals here at FREESKIER, as well as given our highest stamp of approval, the Editor’s Pick badge, in our 2017 Buyer’s Guide. Long story short, these are the sticks you’ll want strapped to your feet when snow’s been falling and you’re about to have the best damn powder day of your life.
115+ mm freeride skis
You might enjoy these skis if… Somewhere near the top of your bucket list is “Move to Alaska.” There, you’d live out your days sliding down spine walls, dropping 40-footers and straight-lining run-outs. Deep, steep skiing is your only worthwhile venture. Thankfully, in your dreams, you live in a place that experiences abundant powder days and is a mecca of big-mountain shredding. You seek a stiffer flex with plenty of camber, ideal for holding fast when a grisly fate awaits you on either side of your line.
Overall Score: 8.95
“‘Nimble,’ ‘reactive,’ ‘snappy,’ ‘agile,’ and ‘maneuverable’ are all words our testers used to describe the Anima, descriptors you don’t often see associated with a ski of this size…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 8.67
“Inspired by the now-defunct Automatic 117 and taking cues from the Bent Chetler, the Backland FR 117 is a hard-charging, big-mountain soldier that isn’t afraid to have some fun…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 8.58
“The cheetah is the fastest land animal on earth; the Super 7 RD is the cheetah of the ski world. In fact, ‘RD’ stands for race department, and these skis are a super limited run, so get ’em while they’re hot…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 8.51
“For a ski of its size, the Eleven5 can do it all, whether it’s trenching during a storm or blasting the chunder three days later. A combination of dense ash, lighter weight poplar and a layer of Titanal helps this ski straddle the line between power and grace…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 8.45
“Unlike some skinnier members of the new QST line (QST 99, 92 and 85) the QST 118 (and 106) utilize rocker in both the tips and tails. This translates to a ski with significant soft snow capabilities that’s ultra-nimble to boot…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 8.39
“Scott’s freeski lineup is designed with help from athletes Dane Tudor and Fabian Lentsch, reflecting their hard-charging approach to the mountains. Scott combines an ultra-lightweight paulownia wood core with a fiberglass and carbon laminate, as well as a Titanal insert in the binding area for a boost in rigidity without a noticeable weight increase…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 8.38
“The Pescado, the latest creation from the genius mind of Eric Pollard, is a directional powder ski that’s constructed to surf the deepest waves of powder imaginable…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 8.35
“If engaging in steep, no-fall zone debauchery on this ski is wrong, then forgive us Father for we have sinned. There’s our Confession. This all-new ski is geared towards rippers keen on revving their engines and blasting full speed through the steep and deep…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 8.32
“Fischer has rebranded the behemoth Big Stix 122 for 2016-17 and placed it into the award-winning Ranger lineup. New name: Yes. Changed intentions: No. The Ranger 122 is designed to tackle steep, fall-line terrain and deep, orgasmic powder…” Click for full review and scores.
115+ mm freestyle skis
You might enjoy these skis if… Pillows, pillows and more pillows, that’s pretty much all you care about. That and which tricks will serve as the perfect exclamation points on your descents down those marshmallow-laden powder fields. More often than not, you’ll go with a smooth 180 or 540, riding away backwards and brushing off your shoulder, because even Chris Benchetler would have been proud of that performance. The girthy waist width and forgiving flex of your skis allows you to surf the deepest of snow, ready to pop, press and pivot on a dime at any time.
Overall Score: 9.22
“When a tester says, ‘Put a ring on it,’ regarding a pair of skis—you put a damn ring on it. And that’s exactly what we did with the JJ 2.0, awarding it the top spot in our 115-plus-mm freestyle category…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 9.07
“Anytime the words ‘Candide Thovex’ appear on our website, traffic ramps up like rush hour in downtown LA. Why? Because he slays pow in a Rambo-like fashion. And he does so with the Candide 4.0…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 9.00
“The ski’s massive 148-mm-wide shovel initiates turns flawlessly, lessening the effort needed to knife around like Head pros JT Holmes and James Heim. Tips and tails are rockered out for surfin’ pow and hovering over the rough stuff, while 60 percent of the ski remains cambered for those not-so-soft days…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 8.98
“Chris Benchetler’s pro model ski has been a FREESKIER favorite seven years running. The Bent Chetler impressed our testers (once again) with its smeary maneuverability, a trait achieved through hefty tip and tail rocker…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 8.75
“Whether you’re a pro or a Joe, bending a ski in soft powder isn’t an easy thing to do. That’s why Black Crows came out with the all-new Nocta. Its beautifully pre-bent with full-reverse camber to make you look and feel better than ever whilst shredding the gnar…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 8.42
“Much like the pow-surfin’, cliff-jumpin’ jokester Sean Pettit, the Pettitor is an absolute legend in the skiing community. We’re psyched to see this pro model back for another year….” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 8.12
“Despite our prayers, the snow isn’t always going to be perfect out there. That’s why Lib Tech incorporated Magne-Traction technology into the UFO 115. The ski’s edges are serrated like steak knives to slice through rough conditions like juicy prime rib…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 7.75
“When innovators of powder skis were getting their first prototypes going, we imagine that they were striving toward a ski a lot like the Nomad 125. Whether she’s lacing carves on groomers or smearing through pow elsewhere, this is one very fun ski from Icelantic…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 7.69
“Joe Schuster is a total madman who absolutely sends it in the backcountry on his pro model, the Schuster Pro. Bamboo and carbon—a fairly unique combo—make up the core, providing a smooth, stable flex pattern…” Click for full review and scores.
Overall Score: 7.34
“Revision has made waves in the park-shredding community, and as such, many skiers view the company as ‘park only.’ Yet the brand has proven that notion to be totally irrelevant with the impressive Subtraction model…” Click for full review and scores.
Check out Gear Made Clear, our in-depth explanation of what all the ski-related terms you’ll come across mean so you can know before droppin’ your dough.