Featured Image: Rachel Bock
These niche-offerings are designed to jump, pop, press, butter and slide, all while retaining outstanding carving performance. Some are skinny, stiff and stable, great for icy halfpipes or spinning a 1080 over well-groomed “money booters.” Others are wide and ultra-flexible, fit for the “smeary” style of skiing that has become popular among today’s terrain park enthusiasts. All told, these skis enable the most creative-minded skiers to paint their own unique brushstrokes all over the mountain, from peak to park to street.
1. K2 Sight
For the committed park skiers out there, the Sight hits shelves this fall with new and improved construction: Most notably, an aspen wood core balances weight, dampening and spring. A triaxial-braided carbon insert provides lightweight strengthening and even more pop. A symmetrical flex pattern means ease of use while riding switch and buttering and early rise in the tip equals even more maneuverability. Cap construction also yields durability to withstand heavy jibbing. Testers were elated, saying things like, “Great construction, very reliable ski,” and, “Solid for all-mountain skiing, super stable and durable for big jumps while being playful and poppy at the same time.” Click here for a closer look.
“Appropriately named, The Allplay is the ideal all-mountain and park ripper,” said one tester about this J Skis offering. “Most playful ski I’ve tested. Super buttery and has a perfect swing weight to have fun all over the mountain, in any conditions,” wrote another. Whether you’re lapping the terrain park, buzzing through trees, navigating bumps or surfing slush, it’s all made easy with The Allplay. Pre-stretched carbon (bit more cost, bunch more fun) provides lightweight strengthening and spring while a maple wood core and sandwich sidewalls bring about torsional strength and max energy transmission, ensuring you’ll stand strong when going orbital. Click here for a closer look.
“Reliable and fun,” that’s how our testers described this ski. It’s plenty soft for buttery maneuvers and supremely sturdy for when you’re ready to step up to the biggest jumps you’ve ever seen. One tester said, “It’s perfect for wheelies from the top of the hill all the way down to the lift, yet still solid, consistent and pops well on jumps.” Others celebrated its swing weight saying it can “spin like a top.” Key tech specs include a symmetrical flex pattern for effortless switch skiing; a five-point radius to balance high-speed carving and tight turning; aspen wood for dampening and spring; maple stringers for torsional rigidity; and cap construction on top for durability with sidewall over the edge for performance. Click here for a closer look.
4. Line Blend
“Take this ski anywhere you want and it will be your best friend. Buttery tip and tail but also stable at speed and maneuverable in tight situations,” said one tester about the Blend. Another pegged ‘em as, “the most playful skis [at the test].” The Blend’s 100 mm footprint works great for park skiing one day and tree-skiing the next. A soft-medium, symmetrical flex pattern allows for popping, pressing and comfortable switch skiing. A five-point sidecut masterfully walks the line between high-speed, wide-open arcing and in-tight, race-car-like handling. Lightweight aspen wood provides dampening and some zing while maple stringers ensure torsional rigidity is on point. Finally, capwall tech combines cap and sidewall construction for durability and rockin’ edge hold. Click here for a closer look.
5. Line Chronic
A staple of Line’s line-up since basically forever, the Chronic is now officially referred to by our testers as “the vanilla ice cream of skis.” It delivers every damn time—just add your own toppings: rails, bumps, jumps, butters, tail presses, groomers, etc. “An all-around park machine,” said one tester. “Just the right amount of flex that you can butter, but not so much to prevent them from being rock-solid on big jumps. Inside, an aspen wood core provides weight savings and dampening while maple stringers ensure steadiness for when you stomp like King Kong. Additional features include a symmetrical flex for easy switch riding; a five-dimension sidecut for arcing big or small; and Capwall tech—cap on top to stand up to your abuse and sidewall on the bottom to let you drive like Jimmie Johnson. Click here for a closer look.
Back with updated graphics for ‘17-’18 the Revolt 87 is everything you’d expect from a quality- and performance-driven brand like Völkl. “These skis mean business,” said one tester. “Super stiff, stable, perfect ski for cruising through a massive slopestyle course or 22-foot halfpipe… well suited to the advanced park skiers, yet very light, poppy and responsive to satisfy aspiring park skiers, as well.” Carbon stringers provide lightweight strengthening and a healthy dose of pop while full sidewalls and camber deliver optimal energy transmission. A rigid wood core provides power and torsional stability and a symmetric shape lends itself to effortless switch skiing. “This ski instilled confidence in my park skiing in only one run,” said another tester. “Lays down turns like a boss. So stable for the biggest of jump landings and rails.” Click here for a closer look.
“The quality of this build is noticeable and amazing,” said one tester about Fischer’s Nightstick. “Stiff, reactive, amazingly stable for big jumps and landings, awesome pop, durable construction, carves well at speed and skis switch nicely.” How’s that for all bases covered? To create that rockin’ blend of performance, Fischer draws upon sandwich sidewalls and full camber for max energy transmission. Poplar wood balances weight savings, dampening and spring, while beech wood and a sheet of metal up the torsional strength. Carbon inlays yield lightweight strengthening and more pop and a symmetrical shape equals easy transitions between forward and switch riding. Durable edges and topsheet material round out the package. To date, it’s the only ski that boasts Olympic slopestyle gold on its resume. Click here for a closer look.
Words like “stable,” “stiff,” “aggressive,” “responsive,” “poppy” and “durable” were used frequently by testers to describe the Frame Wall. The latter adjective is an especially noteworthy one; durability is the ski’s defining trait. You see, the Frame Wall utilizes a one-of-a-kind sidewall (its namesake) that covers the topsheet’s perimeter to prevent chipping and delamination. Not to be overlooked is the ski’s carving prowess. “Stiff and full of energy, it held edge perfectly and had no chatter coming into larger jumps,” said one tester. “Crush park one minute then crush groomers the next.” A sandwich construction and traditional camber lend to this railing prowess. Rubber in the tip, tail and underfoot cut down on that vibration, and a hint of tip and tail rocker lend to maneuverability. Click here for a closer look.
Magne-Traction—Lib Tech’s patented serrated edge technology—has been around since 2002, but odds are you haven’t ever experienced it for yourself. If it’s something you’ve been aware of and considering, this may just be the time to take the plunge, ‘cause the Backwards had testers raving. “This ski definitely stood out,” said one. “My first time trying Magne-Traction and it was insanely fun.” “So responsive and will hold on hardpack and ice,” said another. “With Magne-Traction and full camber it carves like a butcher,” said a third. Other comments included, “stiff and fast,”
“responsive and snappy,” “ultra-stable for landings” and “crud-busting machine.” A rigid wood core underfoot ups the strength; fiberglass provides for a damp ride; early rise provides nimbleness. Click here for a closer look.