Featured Image: Eric Seo
Generally, these skis employ softer flex patterns and mixtures of rocker and camber, allowing them to walk the line between playful and powerful. If you get all tingly inside thinking about airing off of wind lips, moguls, cat tracks, cliffs, etc., while also craving high-speed carving experiences, these might just be the skis for you.
Vandals—a group of East Germanic tribes that sacked Rome in the fifth century—were characterized as barbarians. Like its namesake, the 4FRNT Vandal pillages and plunders en route to conquering all targets on the mountain. One tester, referencing its all-mountain expertise, noted, “A very fun ski on all surfaces. Handled turns well, super fun in the tight trees and bumps.” Rockered tips and tails aid in its maneuverability and playfulness (a tester exclaimed, “tail butters galore!”), while a rock solid poplar and birch wood core complemented by camber underfoot ensures a supportive platform on which to rail turns down groomers or mob through chunder.
J Skis hypes this offering as “a vacation—the ultimate getaway from traditional, stiff, fat skis.” Testers call it one of the “‘funnest’ skis of all time. Plush, buttery and silky smooth.” The utilization of pre-stretched and cured carbon fiber (costs more, performs better) delivers that coveted pop factor and torsional strength all while keeping weight at a minimum. Sandwich sidewall construction and maple wood in the core ensure you’ll hold tough when you’re getting up to speed on the firm stuff. “Ideal width for shredding anything and a nice balance that allows you to have a load of fun but also charge hard without worries,” said another tester. J Skis will build only 100 pairs of The Vacation with this specific graphic for 2017-18—will one be yours?
Turn the fun factor up to 11 with Sego’s Big Horn 96. The liveliness of this all-mountain ski is attributed to its a symmetrical rocker profile as well as a poplar wood core that’s snappy and provides a low swing weight. The playful nature of the Big Horn 96 is complemented by a directional sidecut profile, allowing it to lay down a serious carve and be ultra-quick edge-to-edge. Its versatile waist width allows you to shred any terrain, like that of the Tetons, for example—Sego’s multi-faceted testing ground. “A playful, poppy little demon,” said one tester about the Big Horn 96. “Carved darn well, too.” Another tester followed pro shredder Sander Hadley for a lap and “ended up popping over some s#it [he] definitely shouldn’t have,” but was pleased when the skis ate it all up just fine.”
This ski falls perfectly into that, “crushes the terrain park and the rest of the mountain, too” category. As far as park performance goes, testers confirm it’s “poppy and ‘stunty’ and full of good times,” and also “super playful and buttery.” Considering its prowess elsewhere on the hill, those same testers said, “It’s a trencher, love that trademark Völkl carve action,” and “surprised me with its quickness and agility in the muck. Awesome in the crud and bumps. Fun to ride on all aspects.” This twin-tipped ski boasts carbon stringers for lightweight strengthening and full sidewalls for edge hold. A beech/poplar wood core emphasizes stability and spring, while tip and tail rocker provides coveted maneuverability.
Scour the Earth for primetime skiing—from the peak to the park—with Icelantic’s Nomad 95. The skinniest ski in the Nomad series, this model is built with tip and tail rocker, camber underfoot and a poplar core that collectively provide heaps of playfulness. These specs also mean the ski is quite versatile, which earned it a perfect 10 in that category from our esteemed testing squad. “This ski rocks. Super solid, holds an edge like a boss and has some pop in ‘er so you can play around,” said one tester. Another tester “skied the 191 and just nuked down the mountain with a big smile.” Feel free to beat these babies up in all types of terrain, as Icelantic has a three-year, no questions asked warranty.
“Fun on repeat.” That’s Faction’s marketing pitch for this twin-tipped, dual-radius ski, and that’s exactly what our crew experienced while testing it. “Damn, that was a fun ride,” said one tester candidly of his experience with the Prodigy 2.0. “So easy to ski these. A park-esque ski for the entire mountain. Unreal control and maneuverability with crazy pop.” Another tester gushed, “Bumps, groomers and slush, these skis are top-notch through it all, with effortless turning and excellent handling through choppy terrain.” Poplar wood in the core provides dampening and spring, while beech wood brings about a sturdiness that is greatly appreciated when you’re putting the landing gear down after going airborne.