For the most current gear reviews, visit the 2020 Gear Guides here.
  • J SKIS

    Allplay

    $599.00

    BUY NOW

    Manufacturer's Description

    The J Skis Allplay is a 98-millimeter waisted do-all trick stick. If there were a category called Funskiing, these would be at the top of the list.

    Jason Levinthal is the Willy Wonka of the ski industry. The founder and owner of J Skis has a million ideas, works at an alarming rate, and is a bit crazy. One thing I know for sure is that he understands his customers and what they want. That’s what comes with over two decades of award-winning ski design. When he creates a ski for a particular skier it usually ends up in a two thumbs up scenario. He is so confident in his product that he offers a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee attached to all his skis. He builds his skis in Canada, just a short drive from his house in Burlington, so he can keep a watchful eye on the entire process.

    All of J Skis, including the Allplay, are built with strong maple cores. He uses the thickest edges and most durable base materials in the game. The AllPlay has a rockered tip and tail that are milled thin to provide the ultimate butter stick. The softer tips and tails, married with a mounting point four centimeters back from center, mean the skier on board should view the entire mountain as a park. I promise this ski will hit every Jersey booter you can find and by the end of the day you will have a high score in the game of Tranny Finder.

    The one downfall would be when things get big. Whether it’s the mountains, snow, or jumps, I would be a little concerned about stability. In the three years the J Skis Allplay has been in J’s lineup, it has had 15 different graphics. Levinthal is working at the speed of the internet and when he wants to create a new graphic, he simply does just that. There are no trips to Germany and Japan to see what their markets think of a color, name, or graphic. J skips the long and painful roads that most other major brands must go down. So a word to the wise, if you don’t like the graphics he has available at any given time, just wait a couple months and he will come out with another one. Some loyal J customers even buy multiple pairs and collect them like baseball cards. —Ryan Rubino

    Guide-type

    Hardgoods

    Brand Name

    J SKIS

    Brand Website Click Here
    Skiers Choice

    No

    Dimensions

    120-98-117

    Lengths

    171, 178, 184

    Radius

    21

    Guide-year

    2018

    Product-collection

    The Most Playful Skis of the Year

    Product-type

    skis

  • ON3P

    Billy Goat

    $779.00

    BUY NOW

    Manufacturer's Description

    Now in its seventh iteration, ON3P's Billy Goat ski isn't resting on its laurels. 2018 brings change for the marquee ski, including the incorporation of asymmetrical tip taper. This is intended to help the ski shine even more where it already performs best, smearing in soft snow and floating through powder.

    2017's version introduced the Reverse Elliptical Sidecut (RES), a convex elliptical arc from the tip to the boot sole, with traditional sidecut in the tail. This winter sees an update to the RES that blends the radius between the tip and tail. The goal: improve the experience on hardpack to give the ski more all-around versatility for the freeride and big mountain skiers using the Billy Goat on a regular basis.

    This directional ski retains a progressive flex into the tips, and a rocker-camber-rocker profile. Like most Portland-made ON3P skis, the Billy Goat is constructed with a 100 percent bamboo core, a durable and environmentally friendly grass. This means it can bend and pop back easily. Carbon fiber provides extra stiffness, helping the ski power through junk with speed.

    At Big Sky, we set out by lapping shorter runs on the bowl accessed by the Powder Seeker chair. Here, the Billy Goats easily initiated big, round, and fast turns. Soon, low visibility pushed us toward the trees over in Moonlight Basin. The Billy Goats weren't the most light-footed ski I've threaded through a treed run, but when the pressure was on, they still skipped through tight spots. After finding some untouched snow, the Billy Goats skied smoother with each run.

    Despite the new RES, it didn't feel like these skis genuinely loved the hard stuff. Like my first awkward middle school relationship, it was a bit forced. Classic, soft conditions are still more up the Billy Goat's alley, and few skis perform in that realm as well, or with as much style. —Clare Menzel

    Guide-type

    Hardgoods

    Brand Name

    ON3P

    Brand Website Click Here
    Skiers Choice

    Yes

    Dimensions

    141/116/125 @ 197 | 142/116/126 @ 184 | 143/116/126 @ 189

    Lengths

    179, 184, 189cm

    Radius

    136.5 @ 179 | 140.5 @ 184 | 29.4 @ 189

    Guide-year

    2018

    Product-collection

    The Most Playful Skis of the Year

    Product-type

    skis

  • FACTION

    Candide 3.0

    $889.00

    BUY NOW

    Manufacturer's Description

    The Faction Candide 3.0 was one of my favorite skis at Powder Week this year. I usually live in the 98- to 105-millimeter underfoot range, but the Candide 3.0, at 108 underfoot, skis narrower and was perfect in not-so-fresh powder and chalky buff off the Challenger lift. At a 108, the Candide 3.0 still packs enough ski for bigger storm days, too.

    The 176-millimeter length is my ideal size for every day in or out of bounds. I trust this Faction ski in any condition. While following a local off the Big Sky tram down the icy and semi-sketchy surface of Otter Slide, I confidently took the Candide 3.0 straight down the fall line for thousands of meters of unrelenting vertical.

    They carved on buffed chalk, popped around bumps, plowed through chopped up powder and railed at speed thanks to an all-purpose profile with very minimal camber underfoot, rockered tip and tail, 22-meter turn radius, and a wood core with titanal metal under the binding. High speed GS turns are so much fun on this ski whether it’s on corduroy or off-piste.

    Surprisingly this ski comes in at a relatively light weight, allowing it to serve as a touring ski option as well as the in bounds all-mountain charger that I would use it for. My knees were thankful for the low weight of these skis, even though they are on the wider end of the spectrum. For a playful ski that can do just about anything, the Faction Candide 3.0 will serve you well. —Lyndsay Strange

    Guide-type

    Hardgoods

    Brand Name

    FACTION

    Brand Website Click Here
    Skiers Choice

    No

    Dimensions

    136-108-132

    Lengths

    162, 169, 176, 182, 186, 192, 204

    Radius

    20

    Guide-year

    2018

    Product-collection

    The Most Playful Skis of the Year

    Product-type

    skis

  • K2

    Marksman

    $800.00

    BUY NOW

    Manufacturer's Description

    The K2 Marksman is a successful play on two sensibilities: The Marksman’s vintage graphic appeals to the 56-year legacy of the brand, while the asymmetrical shape and modern personality is directed toward today’s skier. I’m more of an inbetweener. I came of age in the heyday of the TNC’s and Extremes made famous by Scot Schmidt and Glen Plake, but, like many of us, I have long since graduated to more maneuverable, poppy skis.

    Which is where the Marksman hits the spot: a surfy powder ski where individual style, as Schmidt and Plake taught us, is in the eye of the beholder, not any regimented clinic. While many of the skis favored during Powder Week are a reflection of Big Sky’s steep, challenging terrain and variable snow—that is, skis that are stiff and directional—I found a nice reprieve in the Marksman, whose asymmetrical cut and forgiving flex pattern allowed for some less aggressive skiing. Which is to say, fun skiing through bumps and trees on the low-angle terrain of Andesite Mountain.

    A ‘Double Barrel’ core of aspen and fir keeps the ski lightweight but sturdy on the edges for torsional stiffness. The asymmetrical (and rockered) tip and tail is unique, providing a design that exaggerates the taper on the outside intended to give a surfy, playful feel. The longer effective inner edge enhances edge control on hard snow, so you can survive on less than ideal conditions. But railing an edge on ice is not what the Marksman is for. Picture someone who grew up skiing terrain parks and bumps who now wants to expand their boundaries to throwing tricks in powder. That’s what the Marksman does best. —Matt Hansen

    Guide-type

    Hardgoods

    Brand Name

    K2

    Brand Website Click Here
    Skiers Choice

    No

    Dimensions

    123-106-126

    Lengths

    170, 177, 184

    Radius

    20

    Guide-year

    2018

    Product-collection

    The Most Playful Skis of the Year

    Product-type

    skis

  • Moment

    Meridian 107

    $749.00

    BUY NOW

    Manufacturer's Description

    If you are looking to try out a new shape that draws some attention from the crowds, check out the Meridian 107 from Moment. Non-symmetrical tips and tails paired with a trippy topsheet are sure to make for some good conversation starters in the lift line.

    Moment has fully embraced the craze behind fully rockered skis with the Meridian lineup, but with the intention of creating a well-rounded ski instead of a powder-specific full rocker design. The Meridian 107 is incredibly easy to put on edge. Take this ski out on a groomer or windbuff day, and you will find that it does everything you want from smooth turn initiation to holding stable at higher speeds. It would also be a fun powder ski for someone that does not want to surpass the 110-millimeter waist width. The full rocker shape will inherently make floating through soft snow very fun and easy, while the aspen and ash core helps the ski feel strong and consistent.

    The Meridian 107 has a very versatile size in that it can handle groomers, old snow, or fresh powder. That being said, it shines best in untracked snow. While doable, it takes a bit more effort to maintain control of the ski when you get into any sort of less-than-perfect snow. The full rocker shape wants to take control, leaving you working to keep it together.

    Ultimately, this ski is made for the person who has made, or is ready to make, the conversion to full rocker. Excellent waist width for groomers and powder, easy turn initiation, and suited for a more relaxed stance. —Dane Weister

    Guide-type

    Hardgoods

    Brand Name

    Moment

    Brand Website Click Here
    Skiers Choice

    No

    Dimensions

    136-107-127

    Lengths

    171, 181, 187

    Radius

    21

    Guide-year

    2018

    Product-collection

    The Most Playful Skis of the Year

    Product-type

    skis

  • Liberty

    Origin96

    $725.00

    BUY NOW

    Manufacturer's Description

    Outside the shack, I switched skis with Tim Dyer. He works for Liberty Skis, the Avon, Colorado-based brand founded in 2003 with a dream to make high-performance twin tips. Just a few turns on the Liberty Origin96 had me wishing I’d been skiing them all morning. I had been on a women’s specific model, the Genesis 106, which skis well, but with paulownia added to the core, it’s lighter and less powerful. The Origin, on the other hand, is built with bamboo, poplar, and carbon fiber and is agile and sporty. Liberty has been a champion of bamboo as a core material for more than a decade, extolling its lightness, strength, and ability to bend deeply and snap back.

    For many skiers, the Origin96 clocks in on the skinny side. (It debuted in 2017 as the narrowest ski in the Origin series, though this winter welcomes a new 90-centimeter model). But, for flotation and fleet-footedness, the well-rounded Liberty features a full tip and tail rocker, with positive camber underfoot. They have the chops to take on big lines but are ideal for those wanting a quick, easy-to-carve resort ski. It was just stiff enough that I didn’t need to wrestle it into a turn, but it responded well to powerful initiation.

    On the mellow groomers we skied back to Moonlight Basin’s six-pack chairlift, I made a thousand turns, lapping up the ski’s graceful snappiness and need for speed. —Clare Menzel

    Guide-type

    Hardgoods

    Brand Name

    Liberty

    Brand Website Click Here
    Skiers Choice

    No

    Dimensions

    130-96-118

    Lengths

    171, 176, 182, 187

    Radius

    17.5

    Guide-year

    2018

    Product-collection

    The Most Playful Skis of the Year

    Product-type

    skis