For 2011-12, there are over 900 new ski designs, Rossignol alone has over 40 skis in their product line from race skis to front side carvers, to ladies skis, twin tip park skis, all mountain skis, powder skis, backcountry skis, telemark skis, and rockers. Wide, reverse camber( aka: rocker) skis are all the rage with more ghetto graphics, and rocker technology tweeks more traditional shaped skis for easier turn initiation and better float in snow. Also, see our latest reviews of the best skis for 2013.
Here are our best skis for 2011-12:
Best Women's skis for 2011
Volkl Aurora is the ultimate expert eastern women’s ski, it’s powerful and precise, loves to carve when tipped on its side, but also feels fast when you just want to fly. I witnessed several men sampling the Aurora, with smiles.
Volkl Fuego is a fun, more lighted hearted version of Volkl’s Aurora, a bit easier to flex with a tighter turning radius. The Volkl Aura and Volkl Kenja are fatter under foot but still lively and fun to turn, they’d be perfect in a little pow.
Head Mya 8 really turned my head and turned on a dime. Head’s flow ride system (instead of rocker) carves smoothly on groomed snow with enough softness in the tip to float through heavy snow or powder. No wonder Julia Mancuso skis a Head. The Head Mya6 is more forgiving, while the Mya8 stands up to the top women’s boards by Volkl.
Dynastar Elite is not just another pretty girl’s ski, the Elite was fast underfoot, and just wanted to rip big steady arcs. The Elite is for the technical expert woman, the rep called it K2s Burnin Love killer – a dig on K2 - the company that initiated the women’s ski movement a decade ago.
Blizzard Viva 8.1 or 7.6 is the little black dress of women’s skis. It’s nimble and quick to engage in a turn, steady in high speed turns despite its lightness, and well - I flew by men on these beautiful boards. The Viva is a softer and suppler version of the Blizzard’s Magnum for men.
Blizzard Black Pearl is wider underfoot (88mm), loves to plow through pow and crud but holds a worthy edge, a refreshing change from most reverse camber planks colored pink for girls that seem to skid. If the forecast was pow, I’d grab my black pearls and go.
Fischer RC 4 Fischer’s unisex performance carver was like a Henckel knife on hard pack, all grip no slip. I loved ripping quick edge to edge turns on these pseudo race skis. If you simply love to carve, this Fischer is the stick for you. The Fischer KOA 98 and KOA 88 are more fun and floatable with rocker technology, twin tips and freeskier graphics, but still fierce on hard pack - a girl's BFF "best freeski friend."
Elan Amphibia has a distinctive left and right ski with modified rocker on each tip to adapt to your uphill and downhill edges in a turn. These Elans carved circles around some of the competitors, so the technology works– but I prefer to swap my ski edges.
Best Men's Skis for 2011-12
Rossignol Experience 98 is the quiver killer, an all mountain carver with a slight rocker tip and tail that floats over pow and crud but still carves with serious sidecut. There is no speed limit on the 98. Rossi’s 88 offers a narrower Experience with less metal but still that sweet rocker - so a bit more quick.
Volkl RTM 84 means “ride the mountain.” Replacing the popular Volkl AC50 is this all around ski that tenaciously grabs the ice, but is wide enough to power through mixed snow. Perhaps a bit too heavy and stiff to be the ultimate powder ski, the RTM is ideal for aggressive, all mountain skiers.
Dynastar Legend 95 and 85 both ski incredibly well, a traditionally crafted ski from France that carved as well as any according to Greg. Both are grippy and great in heavier snow, particularly the wider 94 version, but the Dynastar Legend 85 may be a better choice for East coast skiing.
Head Titan is an impressive all around ski, carved well on hard pack, easy side to side yet wide enough to handle varied snow and terrain. The Titan likes to go fast, just ask Bode Miller & Ted Ligety who are both skiing on Head.
Blizzard Magnum 8.7 is an assertive turner in all snow conditions particularly for an eastern skier, strong enough to grip the ice, still turns like a champ in packed powder and thicker crud.
Volkl Code takes the place of the Tigershark, as a solid cruiser that loves to turn, the only thing quicker and more aggressive would be a race ski, but this is the ticket for the recreational skier who wants to rip cord.
Salomon BBR was the most unique looking ski – resembling a surf board or waterski . The BBR design is the latest from the XWing originator. It is supposed to be the one quiver ski with its arrow head tips and tapered waist, it certainly is a head turner. Greg skied it, and while it did carve well, he found it more gimmicky than effective but others love it.