GEAR of the YEAR

SKI - - CLINIC -

WOMEN’S BLIZZARD Black Pearl 88 D: 126-88-110 L: 152, 159, 166, 173 R: 14 $720

As the No. 1 sell­ing ski in North Amer­ica for a few sea­sons, the Black Pearl 88 is sim­ply a great op­tion that de­serves to be at the top based on its renown per­for­mance. Car­bon Flip­core tech shaves weight while pro­vid­ing tor­sional rigid­ity, plus a shorter turn ra­dius paired with a for­ward-mount­ing place­ment cre­ates a nim­ble ski that per­forms well in all con­di­tions. “Con­sis­tently awe­some.”

SALOMON QST Stella 106 D: 136-106-124 L: 159, 167, 174 R: 20 $850

Thanks to hon­ey­comb tips and a well-de­signed swing weight, these skis can charge all snow con­di­tions when the pedal hits the metal. QST tech­nol­ogy uses a com­bi­na­tion of car­bon and flax to make the ski pow­er­ful, light­weight, and damp, so it’s easy to feel like a su­per­hero on these boards. “Seems to do ev­ery­thing well and is easy to man­age.”

MEN’S FACTION Can­dide Thovex 3.0 D: 136-108-132 L: 162, 169, 176, 182, 186, 192, 204 R: 20m (182) $890

Thanks to a stiff-yet-light­weight hy­brid balsa/flax core with Ti­tanal re­in­force­ment un­der­foot, wellplaced rocker in the tip and tail, plus a solid sand­wich con­struc­tion with full-length side­walls, the CT 3.0 can han­dle creamy pow, death cook­ies, and fresh cor­duroy with ease. “If you ski like Can­dide, these ab­so­lutely crush. If you don’t ski like him, they still ab­so­lutely crush.”

HEAD World­cup Rebels i.Speed Pro D: 119-68-99 L: 170, 175, 180, 185 R: 18m (180) $1,025 flat; $1,400 with bind­ing; damp­ner kit $175

The i.Speed Pro claims to be the “Fastest Re­tail Ski on Earth,” thanks to the same built-in tech­nolo­gies you’ll see Olympians us­ing in PyeongChang. Fea­tur­ing KERS tech­nol­ogy, a mi­cro-chip that uti­lizes power through­out the arc of a turn, as well as su­per-stiff Graphene World­cup Sand­wich Cap con­struc­tion, this ski is the real deal for any­one who likes to go fast on hard snow.

ELAN Rip­stick 96 D: 135-96-110 L: 167, 174, 181, 188 R: 18 (181) $800

The Rip­stick 96 uses an asym­met­ri­cal de­sign, with full-length edge con­tact on the in­side and ta­pered de­sign on the out­side edges. Add in pre-cam­bered car­bon fiber tubes in the wood core to re­duce swing weight, and these are easy-to-ski daily driv­ers. “Very for­giv­ing for medium-paced skiers, but did not find a speed limit.”

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