TRENDS

Lighter, faster, more com­fort­able, and longer last­ing. Across the board, ski tech­nol­ogy has never been bet­ter, and it’s eas­ier than ever to get a per­fectly tai­lored set-up to suit your style.

SKI - - GEAR GUIDE -

New sea­son, new tech­nol­ogy. Find out how your fa­vorite gear is evolv­ing—and im­prov­ing—to serve up your best ski sea­son yet.

BOOTS Easy bake, light­weight, high-per­for­mance alpine boots

Ski boot tech­nol­ogy took a step for­ward this sea­son with su­per light, easy-to-fit boots that per­form phe­nom­e­nally well. K2’s Re­con and Luv series and Salomon’s S/MAX line were cer­tainly dif­fer­ent than any other boot tested in their re­spec­tive cat­e­gories, but the fact that they are easy to get on, easy to cus­tom­ize (the shell and the liner get baked at your lo­cal shop) and skied so well put them right up there with the old guard brands of the ski boot world. For­get punch­ing and grind­ing, just bake ’em and go. SHOWN: K2 Re­con 130, K2 Luv 110, and Salomon S/MAX 130 Car­bon

WA X Wax on, wax off

How many times a sea­son do you hear “I have the wrong wax,” or “these skis haven’t been waxed in years!” We hear it a lot, and DPS hopes to elim­i­nate these prob­lems by elim­i­nat­ing wax all to­gether. DPS Phan­tom is a liq­uid com­pound that per­me­ates your ski bases and pro­vides a glide that is al­most as good as wax, and is sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter than no wax at all. Be­cause Phan­tom per­me­ates the base, the lu­bri­cant is per­ma­nent af­ter a sin­gle ap­pli­ca­tion. In­stall it cor­rectly or go to a Phan­tom Cure Sta­tion at your lo­cal shop, and you’ll never have to worry about wax­ing your skis again. We don’t think it’ll re­place wax en­tirely, but for lazy skiers, back­coun­try tour­ers, and more, it is a solid op­tion to keep glide year-round.

BIND­ING One bind­ing for ev­ery­thing

Salomon and Atomic, two com­pa­nies owned by the sport­ing-goods con­glom­er­ate Amer, re­leased a new bind­ing this year that is the ul­ti­mate so­lu­tion for 50/50 back­coun­try/re­sort skiers. In ski mode, the SHIFT MNC func­tions like a nor­mal step-in bind­ing, is com­pat­i­ble with any type of boot sole, and per­forms more smoothly than any back­coun­try tech bind­ing on hard snow. Flip a switch in the toe piece, and the SHIFT MNC 13 trans­forms into a tour­ing bind­ing if your boots have tech in­serts. Con­sid­er­ing the su­per-light alpine skis and high-per­form­ing back­coun­try boots of re­cent years, the SHIFT is the last puz­zle piece for many in cre­at­ing a true one-ski quiver for rip­pers who split equal time be­tween the re­sort and the back­coun­try.

SKIS Ma­te­rial only where you need it

This year, Völkl and Atomic re­designed clas­sic skis that are now miss­ing some­thing. Namely, ma­te­rial right down the mid­dle of the ski. The Völkl M5 Mantra and Se­cret have a mod­i­fied up­per layer of Ti­tanal, which the brand calls a “Ti­tanal Frame,” that breathes play­ful life into for­merly no­to­ri­ously damp skis. Atomic’s Van­tage series was fully re­designed with its Pro­lite con­struc­tion, a method that in­volves build­ing the ski on a foun­da­tion of su­per thin Ti­ta­nium or car­bon, and re­in­forc­ing edge con­trol with its En­ergy Back­bone. The re­sult? Light­weight skis with translu­cent cen­ters that are en­joy­able ev­ery­where you take them. SHOWN: Völkl M5 Mantra and Se­cret, Atomic Van­tage 97 Ti W

Re­turn of Hard-Snow Fun

The past few years have seen the Groomed cat­e­gory go from a bit of a yawn to a hot rod ex­hibit. Bl­iz­zard, Stöckli, Atomic, Völkl, and oth­ers are tak­ing tech­nol­ogy from their World Cup race skis and putting them into se­ri­ous carvers with turn-friendly side­cuts. Add in World Cup bind­ing race plates, and the top skis in the cat­e­gory are all rock­ets that will drive the yel­low jack­ets nuts while they plas­ter a smile on your face. All this race tech comes with a high price, but as win­ters be­come less pre­dictable and skiers spend more time on early sea­son, man-made snow, these skis are go­ing to be hot quiver ad­di­tions for years to come. (Look out for more su­per carvers in the Oc­to­ber 2018 is­sue.) SHOWN: Völkl Dea­con 76, Bl­iz­zard Fire­bird WRC, Stöckli Laser WRT, Atomic Red­ster X9

Value Skis

It’s al­ways re­fresh­ing to find a good pair of skis at an un­beat­able price. That’s why, in ad­di­tion to award­ing Best Value in each cat­e­gory, we also try out skis un­der a cer­tain price dur­ing our an­nual SKI test. This year, the Dy­nas­tar Slicer ($600) and the Ar­mada Victa 93 ($600) de­serve spe­cial recog­ni­tion, as they both ranked among the top three per­form­ing skis in their re­spec­tive All-Moun­tain Nar­row cat­e­gories, de­spite their low price points. You can find our full Value Cat­e­gory re­sults in the Novem­ber 2018 is­sue, and re­mem­ber: While the av­er­age ski price is tick­ing up, you can still find great deals with­out four-dig­its price tags. SHOWN: Ar­mada Victa 93, Dy­nas­tar Slicer

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