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Best Powder Skis 2019 – 2020 | Buyer’s Guide

A guide to the best skis for powder, and why they're perfect for skiing in the deep stuff.

Header Image: Jordan Tiernan

The world wide web is filled with skis that claim to be “the best skis for park,” “the best skis for powder,” and “the best skis for after-dinner anecdotes.” But there can only be one king in the powder skis department – all mountain shapes just can’t cut it in the deep like a proper pair of powder planks. Although we hear you, all this marketing chat and ‘ground-breaking technology’ claims can be a real mind-melt.

There’s so many things to consider, so so many, that people have been known to wake up in the middle of the night mumbling the benefits of twin rocker skis and talking up the virtues of a decent sidecut. Heck, it’s stressing us out just thinking about all the people out there right now who are getting stressed out thinking about which ski to buy.

Pictured: Markus Eder buttering the Volkl Revolt 121. Photo: Jordan Tiernan

So here goes. We’ve broken down all the important traits of a powder ski and recommended some of the finest out there right now. Now you can sleep easy with the knowledge of knowing some of the best powder skis out there in 2019 – 2020.

What Makes A Great Pair Of Powder Skis?

Ski shaping and construction has progressed tenfold over the past few years, with more and more designs that make skiing the deep stuff not just easier, but a total blast – with fresher legs to keep going lap after lap. Here are a few of our recommended shapes and designs to look out for that go towards creating a great pair of powder skis.

Width and Length

Two pretty important features in making a handy powder ski are of course width and length – they’re the two attributes that give the ski larger surface area, after all. A large surface area equals more float when the going gets deep.

Modern skis with a waist width varying between 90 – 110 mm are considered a good all mountain setup, with 110 mm plus the de facto powder width. We’ve only got one ski under a 110 mm waist width featured in this list of best powder skis.

Sizing for a big mountain / powder ski is relatively simple – because of the use of rocker in the tips create a shorter effective edge, advanced and above skiers will want to size 10 cm longer than your all mountain boards.

Rocker

Rocker is the technique used to raise the tips and tails of the ski, so that when the ski is lay on a flat surface, a section of the tips and tails of the ski is lifted off the floor – this raised section is called rocker. Rocker avoids the dreaded tendency for skis to ‘tip dive’ and keeps the skis tracking well through deep snow.

While rocker helps in the deep stuff, it has the opposite effect on firm snow, as the effective edge that is able to contact the snow beneath becomes less, the more the tips and tails are raised.

Tip / Tail Taper

Taper refers to the technique used by ski brands to bring the widest point of the tip and tails closer towards the middle of the ski. Identified by a tip and tail that resemble a paddle of a canoe, taper gives skis that ‘surfy’ feel people love to describe skis, by avoiding the hooky feeling of traditional sidecuts.

The Best Powder Skis 2019 – 2020

What a list. We’ve packed it full of powder shapes that make powder skiing just that bit more enjoyable; fully rockered, twin tipped, soft noodles and stiff missiles – we’ve brought in the best to bring your powder dreams to life (kind of). Enjoy the turns.

  • Whitedot Ragnarok ASYM
  • DPS Wailer Alchemist 112
  • Armada Tracer 118 CHX
  • Head Kore 117
  • Atomic Vantage 107 TI
  • K2 Pon2oon
  • Völkl Revolt 121
  • Faction Candide 4.0
  • Black Crows Anima
  • Line Magnum Opus

 

Whitedot Ragnarok ASYM

Sidecut (mm): 147 / 122 / 134
Radius: 30m
Weight (per ski): 2220g
Price: £698

WEBSITE: WHITEDOTSKIS.COM

The Whitedot Ragnarok ASYM has been designed for blasting your way around the mountains at mach-looney through any conditions you find out there. The original shaped Ragnarok was designed by Fred Syversen to be used as his weapon in Freeride World Tour. Now, as you can see the tips and tails have been given a asymmetrical shaping to make powder skiing that (little) bit more fun.

The Ragnarok ASYM is designed in such a way that the skiers who use it will find themselves floating across deep powder like Jesus did when he walked on water. Not only that, but the positive camber and full-length torsional stiffness (that’s what she said) guarantees incredible hold on even the most unforgiving of pistes.

The original Ragnarok shape has won independent ski tests, Freeride World Tour podium spots, and the love and affection of numerous professional athletes. Whether you’re a Jedi-level master of off-piste skiing or only just ditching the comfort of the groomed runs, the Whitedot Ragnarok ASYM has something to offer all you powder-pursuing skiers.

Chosen for the 2019/20 Mpora Backcountry Ski Guide – Take a closer look at the Whitedot Ragnarok ASYM here

DPS Wailer Alchemist 112

WEBSITE: DPSSKIS.COM

When DPS brought out the original wailer 112 design back in 2010, it soon became the go-to shape for those looking for a soft snow specific touring ski. The then unique blend of waist width, rocker and tapers tips/tails created a ski that flattered many. Now, DPS have gone and introduced their all-new Alchemist carbon build to this classic powder shape, in an effort to improve the dampening abilities of the skis when riding through less than ideal conditions.

Chosen for the 2019/20 Mpora Backcountry Ski Guide – Take a closer look at the DPS Alchemist Wailer 112 here

Armada Tracer 118 CHX

WEBSITE: ARMADASKIS.COM

Armada have a solid history of making some of the finest power shapes out there and the all new and updated Tracer 118 CHX continues on with this tradition. Armada have taken the classic big mountain powder shape of the original Tracer 118 and stripped 8% of the weight off it to create the Tracer 118 CHX.

Even though weight has been stripped from the ski, the Tracer 118 CHX is still a point and shoot weapon that retains an impressive level of dampness. This has been achieved  by using a Caruba/Poplar core, combined with what Armada calls ‘Adaptive Mesh’ – which is essentially a traditional fibreglass laminate that’s been specially weaved to optimise vibration dampening along the full length of the ski.

Chosen for the 2019/20 Mpora Backcountry Ski Guide – Take a closer look at the Armada Tracer 118 CHX here

Head Kore 117 2019 – 2020

Sidecut (mm): 145 / 117 / 129 (189cm)
Radius: 24.6 (189cm)
Weight (per ski): 2000g
Price: £650

WEBSITE: HEAD.COM

Built with Koroyd (the shock absorbing stuff you find in helmets) and Graphene (the hardest material in the world). This combination of Koroyd and Graphene ensures the Head Kore 117 remains lightweight, powerful and lively in equal measure. Throw the ski’s 117mm width into the boiling pot, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for powder-stomping success. With this innovative plank, Head have delivered a bonafide floater that’s as adept at shooting through crud as it is at carving picturesque turns on the groomers.

A spoonful of camber underfoot, combined with the ski’s full rockered tip and tail, means that those looking for versatility in their ski won’t be left disappointed by Head’s Kore 117. Here at Mpora, we’re also a real sucker for a nice top sheet. And that, my friends, is a really nice top sheet (look at it again, up above these three paragraphs – go on, look how nice it is).

Chosen for the 2019/20 Mpora Backcountry Ski Guide – Take a closer look at the Head Kore 117 here

Atomic Vantage 107 TI 2019 – 2020

Sidecut (mm): 137 / 107 / 124 (182cm)
Radius: 18.4m (182cm)
Weight (per ski): 1980g
Price: £550

If you’re looking for a fun powder-loving ski, that’s not going to get up in your grill if you do something weird and unexpected, you’ll love the Atomic Vantage 107 TI is a seriously versatile plank, as comfortable in knee deep powder as it is in mere centimetres of fresh snow. In a nutshell, it’s a playful off-piste ski that’s practical for everyday use.

The carefully-considered profile of theAtomic Vantage 107 TI, with its twin rocker (tip and tail), makes turning in powder an absolute cakewalk. Whether you’re hitting park, pow, or pistes; this ski will do the job…and it’ll do it well.

Chosen for the 2019/20 Mpora Backcountry Ski Guide – Take a closer look at the Atomic Vantage 107 TI here

K2 Pon2oon 2019 – 2020

WEBSITE: k2snow.com

Question. Why did the surfer cross the road to buy a pair of skis? Answer. Because the surfer in question discovered that the K2 Pon2oon’s lengthy and extremely well-elevated rocker meant it was a ski with a “surfy” feel ideal for turning powder days into really really good days.

The K2 Pon2oon is designed to ski white stuff easily, quickly, and with less effort on the part of the skier. The powder-specific taper will help you to build confidence up in the deepest sections of snow, and give you the ability to hit turns at will. The ski’s camber, despite its minimal nature, exists to ensure that you don’t lose your edge on the firmer stuff. The K2 Pon2oon is 1won really gr8 ski (see what we did there…).

Völkl Revolt 121

WEBSITE: voelkl.com

When the Mpora team went and joined winner of the 2019 Freeride World Tour – Markus Eder – out in the Alpes d’Huez for a few powder laps of the resort, we were shocked by his seemingly effortless control of these skis. On top of Markus, some of the world’s most stylish skiers including; Paddy Graham, Fabio Studer, Colter Hinchliffe, Tanner Rainville, Sam Smoothy and Tom Ritsch have all been charging around on them during the whole 2018/19 season.

Even given the width of the Revolt 121, these are actually a pretty versatile pair of planks. This versatility is thanks to generous tip and tail rocker that’s blended together with traditional camber to give the ski a nose that’ll track through fresh, yet can still be easily pressed and buttered.

Faction Candide 4.0 2019 – 2020

WEBSITE: factionskis.com

If the skis you’re looking to purchase have anything to do with internet-melting ski legend Candide Thovex, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’re a pair of half-decent planks.

The Candide 4.0 from Faction were designed to be as versatile and playful as the wild Frenchman they were named for. These backcountry freestylers are a match made in the upper echelons of Valhalla for any skier who enjoys cliff-dropping, pillow-popping, and powder-slaying.

In terms of design, the enormous rocker in the tip and tail should ensure that digging-in and the face-plants that come as a result of this are kept to a minimum. The 4.0’s hybrid, light as a feather, core combined with its substantial 122mm waist and totally flat camber make these skis the ultimate toy for when the white stuff gets nice and deep.

Black Crows Anima 2019 – 2020

WEBSITE: black-crows.com

The Black Crows Anima doesn’t mess about. It’s a ski with proper guts, a fierce and ferocious bruiser that somehow manages to moonlight as a beautiful ballet dancer. The Anima is, as the Black Crows website states, a ski that’s both animated and animalistic. It possesses crud-blasting power in the makeup of its construction, but also offers delicacy and paintbrush-esque manoeuvrability with its “receding sidecut” and double rocker profile.

Testers of these skis have described how clicking into the Animas is like catching up with an old friend, and feeling instantly at ease in their company. Whether this is down to the popping poplar core, the trustworthy bet-your-mortgage-on-it flex, or something else entirely unquantifiable; if you want your skis to respond to the mountain like a highly adaptable sentient being then a pair of these Black Crows might be what you’re after.

Line Magnum Opus 2019 – 2020

WEBSITE: VOELKL.COM

When buying yourself a pair of powder skis, there’s so many different things to consider that turning the whole process into a beauty contest and just picking a pair because they’ve got a cool graphic on them is usually a recipe for disaster Bolognese. Usually. Usually, but not always. Take Line’s Magnum Opus, as a case in point.

Not only is the Magnum Opus ski, designed by Eric Pollard, an absolute dream to look at it’s also one of the finest winter toys that money can be. From a distance, if you squinted your eyes while looking at it, you’d be forgiven for labelling the Magnum Opus as a heavy and unyielding beast not suitable for the amateur skier. It’s got a chunk to it in the width that might make the average Joe hesitate before the cash-splashing begun.

However, the futuristic materials (super-light Cloud Core™) used in the construction of the Magnum Opus means it regularly flips logic on its head by floating like a feather in those moments when you’d expect to see it sink like a stone. This technology, combined with the Early Rise™ and Early Taper™ features, will make you a master of powder in ways so easy you’ll repeatedly pinch yourself in the face to make sure you’re not dreaming.

You May Also Like:

Mpora Backcountry Ski Guide

5 Of The Cheapest Ski Resorts In Europe

10 Of The Best Ski Resorts For Beginners

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