Header Image: Jordan Tiernan
The world wide web is filled with skis that claim to be “the best skis for moguls,” “the best skis for powder,” and “the best all-mountain skis.” 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.
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, finally, you can sleep easy. Now, finally, you can say you know the best powder skis for winter 2020-2021.
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 – leaving you 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 two skis 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 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 2020 – 2021
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.