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The Best Powder Skis Of 2021 – 2022 | Skis That Offer Maximum Floatation For The Deep Days

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

Finding the right powder ski for you is essential stuff for days when the snow gods decide to dump snowfalls north of 20 cm on us. Powder skis carry a unique blend of heavy rocker, shovelled tips and tails with an extremely wide underfoot section to give them buoyancy and floatation in the soft stuff.

This increased floatation gives powder skis the unique ability to eliminate any unwanted tip dive, while keeping the skis manoeuvrable in deep snow for quick slashes and snorkel-induced shredding. 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 this winter.

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

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

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 Of 2021 – 2022

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.

  • Scott Pure Pro 109Ti
  • K2 Mindbender 116C
  • Head Kore 111
  • Black Diamond Impulse 112
  • Line Sakana
  • Faction Candide 5.0
  • Atomic Bent Chetler 120
  • Whitedot Ragnarok ASYM
  • DPS Wailer Alchemist 112
  • Armada Tracer 118 CHX

Scott Pure Pro 109Ti

Sidecut (mm): 142 / 109 / 128 (190 cm)
Radius:23m (190 cm)
Price:
 £590 / €650

This is the all-new Scott Pure Pro 109Ti. It’s a ski that’s been built from the ground up with the exact specifications from the Swiss freeride maestro – Mr Jeremie Heitz. The result? Well, as you can tell by looking at the speed Jeremie skis some of the wildest faces on the planet, these skis are built, and shaped, to charge across any part of the mountain at speed.

This ski had to be capable of skiing powder and big mountain faces at home in Switzerland and high-altitude ski mountaineering in the Himalaya, while filming La Liste 2.

Chosen for the 21/22 Ski 100 – Take a closer look at the Scott Pure 109Ti here

K2 Mindbender 116C

Sidecut (mm): 143 / 116 / 133 (186 cm)
Radius: 23m (186 cm)
Price: £550 / €615 / $700

The Mindbender 116C takes the throne of K2’s widest Mindbender. Carrying a waist width of 116 mm and high and long rocker in the tips and tails, this ski is designed to crush the biggest days in resort while remaining light enough to keep your legs from burning out on the tenth lap of the day.

Chosen for the 21/22 Ski 100 – Take a closer look at the K2 Mindbender 116C here

Head Kore 111

Sidecut (mm): 140 / 111 / 127 (185 cm)
Radius: 21.1m (184 cm)
Price: £750 / €850 / $875

For the 2022 winter season, Head has given the Kore series an overhaul with a totally new construction process. This construction has binned the use of Koloryd and replaced it with a full-spanning wood core in an effort to keep performance at a premium. This ski, the Head Kore 111, mixes the powerful build that we’ve come to know and love with a freeride shape to create a ski that’s able to charge through, over and around any terrain in sight – just check out how many FWT podiums Hedvig Wessel has won on these skis.

Chosen for the 21/22 Ski 100 – Take a closer look at the Head Kore 111 here

black Diamond Impulse 112

Sidecut (mm): 139 / 112 / 126 (186 cm)
Radius: 21m (186 cm)
Price: £700 / €700 / $799

Sitting at the top of Black Diamond’s all-new Impulse range of resort / backcountry freeride skis, the Impulse 112 offers a large platform and a powerful build for pure big mountain freedom.

This has been achieved through shallower rocker lines that travel deep into the ski, which results in a ski that’s able to remain pivotable in soft snow, while not turning into a wet noodle when you decide to put the hammer down.

Chosen for the 21/22 Ski 100 – Take a closer look at the Black Diamond Impulse 112 here

Line Sakana

Sidecut (mm): 150 / 105 / 138 (174 cm)
Radius: 15m (174 cm)
Price: £690 / €750 / $750

If you tried to merge surfboard and snowboard tech into a pair of skis, you’d probably come out with something looking like the quirky Line Sakana. These powder skis feature a super-fat tip shape that quickly tapers down to a swallow tail to create a ski that’s an absolute blast to rip around the resort, both on and off the piste.

The swallowtail has been shaped with powder skiing in mind. It works the same as modern snowboard and surfboard design; by forcing the tails of the skis to sink into the snow. This results in the tips popping out of the snow giving you the ability to ski with a more aggressive stance without having to worry about tip dive.

Chosen for the 21/22 Ski 100 – Take a closer look at the Line Sakana here


Faction Candide 5.0

Lengths (cm): 175, 183, 190
Sidecut (mm): 152 / 122 / 140
Radius: 25m (183 cm)
Rocker Profile: Rocker-Flat-Rocker
Weight (per ski): 1900g
Price: £730

BUY HERE

Said to be the ski the man himself reaches for most days while skiing in his home resort of La Clusaz. The Candide 5.0 is another playful pair of powder skis that are also more than capable of staying in control when you do open up the throttle.

Look at the Candide 5.0 as a regular Candide, just with a 122 mm waist width. There hasn’t been much change from the original Candide 4.0, apart from that waist width and we love that. This was the ski that’s inspired a generation of skiers, and for that reason, it should remain true to its playful heritage.

Although the shaping stays pretty true to a Candide, the 5.0 becomes the stiffest ski in the entire Candide lineup and therefore will be best suited towards advanced – expert skiers.

Chosen for the 20/21 Ski 100 – Take a closer look at the Faction Candide 5.0 here


Atomic Bent Chetler 120

Lengths (cm): 164, 172, 180, 188
Sidecut (mm): 129.5-100-120 (180cm)
Radius: 19.5m (180cm)
Rocker Profile: Rocker-Camber-Rocker
Weight (per ski): 1700g (180cm)
Price: £450

BUY HERE

The skis that arguably set the benchmark for the playful powder ski – the Bent Chetler 120. The 120s were created  by atomic in partnership with the master of powder skiing himself  – Chris Benchetler. Chris was after a pair of skis that enabled him to ‘surf the mountain’. And, to be quite honest, we can’t think of a better way to sum up the Bent Chetler 120’s buoyancy and playfulness in the deep stuff.

As if a backing from Benchetler himself wasn’t enough to convince you that these are one of the best powder skis on the market right now, the Bent Chetler 120s come packing one of the finest topsheets out there.

The Bent Chetler 120’s really are a joy to behold and a joy to ski. But don’t just take our work for it. Listen to Benchetler talk you through the Bent Chetler 120’s history before demonstrating the ski’s surfability below.

Chosen for the 20/21 Ski 100 – Take a closer look at the Atomic Bent Chetler 120 here

Whitedot Ragnarok ASYM

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

Buy here

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

BUY HERE

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

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

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