It’s not all about Jordan and Pippen. Sometimes it’s about the glasses-wearing underappreciated power forward Horace Grant. Dig? Although huge ski companies and their premium products may be your go-to for next year’s setup, it’s worth your time to check out some other options. And if you appreciate geographically-oriented ski design—think ‘East Coast tight trees’ tail taper—then it’s a no brainer. Niche ski brands are growing, and now might be the best time to jump on board with these small-batch companies.
Here’s just a taste of what micro ski brands have to offer and what our testers said about their products. For more on micro brands and their place in the ski industry, pick up the September issue, on newsstands now.WORTH SKIS THE GEORGE
MIDDLEBURY, VERMONT | WORTHSKIS.COM
$749/$824 (carbon) | DIMENSIONS (mm): 150/118/127
SIZES (cm): 171, 178, 185, 195 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 8 lbs. 14 oz. (185, carbon)
The George is a big ski with big ’tude. One tester called it a “floaty pow ski that responds well in light snow.” Another said it’s “traditionally piloted.” But beware: the pintail design required a front-seat-driving stance.
MONTANA SKI COMPANY TATONKA
WHITEFISH, MONTANA | MONTANASKICOMPANY.COM
$899 | DIMENSIONS (MM): 144/112/126
SIZES (cm): 193 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 9 lbs. 12 oz. (188)
“All around solid” was one tester’s simple accolade for the Tatonka, the Native American word for buffalo. Others called it “well balanced in powder,” and a “champ in chop and crud,” with camber underfoot and early rise tip and tail.
ROMP SKIS 120
CRESTED BUTTE, COLO | ROMPSKIS.COM
$1250 | DIMENSIONS (MM): 148/120/139
SIZES (cm): 186, 176 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 8 lbs. 4 oz. (186)
The 120 is ROMP’s lightweight fat ski featuring a brand-new carbon layup. One tester said it “may be the most powerful turning tool made with carbon.” Another said it “turns like a racing ski in a foot of powder.”
SHAGGY’S COPPER COUNTRY SKIS TUBBY
BOYNE CITY, MICHIGAN | SCCSKIS.COM
$750 | DIMENSIONS (MM): 142/117/142
SIZES (cm): 168, 178, 188 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 9 lbs. 7 oz. (178)
The Tubby was the most widely tested of Shaggy’s offerings, and testers called it “smooth, stable and even-flexing,” and “floaty in softer snow conditions.” But it was a spicy ride on hardpack with heavy tip and tail rocker and slight camber underfoot.
CARAVAN DAILY DRIVER
BOZEMAN, MONTANA | CARAVANSKIS.COM
$599| DIMENSIONS (MM): 130/105/120
SIZES (cm): 170,178, 186 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 8 lbs. 8 oz. (178)
Testers agreed the Daily Driver likes high speeds. “A ski this hearty demanded a bigger, more badass mountain to be at home,” one tester said. Like Bridger Bowl, for example, right outside Bozeman, where Caravan skis are handmade by former tester Zeph Hallowell.