2018 Editors’ Choice Awards: Freeride Skis

This year, we’re mixing things up. We’ve historically organized skis solely based on width, but we’ve realized this approach can ignore a ski’s purpose. So for 2018, we dove into the psyche of our testers—who hammered the slopes of Powder Mountain, Utah for a week in March—to hone in on what skis were best suited to certain pursuits.

Here are our freeride favorites.

These skis are all about the descent, prioritizing downhill-focused stability over weight. They target the upper end of width (118 to 98 mm underfoot) and offer varying degrees of rocker and stout construction for confidence in conditions from crud to hardpack. They’ll bring power into the backcountry, but demand muscle going up and down.

Want to see in-depth tester feedback on these products? Buy a copy of the 2018 Gear Guide, packed with reviews of all the Editors’ Choice winners, plus more than 200 other must-have skis, splitboards, boots, bindings, apparel and accessories.

Atomic Backland FR 109 W

$725atomic.com | SIZES (cm): 159, 167, 175 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 113/109/123 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 7.5 lbs. (175)

“Bottom Line: It’s best-friend material—holds steady through the crud and lets loose when the conditions are right.”

Available on Amazon

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Head Kore 105

$800 head.com | SIZES (cm): 171, 180, 189 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 139/112/129 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 7.7 lbs. (180)

“Bottom Line: Best for bigger or strong-legged skiers who prefer straight lines to squiggles.”

Available on Amazon

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Blizzard Rustler 11

$840 blizzardsportusa.com | SIZES (cm): 164, 172, 180, 188, 192 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 142/114/132 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 8.6 lbs. (180)

“Bottom Line: A heavy charger that’s not for the faint of heart.”

Available on Amazon

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  1. Richard Heyman says:

    It would be helpful going forward if you could note if a ski is telemark appropriate. As I have explored purchasing some of the skis you have highlighted as part of your 2018 Editors’ Choice Awards, I have learned that some skis, especially the lighter ones, will not withstand the stress imparted by telemark bindings. As an example, on its website, Black Diamond expressly states that mounting their Helio line of skis with telemark bindings is not recommended. I have also been told that a certain ski may delaminate if used with telemark bindings.

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