2018 Testers’ Choice: Cat Ambrose’s Picks

Testing skis for the Backcountry Magazine Gear Guide can be a grueling endeavor—with hours upon hours of hot powder laps, edge-to-edge action on groomers, the occasional crud-busting run, and of course, flip cup practice—and our testers for the 2018 Gear Guide found it all at Powder Mountain, Utah. Skis, boots and bindings are all put through the ringer to find the standouts, with each ski tested eight times, three for boots and bindings. To get a sense of who’s putting in the work, we introduce Testers’ Choice profiles and picks, so you can be sure you’re getting the info right from the source. 

Want to see in-depth tester feedback on these products? Subscribe now to get 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.

[Photo] Matt Kiedaisch

AGE 36
5 feet 9 INCHES, 145 lbs.

Alma, Colo.

Skilogik Piton skis, Scott Celeste II boots, G3 Ion bindings

“I like to have the right tool for the job. On long days I’d much rather have a setup that is light and easy to push around. But if we are talking a few sidecountry laps with minimal skinning, that’s a completely different story.”

Liberty Origin 106

$775 – libertyskis.com | SIZES (cm): 171, 176, 182, 187 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 138/106/128 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 8.8 lbs. (182) | TESTED LENGTH: 182

Like a brick house—they mighty, mighty let it all hang out. Crazy light for the performance they deliver. This is a one-wolf pack you want to run; amaze-balls stable for the ample tip and tail rise. Like Ricky Bobby, they were born to go fast. —Cat

Völkl VTA 108

$825 – volkl.com | SIZES (cm): 173, 181, 189 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 141/108/124 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 7.1 lbs. (181) | TESTED LENGTH: 173

The most impressive and versatile ski of the test. Völkl's designers must be magicians to cram the race characteristics Völkl is famous for into an insanely light package. —Cat

Völkl 100eight

$825  volkl.com SIZES (cm): 173, 181, 189 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 141/108/124 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 8.7 lbs. (181) | TESTED LENGTH: 173

Like a big bowl of Lucky Charms with Sunday morning cartoons—doesn't get much better. Transitions from every condition, task and speed with ease and confidence. Best for every woman who likes to ski. —Cat


  1. Joan Sullivan says:

    fun to look at but I’ll be 87 y.o. in November so don’t think I’ll be buying any more skis. Please do not send me any more of these
    advertisements. thanks.

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