2019 Editors’ Choice Awards: Freeride Skis

This year’s best skis are focused on transcending boundaries. From light skintrack slayers that can muscle through crud to fat powder boats that charge edge to edge, 2019’s Editors’ Choice lineup proves that the best skis are no longer defined by just one characteristic. From 115 models skied at this year’s Powder Mountain Gear Test Week, our testers identified the Editors’ Choice winners that can bound uphill, rail and float on the down and crossover from one category to the next.

Here are the 2019 Editors’ Choice freeride skis.

These skis are the crud crushers, the high-velocity chargers and the stable stompers, built with sturdy construction in moderate-to-wide widths—100 to 122 mm underfoot. They pair best with big boots, reliable bindings and strong quads.

Want in-depth tester feedback on these products? Buy a copy of the 2019 Gear Guide, brimming with reviews of all 38 Editors’ Choice winners, plus almost 200 other must-have skis, splitboards, boots, bindings, clothing and accessories.


Armada Tracer 108

$825armadaskis.com | SIZES (cm): 164, 172, 180, 188 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 134/108/126 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 8.2 lbs. (180)

From the Gear Guide: “Confident in all turn shapes; blazed through crud at warp speeds, yet could scrub speed when needed.”

Atomic Backland 107

$850atomic.com | SIZES (cm): 175, 182, 189 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 137/107/125 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 7 lbs. (182)

From the Gear Guide: “It’s a jack of all trades. This ski will make you smile from the top of the run in cold snow to the bottom in sloppy chop.”

Fischer Ranger 102 FR

$700fischersports.com | SIZES (cm): 170, 177, 184 | DIMENSIONS (mm): 136/102/126 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 8.8 lbs. (177)

From the Gear Guide: “A hard-charging ski with ample tip rocker for plowing through bumps or crud.”

Available at Outdoor Gear Exchange

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  1. You guys should list turn radius in the specs. I find this is crucial to whether or not I will enjoy a ski.

    Cheers, Calef

  2. BRUNO BENETTI says:

    is there any way to buy a digital copy of “The 2019 Gear Guide”? Paying 10 $ for the test is OK, but adding 20 $ for shipping is a lot

  3. Hi Tyler and the Backcountry Magazine crew,
    Can you tell me if you had the Faction Prime 2.0 and 3.0 bindings mounted on the factory ski/ boot center line?
    Thank you,

    • Tyler Cohen says:

      Hi Allan, Not exactly—these skis were mounted with Dynafit demo bindings where the toes slide forward or backward to accommodate different lengths of boot soles. Therefore the mounting position (or where the boots’ center is in relation to the ski) changes depending on BSL, and we don’t have record of who stood where relative to center.

      • Hi Tyler, Thanks for your reply. I realize that you use demo bindings on the test skis but do the manufactures like Faction in this case give a recommendation to boot center location if other than the marked ski boot center? I ask because the word is to mount forward of marked center on these skis because of the rocker profile. And I was just wondering if your testers and techs were using instructions like this in centering their boots on these skis.
        Thank you!

        • Hey Allan,

          Chiming in from Faction directly here. After extensive testing on the recommended mounting point on all of our prime skis I would recommend going 2.5-3cm ahead of the recommended line. We find this makes the ski more nimble considering the generous amount of tail rocker on these skis. At the current line I find the tail can slip out from underneath you. I have had a few people enjoy the mount at +5cm, but i find 2.5-3 works best for most people. We have actually updated the recommended mounting point for 1920. I hope that helps.


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