2021 Editors’ Choice Awards: Skis

Last March, our testers tried the best skis, boards, boots, bindings and apparel that we could get our hands on at our 13th annual Gear Test Week. After months of working remotely from our basements, guest bedrooms and kitchen counters, our editors are ready to reveal the top picks to help you get remote on the skintrack with 34 Editors’ Choice awards. Below, you’ll find the 13 standout skis that won an Editors’ Choice Award, ordered from narrowest to widest.

Rossignol Blackops Alpineer

$600 – rossignol.com | DIMENSIONS (mm): 122/86/108 | LENGTHS (cm): 154, 162, 168, 176, 182 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 5.6 lbs. (176)

“The Alpineer has a surprisingly strong and supportive tail. It handles hard snow and crud better than its weight or its width would have you suspect. It does a great job of handling a variety of snow conditions and turn shapes but finds its edge with flat-out speeds in true chunder. At below-top-end speeds and on smooth snow the edge hold and dampness inspires more than enough confidence.” —Owen Packard, Jeffersonville, Vermont


Black Diamond Equipment Helio Carbon 88

$800 – blackdiamondequipment.com | DIMENSIONS (mm): 120/88/111 | LENGTHS (cm): 161, 170, 179 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 5.2 lbs. (170)

“Provides enough edgehold to really push into it at high speed. Exceeded my expectations for soft snow and chunder as well. For how light it is, it is damp enough to plow through lots of crud. These light skis could always be more damp, but I think the weight/dampness tradeoff is an important balance that this ski does pretty darn well.” —Wylie Picotte, Underhill, Vermont


Scott Superguide 95

$800 – scott-sports.com | DIMENSIONS (mm): 130/95/115 | LENGTHS (cm): 162, 170, 178, 184 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 6.4 lbs. (178)

“This season, Scott has surprised me with an uncanny mix of lightweight construction and solid, stable performance. The skis absolutely rail—especially impressive for such a lightweight platform. I found they still get tossed around in crud, and deep snow takes some work to keep them afloat.” —Cat Ambrose, Alma, Colorado


Fischer Hannibal Carbon 96

$800 – fischersports.com | DIMENSIONS (mm): 126/96/114 | LENGTHS (cm): 162, 169, 176, 183 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 5.7 lbs. (176)

“One of the most buttery-smooth skis of the test, the Hannibals are bomber in the crud, able to steamroll any variable condition. Designed to carve long, graceful arcs, they absolutely thrive at speed and prefer to be driven aggressively.” —Marla Bailey, Steamboat Springs, Colorado


Armada Tracer 98

$825 – armadaskis.com | DIMENSIONS (mm): 132/98/123 | LENGTHS (cm): 164, 172, 180, 188 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 7 lbs. (180)

“The Tracer 98 is an awesome example of design and minimalism. This ski will power its way through any line or condition. They don’t flaunt carbon buzz words, but the balance of rocker and camber with a wood core just hits the balance for a quiver killer go-to.” —Gavin Cooper, Gallatin Gateway, Montana


Voilé Manti

$695 – voile.com | DIMENSIONS (mm): 138/104/124 | LENGTHS (cm): 158, 165, 171, 176, 181, 186 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 7.6 lbs. (181)

“This ski will finally appease all the Voilé naysayers who think they need stiffer skis. The Manti is all there when you lean into it. Still, it had that classic Voilé feel, with effortless turns, starting and finishing turns whenever you want.” —Kevin McCarthy, Jackson, Wyoming


Blizzard Zero G 105

$960 – blizzardsports.com | DIMENSIONS (mm): 134/105/120 |LENGTHS (cm): 164, 172, 180, 188 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 7.3 lbs. (188)

“More accessible than in years past. Lightweight and easy to turn without being deflected. Fun and snappy underfoot. Simple to pair with nearly every boot/binding combo out there today.” —Jason Layh, Tahoe City, California


Völkl Blaze 106 W

$700 – volkl.com | DIMENSIONS (mm): 146/106/128 | LENGTHS (cm): 158, 165, 172 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 6.9 lbs. (165)

“Wholly dynamic, these super snappy turners do absolutely everything—quick edge to edge with a preference for short, quick turns. They hold their edge like a fine German sports car with the nimble responsiveness of an under-90-mm waisted ski. The Blazes absorb everything in their path with power, precision and ease and have absolutely no speed limit.” —Marla Bailey, Steamboat Springs, Colorado


Elan Ripstick 106

$900 – elanskis.com | DIMENSIONS (mm): 143/106/120 | LENGTHS (cm): 164, 172, 180, 188 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 7.9 lbs. (180)

“Elan’s flagship freeride offering is an impressively versatile ski. Powerful enough for big skiers to drive inbounds, but light enough to tour all day. Great edge hold on firm snow with effortless float in soft snow. A true quiver killer for inbounds and out-of-bounds mindsets alike.” —Alec Sandberg, Truckee, California


Black Crows Corvus Freebird

$900 – black-crows.com | DIMENSIONS (mm): 140/107/119 | LENGTHS (cm): 176, 183, 188 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 8.3 lbs. (183)

“A quiver of one for any conditions in the backcountry or shredding the resort all day. Stable and confident at speed, and nimble and consistent in tight or challenging terrain. A lightweight, mid-fat, shredding machine. Any conditions, any terrain, any time.” —Damian Riddle, Lunenberg, Massachusetts


Dynafit Beast 108

$700 – dynafit.com | DIMENSIONS (mm): 135/107/125 | LENGTHS (cm): 173, 181, 188, 194 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 7.3 lbs. (181)

“The updated Beast 108 has been improved in all the places it needed. A touch of camber and some weight shaved has made this a true backcountry skier’s ski. Good performance on all snow with excellent responsiveness for charging a bit harder or scrubbing speed. Performs well enough on firm snow to chose for spring missions if that’s your preferred width. A touch heavy for some lightweight pursuits.” —Alec Sandberg, Truckee, California


Majesty Havoc

$995 – majestyskisamerica.com | DIMENSIONS (mm): 143/110/127 | LENGTHS (cm): 166, 171, 176, 181, 186, 191 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 8.2 lbs. (186)

“A very versatile 110-underfoot ski. The tip shape and early rise make for a good soft snow performance. The camber profile and construction give the ski impressive firm snow performance, as well. Light enough to go all day. Quite stable for the weight.” —Alec Sandberg, Truckee, California


G3 SLAYr 114

$999 – genuineguidegear.com | DIMENSIONS (mm): 143/114/128 | LENGTHS (cm): 178, 185, 190, 195 | WEIGHT/PAIR: 7.3 lbs. (185)

“One of G3’s best offerings yet. A true lightweight powder slayer. Stable and damp for the weight and can hold an edge on firm snow when you need it. The early rise tip and tip taper make turning effortless in the deep stuff. But the 195 length will be hard for some to wrap their heads around for a touring ski.” —Alec Sandberg, Truckee, California


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Comments

  1. Greg Kallio says:

    It seems that all skis reviewed in the Gear Guide have positive comments – leading one to believe that there really aren’t any poor-performing skis sold today. If you pay attention to the manufacturers’ specs on dimensions, construction, weight, and rocker to match one’s preference, is there really any need to have a subjective ski review? I’m sure your ski testers have a lot of fun out on Powder Mtn each year, but as a Gear Guide reader I don’t really get any valuable, delineating information from the reviews.

    • Betsy Manero says:

      Hi Greg, thanks for your comment. We test about 200 pairs of skis each year at Powder Mountain, many of which appear similar on paper. Our on snow test allows us to pick out which ski preform the best and whittle down that list of 200 skis to around 40. The gear listed in the particular post are our Editors’ Choice selections, meaning that they are the best of the best.

      • Greg Kallio says:

        Thanks, Betsy! It would be really valuable to Gear Guide readers to know which skis did NOT make the final list of ~40 !! Would that violate any agreements you have with manufacturers? Also, it seems that the final ski list mainly contains NEW entries into the market. For example, the Voile Manti was reviewed but there is no mention of the Vector, Charger, V6, V8, Drifter, Objective, etc. I assume these skis are still highly acclaimed as they won awards in past years but are no longer mentioned … Greg

  2. We were wondering why DPS skiis didn’t make it to your review this year. We bought the 112 Wailer RP a few years ago,based on your reviews, and it changed our skiing for the better. Chunder, Ice, or deep pow, we have more fun and confidence with these skiis. We are older, finesse skiers, and the Wailers gave us the confidence to try back country, with great success. Best days of skiing ever.

    • Betsy Manero says:

      Hi Winni, thanks for your questions! While no DPS skis won an Editors’ Choice this season, I’d encourage you to check out what skis from DPS’s new Pagoda line made it into our Gear Guide. We loved the 112 Wailer RP when it hit the market as well, but we only review items that have been on the market for two years or less in our Gear Guide.

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