We got Claire Collins at Snow + Rock to pick out the best skis for this winter.
The growing popularity of ‘free-riding’ is clearly represented in the current range of skis available on the market. Stores are stocking less of the traditional piste skis in favour of the demand for fatter ‘go anywhere - do anything’ skis, and brands are feeding this demand by investing more money in developing their free ride and big mountain offerings.
Freeride skis can carve on piste but are wide enough to float in the soft stuff, they also have vibration dampeners to give a smooth all mountain ride. Big Mountain skis prefer to head into the backcountry in search of deep powder but they’re adaptable in varied conditions thanks to their ‘Rocker’ technology. To tell the difference – Freeride skis are traditionally 80mm+ underfoot whereas Big Mountain skis are generally 97mm+ at the waist.
K2 Nine Lotta Luv £449 (with binding) New and improved, the Lotta Luv is one of the most popular and versatile skis in our range. Wide underfoot but carves like a piste ski with the Marker binding, this ski is great for intermediates wanting to up their game and start skiing in the deep stuff.
Salomon Lady £399 (ski only) The Lady delivers on performance and looks, with a small rocker at the tip to ease float and turn initiation. Great all-mountain fun for off piste beginners to seasoned seasonaires!
Scott Rosa £439 (ski only) The Rosa is a great looking freeride ski. It provides float in powder but has the strength and stability to carve on piste giving it the versatility for any conditions.
Völkl Aura £449 (ski only) We’re all big fans of the Aura at Snow+Rock. The Aura is the female version of the popular Mantra, and has the amazing ability to boost confidence by making easy work of any terrain! Floats off piste, powers on piste and cuts through crud – perfect all rounder.
Atomic Elysian £449 (with binding) An all mountain crowd pleaser, the female version of the Snoop is a twin-tip, which lends itself to anything! Light and easy to turn the Elysian also floats effortlessly in powder thanks to it’s 93mm waist.
Kaestle MX88 £799 (with binding) Exclusive to Snow+Rock in the UK Kaestle are a really cool brand with a cult following and an amazing team of Research & Development riders including Jennifer Farde. At the upper end of the price scale you get a phenomenal ski for the money, unrivalled power, stability and precision in every imaginable condition.
Salomon Geisha £449 (ski only) Venture further afield with Salomon’s brand new big mountain addition for girls. The Geisha’s wide waist and large rocker at the tip will make you sit up even in deep powder. Skis like this make backcountry skiing addictive!
Völkl Kiku £449 (ski only) Again another exciting new offering in the big mountain department especially for girls – and about time too! The Kiku is for advanced skiers looking for untouched big mountain powder. The female version of the Gotama has a Rocker from tip to tail giving ultimate control off piste.
The new innovations in freeride skis are making the joys of backcountry skiing more accessible to everyone. So anyone thinking about getting a pair and skiing off-piste needs to make sure they ski safe with adequate avalanche gear and book an avalanche training session.
Don’t be put off though if you’ve never tried a pair of fat skis have a go this season and see what a difference they make!
For more information on all the skis above check out snowandrock.com or call +44 845 100 1000