Our go-to ski for tearing through big dumps, the Darkside looks like a waterski at 156/128/144—and it absolutely floats at high speed in deep stuff. Yet what really impressed us was how it could turn in area since the rocker is only in the tip with regular camber underfoot and in the tail. This is the weapon of choice for dream days—cat skiing, a trip to Alaska, Utah backcountry or an epic resort dump.
Black Diamond Justice
At 115 underfoot, the Justice is the quiver-of-one ski for the backcountry. It’s got just the right amount of bulk and rocker to float pow and crush crud, yet it’s not unwieldy in marginal conditions. Plus, camber underfoot means it can still hold its own on a resort powder day.
You won’t find a better tool for serious ski mountaineering than the Manaslu (122/95/108 in the 187 cm length). After all, it was developed for an expedition on its namesake Himalayan peak. The result is a light (for skinning), rockered (for float and crushing junk) ski with a snappy sidecut profile (for quick turns away from danger).
Rossignol SAS S7
Want to have fun in the backcountry? A big rockered tip and traditional camber profile underfoot mean that the S7 rides like a freestyle ski in deep stuff. At 145/115/123, it’s agile enough to navigate tight trees and stable enough to open up on big lines.
Ski Trab Stelvio
At 117/84/105, this sexy Italian board is meant for good, old touring. It weighs in at just 6 pounds, 10 ounces, but still has the guts to jump tight turns in a couloir and float variable snow.
Here’s a women’s powder ski made for women who ski better than their male partners. At 137/106/122 with rocker, it’s got all the burl of a dude’s board, but it’s light thanks to the same sensorwood core Völkl uses in its iconic Gotama. Like the best men’s powder boards, it earns its keep in the untracked but can still hold an edge in area.
Venture Helix Split
Most splits are powder specialists, but the split version of Venture’s Helix can do so much more than float big lines. Yes, it’s rockered for the deep stuff, but it’s also an aggressive-flex twin tip (the only twin-tip split out there), allowing for freestyle riding in the backcountry. To top it all off, the split system is solid and user friendly.
TELE: Black Diamond Custom
Don’t believe hype about the four-buckle Custom being too stiff. It’s not—but it sure does drive big skis.The BOA liner makes it comfy, easy to adjust and ideal for touring.
AT: Scarpa Skookum
This four-buckle boot defines the new AT attitude. It’s stiff and powerful enough to use day-to-day in the resort or hit aggressive backcountry lines, yet fairly light at 8 pounds, 4 ounces and Dynafit compatible for fast touring.
WOMEN’S: Dynafit Gaia
The Gaia packs all the stiff-yet-light performance of the brand’s men’s boots in a women’s model. Complete with a TF-X thermomoldable liner and weighing 3 pounds, 12 ounces, it tours like a dream and still performs on the down.