It’s long been a cliché in ball sports to say, “the kid’s got all the tools, he just needs the tool box.” Well there’s a truism along those lines when it comes to skis and boards. If your equipment is outdated, you can’t ride up to your potential. Herein we offer the gear that will bring it
all together for you.
Times are tough, so buy a quiver-of-one ski that does it all.
ALL-AROUNDER: Rossignol Phantom SC87
The best all-around Colorado ski we have tested, the wood-core Phantom (130/86.5/116) effectively combines the precision of a resort ski (thanks to vertical sidewalls and dampening) with a the brawn of a powder ski that can bust crud (that fat nose is bolstered by an aluminum insert). Mount it alpine, tele, AT—it doesn’t care. $699; rossignol.com
THE STANDBY: Black Diamond Kilowatt
All the buzz has been around BD’s big-waisted boards, but the more modest Kilowatt (95mm underfoot) is, in fact, a far more functional day-to-day ride in Front Range resorts. It’s wood core and torsion box construction give it enough guts to handle Eldora trees and Mary Jane bumps just as effectively as Aspen fluff. $600; blackdiamondequipment.com
WOMEN’S: Völkl Aurora
No pink stick, this “women’s” ski has all the guts of the men’s we profile here. It’s slightly slimmer in the waist at 82mm but just as beefy up top at 132mm, meaning it’s equally aggressive and versatile. Plus, its Bio-Logic binding system reduces the chance of knee injuries. $999; volkl.com
STORM DAY STICK: Salomon Shogun
Yin and yang. The Shogun (130/101/120) combines bamboo and basalt in the core to provide flexibility with some backbone. Likewise, it melds sidecut and camber in the waist with rocker and reverse camber in the tip. At 101mm underfoot, it’s still nimble and excels in pow and crud but it can also hold its own any day in area. $700; salomon-sports.com
THE LOCAL: Hart One
The One combines poplar and fiberglass to provide both flex and edging power. It rings in at an ideal 95mm underfoot with a beefy 132mm shovel—making it a board that elevates in powder yet is surprisingly agile on a hardpack day. Best of all it’s made right here in Denver. $679; hartskis.com
Look for our recommendations on backcountry skis and boards in the next issue of EO
A Ski of One’s Own
Tired of not getting exactly what you want out of your skis? Go custom. Wagner Custom Skis have become a hot commodity with finicky core skiers. Owner Pete Wagner uses a computer-controlled milling machine to fashion boards designed to suit your style and home-mountain conditions. wagnerskis.com