Ski Reviews 2017/2018

Welcome to the Sturtevants buyer’s guide for skis.

In conjunction with our friends at realskiers.com we have created ski reviews of what we feel are the best skis on the market! We pride ourselves on having the best selection of skis in town, and are confident we carry a ski that is just right for you. We have organized our ski review into four main categories: On Piste, All-Mountain Frontside, All-Mountain Backside, and Powder. Whether you love arcing turns on the early morning hardpack, exploring the entire mountain, or are a powder hound who sniffs out the deep stuff, our buyer’s guide will give you honest and unbiased information on every ski we sell. Don’t let our large selection and intricate technology of today’s skis intimidate you. Embrace the process of purchasing your favorite new toys by referring to our ski guide, coming into the store to talk with our expert staff, and you will be on your way to wintertime bliss.

On Piste


Atomic Redster G9 w/ X 12 TL
110/68/96.5
18.4m @ 177cm
165,171,177,183
2227g @ 177cm
Retail $1200
Sturtevants Price $999

The new Servotec feature on Atomic’s G9 is a rod that runs from the binding plate to a triangular base affixed far away in the forebody. It looks like an arrow, and that’s what it feels like you’re standing on. It’s not an optical illusion: the Redster G9 is much more slender at tip and tail than is the norm in this genre. True to its appearance, it takes off downhill as if shot from a bow. Perfect for ripping down Limelight on perfect Sun Valley Corduroy!

The speeds this ski is ready to assume demand precision; events come at you quickly once you exceed 50mph. The relationship between ski and skier was like that between maestro and musician; when we work together, the music we make would make angels lay down their lyres to listen. Which of us was in charge didn’t seem to matter in the moment, as long as the notes we strung together formed a lilting melody.


Rossignol Hero Elite ST Ti
122/68/104
13m @ 167cm
157,162,167,172
2000g @ 167cm
Retail $900
Sturtevants Price $799

“Super quick, almost too quick!”, indicating that what the Hero Elite ST wants to do it does very, very well. The question is, are you up to it?

For the wheelhouse of this slalom are turns that dive in and out of every arc with the staccato speed a ZZ Top guitar solo. This ski lives up to its name: SHORT TURN. Your legs run out of turns before you run out of mountain.
Indeed, the ST’s only real demerits are that it sticks to what it’s best at. It doesn’t care to smudge a turn, preferring to release the edge with sufficient enthusiasm to send the pilot whistling across the fall line. It takes two active feet to keep up with this energetic tango with gravity, but if you have the dancing gene you’ll love having the Elite ST as your new partner.


Rossignol Hero Master
116/70/98
18m @ 175cm
170,175,180,185
2150g @ 175cm

Retail $1100
Sturtevants Price $899

The Hero Master could live a long life without ever seeing a start house or a finish gate and still pass on to the celestial podium fulfilled. For this sweetheart loves to open up the gas line and burn fuel by the barrel, flying down America’s groomed highways with its sirens on and lights blazing.

This all sounds a bit hyperbolic, until you’re the person stepping out of a Hero Master in amazement. It has the firmly planted property of a refrigerator and you’re a magnet affixed to its front, secure in the knowledge your partner has your back. You could be tossed off-balance by a sudden slab of wind crust and before you can say boo, the Hero Master would blast through it, keeping you upright and on your way. If wind crust sounds like an unlikely component of a racecourse, it’s because chaining the Hero Master to a life amid bamboo and flags is as inhumane as suspending calves to keep their meat tender.

“You might get pulled over for going too fast,”


Rossignol Famous 10 + Konect NX 12
127/73/109
12m @ 156cm
149,156,163
1700g @ 156cm
Retail $900
Sturtevants Price $799

Rossi’s Famous 10 doesn’t fiddle around. It has carving on its mind, and doesn’t care who knows it. Set it up to turn and it’s going to deliver; as fast as you can tip it side to side, it’s ready to etch miniature parentheses in the snow. Unlike All-Mountain skis, whose dreams consist of endless prairies of powder, the Famous 10 maintains a laser focus on its métier, applying high edge angles to hard snow and letting its nervous-twitch-quick reflexes whip it in and out of simulated slalom turns.

True to its no-nonsense nature, the Famous 10 doesn’t pretend to care about what dragons lie off trail. It was bred to treat hard snow with disdain and all its other forms as if they didn’t exist at all.

Rebound has become, in the era of shaped skis, a relative anomaly; today’s skis use their sidecut to escort them through the bottom of a turn. Even more rare is a ski whose energy off the edge is its most distinctive feature, as is the case with the Famous 10.

Fischer RC4 The Curv w/ Z13 Freeflex

120/74/104
18m @ 178cm
164,171,178,185
2500g @ 178cm
Retail $1200
Sturtevants Price $1099

The sexy idea behind The Curv was to empower three former World Cup stars, the Italian Kristian Ghedina, the Austrian Hans Knauss and the Swiss Mike Von Grünigen, to create the perfect race ski (for mortals), unfettered by FIS restrictions. With all of Fischer’s considerable technical capacities at their disposal, the trio spent two years concocting The Curv. The child they’ve created is an alpine assault vehicle, suited no-where better than the high-speed groomers of Baldy.

The Curv is built on racing bones, a wood and Titanium sandwich with Diagotex™ Torsion reinforcement, Fischer’s version of a carbon weave stabilizer. Where The Curv parts ways with FIS orthodoxy is with its triple-radius sidecut, the key to The Curv’s confident hook-up and propulsive turn finish. Speed is your friend.

Kästle MX74

124/74/105
14.7m @ 172cm
148,156,164,172,180
1723g in 172cm
Sturtevants Price $1299

At 74mm underfoot, any pretense of off-piste proficiency is pure puffery, so the MX74 can be forgiven for losing interest in off-roading. It’s all about arcing, stringing short, round turns together as calmly as oysters make pearls.

Take a peek at its turn radius measurement: 14.7m in a 172cm. That’s cobra quick. With a whopping 50mm of width differential between tip and waist, the MX74 sucks the skier into the top of the turn with the irresistible authority of a black hole. Once on edge, your trajectory is predetermined by the angle of the base against the snow surface plus whatever pressure you apply. The more energy you put in, the more you get out.

Better skis favor better skiers, and there’s no doubt the MX74 is more easily managed by someone with well-established skills. But not all advanced skiers want to motor along at highway speeds. For alpine skiing’s more mellow masters, the MX74 delivers sports-car response muted to match a more measured pace.

“Loved it, solid enough for a ripping skier that expects high performance; however, it still seems easy enough for a more moderate skier,”

Fischer RC4 The Curv GT w/ MBS 13 Powerrail

129/80/112
16m@ 175cm
168,175,182
1950g @ 175cm
Retail $1100
Sturtevants Price $999

The latest ski from Fischer is an extension of the Curv family of carving skis introduced last season. The Curv GT is considerably wider than the original Curvs, narrow Technical models all, but by proportionately expanding the tip and tail more than the waist, it retains a similar sidecut radius to the Curv DTX, albeit with a cross-hill turn finish instead of the more fall-line orientation of the first Curvs.

For Fischer fans who follow the brand’s fortunes, The Curv GT will bring back memories of the early Progressors. Fischer has a long-standing commitment to the Carving category, going back to the days when the brand first embraced the concept of shaped skis.

Its experimentation with deep sidecuts has resulted in mastery of World Cup slalom construction, knowledge that always bleeds into consumer products at some point. The triple radius sidecut that dictates the skis’ on-edge trajectory is a product of years of experience making skis that turn fast at high speed without spinning out.

“Powerful yet surprisingly forgiving when backed off. A pure skier’s ski.”

Frontside All-Mountain


Fischer My MTN 80 w/ V10 Powertrack
124/79/109
14m @ 159cm
145,152,159,166
1500g @ 159cm
Retail $700
Sturtevants Price $599.99

It’s become the norm among the majority of Frontside models for the 84mm model to assume the dominant role, both in terms of performance and price. But Fischer isn’t a brand to follow the pack, and its Austrian roots lie in on-piste skiing. The “80” in the My MTN 80’s name refers to its waist width, but it could just as easily stand for “80% groomed,” or the amount of time the My MTN 80 would prefer to spend on prepared slopes.

Slalom skis are a special strength of Fischer’s, an expertise from which the My MTN 80 has been concocted. Super light due to its Air Tec core and pared-down Razorshape chassis, the My MTN 80’s 14m sidecut (159cm) also contributes to its ability to reel off short-radius turns.

“Lots of forgiveness, yet stable.”


Salomon XDR 80 Ti
126/80/109
15m @ 176cm
155,162,169,176,183
3017g @ 176cm

Retail $675
Sturtevants Price $549

If you’re looking for a lightweight Frontside ski that favors the Finesse skier – both relative rarities in the Power-laden Frontside genre – the Salomon XDR 80 Ti has you covered. The XDR 80 Ti isn’t quite as light as its wider family members, the 88Ti and 84 Ti, but the extra stability only mass provides is be a benefit.
Salomon has been steadily shedding 100’s of grams from its Frontside family, going back to the Enduro era. With the XDR 80 Ti it has found a light-but-not-too-light carver with a docile disposition masking a power reserve.

“Easy to ski but loaded with performance. Nice bump ski.”


Völkl Yumi
123/84/104
17.1m @ 161cm
147,154,161,168
1420g @ 161cm
Retail $650
Sturtevants Price $549

The new Yumi uses an all-wood core bolstered by a less-than-full-length strip of metal Völkl calls the Titanal Band. As is typical of off-trail friendly skis, the Yumi is tapered and rockered at tip and tail, but retains a camber zone underfoot.

While the changes in construction have palpably improved the Yumi’s performance, it remains an excellent choice for finesse skiers. Now that it’s been modified to improve its off-trail aptitude, the Yumi provides a better introduction than ever to off-piste skiing.

The Yumi has always served as an ideal step-up pair of skis for the young adult who has stopped growing and so can step off the annual cycle of leasing or renting. It fulfills the same role for any adult who is ready to shed her initial pair of package skis.

“A little stiffer, but skill forgiving enough for a moderate skier,”


Kästle MX84
128/84/112
16.3m @ 176cm
152,160,168,176,184
1943g @ 176cm
Sturtevants Price $1299

We live in an era obsessed with innovation, hurtling as fast forward as we can go towards an uncertain future, eager to challenge, if not outright discard, all inherited wisdom.

Thank heaven for brands like Kästle that understand the value in adhering to tradition. The MX84 is made from a classic recipe: a vertically laminated wood core (silver fir and beech), with top and bottom sheets of glass and metal. Its sidecut and baseline are likewise cut from Old School cloth. There’s no tapered tip or tail, no sign of rocker, no cut-outs in its two full sheets of .5mm Titanal. This is a machine for connecting man to snow, and if it takes a little more skill to handle a ski without training wheels, so be it.

There are plenty of choices in the market for skiers who want a shorter camber zone, something easier to swivel, maybe a little fatter so it will float better. The MX84 is the antidote to all that. Its absurdly high Finesse score isn’t because it’s easy for anyone to ski; it’s because the experts who tested it fell in love with its line-hugging power and imperturbable calm. This is why testers who rarely write comments start decorating their test cards with hearts.

“Best ski ever!”

“Very friendly yet very high performance. I want one.”


Rossignol Experience 84 HD w/ Konect NX 12
133/84/120
15m @ 178cm
146,154,162,170,178,186
1800g @ 178cm
Retail $850
Sturtevants Price $749

The Experience series isn’t a family of equals. The Experience 100 HD uses the richest construction, the 88 HD swaps out Titanal for basalt and the 84 HD loses the basalt. Each step down is associated both with ability and price. The intermediate and advanced skiers the 84 HD aims to seduce doesn’t have to pay the tariff for features he isn’t going to use.

Geared down to match the speed range of the average skier, the Experience 84 HD has all the power recreational skiers need thanks to the Carbon Alloy Matrix Rossi added to it last season. A weave of carbon and basalt, it adds torsional rigidity with minimal mass, improving edge grip and ski control in all conditions. The Experience 84 HD is the perfect mid-range ski: it likes medium-radius turns at medium speeds on a medium pitch. Responsive to light pressure, it’s just right for skiers who prioritize control over speed.


Rossignol Temptation 84 HD w/ Express 11
133/84/120
13m @ 162cm
146,154,162,170
1700g @ 162cm
Retail $800
Sturtevants Price $699

Wherever Rossi has applied the “HD” treatment, the ski in question receives an infusion of precision. What the HD stands for is the addition of Rossi’s exclusive Carbon Alloy Matrix, intertwined fibers of carbon, glass and basalt in a plaid pattern. It makes a ski like the Temptation 84 more resistant to twist, so it can hold a better edge on firm, groomed surfaces. But while the Carbon Alloy Matrix gives the ski more bite, it hasn’t altered its essentially go-along-to-get-along nature.

With its new HD embellishment, the Temptation 84 has the stuffing to withstand the buffeting inherent in off-trail travel, but it still prefers to engage its tidy, 13m sidecut (162cm) on more consistent terrain. A lover of slow, unhurried turns that control speed by staying on edge, the Rossi Temptation 84 HD is just right for the skier who could use a little help in the skills department but whose ambitions don’t include conquering every run on the trail map.


Fischer Pro Mountain 86 Ti
128/86/116
16.5m @ 175cm
161,168,175,182
1750g @ 175m

Retail $800
Sturtevants Price $699

One of the major market trends over the past few seasons has been a “Lighter is Better” movement, a competition among manufacturers to see who can make the lightest ski that still retains high performance properties. No other brand is as well positioned as Fischer to capitalize on the LIB frenzy, as it has spent decades astride the cross-country ski market where lightweight has always been a fetish.

At 1,750g in a 175cm length, the Pro Mountain 86 Ti is by far the lightest ski among our Power picks in the AME genre. Fischer pared away excess material inside and out: the Air Tec wood core uses off-set milling to whittle away excess weight; carbon fiber inserts in the tip and tail further reduce swing weight; and the Razorshape surface pares off the top corners. Perhaps most remarkable, those 1,750 grams include two full-length sheets of Titanal, giving the Pro Mountain 86 Ti edging power that’s well above its weight class.

“Solid feel, yet quick and very precise,”


Blizzard Black Pearl 88
126/88/110
16m @ 159cm
152,159,166,173
Retail- $720
Sturtevants Price- $599

Last season Blizzard pulled off a coup that was, a singular one in the annals of ski sales: a women’s ski, the Black Pearl, emerged as the top selling ski in the specialty channel. The reason the event was unprecedented is that women make up at best 40% of the new ski market. To be the number one ski means the Black Pearl had to dominate women’s sales.

Three major factors drove the Pearl’s progress to the top. First, last year’s ski benefited from sales momentum built over the prior four years. Word of mouth and all kinds of awards created an aura of desirability. Second, construction. Blizzard moved to a genuinely made-for-women platform called Women’ Specific Design (W.W.D.) last year, which took full advantage of carbon’s light weight and high strength, incorporating it both in its glass laminates and in a unidirectional top frame that’s all carbon. Third, baseline. The Black Pearl uses a Flipcore design that rockers tip and tail to optimize its off-trail character, yet when tipped and pressured the rocker zones blend seamlessly into the cambered area underfoot.

All this adds up to a ski that can handle any terrain and make it look easy. So what did Blizzard do to this universally admired ski? It made the Pearl better, widening the tip and tail a touch and tampering with the baseline to increase snow contact. In its new incarnation, the Black Pearl 88 will only increase its fan base. It’s an instant injection of confidence for intermediates and it has the stuffing to titillate experts.

“loved how this ski handled on a charging groomer and off piste.”


Rossignol Experience 88 HD
135/88/124
17m @ 180cm
156,164,172,180,188
2100g in 180cm
Retail $800
Sturtevants Price $699

Just because a ski has a sidecut suitable for carving doesn’t mean it must be pigeonholed as a groomer-only ski, any more than having a mustache means you’re a cad and a bounder. Presented with a foot of fresh powder, the E 88 HD doesn’t realize it’s not supposed to be particularly good at navigating freshies and dives into the fluff without hesitation or a hiccup. It doesn’t flinch when crossing old tracks and if it gets to go first, all the better.

If you’re scouring the web looking for deal on the E 88, be alert to the year of issue. The “HD” suffix signifies the presence of Carbon Alloy Matrix, a big performance booster that only became available for the first-time last year. Ever since it went HD, the E 88 has become a reference ski in this genre both for its ease and its performance.

“For the clear majority of skiers, the Rossi E88 HD is all the ski they’ll ever need,”

“It’s more of an on-piste or “carve” ski than many in this category, but it’s great at what it does.”

“It’s the most stable non-metal ski.”


Blizzard Brahma
127/88/111
17m @ 180cm
166,173,180,187
2040g @ 180cm

Retail $780
Sturtevants Price $649

The Blizzard Brahma underwent the same minor modifications this year as its big brother, the Bonafide, growing a tad fatter at tip and tail. The new radius of the shovel brings a tipped ski in contact with the snow earlier, and the extra shape trims 2m off the turn radius in a 180cm. The net effect is an improvement in carving performance on groomed terrain without detracting one iota from the Brahma’s appetite for off-trail skiing.

The Brahma has a lot in common with the Völkl Kendo, including similar construction, sidecut dimensions and ability to instantly adapt to changing snow conditions. Its performance in moguls is as good as any ski in the genre, bearing in mind that mogul aptitude is a skill that depends more on the skier than the ski.

It’s a given that skiers with superior technical skills are better able to appreciate the exceptional edge grip of the Brahma. But all skiers want better control, and if this capability happens to extend to all known snow conditions even the skier of average skills will be better equipped to cope with whatever the weather brings.
“The Brahma has a crispness to the edge that underlies its ease of use. It holds with tenacity on the firm yet can be skidded and slipped with comfort.”


Kästle MX89
129/89/113
17m @ 172cm
156,164,172,180,188
1989g @ 172cm
Sturtevants Price $1299

The biggest surprise about the Kästle’s MX89 isn’t that it landed squarely on top of our Power Picks, but that its scores for Finesse properties would have earned top honors for ease of operation, as well. Three principal factors contributed to this sudden rise in perceived forgiveness.

First, the test subjects – meaning the skis – weren’t up to par the previous spring. Small batch production runs like those for new model launches are more subject to possible snafus. Our 2017 test scores painted a picture of a great ski straining to overcome an indifferent finish. This year, with the MX89 in regular production, the veil that clouded last season’s perceptions lifted, revealing a ski that’s so secure on edge it feels capable of forgiving all (skiing) sins.

While it’s possible to quibble over the MX89’s Finesse score, there’s no equivocating when it comes to its Power rating. It’s clearly the most carve-centric ski in its class, responding to a high edge angle by tearing a new aperture into whatever terrain it encounters on its bull-rush to the bottom. Skiers who can execute turns with a lot of upper/lower body separation will indeed find the MX89 relaxing because the ride is so secure the skier doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain a clean trajectory.


Völkl Kenja
127/90/110
16.8m @ 163cm
149,156,163,170
1760g @ 163cm
Retail $775
Sturtevants Price $649

One can make a case for the Völkl Kenja being the best ski ever made for the advanced woman skier. Its Titanal laminates – rarely found in women’s skis – give it unparalleled bite on hard snow and the resilience to fight back in heavy crud. The Kenja excels because it doesn’t condescend.

The Kenja doesn’t require aggression, but it rewards it. Most women back off the gas pedal when they transition into cut-up off-trail conditions, but they only way to subdue irascible old snow is to motor through it. If your skis don’t have the guts to resist the resulting vibration, you’ll be compelled to curb your ambitions. You’ll never have to hold back on a Kenja.

Völkl has spent the last several seasons making all their off-trail skis more compatible with choppy terrain. The Kenja caught up with this trend in 2016, adding taper and rocker to the tip so it won’t get finicky when the snow gets funky. These modifications have made the Kenja easier to ride for everyone, even the athletic intermediate.

“Outstanding edge hold on ice and easy to turn at higher speeds while still maintaining control. I’d recommend it for any advanced woman who loves it all!”


Völkl Kendo
127/90/110
20.8m @ 177cm
163,170,177,184
1940g @ 177cm

Retail $775
Sturtevants Price $649

Of all the skis in the very well populated All-Mountain Front-side genre, the Völkl Kendo exhibits both the best balance of Power and Finesse properties and the perfect blend of hard snow and soft snow performance. Of course, it can’t be as quick as a 72mm Technical ski or float like a 108mm Big Mountain model, but it manages to feel at home in any habitat.

The Kendo kicks butt because it combines a traditional wood and Titanal structure with a modern, rocker/camber/rocker baseline and a shape that favors off-trail conditions. The Kendo name goes back several years; some earlier Kendos lack the adaptations, such as a tapered tip, that have noticeably improved the model’s ease of operation in off-piste territory like trees, bumps and chunder.

Völkl veterans – and there’s an army of them – will find the Kendo possesses a familiar snow feel, an Old School solidity that they can trust to hold a high edge on hard snow. This bears mention because the Kendo is the last of its kind in the Völkl collection, a cambered ski in a classic laminate construction with full-length square sidewalls in an All-Mountain footprint. These are the very elements that make the Kendo such a strong ski in all conditions.

“Easy transitions from turn to turn. Holds with ease on hardpack. Moves through variable snow with a soothing consistency.”

Backside All-Mountain


Kästle FX95 HP
126/95/115
20m @ 181cm
157,165,173,181,189
2140g @ 181cm
Sturtevants Price $1199

Numbers exude an aura of rectitude and certainty that mere words must struggle at length to contradict. The Finesse and Power averages say the Kästle FX95 HP is a Power ski with a kind disposition; this copy will seek to persuade those who peruse it that this ski is, by virtue of its baseline, inherently a Finesse ski, albeit one with a rich construction that allows it to pose as a Power potentate.

On one key point there’s no argument: the FX95 HP is an off-trail ski with on-trail chops, and not visa versa. The linchpin feature that settles the issue is a Dual Rise baseline that keeps the tip and tail from interfering with any swiveling or smearing activities, such as slithering through moguls or drifting sideways through piles of spring corn.

The principal point underlying the case for calling the FX95 HP a Power ski (aside from the numbers) is that its classic, wood-and-metal construction is best appreciated by skiers who have the skills to travel comfortably at highway speeds. But this observation is as incisive as pointing out that Mozart’s work is best appreciated by music lovers. Of course, better skiers will be the first to recognize that the FX95 HP is rock-solid where it counts, which imparts the confidence to take this ski anywhere.


Blizzard Bonafied
119/85/108
135/98/119
18m @ 180cm
166/173/180/187
Retail $840
Sturtevants Price $699

When I learned Blizzard intended to fiddle with both the Bonafide’s sidecut and baseline, my gut quivered. Should any of you share my trepidation, allow me to allay your fears. Yes, the tip and tail are a touch wider, creating a slightly tighter turn radius (18m @ 180cm), and the sublime Flip Core baseline has been modified to create more snow contact, but aside from improving hard snow grip and short-turn facility, the changes don’t alter the Bonafide’s essential traits of freight-train stability and bulldog grip.

The newest Bonafide earned gushing accolades:
“As the Bonafide has displayed for years, this ski is dynamically versatile. They play like a symphony at various speeds, terrain, and snow conditions. The subtle difference of the new Bonafide is the lengthened side cut in the ski’s forebody. The new Bonafide enters the turn earlier with stronger initiation. It feels like suspension tuned for charging into the turn.”

“Solid on edge throughout the turn. I could find no speed limit and found it easy to smear turns when necessary to slow or stop. It took a few runs to find the sweet spot, but once I found it, I was hooked. If you needed one ski you could depend on regardless of the resort or the conditions, the Bonafide is a great selection.”
Despite an avalanche of accolades to its credit, the Bonafide isn’t for everyone. It can’t disguise its impatience with slow, plodding turns and it reserves its best behavior for those who can tip it to a high edge angle and apply some energy to the enterprise. But if you have the requisite skills, you’ll find the Bonafide can handle whatever you place in its path.


Fischer My Ranger 98
130/96/120
17m @ 172cm
156,164,172
1720g @ 172cm
Retail $750
Sturtevants Price $649.99

With all the weight-saving technologies on board, the Ranger W 98 makes for an agile off-trail ride, well suited for the woman without extensive powder and crud experience. Its rounded Aeroshape design allows the Ranger W 98 to slice through the snow with almost no resistance. The Carbon Nose pares weight from the rockered forebody, doing its part to make off-road skiing easier. On the Finesse/Power spectrum, the Ranger W 98 lands in the Finesse bandwidth, light, lively and easy to steer in off-piste chop.

Everything about the Ranger W 98 is adapted for off-trail skiing: its construction, baseline and sidecut dimensions. However, being Fischer DNA, of course it skis the groomers well.

“The damn thing will not sink in the powder no matter how slow you’re going,”

“still solid on edge when you get back on groomers.”


Fischer Ranger 98 Ti
132/98/122
18m @ 180cm
172,180,188
1700g @ 180cm
Retail $800
Sturtevants Price $649

Don’t let the “Ti” in the Ranger 98 Ti hypnotize you into thinking this will be another Austrian World Cup ski blown up to dirigible dimensions. It’s almost the opposite scenario: a decidedly buttery knife that uses but a slip of metal underfoot and is responsive to the lighter pressure exerted by recreational skiers.

Skiers who don’t hit each turn like it insulted their mother will appreciate the performance they still get back from the Ranger 98 Ti. And, skiers who are just getting used to the hang of a wider stance on a wider ski will discover this Ranger is ready to roll over and ride a modestly angled edge, laying down lovely railroad tracks from a laid-over stance.

If you intend to ride the Ranger 98 Ti mostly in-bounds, you may want to size up as its heavily rockered baseline reduces snow contact in all but the freshest snow conditions.


Fischer Ranger W 98
Retail $700
Sturtevants Price $599

Review coming soon.


Rossignol Sky 7 HD
128/98/118
18m @ 180cm
156,164,172,180,188
1800g @ 180cm
Retail $700
Sturtevants Price $599

The 2018 Sky 7 HD receives the same upgrades as the Soul 7 HD that enhance snow contact in the forebody. Although it lacks the carving power essential to hard-snow skiing, the Sky is lots of fun on more receptive groomed snow like we frequently find the first few days after as storm.

But, its double rocker design, lightweight, wide but not too wide width, and amply tapered tips and tails facilitate incredible ease of use in the powder and crud. A great soft snow ski for the finesse skier. Or, as an introduction to off-trail skiing for a lighter weight skier, the Sky 7 finds the sweet spot.

“Easy like Sunday morning.”


Völkl 90 Eight
133/98/116
20.1m @ 177cm
163,170,177,184
1750g @ 177cm
Retail $775
Sturtevants Price $649

3D.Glass is why the 2018 version of the 90 Eight is a substantial improvement over its first incarnation. The connection between snow and edge is locked down, and the camber underfoot has some kick to it. It easily qualifies as a Power ski, but it’s also a finesse favorite because, compared to the norm in the class, it feels so much lighter, more instantly maneuverable and playful.

The new 90 Eight’s light and zippy attitude is delightful on trail and travels off-piste better than one might expect it to. Its double rocker baseline conforms well to the tortuous troughs in mogul fields and it makes a mean short-radius turn far more easily than its sidecut radius would lead one to believe is possible. For any skier from advanced to expert who prefers a lighter, more responsive ride in an All-Mountain West footprint, the new 90 Eight should be on your short list of skis to check out.

“The 90 Eight is a good choice for the skier seeking one ski to take anywhere. Quick, with solid turn initiation that inspires confidence.”


Völkl 90 Eight W
133/98/116
15.9m @ 163cm
156,163,170
1550g @ 163cm
Retail $775
Sturtevants Price $649

We regret that we didn’t get to test the 90 Eight W this year, for the addition of 3D Glass surely has shifted this ski’s personality to brilliant as it did in its brother. Every ski touched by this simple, yet effective layer of glass has substantially elevated its performance. The 2018 men’s 90 Eight, essentially the same ski as the women’s model, was well represented in our results, which lifted it to be selected for the Sturtevants Wall.

The 90 Eight W has enough camber underfoot to hold a clean edge on groomed carpet, but its double-rockered baseline begs to adventure off-trail. The addition of 3D.Glass adds a smidgeon (20g) to its overweight, but its effect on performance is exponential. The new 90 Eight has the support and energy its first edition lacked, making it a viable lightweight alternative to Völkl’s venerable, fully rockered Aura, with two sheets of Titanal and a more traditional body style that add 300g’s (roughly +20%) compared to the new 90 Eight W.

Powder


Blizzard Rustler 10
133/102/122.5
17.5m @ 180cm
164,172,180,188
Retail $780
Sturtevants Price $649

The new Blizzard Rustler 10 replaces the Peacemaker, part of a discontinued series of twin-tipped all-mountain models. The Rustler 10 isn’t a simple makeover disguised to look like a big deal; it is a big deal, a complete departure from its predecessor.

If there’s a link connecting the Peacemaker to the Rustler, it’s that both represent a clear alternative to All-Mountain Freeride Blizzards like the Cochise and Bonafide, skis that are avatars of power. Relatively speaking, the Rustler 10 is a pussycat, with a softer tip and tail so the extremities will more readily conform to irregular terrain.

The signature feature is a top laminate of Titanal that only runs edge to edge underfoot, then tapers quickly to a central tongue that ends before it reaches the tip and tail rocker zones. The metal component varies in length according to model size, so the extremities retain their looseness in all sizes, while underfoot support isn’t compromised.

“The mix of underfoot grip with ease at the extremities is unmatched. Another home run for Blizzard!”

“Rustler 10 is playful, loose, poppy, yet still has that Blizzard feel underfoot. It’s going to be easier for more skiers to deal with.”


Blizzard Sheeva 10
131.5/102/121.5
14.5m @ 164cm
156,164,172
Retail $720
Sturtevants Price $599

Blizzard’s new Sheeva 10 is a prime example of the confluence of women-specific constructions and Big Mountain design. Both market segments share an obsession with light weight, tempered by the need for stability. This is an instance where what’s good for the goose is identical to what’s good for the gander.

At the heart of every lightweight design is carbon, and the Sheeva 10 has plenty of it, both in stringers in its glass laminates and in unidirectional inserts at tip and tail that help lower swing weight. Its signature feature is a Titanal laminate that runs nearly edge-to-edge underfoot but tapers to a blunt tongue that doesn’t quite reach either tip or tail. The intent is to add stability underfoot but keep the rest of the ski looser, so it can contort to absorb irregular terrain.

“Smooth,” “easy to ski,” and “stable but playful.”


Rossignol Soul 7 HD W
136/106/126
16m @ 164cm
156,164,172,180
1800g @ 164cm
Retail $850
Sturtevants Price $749

Rossignol doesn’t differentiate between a Big Mountain ski and a Women’s Big Mountain ski. When you make the most popular Big Mountain ski of all time, the Soul 7, now in its third incarnation, why not redecorate it in smaller sizes and call it good?

Make that call it great, for the Soul 7 HD W is a first-class powder ski. Well cambered where it isn’t amply rockered, it responds to pressure with an energetic rebound. The beauty of this trait is it operates even when the ski is pressing against light, loose snow. Porpoising up and down through bottomless powder, it practically rises to the surface in the brief intermission between turns.

As the fate of the Soul 7 HD W is inextricably linked to that of its unisex twin, the improvements made to one apply equally to the other. For 2018, this means the tip, while remaining rockered and tapered, is now integrated into the main body of the ski and makes contact with the snow closer to the widest point on the ski. The net effect is to improve edging effectiveness on those irksome occasions when hard snow is all there is to ski.


Rossignol Soul 7 HD

136/106/126
18m @ 180cm
156,164,172,180,188
1900g @ 180cm
Retail $850
Sturtevants Price $749

Rossignol deserves boatloads of kudos for continuing to polish what was already a star product. Two years ago, the Soul 7 was the runaway ski of the year. Instead of resting on its copious laurels, Rossi upped the ante by adding a matrix of carbon, basalt and glass dubbed the Carbon Alloy Matrix, which appreciably bolstered its torsional stiffness and edge hold. For 2018, Rossi has cut new molds for the Soul 7 HD in order to incorporate several new features that work together to improve snow contact.

The most obvious new element is Air Tip 2.0, a totally new shovel design that is completely integrated with the main body of the ski, as opposed to being assembled from separate parts. The new tip is lighter, thinner and connects with the snow sooner, so it follows terrain better than its ancestors.

Although the new Soul 7 HD looks dramatically different from earlier editions, its basic shape and character haven’t changed. While the sexy-looking tip gets all the attention in the store, the Soul 7 HD’s most distinctive feature on the snow is its springy camber pocket that unloads with an elevating pop off the bottom of every arc. This gives the ski its energetic personality that persists in all forms of powder, from Cascade Concrete to Sawtooth Silk.

“Same as ever, only better,”

“This year’s Soul 7 is more powerful, more precise and way more fun than it has ever been before!”


Blizzard Rustler 11
139/114/129
19m @ 180cm
172,180,188

Retail $840
Sturtevants Price $699

Our ski testing partners, RealSkiers.com, did not review the Rustler 11 but, Sturtevants found it to be a remarkable ski. Offering a unique balance between weight and stability, throttle and brake, commitment and flexibility, this is a brilliant soft snow ski for Baldy, or any big mountain across the west, for the advanced and expert soft snow skier.

A completely new ski, we feel Blizzard has legitimized its leadership role in ski design, and performance, through the Rustler, and Sheeva W families. Measured use of preciously placed, quality materials (including some metal), complimented by an intelligent refinement of camber line, profile, and sidecut, this design is progressive and will sure to be one that is emulated by the competition in the coming years. The ability to turn out these kinds of designs a huge reason Sturtevants picked up Blizzard this season and is very excited about their future.


Rossignol Super 7 HD
140/116/130
21m @ 188cm
172,180,188
2100g @ 188cm
Retail $900
Sturtevants Price $799

Rossi’s Super 7 HD is one of those skis with nothing wrong with it that they keep on improving anyway. This time Rossi revamped its Air Tip so its surface is an extension of the same top sheet that covers the rest of the ski. The new Air Tip 2.0 is not only better integrated, it’s also thinner, which seems to help it roll to the edge with the willingness of a svelter ski. On edge at the top of the turn, the attitude of the Super 7 HD is all business, but at the bottom it throws a party, releasing the energy coiled in its fiberglass and carbon core.

The classic load-and-recoil reactions of the Super 7 HD are what impart the sensation of riding a porpoise through waves. Its propulsive rise and fall sets off a rhythm as regular as a metronome, and all the skier has to do is stay centered and not interfere with the flow. The Super 7 HD is so good at skiing powder, it really doesn’t need a pilot, just a willing passenger.


Rossignol Black Ops 118
Retail $800
Sturtevants Price $699

Review coming soon.