With the 2016/17 ski season less than 3 months away, we’ve been on the lookout for ski companies that are bringing something new and exciting to the table in 2017. With a selection of powder skis, front-side carvers and all-mountain chargers, here’s our pick of the 5 most exciting skis for 2017.
We suspect that this will be too much ski for many people, but we are intrigued nonetheless. Völkl have not held back with the 2017 Confession, introducing a big mountain charger complete with Titanal Band construction, full sidewalls and fairly chunky 117 mm waist. The Confession replaces the blunt-nosed Völkl Shiros, reverting from full camber to a tip-and-tail rocker build for improved edge grip and increased stability.
This is most certainly a ski to bring out on the deepest days, and designed for a skier who likes things “fast and agressive” rather than “playful and fun”. If you’re in line for a January ski trip to powder magnets like Niseko or Kiroro, this may well be the best tool for the job. For something with a little more versatility, continue on.
Blizzard Quattro RS
Ski companies are finally realising that there are expert skiers out there who want high-end race-inspired skis with uncompromising performance on piste, rather than the all-mountain ski that “does it all”.
The 2017 Blizzard Quattro RS fits the bill. Part of a brand new line of front-side skis from Blizzard, the RS is the most race-oriented of the lineup, with a 69 mm waist and full camber profile. The construction of the ski is aggressive, with Blizzard’s IQ Sandwich Sidewall Ti and strategically integrated carbon fibre.
What does this all mean? This ski will lay trenches into any groomed slope you can find, and is custom built for firm, even icy groomers. The carbon in the ski gives it a lively, snappy feel, which means it will feel just as comfortable ripping quick, short turns or powering through a line of bumps.
Ex-racers or speed demons will have a field day with the 2017 Blizzard Quatro RS, but be wary of taking this ski into the deeper stuff, which is certainly not its forte.
Line Supernatural 108
Since the advent of powder-specific skis, the ski industry has pushed designs to the limits, with monster skis up to 130 mm under foot that really only work when the snow is dry and bottomless. The consensus in more recent times is that a 108 mm ski gives more than enough float for a very good powder day, with enough versatility to get you through a day that’s less than perfect.
For us, the Line Supernatural 108 offers a really nice balance of float, side cut, stability and flex – a great do-it-all powder tool for the skier who might be found charging huge backcountry lines one day or whipping through tightly spaced trees the next. Bear in mind, though, that at this width, it is very much a powder ski, and not an all-mountain ski as many would have you believe.
The Supernatural Series returns from last year, but with a revamped design which adds some style to Line’s typically minimalist fell, this is a ski that we find hard to look past in 2017.
Salomon QST 99
Salomon’s QST line is new for 2017, and has incorporated the best tech from a couple of their previous models in a bid to make a well-rounded, versatile ski. Integral to the build of the ski is something Salomon refers to as “Space Core 3.0” construction, which features a lightweight wood core, titanium power plate, ultra-light Koroyd Tip and Tail and CFX Superfibre.
It’s an impressive suite of technology designed to put weight and sturdiness in the places that need it and remove it from those that don’t. For us, though, it’s the CFX Superfibre – a unique blend of flax and carbon – that is the most intriguing. The intention is that the flax dampens the effect of the carbon fibre – which typically has a twitchy quality to it – in an effort to create an ultra smooth ride. The jury is out on how well it works, but we love the innovation.
The added benefit of creating a ski packed with weight-saving technology is that it will comfortably double as a touring ski. The Salomon QST 99 comes in at 1825 g per ski, which is perhaps not as light as pure touring ski, but not far enough away to give us too much concern.
We’ve picked out the Salomon QST 99 from the bunch because, at 99 mm under foot, it is the most versatile of the range and would be equally at home ripping through the bumps or crud in-bounds as it would on a backcountry tour. A true one-ski quiver.
Atomic Backland FR 109 W
The Atomic Backland FR 109 W is a women’s-specific powder ski, and has “the energy of a high school cheerleader” according to one of the ski testers from ski magazine On the Snow. An incarnation of Atomic’s former Century 109, the Backland is equally nimble as its predecessor, but offers increased float through Atomic’s “HRZN Tech”, which adds surface area to the tip and tail of the ski.
This is a ski for the women who have typically ripped fresh tracks into the mountain before most people have had their first sip of morning coffee. It is a playful and energetic powder machine that performs well in the conditions it is designed for. Take it onto the hard pack, however, and it will struggle.
Ski Asia recommends Backcountry.com for purchasing new ski equipment and apparel.