1-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22)

Blister's 2019-2020 Reviewer Quiver Selections
Article Navigation:  Intro //  Luke K. //  Kara W. //  Dylan W. //  Paul F. //  David G. //  Kristin S. //  Drew K. //  Sascha A. //  Eric F. //  Jonathan E.

Intro

Over the past few weeks, we’ve published our reviewers’ selections for 5-ski, 4-ski, 3-ski, and 2-ski quivers. Now it’s time for the most difficult decision of them all: picking a single ski to use for absolutely everything. 

As we state in all our quiver selection articles, there is no single perfect quiver for everyone. It all depends very much on where you ski and how you ski. So our selections below should not be viewed as our answer to the question, “What are the best skis out there?” They aren’t even recommendations. Instead, these are our reviewers’ personal picks, and their rationale for why they would choose them. As always, we’re interested to hear what you’d pick for your own 2-ski quiver, so let us know in the Comments section at the bottom.

More Ski-Quiver Guidance

For more general suggestions — as opposed to what we personally would pick — check out our 21/22 Buyer’s Guide.

And if you’d like to get our recommendations for assembling your own ski quiver, then become a Blister Member, submit your question via the Blister Member Clubhouse page, and we’ll help you decide.

Six Questions

For each of our reviewers, we asked them to answer the following questions:

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort), and why?

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

1-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Luke Koppa

(5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg)

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort), and why?

It’s no surprise that the 1-ski quiver is always the most challenging to put together. For me, this is because I basically view lift-accessed skiing and human-powered skiing as two different sports that require totally different gear. And I do enough of both that using a single setup for both would definitely put a damper on my experience in both cases. Like playing soccer with a rugby ball. Or climbing a 5.11 sport route with approach shoes. Or trying to fish a spinner bait with a fly rod.

That said, these days the compromises you have to make when picking a single setup for both resort and backcountry skiing are definitely less drastic than, say, 10 years ago.

So with all that said, and after going back and forth dozens of times, I think I’d go with this for my true do-everything setup:

Whitedot Altum 104, 187 cm + Marker Duke PT 12

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
Whitedot Altum 104

In my 2-ski quiver, I alluded to the fact that my single resort ski in that quiver was such a close call between the DPS Foundation Koala 103 and Whitedot Altum 104 that my decision might change by the time we get to 1-ski quivers. And I guess it has, since I picked the 184 cm Koala 103 for that quiver but am going with the Altum 104 here.

Both skis do a lot of things well, are fairly stable for their moderately low weights, and encourage a playful skiing style. I’m now leaning toward the Altum primarily cause it carves a bit better than the Koala 103, and I think the Altum handles high-speed chop a bit better (likely in large part due to its added length).

But overall, the Altum 104 is a ski I can trust and enjoy in most conditions and terrain. It’s loose and lively, balanced in the air, still carves well, and is pretty stable when skiing fast in soft conditions.

I was debating going with a lighter ski (the 187 cm Altum 104 is about 2050 g per ski), since the Altum will definitely feel like a bit of a burden on longer spring tours. But realistically, I spend far more time riding lifts than I do skinning up for my turns, so it just makes sense to prioritize downhill performance here. And who knows, maybe dragging this setup uphill during the spring would put me in better shape by the time bike season rolls around…

As for bindings, I’m taking a bit of a gamble on the Duke PT 12. I’ve skied the Duke PT 16 and really liked it for this sort of scenario where I’m mostly using it in the resort with some touring mixed in. The Duke PT 12 is reportedly much lighter, and while it uses more plastic and less metal, I’ve had good experiences with Marker’s alpine bindings when it comes to durability, so I feel fairly good about this decision. A lighter binding would be nice for long spring touring days, but there’s no way I’m skiing a full resort season on a pin binding. And the CAST system is the safest bet in terms of durability, but I’m going to take a bit of a risk with the new Duke PT 12 in exchange for dropping a notable amount of weight.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

Interestingly, I don’t think I’m actually going to change my answer here. I went with a not-super-light ski for the true do-everything 1-ski quiver, and the Altum 104 is a ski that I really enjoy skiing in the resort.

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
Whitedot Altum 104

My main priority for a 1-ski quiver is that the ski will generally let me ski how I like to ski. And for me, that means lots of little airs, tail-tapping rollers, and generally skiing with a fairly dynamic and playful style. That requirement significantly limits my options, and there aren’t a ton of skis that fit that criterion while also being heavy and super stable. I’d rather give up some stability and suspension in exchange for a more playful ride, so I feel pretty comfortable sticking with the Altum 104. And again, I could probably be just as content using the DPS Koala 103 (especially if it was available in a ~187 cm length).

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

I initially thought that I would just go with what was my 1-touring-ski quiver in the bigger quivers, the Line Vision 98.

Except, if I’m only skiing in the backcountry, that means I’m spending far more time touring mid-winter, and in that case, I’d want to place a much higher priority on performance in fresh snow.

So I think I’d go with the 184 cm Moment Wildcat Tour 108 with the Moment Voyager XII binding.

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
Moment Wildcat Tour 108

The Wildcat Tour 108 floats well in deep-ish snow, it’s predictable when hop-turning down firm couloirs, and it suits my more centered skiing style. I’m still pretty split between it and the Line Vision 108, which floats a bit better and is more fun at slow speeds. But if I’m only spending time in the backcountry, I imagine I’d finally frequent some zones with some pillows, drops, and maybe build some jumps — in which case, I’d prefer the stiffer and more stable Wildcat Tour 108.

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

Given that this question brings with it the potential to ski both ultra-deep snow and true ice, you can’t really win. But I’ve been pretty content on the Altum 104 in all conditions, so I’m just gonna stick with it. It’s predictable on ice and floats respectably well in deep snow for its width, so I’m ok with that. And our pairs of the Altum 104 and Altum 114 are both holding up quite well, so I don’t have any reason to think I’d run into durability issues.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

Once again, so many skis were considered and close to making the cut. Here’s a brief rundown:

For the true do-everything 1-ski quiver:

Line Sir Francis Bacon — amazingly playful and fun ski, but I know I’d be wishing for something stiffer on pow / chop days, and it wouldn’t be my top pick for hop-turning down a consequential spring line.

DPS Koala 103 — I already covered this one, but the decision here mostly came down to length and the Altum 104’s better carving / edge hold.

J Skis Slacker — just a bit too soft and light to serve as my daily driver in the resort.

RMU Apostle 3.0 106 — I came really close to picking this one, but given that I spend way more time riding lifts than skinning, the slightly heavier and more stable Altum 104 won out.

Line Sick Day 104 — pretty ideal, except for its more directional design.

Moment Wildcat 108 — really close to the Altum 104, but the Altum is more fun to carve.

Liberty Origin 101 — another really close contender, but I wanted to go with something a bit heavier and more freestyle-friendly.

Salomon QST 98 — kinda just caught between lengths on this one, and it’s just a bit narrower than I’d prefer for pow / chop days.

Luke Koppa & Dylan Wood review the Salomon QST 98 for Blister
Luke Koppa on the Salomon QST 98, Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado.

Wagner Summit 106 — same story as the Sick Day 104; just a bit too directional for my tastes.

Norse Enduro — fun off piste, but not the most engaging carver and I’d prefer more of a twinned tail.

For the resort-only 1-ski quiver:

Most of the skis above were close to taking the Altum 104’s place.

The J Skis Hotshot and Masterblaster are also close contenders and would be much more comfortable on super firm conditions thanks to their weight, but for a 1-ski quiver, I think I’m caught between lengths on the Hotshot, and the Masterblaster is a bit narrower than I’d prefer.

The Shaggy’s Ahmeek 105 was another near miss, but I wanted something a bit quicker / lighter.

The Sego Big Horn 106 could also work, but I prefer the more predictable turn initiation and edge hold of the Altum 104, and the ability to drive it harder through the shovels.

For the touring-only 1-ski quiver:

Line Vision 98 & 108 (for the reasons mentioned above)

Weston Summit — a bit too soft for when I do get into some bigger terrain. Would be a blast on mellower slopes and spring corn bowls, though.

DPS Pagoda Tour 100 RP — super versatile touring ski, but too directional for my preferences.

Majesty Superwolf — awesome in spring, but too narrow for mid-winter pow laps.

Nordica Enforcer Unlimited 104 — promising so far, but too directional for my preferences.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

Moment Deathwish 104 — this ski seems like it could offer a lot of what I like about the Altum 104. I’d be very curious to see how they compare.

1-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Kara Williard

(5’9”, 153 lbs / 175 cm, 69.4 kg)

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort), and why?

The 1-ski quiver is easier than it has ever been with all the versatility offered from both skis and bindings these days, and yet, it’s still pretty hard. As I find myself compromising, that usually means I lean towards something heavier for inbounds performance.

Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free, 179 cm + Salomon Shift MNC

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free

This one came pretty naturally. I have been spending a lot of time on the 172 cm Santa Ana 104 Free inbounds, and it really handles everything quite well. It feels quick but doesn’t quite offer the maximum stability I prefer on the many firm days I find myself skiing. This, combined with the days I have spent on the heavier 179 cm Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, make me think that I’d prefer the 179 cm Santa Ana 104 without feeling like I’m seriously sacrificing quickness or maneuverability.

The Santa Ana 104 Free is great in crud, chop, and powder, while also a nice balance between playfulness and stability, and that’s why I am counting on it to do pretty much anything. It’s also notably lighter than the men’s Enforcer 104 Free, and given that I’ve spent a lot of time on heavier touring setups, I’m comfortable with the weight of this setup for the touring I do.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

Volkl Secret 96, 170 cm + Marker Griffon

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Volkl Secret 96

The Volkl Secret 96 continues to shine, even as I found myself navigating some substantial powder a couple of days ago after Mt. Crested Butte got 22 inches in 24 hours. And then, when the snow turns off, this ski offers astonishing performance on groomers, and it’s certainly my favorite ski around this waist width to carve. And on everything in between, it is a damp ski that doesn’t feel overly demanding.

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

Weston Summit, 176 cm + Fritschi Tecton

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
Weston Summit

A recent addition to my ski lineup, the Weston Summit is the lightest touring setup I have ever had (ridiculous, I know). I have been having a lot of fun on this ski. It’s playful and manuveable, yet feels pretty secure on edge. I have been needing a ski that is more confidence-inspiring and easy to flick around in scary terrain, and this definitely feels like a great option. Plus, in the soft snow, it feels playful and poppy, and it allows me to get a little more energy out of the turn without feeling bogged down by a heavier setup.

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

Blizzard Sheeva 10, 180 cm + Shift

The Sheeva 10 is just so darn reliable. As I mentioned in the 2-ski quivers, I have tested this ski against a lot of rocks. While it has proven durable, it also seems to have the broadest range of performance potential when we are talking about the potential for any condition, any location.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

The 4FRNT MSP CC was a top contender for my inbounds option.

It was also a really close call for my backcountry-only option to swap the Weston Summit for the WNDR Alpine Vital 100, since that ski really impressed me at the Blister Summit last year.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

I’ll be curious to try the Head Kore W 97, given that it’s a ski that’s lighter than most of my go-to options, and based on my recent experience on the Head Kore 85, it still seems like it will offer decent damping and stability for its weight. Stay tuned to see how this plays out.

I am also intrigued to see how the new Nordica Santa Ana Unlimited skis perform as a 1-quiver backcountry ski.

1-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Dylan Wood

(5’11”, 155 lbs / 180 cm, 70 kg)

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort), and why?

This took a lot of contemplation, but I am pretty happy with my answer.

DPS Foundation Koala 103, 184 cm + Look Pivot 15 + CAST Freetour System

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
DPS Foundation Koala 103

I was pretty close to using this as my inbounds ski in my 2-ski quiver, but ultimately, I ended up deciding on the Sego Big Horn 106 due to its more damp ride. For this setup, which I will end up dragging uphill, I would prefer the weight savings that the Koala 103 provides. The Koala 103 is still a tad on the heavier side of a 50/50 ski, but since the skiing I do is more like 80% inbounds and 20% touring, I am perfectly happy with this. It helps that the Koala 103 offers nice suspension for its weight. I would have guessed it was closer to 2100 grams before we weighed it (our pair came in around 2034 grams per ski).

The Koala is a really versatile, freestyle-friendly ski that felt accommodating of a bunch of different skiing styles. It is one of the stronger freestyle skis I’ve been on, can be skied pretty hard with a directional style in the steeps, but feels totally at home in the park. It’s also a pretty loose ski, and its tapered shape should make it feel pretty manageable in tight backcountry trees.

I’ve opted for the Cast Freetour System here for similar reasons as I described for my 2-ski quiver. I’ll be using it inbounds a lot, and probably not thinking about my bindings (at least, I hope so, good bindings should let you forget about them). I like that the Cast Freetour Upgrade Kit allows you to use Pivot and its full metal construction, while offering tech toes and two climbing risers for the way up.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

I’m sticking with my 187 cm Sego Big Horn 106 from my 2-ski quiver here for all the reasons I described in that article — it is playful and fun while still letting you charge pretty hard. No Cast upgrade kit on them this time, though, just Pivot 15s.

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
Sego Big Horn 106

I did contemplate the 192 cm Dynastar M-Free 108, but to me, it just feels too long for the park and when messing around.

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

Now, this is interesting. Originally, I had the 4FRNT Raven as my do-it-all touring ski with the Big Horn occasionally serving duty as a backcountry jump session ski. And as much as I love the Raven, it isn’t the best ski for switch takeoffs, landings, and popping hard off takeoffs at weird edge angles. While a more reasonable and less stubborn version of myself would just suck it up and get the Raven since it is so great for 95% of the backcountry skiing I do, I can’t let that happen, because I need a more freestyle-friendly ski every once in a while.

So I am opting for the 188 cm J Skis Slacker with the Marker Duke PT 12 that I had in my 3-ski quiver. It is versatile, playful, and intuitive. While it doesn’t make easy work of tight terrain and weird snow like the Raven, it never felt unpredictable the times I’ve skied it, and I think I’d be quite happy with it. The WNDR Alpine Vital 100 and 4FRNT Switch, surprisingly, were almost my answers for this question, too.

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
J Skis Slacker

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

I’m still happy with the Koala 103 for this question.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

Quite a few: Moment Wildcat 108, Salomon QST 98, RMU Apostle 3.0 106, Sego Comp 110 (too wide, need to get on the Comp 104), Nordica Soul Rider 97, Dynastar M-Free 99, Whitedot Altum 104, and Sego Big Horn 106.

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
Dylan Wood on the Dynastar M-Free 99 (Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado)

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

I’m excited about the Moment Deathwish 104. As I alluded to above, I think the Sego Comp 104 has potential as a do-it-all ski for firmer conditions than the Comp 110 is warranted in, and I think the ON3P Woodsman 102 also has potential as a ski I’d really like.

1-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Paul Forward

(6’, 200 lbs / 183 cm, 90.7 kg)

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort), and why?

Faction La Machine, 186 cm + Salomon Shift

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
Faction La Machine

I know it’s absurd to have 1-ski quiver that’s 126 mm underfoot but I live in Alaska and I spend most sunny days from Feb-April heli skiing. On the rare day I get to go ski touring, I still like to get into bigger terrain if conditions allow, and even if conditions are bad, La Machine will handle them better than any sub-2000-gram powder ski I’ve ever used. It will likely offend a few people to read this, but after skiing various versions of the 4FRNT Renegade for years, I feel like La Machine is the ski I personally always wanted the Renegade to be.

I’d much prefer a dedicated touring binding for touring and a dedicated alpine binding for lifts and heli but quiver killers and such are a bit too cumbersome for me to swap frequently. I refuse to heli ski on pin bindings and I keep hearing that the shift will work as long as I maintain them well. I need to try a pair at some point.

If I wasn’t working as a heli ski guide I’d be very tempted to choose the Majesty Havoc as my 1-ski quiver. It feels pretty good inbounds, only losing its composure at high speeds, has enough float for pow days, and is light enough to drag uphill all day. I got along well with the overall balanced feel of that ski and kept thinking that it felt like a narrower DPS Lotus A124. It’s probably my favorite 50/50 ski to date.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

This is a tough one for me because I’d probably be most interested in something around 110 underfoot for this application and I haven’t found a currently manufactured ski in that width that I really love. While on the wide side, in the past I’ve chosen the Moment Wildcat / Blister Pro but haven’t tried the new version yet. From what I’ve currently skied I’d say it’s a tie between the Folsom Blister Pro 104 and the Volkl Mantra 102. I like the Mantra 102 a little better in the firm and bumpy and on groomers, but the Blister Pro 104 is more fun on softer days.

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Volkl Mantra 102

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

For all-round Alaskan ski touring, I prefer a fatter ski and would have happily chosen the discontinued Black Diamond Helio 116 for this. I haven’t tried the new 115 yet and have heard it’s quite a bit different underfoot so I’m going to shy away until I get some time on it.

For now, I’m going to go back to the Blizzard Zero G 105. I’ve skied that 105 in just about all backcountry conditions and have never had a bad time on it. It definitely feels most at home at higher speeds and in more open terrain, but is light enough that it can be tossed around in tight spots even if it takes a bit more work than other light touring skis in that regard.

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Blizzard Zero G 105

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

I’m going to take heli skiing out of the equation here and assume that if that were the case, I’d prioritize ski touring performance. If I had to stick with one ski / one binding for 3 years of anywhere in the world (at least anywhere I’ve ever skied), I’d probably take that Blizzard Zero G 105 with a Salomon Shift. The light weight of the ski will make up some for the heavy binding but the Zero G still has enough stability to make them reasonably fun inbounds. I’d be super tempted to put a Voyageur XVI on them instead but I love smashing around inbounds too much to fully commit to a tech binding for all day, every day skiing that might include a lot of high-speed inbounds days in questionable conditions.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

I just started getting back on the Norse Freeride. It’s on the heavy side for a 50/50 ski but it’s an interesting design that does well in everything except groomers and feels like it’s a versatile choice as a 1-ski quiver for those living with bigger terrain nearby.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

As mentioned above, I’d love to try some more of the ~110 underfoot skis out there as a 1-ski quiver. At the top of my list are the Volkl Katana 108, Rossignol Sender Squad, Folsom Primary 110, and the updated Blizzard Cochise 106. All look like they could be great everyday skis for Alyeska.

1-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

David Golay

(6′, 165 lb / 183 cm, 74.8 kg)

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort), and why?

Blizzard Rustler 11, 188 cm + CAST Freetour

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
Blizzard Rustler 11

This was actually surprisingly easy for me. The Rustler 11 does most of the stuff that I care about in a ski at least okay, and some things very well. And it pulls that off while being light enough that I wouldn’t be too mad about touring on it, too. It carves fine, floats well enough in deeper snow, and does an impressive job of being both fun and engaging at lower speeds in mellower terrain and reasonably stable in chopped up snow (especially for its weight, on that latter point).

There are times that I’d miss having a more game-on, straight-up charger of a resort ski, but basically anything that I’d pick for that specific role is substantially heavier and not what I’d want to drag around on big touring days — especially if I’m also skiing somewhat mellower terrain, as I often am in the backcountry, and want a ski that doesn’t need to be going super fast to come alive. And I’m struggling to think of a lighter, more touring-oriented ski that I’d be particularly happy skiing hard inbounds all the time, so the Rustler 11 it is.

And as far as bindings go, for true 50/50 duty, I’m going with the CAST Freetour system. Not having (official) compatibility with rubber-soled AT boots is somewhat unfortunate for this application, but while the Salomon Shift is an impressive binding that I’m happy skiing for less-frequent resort use, I just trust CAST to hold up better to day in, day out hammering for a few seasons. And maybe the Marker Duke PT is the answer, but I haven’t skied it yet — so CAST it is.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

I’ll just go back to the 186 cm K2 Mindbender 108 Ti that I picked as my single resort ski in my 2-ski quiver, for all the reasons that I stated there.

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
K2 Mindbender 108Ti

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

Nobody who’s read any of my prior quivers is going to be surprised here, but it’s still the 184 cm 4FRNT Raven.

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
4FRNT Raven

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

This is harder. I live in a pretty high-snow area, and I’m very happy with the 114mm-underfoot Rustler 11 as a quiver of one for that. But if we’re throwing a location randomizer into the mix, I probably want to go a bit narrower and firmer-snow oriented, and I’m really not sure what the answer is there. If we took touring out of the mix, I’d be pretty into the Volkl Mantra 102 here, but it’s heavier than I want to drag around all the time in the backcountry. The Wagner Summit 106 sounds promising, but I haven’t skied it. In absence of a better answer, I might just have to stick with the Rustler 11, but it doesn’t feel ideal.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

As I said up top, this pick was actually pretty easy for me. If we take touring out of the equation, there are a bunch of mostly heavier resort skis that I’d be really happy with (see the bigger quiver articles for a rundown) but there wasn’t anything that felt all that close to unseating the Rustler 11 here.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

I haven’t skied any of ON3P’s new Touring or 50/50 construction skis, or the new Woodsman 110, so I’m doing a ton of guessing here, but I liked the original Woodsman 108 a lot, and if the suspension of a 50/50 Woodsman 110 is good enough for me to be happy skiing it inbounds and the revised 110 shape clicks, then that could be a really interesting option. The standard layup would feel like a safer bet if we were talking inbounds use only, but it’s heavier than I want for bigger touring days. But that’s a big “if.”

1-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Kristin Sinnott

(5’8”, 125 lbs / 172 cm, 56.7 kg)

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort), and why?

Narrowing the quiver down to 1 ski was way harder this year because I had the chance to test some incredible skis last season (thanks in part to the Blister Summit). But my overall pick for where I ski most (Taos Ski Valley, NM and Crested Butte, CO) is the 172 cm Wagner Summit 106.

All-Mountain 50/50 Ski — Wagner Summit 106, 172 cm w/ Shift Bindings

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Wagner Summit 106

Most of the season, I am fortunate enough to ski good snow on a variety of different terrain types. And by good snow, I mean no ice and generally not a lot of super hardpack conditions. There are always days when the sun-warmed snow from the previous day turns into frozen chunder and hardpack, but this is not the norm. And early season skiing typically consists of manmade snow on intermediate-level groomers. But I didn’t pick my 1-ski quiver based on those conditions; I based my ski choice on all the other days.

But, the Summit 106 can still handle the less-than-ideal conditions reasonably well. And for its width, it actually carves well, so I don’t hate skiing it in early season conditions.

Where the Summit 106 really shines for me (and why I choose it) is in softer snow. I’m not the most aggressive or hard charging skier on the mountain, so I don’t need a ski that will rocket me down every run. The ski is fairly lightweight for its size and for me, that lack of extra weight keeps me from feeling bogged down every turn, which also helps me be a bit playful in my skiing. The ski is also extremely intuitive and predictable. If I get going fast, I know I can shut it down regardless of whether I’m on a firm groomer or in some chop.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

The Volkl Secret 96 … maybe. I’m pretty happy with my Summit 106 choice, though. And seeing as how the majority of my skiing will be inbounds at least until spring, the Summit 106 is basically my inbounds only choice already.

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Wagner Summit 106

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

The Wagner Summit 106 — no change here. It’s not the lightest ski for a dedicated backcountry ski, but I know I could happily ski it in all different terrain and conditions.

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Wagner Summit 106

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

I’m going to stick with the Summit 106. If I spent a lot of time skiing back east, I would come to regret this decision as I’d be happier with a narrower ski, but I don’t have plans to spend a great deal of time skiing back east in the next 3 years.

I also like that Wagner offers what they call a ‘spa tune’ during the off-season. I don’t have any doubt that the Summit 106 would withstand 3+ years of use, but the idea that I could send the skis back to Wagner to have them restore the original factory tune and to inspect them tip-to-tail is a nice option.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

The Volkl Secret 96 and Elan Ripstick 94. I have been really liking sub-100 mm waist skis and both of those skis clicked for me. For all-mountain skiing, I could be happy with either but ultimately the Summit 106 won out because of its performance in soft snow, given how good it also is on firmer groomers. It is remarkable how easy it is to initiate a turn regardless if it’s a pivot or carve.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

I just got my hands on the Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free and based on what fellow reviewers Kara Williard and Sascha Anastas have said, I think this ski might really click with me.

I’m also excited to get on some Moment skis this season, to spend more time on Folsom skis (I had a chance to hop on a few pairs at the Blister Summit and really liked them), the 4FRNT MSP CC, 4FRNT MSP 107, Line Pandora 104, and to spend more time on the Volkl Secret 96. All of these skis could potentially make their way on my quiver list or in the case of the Secret 96, be featured even more prominently.

1-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Drew Kelly

(5’11”, 165 lbs / 180 cm, 75 kg)

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort), and why?

Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 187 cm + Marker Duke PT 16

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti

How do you have one ski that performs well at both CBMR and in backcountry scenarios? Don’t consider weight savings for the sake of uphill comfort. Every peak out there has been climbed with much heavier equipment before, so start earlier, get stronger, go slow, who cares, it ain’t a skimo race.

With that rant out of the way, I can say that I thought the Sender Ti had impressive firm snow performance, enough agility to enjoy skiing bumps, and satisfactory flotation in powder.

Though I feel confident with my choice, two options that might persuade me to change my selection would be skiing the Sender Ti in the 194 centimeter length, and spending more time on the Folsom Cash 106 (my 2-ski quiver resort choice) in the icy variable conditions occasionally found in alpine lines.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

Folsom Cash 106, 188 cm

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
Folsom Cash 106

Here I’ll return to my 2-ski quiver choice for inbounds skiing. For me, this ski excelled in just about every category of resort skiing. And regarding my comment about wanting to spend more time on the Cash 106 in icy and variable conditions: even when CBMR conditions are challenging, they’re at least consistent throughout a pitch / run, which makes them easier to manage than challenging backcountry conditions, which can change from one turn to the next.

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender, 186 cm + Marker Duke PT 16

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
Rossignol Blackops Sender

I’m fully satisfied with this pick from my 2-ski quiver. Flotation and stability.

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

There are few places that require as much maneuverability in firm steep terrain as does Crested Butte. Because of that, I would choose the Volkl Katana 108 in the 191 centimeter length. I’m intending to get more flotation and high-speed stability out of this choice, while sacrificing a little agility.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

I do wish the Fischer Ranger 107 Ti was still in production…

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

I’m curious about the 193 cm K2 Mindbender 108 Ti. It just might do even better in the wide variety of conditions I enjoy skiing.

1-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Sascha Anastas

(5’1”, 100 lbs / 155 cm, 45.3 kg)

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort), and why?

Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free + Salomon Shift

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free

I am going to have to go with the Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free again this year — but unlike last year, I don’t have any commitment issues here since I was able to spend even more time on it this past ski season. I think the bottom line for me is that there is no other ski I’ve tried that can charge as hard through curd, heavy snow, or variable snow. As for groomers, although it did take a bit of power, the input was well rewarded with stability and it was really fun to ski at faster speeds. And yet again as I did last year, I do have to say that I would strongly consider the 165 cm length over the 172 cm as I feel that the shorter length would be slightly more playful and forgiving than I found the 172 cm to be — but can’t 100 % commit to this length yet as I have yet to ski it. And on that note, stay tuned next week for an updated review of the 172 cm, with additions from Kara.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

I don’t think my answer would change much here except for I would definitely sub out the Solomon Shift binding for a dedicated alpine binding and would probably go with Marker Griffon. I did contemplate a slightly narrower ski such as the Liberty Genesis 101 but ultimately I felt that I would want something wider for heavier/deeper snow conditions. The same goes for the Santa Ana 98, which I think would be a great choice for the majority of the time (especially here in Colorado) with the exception of powder/chop.

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

WNDR Vital 100, 162 cm + Marker Kingpin 10

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
WNDR Alpine Vital 100

I had so much fun skiing this ski inbounds during our Blister Summit, as I mentioned in my 3-ski quiver. I have in the past always opted for a wider ski for backcountry, but I have been reforming this idea since spending time on this ski during the Blister Summit since I found it plenty stable and intuitive, both of which I prioritize in a backcountry ski. I also ski mostly here in Colorado and while I wish I was surfing powder every backcountry outing the reality of it is, I am likely going to be skiing some pretty variable snow so I felt a wider ski was less optimal here. Since this ski would be a backcountry only ski, I think I would opt for a tech binding like the Marker Kingpin over the Salomon Shift since I wouldn’t need a heavier binding if I was not planning on spending any time on the resort, but would still get the alpine-style heel here.

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

Realistically speaking, I think my answer would probably still be the Santa Ana 104 free but I think it would be harder not to select the Line Pandora 104 here than in any other category since I think the Line Pandora is a bit more forgiving and easier to get on edge, which would be beneficial in areas that don’t tend to get as much snow or ice up more readily. On the flip side, I feel like, despite the Pandora’s impressive ability to surf powder with only 104 mm underfoot, the Santa Ana 104 Free would be a better selection in the areas where the snow is heavier and deeper.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

Liberty Genesis 101, 165 cm

While I have not spent a substantial time skiing heavier snow on this ski, I feel as though I would be able to float sufficiently enough through deeper snow to consider it. But I doubt it would have the same ability to charge through the deeper snow and chop that the Santa Ana 104 Free does. That said, I spend most of my time skiing resorts in the central Rockies in Colorado and feel like this ski could do the trick for the majority of the days spent on the resort.

Line Pandora 104, 165 cm

While the Santa Ana 104 Free does charge and can cut through crud better than most skis, for me the Line Pandora 104 is still one of my go-to skis and I have yet to find a more reliable ski for me when it comes to maneuverability and quickness. As always, it is really hard for me not to include this ski in any quiver let alone my one-ski quiver.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

4FRNT MSP CC, 165 cm

I was really impressed with how intuitive this ski was, mostly on steep terrain like Crested Butte’s Headwall. It was also stable and damp but was plenty forgiving and easy to get on edge. Again, it is similar in width to both the Liberty 101 and the Santa Ana 98 but I am not sure I am willing to commit to a ski that narrow for a one-ski quiver.

Liberty Genesis 106, 164 cm

Of the skis in this moderately wide (104-108 cm width) category, the previous version of this ski performed most similarly to the Santa Ana 104 Free but seemed to be slightly more forgiving and was not able to handle as high of speeds as the Santa Ana 104 Free. But I could definitely see this ski being a close contender.

Icelantic Nia Pro, 169 cm

For a full rocker ski, as I have mentioned in my other quivers, I was really impressed with how easy and stable this ski was when carving turns on groomers and also on steeper and rutted out terrain, which is probably the terrain I ski the most here in Colorado. While I did not spend any time in deeper or choppier snow, I suspect that this fully rockered ski would have no problem surfing these conditions. So for those reasons, I could certainly see this ski being a close contender for a one-ski quiver for me.

1-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Eric Freson

(5’10”, ~175 lbs / 178 cm, 79 kg)

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort), and why?

K2 Mindbender 108Ti, 186 cm + CAST System

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
K2 Mindbender 108Ti

The Mindbender 108 Ti wasn’t my favorite ski in any particular conditions or location, but it also feels good in pretty much every condition and it’s quite stable at speed. I think its best quality is its versatility / adaptability, which is just what I’d be looking for in a single-ski quiver. It can carve, slarve, straight-line, or make jump turns with no drama. I like how the shovel behaves in powder, and it’s damp and maneuverable. I can just count on the Mindbender 108Ti to work well and be enjoyable wherever I might find myself in the backcountry, or at the resort. It’d be heavy on the skin track, and I’d enjoy something with a bit more edge grip at the resort, but this quiver is all about tradeoffs and as I mentioned previously, I’ve spent time on far heavier setups in the past.

In the backcountry there is no denying that the CAST system can be slow and tedious to transition, and bulky, and it’s pretty heavy … but it gives me a tech toe on the way up and a legit alpine binding on the way down. Or a full-on alpine binding at a resort. In my 2-ski quiver picks, I had gone with the Marker Duke PT 16, but if I literally only have one ski (especially one that I’m going to be frequently bashing around in the resort), I think I’d be more inclined to go with the even more proven downhill performance and durability of the CAST system. The comfort and confidence that comes from a pure alpine binding at the resort shouldn’t be undersold.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti, 187 cm + Salomon STH2 16

Blister's 2020-2021 Reviewer 4-ski Quiver Selections
Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Ti

The BLACKOPS Sender Ti has been one of my go-to skis thanks to its excellent blend of power, precision, and suspension.

It’s a versatile ski for the technically proficient skier looking for precision, power, and a big sweet spot. It has the weight, flex, and versatile shape to handle groomers, chalky conditions, and softer, deeper snow. I appreciate a high ceiling of performance and it feels comfortable handling frequent starts and stops and speed fluctuations, pushing through piles of soft snow, crossing other skiers’ tracks, and slashing untouched pockets of pow.

I’d miss the Sender Squad on bigger / softer / even more “sender” days, but the Sender Ti would be a much more appropriate choice for day-in-day out resort conditions and frontside laps.

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

4FRNT Hoji, 191 cm + Marker Kingpin

Blister's 2021-2022 ski quiver selections
4FRNT Hoji

The 4FRNT Raven, even in the 191 cm length, is a bit too small for a 1-touring-ski quiver for me. Its lighter weight and narrower waist give up too much for me on the days when the snow is good or I want to go very fast. Pushed really hard in really steep or deep conditions, I can “out ride” it fairly quickly. Similarly, the heavier and much wider 4FRNT Renegade (full review coming next week) gives up too much for me on the longer days or those when conditions aren’t very good. On days with lots of mileage / vert and/or firm snow, the Renegade is just less sensible.

Given that, I think the Hoji provides a happy middle ground between the two. The Hoji is a pretty comprehensive mashup of the character of the Raven and Renegade. And the new length options make it an easier choice than with previous versions of the ski. Overall, I’m always going to be looking for soft snow, and the Hoji excels there while still doing well enough when things get firm and sketchy for me to commit to it as my only backcountry ski. We just mounted up a pair for a long-term test this season after skiing it at last year’s Blister Summit, and with CB’s ludicrous forecast for the coming week, it should be a good time.

In this scenario, I’m going to go with the Marker Kingpin as my binding. It provides better touring and transition efficiency than the CAST system, Marker Duke PT, and Salomon Shift, but the Kingpin’s heel provides better firm-snow performance over any full-pin binding, which will be useful if I’m going to be skiing something that’s 112 mm underfoot everywhere and in all conditions.

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

If I was going to throw a single pair of skis in the truck and drive for the next three years, didn’t know where I would be headed, and didn’t know what I would encounter, it would once again be the 188 cm Salomon QST 106 with the CAST system. That would cover me anywhere. I could rail corduroy on the US East Coast, use it as an everyday driver in the intermountain west, smash mashed potatoes on the West Coast, and go real fast with minimal stress in AK. My legs can always get stronger. For this pick, I think the QST 106 makes a bit more sense than the Mindbender 108Ti since the QST handles firmer conditions a bit better, and skis like a lighter ski.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

I think the most difficult ski for me to leave off this list is the Blizzard Cochise 106. It was neck and neck for the W for both my one-ski quiver, my inbounds one-ski quiver, and my one ski for the next 3 years. Ultimately, I elected not to go with the Cochise for my one-ski quiver because I feel the Mindbender 108Ti does a better job with floatation in soft snow, I went with the BLACKOPS Sender Ti as my only resort ski of choice because I enjoy it more on groomed and frontside terrain than the Cochise, and I went with the Salomon QST 106 as my only ski for the next 3 years because I feel that it’s the most flexible of the four to be enjoyable in any location or condition. If I was going to ski from January to March at CBMR exclusively, I would have gone with the Cochise as my resort-only quiver of one, no question.

The 4FRNT Raven was another. It’s just so darn intuitive, versatile, and functional. It’s the choice the realist in me would probably make for their quiver of one. In the end, its lighter weight and more forgiving flex pattern come as too much of a compromise to be my only ski for everything.

Finally, the Rossignol BLACKOPS Sender Squad got left out here … I think it’s the best analog to the original Blizzard Bodacious that’s being pressed right now. It’s fun in soft snow, but more importantly and more special (to me) is its top-shelf ability to soak up shitty runouts. Stubborn me really wanted to choose the Sender Squad as my inbounds quiver of one choice, but the Sender Ti is just more engaging and useful on more of the mountain. The more progressive mount point of the Sender Squad has me enjoying it less on man-made snow than either the Sender Ti, or the Bodacious, so it got left off this list.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

The WNDR Alpine Intention 110 is a ski I really enjoyed in the backcountry last year. We currently have a pair with the cambered profile and Duke PT’s here for longer-term testing, and I’m looking forward to spending some days at the resort aboard this setup. I think there’s a pretty decent chance the Intention 110 may beat out the Minderbinder 108Ti or the Salomon QST 106 next year, but it’s too soon to say.

1-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER

Jonathan Ellsworth

(5’10”, ~175 lbs / 178 cm, 79 kg)

I. What’s your 1-ski quiver for where you ski most (backcountry and resort), and why?

186 cm Wagner Summit 106 + Shift binding

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Wagner Summit 106

Since I need a true ‘jack of all trades’ here — all inbounds and backcountry conditions — I’m going with the Summit 106. It carves well on softer groomers, it’s great in moguls (firm and mixed-conditions moguls), and it doesn’t bog down in ~12” of snow.

II. If you didn’t do any backcountry touring, what would your 1-ski quiver be for inbounds-only skiing?

Since I’m now only riding chairlifts, I’ll add weight in the interest of gaining a bit more stability while wanting to maintain really good suspension.

And I keep being tempted to go with the 184 cm Volkl Mantra 102 … and for many days, (especially firmer days) this could be a great call. But we’ve currently got 50 inches in the forecast here, so I think I’ll opt for something with a bit more tip and tail rocker (for flotation) that still can carve fairly well.

And that’s got me thinking once again about the 186 cm Nordica Enforcer 104. My first laps on a big pow day will have me wanting a fatter ski, but for 6” storms — and then all the days before and between 6” storms — the Enforcer 104 will work well here in Crested Butte.

Blister's 2021-2022 reviewer ski quiver selections
Nordica Enforcer 104 Free

III. If you only skied in the backcountry, what would your 1-ski quiver be for backcountry-only skiing?

For all backcountry all the time, it would be easy to stick with my 184 cm 4FRNT Raven + Shift binding.

But since I guess I can’t ride chairlifts at all in this scenario, I’m thinking hard about going with the 183 cm WNDR Alpine Vital 100 (with camber) plus the Shift binding.

However, for deep backcountry days, I wouldn’t mind going a bit wider, and that has me thinking about the Sego Condor 108 + Shift binding. I like its weight, its mount point, and its large turn radius. I know the ski is good in breakable crust, and while it probably won’t offer the same amount of flotation of something like the (revised, very good) 4FRNT Hoji, I think I’d rather be on very firm and icy skin tracks on the Condor 108 than the Hoji.

So I’ve talked myself into the Sego Condor 108 here, and am feeling pretty good about it.

1-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22), BLISTER
Sego Condor 108

IV. What’s your 1-ski quiver for the next 3 years, regardless of location?

There are a couple of skis I’m quite curious about that we haven’t been on yet, but I think I’m going to stick with the Sego Condor 108. It’s light but not too light, so I’m wagering on it to hold up.

V. What ski was the most difficult to leave off your list?

I’ve already named them. See above.

VI. What ski do you imagine has the greatest likelihood of making your list, if and when you get to ski it, or get to ski it more?

I don’t know if it has the greatest likelihood, but as others have mentioned, I’m very curious about the Moment Deathwish 104 for my single ski for both inbounds and backcountry use.

And I’m extremely curious about the 187 cm ON3P Woodsman 102 Tour and 110 Tour for my single ski for backcountry-only use.

Finally, I’m wondering if I might be talking more about Fischer Rangers in my quiver selections next year….

15 comments on “1-Ski Quivers: Reviewers’ Selections (21/22)”

    • I definitely considered it for my inbounds-only 1-ski quiver, but for me, it’s just a bit too big and sluggish to be a ski I’d really want to ski every single day, from November through April. It’d be way more fun than the Altum on pow / chop days, but the Altum would be more enjoyable for me on groomers, in slush, and just when I don’t feel like skiing super hard.

      • Chiming in from Tahoe: I ski 75% b/c and 25% resort.

        Resort: Praxis Quixote 187cm has been my daily driver for inbounds off piste >>> on piste skiing for the past three years. Exceptional in powder, crud and quite fine on the groomers despite 142-118-131.

        I like this Q so much that I asked Keith to build me a lightweight version with 10mm narrower waist (to cut weight) for touring .

  1. Wow, seriously, do you guys NOT rail corduroy or ski if there’s nothing less than boot-top fluff? I get that there’s a backcountry component to this, but to not see a single ski in the 86 – 94mm width range is just plain bizarre. What about the Head Kore 93, for instance? Many backcountry skiers I know are going ‘back’ to narrower skis underfoot because they ski much better on the uphills and, frankly, these are generally excellent skiers for whom waist width is not an issue. Definitely want to check out the CAST binding system…

    • I can only speak for myself, but (1) I ski at least part of a groomer every single run I take on the mountain and (2) I ski no matter what the conditions are like (though I certainly wish every day I was out there was boot-top pow…). I can totally see why some folks prefer narrower skis for their preferences, but for my skiing style, there aren’t many <90mm skis that let me ski how I want to ski in all conditions. And for my pick, one of the primary reasons I went with the Altum 104 was precisely *because* it carves significantly better than most other playful skis in its class (carving performance is by no means any afterthought for me). I have zero inherent bias against narrower skis (one of my favorite skis so far this season is 87 mm wide), it's just that the skis that happen to fit my preferences for a 1-ski quiver are generally around 100-110 mm underfoot.

    • Unless you really love ripping near-ice (what I could call ice but east-coasters would call snow) there is very little reason to go with something sub-100 underfoot in Colorado. 108+ is totally manageable for a one ski quiver for an expert skier. Width is not just about the firmness of the snow you ski. It can add stability and some shapes are only made in wider widths.

    • Was thinking the same thing. Awesome luck to have that much snow all season.
      Beginning and end of season conditions which is 2+ months where I live, having more than a 95 is like driving a truck, when a car will do it better.
      I haven’t even used my 100s the last 2 years.

    • Hey Steven,

      I’ll also chime in. Groomer life is a part of CBMR/Western ski resort life for sure. And I’d wager 75% of my days spinning lifts here are skiing some form of packed powder or chalk. We don’t see a ton of consistent “pow” here. Boot top would be considered a full-blown powder day. And as context, I grew up in and skied Vermont until I moved West, so, I can relate to and empathize with the idea that we don’t often see truly “firm” snow conditions in the intermountain west.

      To speak to my choices, (1) no, I truthfully don’t ever go skiing with the intent of *just* railing corduroy. I enjoy it if I encounter it, but typically the more variable the terrain, the more fun I’m having. Meaning, trees and bump runs early season, and off-piste terrain as soon as it opens (2) the deeper sidecut profiles of many skis in that sub <90mm category are often deal killers for me in that same variable terrain (conversely the Volkl Explosive is one of my favorite skis of all time, with just a 95mm waist, but a much shallower sidecut profile). (3) The lighter weight and flex profile of those same <90mm skis are often hard for me to love in variable terrain. On consistent manmade snow, a lightweight ski with snappy rebound can be a blast, but I don't find those traits to be a great fit for me in variable terrain. (4) in the backcountry the additional speed and maneuverability that a wider ski provides in soft snow far outweighs the benefits of less weight on the ascent until we start talking about May/June skiing conditions, for me.

      So it's way more about the shape and construction than getting hung up on the width for me. If I moved back to VT, I would absolutely have a pair of Blizzard Bonafide 97's or Fischer Ranger 99 Ti's in my quiver, but my daily driver would still be in the ~105mm range. And I do have a pair of 95mm waisted skis for ski mountaineering or corn snow missions.

  2. Loved David’s picks and rationale and glad to see the Mindbender 108 getting some love. It’s one of my favorite skis of all time and is an easy grab on 90% of days in Tahoe.

  3. Also love seeing the MB 108. Awesome ski.

    But, for me, too wide for a 1SQ. Of the (ridiculously many) skis on my wall, I’d go pretty old school and grab the Fischer Motive 95s at +1.

    For current skis, either an Enforcer 94 or Maven 95.

  4. Interesting tease on the Fischer Rangers – I think I saw in another comments section that they have gotten lighter in the last few years. Hopefully they are moving back the other way next year.

  5. Folks have mentioned K2 skis on this thread. I am wondering if others have my same concerns about where skis are manufactured. The industry is becoming more concerned with the environment and sustainability which is all good. But what about other ethical concerns? When I was shopping for new skis this year I eliminated several manufacturers, like Line and K2, from consideration. They are manufactured in China. I didn’t want to support a totalitarian, genocidal regime. Should anyone buy from K2 until they sever that business relationship?

  6. Some interesting developments in the quivers this year: liked Jonathan’s quiver of 2 based upon, bit of a different take; also liked that someone actually factored in cost (can’t remember who it was? Kara? Kristin?); Wagner Summit sounds like a great ski for a lot of folks but tough to get past a price that would allow most folks to probably acquire a 3 ski quiver for the price of one; lastly, the Fischer 107 being dropped (I had not realised) after only a couple of seasons, guess the sales were not great. Leaves Fischer with the 102 FR and the 115 FR. Then Jonathan’s tease suggests something else is coming and guess it needs to. Wonder whether it’s just a replacement of the 107, an extension of the FR range, will the 115 also got replaced, quite long in the tooth now etc?

    Actually, of the skis currently available what would be the closest thing to a c.108 version of the Ranger 102 FR?

  7. Price is a really valid point. After reading all the good reviews for the Wagner Summit then learning it is at least twice the price of many of the skis listed here, it seems we are discerning between a Bentley, Rolls, or Maybach. So it may be great, but price is a factor for most of us, and should not be ignored. Otherwise it devolves into a “wouldn’t it be great” sort of discussion.

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