Deacon 72 Master

In many ways, the new Völkl Deacon 72 Master is a classic, wood-and-Titanal laminate, with all the virtues of this foundational design. But it’s where and how it departs from tradition that separates the Deacon 72 Master from the pack. The Deacon 72 Master can cut into the very top of a new turn despite a tiny bit of tip rocker because Völkl’s Tailored Carbon Tip technology frees the designer to apply carbon filaments at whatever angle is best for muffling shock.

Völkls also uses fiberglass more creatively than most. 3D.Glass connects the top and bottom glass laminates through the mid-body of the ski, creating an end-to-end glass spring that gives the Deacon 72 Master an extra surge of power coming off the edge. If you’d rather cruise downhill than slash cross-hill, just back off the edge angle and the ride will be smoother than a baby’s butt. The Deacon 72 Master has the accuracy and power of a Non-FIS Race ski without an NFR’s insistence on a certain turn shape.

Disruption MTi Alliance

K2 has always had a strong presence in the Women’s Frontside field, a tradition it’s reasserting with the Disruption Alliance series it inaugurated last year. The Disruption MTi Alliance uses the same trifecta of key features – Dark Matter Damping, Ti I-Beam and Powerwall – as the unisex Disruption MTi, in a modified flex, shape and size range. This year, there are five new Disruption Alliance models, taking over all duties in the Frontside genre from the retired Anthem series.

No other Women’s Technical model is as slender in the forebody as the Disruption MTi Alliance, creating a gentle pull into the turn that never feels rushed. A strong ski with a gentle disposition, it takes less energy to extract a long turn than on a more torsionally rigid ski with a deeper sidecut.

Disruption MTi

Not only is the Disruption MTi a graceful carver, its slightly softer edge gives it a forgiving quality that’s a K2 hallmark. The main reason the Disruption MTi feels different on edge from, say, an e-Magnum, is because its Ti I-Beam metal laminate is only as wide as the thinnest section of the ski. As the ski widens at tip and tail, a gap grows between the Ti sheet and the edge. This allows the edge to give a little, which creates a cushioned ride on a firm surface.

To be clear: the edge doesn’t give out or wiggle around – despite its name, the edge grip is never disobedient or disorderly. If anything, the mildly less aggressive grip feels easier to trust in a fully-laid over carve. Due to its markedly mellow character in a category dominated by brutes, we award the Disruption MTi a Silver Skier Selection.

Power Joy

The Power Joy is unlike the rest of Head’s extensive Joy family of women’s skis, all of which were built from scratch, without reference to any unisex template. The Power Joy has clearly paid a visit to the Race Department, coming away with the EMC shock-damping system, and purloined its sidecut from the men’s Supershape e-Speed. It may have been “feminized” in some fashion compared to the e-Speed, but I doubt very much it skis like a typical women’s ski.

Also in the Technical genre is the Epic Joy (122/65/100), a short-radius turn specialist built with the same women-specific construction found in Head’s other top Joy models.

Cloud C14 WB Revo

Atomic’s top Cloud model usually mimics the technology of the latest Redster race skis, and so it is with the Cloud C14 WB Revo. “Revo” refers to Atomic’s new race damping system, a series of steel plates floating on a viscoelastic foundation.  The “WB” means Wide Body, and at 75mm underfoot, the Cloud C14 WB Revo is by Realskiers’ definition a Frontside ski, which suggests that somewhere in Europe there’s a Cloud C14 Revo that isn’t “WB.”

The three other Cloud models in the 21/22 collection all belong in the Technical genre, but only the Cloud C12 Servo merits an expert’s interest. Both the C14 and C12 are fully cambered, Titanal-laden, fall-line loving chargers that do not stoop to conquer.